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Stef-Dream Fishing Trip

Stef was the 34th recipient of a dream trip. She choose a Hawaiian fishing trip.

Hunt of a Lifetime

Dear Tina, August 28, 2002

Thank you so much for making my dream of fishing in Hawaii come true. I felt so special! My parents called me Princess KeKe (Hawaiian for Stef), and that's just the way everyone treated me.

Doug took the time to meet us at the airport. He brought us real flower leis that smelled terrific. We also got to meet his son Jack, as well as a member of the family. I loved the hotel, which was right on the water in the center of Kona. We could do a lot without even using a car.

I have never had so much fun fishing. On my very first day I caught a 15 pound aku (skipjack tuna). It took me 20 minutes to reel him in and he fought me every inch of the way. The captain told me that this was the largest aku the boat had caught this season. It was certainly the largest fish I had ever reeled in. I spent the whole morning in the fighting chair, catching several more aku that day. The next two days we tried to hook some bigger fish such as marlin, ono and mahi mahi. The captain and crew did everything possible, but we didn't have any luck. I still really loved being out on the water trolling for big fish. The deck hands were great fun too. We even saw dolphins, pilot whales, and giant sea turtles. Doug arranged for hosts to come fishing with us, so the time just flew by. On the last fishing day, Doug had us throw our leis into the ocean. He said that this would bring us back someday. I hope he is right!

I also had lots to do on my non-fishing days. I flew over the island in a small plane. As we went over Volcanoes National Park, I could see flowing lava and lots of steam. I also saw some huge waterfalls. Not ohnly did I see Hawaii from above, I got to see underwater too. We took a ride in a glass bottomed boat. The crew worked really hard to get my wheelchairon board and get me a good view. It was like looking into a giant aquarium. I have never seen so many colorful fish. My favorite is Hawaii's state fish, the humhumunukuukuapua'a (triggerfish). I can't say that three times quickly! We also drove to a place called the City of Refuge, where ancient Hawaiian lawbreakers would go to escape punishment. They had a special wheelchair with baloon tires so I could visit the whole site. One evening we went to a nuau at our hotel. They served typical Hawaiian food, which I mostly liked (except for the poi), and put on a great show with dancing, singing and cultural demonstrations. I especially liked the coconut tree climber. We even had famous company for the evening: Priscilla Presley was sitting right behind us.

I can't imagine a better fishing trip. This was an experience I will always remember. You truly gave me a hunt of a lifetime. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.