Kaua’i is the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain and some of the areas in the Na Pali Coast remain accessible only by boat, helicopter or on foot. From the plane the scenery was magnificent, a vast sea of green. We rented a car and looked around Wailua, an old city with houses growing mango trees in their backyard.
We arrived to the hotel to get ready for my presentation. Today is the Hawaiian Tropical Fruit Grower Conference and I am the keynote speaker.
Farmers, horticulturists and people from the industry were present at the opening reception. I recognized some of the attendants as intrepid globe trotters such as myself in search of tropical fruit adventure. A Kahu: Kauilani Kahalekai (Hawaiian priest) opened the ceremony with an enchanting prayer. She came to bless our meeting asking Hawaiian Gods to help farmers to find innovative ways to grow plants and interact with them. After her prayer we had a welcome from the Mayor of the island and Richard Johnson, the president of the association. I was scheduled to speak on my favorite subject, "For the Love of Mangos" - sharing my experiences with the much appreciated tropical fruit.
My talk was well received and afterwards I received some of the local mangos—‘Rapozas’, ‘Nam Doc Mai’ and ‘Keitt’. ‘Keitt’ from this part of the island has color and grows so differently that they actually look like a different cultivar. It probably has to do with the minerals in the rocky soils and the strong influence of the oceanic climate.