Saturday, June 18th, I convened the 13th Annual Amazon Day, a day of women only adventuring. This was also the first year with event shirts. More than half the women had Amazon Day shirts and the others were planning on getting them. They are still available at the Amazon Shop.
We returned to Kualoa Ranch for the second year and again had an amazing time. This year there were ten women, ranging in age from the twenties to the fifties. Three were second year participants and the other seven were first timers. Although one of the first timers had been waiting a whole year to attend since she was unable to make last years event.
The day started off gorgeous. It was a classically beautiful tropical day with clear turquoise water, blue sky with fluffy white clouds and the emerald green valley that makes up Kualoa Ranch. We gathered around the Amazon spear, and after the “Opening Ceremony,” we were off to the gun range. We shot .22 caliber pistols and rifles down a 50 foot range. For some of the women it was their first time ever holding a firearm let alone firing one. Although all the women were more than eager to shoot, with the guidance of our Ranch Guide, Tyler, every woman had a target to be proud of. All the women had a blast. As Tyler continued to help another group of visitors, the second Gun Range Guide, Eric was a good sport and took ten pictures of our group with ten different cameras as we displayed our targets and empty firearms.
After the Gun Range, the women were pretty psyched up. Weapons fire is always a great way to start a woman’s day event. We walked back down to the Visitor Center for the midday meal, after which we headed off to “Secret Island.” It’s such a secret that no one knew where it was. We needed a guide and Ranch employee, Shawna, graciously volunteered to show us the way. We drove down to the boat dock, where we waited for the boat to take us across the water. While we waited, we saw barracuda swimming and flipping in the water and a really cool spider web. Then Dre (sp.?) pulled up to the dock looking a little confused but in good humor. He ferried us across and joined in the friendly banter that was going back and forth between our group. Once across the island we couldn’t wait to get into the kayaks and take off. Secret Island Ranch Guide, Leilani, was helpful in pulling out another kayak for us to putter around in. Of course, there was little puttering. Some of the women were a little wary about getting into the kayak, but the water was so many beautiful shades of blue stretching to the horizon, it was irresistible. We raced each other in the kayaks, snuck up on each other and splashed water and even saw a green sea turtle swimming along the reef.
After Secret Island we were ferried back across the water by Dre who by then was full in to our Amazon Day theme. He joked with us easily and honestly seemed to want to see us again next year. And he really got a kick out of our Amazon spear.
We returned to the ranch and prepared for our two hour ATV ride. We chose our helmets, those with gloves got them ready, and everyone put their hair up in something. Then we met our guides. Again we had the same two guides from last year, Mikey and Nui, but we were joined by a third guide Reuben. Mikey and Nui remembered us easily from last year. In fact they couldn’t believe it had been a year. Reuben took some time to warm up to us, but we did eventually get him to smile and joke around. They took us back up into the valley, past the WWII bunker, past Godzilla’s footprints and the Jurassic Park Movie set, through the gates into the Ranch proper where we had to dodge the steaming cow patties. And there were plenty of them. The cows mooed at us as we whipped by at a blazing ten miles an hour, over hills, down hills, over rocks and splashing through streams. On the way back we were treated to a quick but amazing tour of the bunker and got to view a scale model of the valley that was used for the movie Windtalkers. Then we hopped back on to the ATV’s and went for a wild ride on a path over a bridge, through the high grass, over rocks and up and down hills. It was exhilarating, unexpected and the highlight of the entire day.
After we completed our day at Kualoa, many of the women were still not ready to call it a day. As one said “I don’t want it to be over!” So we made a caravan into Kailua town to eat at Big City Diner, where we toasted the day and talked until after 9, long after we were all expected home. Even though we had called home to let them know where we were going, there were still many worried men that night.
It was an excellent day. All the women had fun and offer their thanks to the people at Kualoa Ranch and especially Jenny Turner for helping to make this day a great success. We were all exhausted the next day, with a few numb thumbs from the ATV. But ideas came pouring in for more Amazon events throughout the year. Jet skiing, barreling, camping, hiking, rappelling and deep sea fishing to name a few.
In Greek mythology, Amazons were strong, brave, warrior women with a taste for adventure and a will to persevere. This years women were definitely Amazons in every sense of the word. Every woman attacked every activity with gusto and held nothing back. I have been organizing this event and others like it for 13 years. I’m proud to say that this year was an extraordinary time. It only gets better every year. I suspect many of the women at this weekends event will be looking forward to next June.
It was a GREAT weekend.
Amazon Wahine 2005