Okay, technically I’m not sitting on the beach as I type this. It’s right across the street, but for the moment I prefer the sanctity of closed doors and air conditioning.

Hawaii in August is not suffocatingly hot on the scale of, say, the Gulf Coast, but there’s less offshore breeze than I might have imagined, and for being on the so-called “dry” side of the Big Island it’s still quite humid. Just sitting around on the lanai (balcony) can make you break out in a sweat, much less walking or hiking. The portion of my family who usually live in Washington State have had some rough times adjusting.

I would venture to guess that the best mix of weather might occur in the Fall and Winter months, but being tropical islands surrounded by water means the average temperatures really don’t fluctuate all that much. Right now today’s high is forecast at 88 degrees Fahrenheit and the low will be 73 degrees. Wikipedia’s chart for the Kona area says average February temps are about 81/68. I can’t personally say, the only other time I was here I was on Oahu and it was early September.

Right next door to where we’re staying, a house is under construction, which is another reason for me to be buttoned up indoors as the pounding of a backhoe’s piledriver is not particularly conducive to relaxed writing. So in some ways, not a perfect experience…

…but let’s face it, Dawn and I are in Hawaii. Poor us, right? Yesterday morning I was reef snorkeling with sea turtles, an experience which I would be doubting today as a dream but for the mild sunburn that worked its way onto my pasty hide despite my trying to shield it with several strata of sunblock. We, are, as stated, sleeping in a rental house directly across from a beach, which has both a rare sandy section and the more common tortured landscape of pumice and other old ancient lava flows providing some fascinating tide pool exploration opportunities. You really have to work at it to stay miserable here for long. All I have to do is think of my day job and L.A. in August and any annoyances are suspended. Heck, we even found a couple places here with decent alcohol prices, and the tax rate is so low compared to California I thought at first it was a typo.

That said, there’s another reason I’m fine being indoors and typing on the Internet today and that’s that my 40-something body is a bit of a wreck right now after pushing its usually sedentary self through near daily activities. I don’t have good feet to begin with and they are keen on pulling me aside and having a serious talk about this hiking and wading business, and yes Clint even though we weren’t being stood upon during the reef swim, flipping your swim fins still puts a strain on us.

To which my only real answer is, look, if — and I do mean IF — we ever have the opportunity to be out this way again, I could be 20 or 30 years older. My dad the ex-Airborne Ranger who has kept himself in good shape all his life can get away with snorkeling as a septuagenarian but I’m just a pudgy nerd. The rest of the older generation of my family already had to opt out of such things due to injury or just general ill-health. This could be my last chance while my knees or back or what little stamina I possess can get me over to see personally witness fresh lava steaming into the ocean. And that’s ignoring the fact so many people who would love to be here never even get to be here at all.

And yeah, I just got the word that the volcano visit is happening today. So come on, feet, let’s do this. And let’s hope I don’t accidentally sacrifice my iPhone to the Gods.