By John M. Goralka, J.D., LL.M. 
Goralka law estate planning tax law

When my daughter was nine years old, she asked me to take her and her brother to the Hilton Waikoloa on the big island of Hawaii. I have no idea how she heard of this particular place. She was very persistent and wore me down. I went to make reservations for the trip at AAA. The travel agent told me that that location was too expensive and that there was another resort very close that was much more reasonable. I made reservations for my daughter (9), my son (6) and myself at the cheaper, more reasonable location. I returned home very proud of myself as I told my daughter. She rolled her eyes, took a deep breath, and said that the Hilton Waikoloa had Swim with the Dolphins. She explained that Swim with the Dolphins filled up before the hotel. She said if we did not switch the reservation, we would not be able to get into that later. All of this from a nine-year-old… But, she was right. I changed the reservation and Swim with the Dolphins was full. Each morning after we arrived, we got up and went to the standby line. By the third day, the kids got into Swim with the Dolphins, which was an awesome experience. Had I not switched the reservation, the kids would not have seen the show. The resort was amazing. There were smaller boats that took you to the different buildings. There were large sculptures of different animal characters from the Chinese calendar. The kids fought over who got to name the statues. The lagoon included large sea turtles which liked to eat the leaves from a particular tree. We went by that tree and practically fed them by hand. 

Before I had kids, I was an avid diver. While in Hawaii with the kids, I took one dive on my own. This was the first dive in over twelve years. My daughter was then inspired to take a diving class in the pool – I went with her. My daughter convinced the instructors to ask if she could take a boat (ocean) dive. The minimum age for such a dive was ten, and she was nine days too young. I fudged her age, and we had an amazing dive. We got to play with an inflated puffer fish, held an octopus as it squirted black ink, saw giant sea turtles and a very large moray eel that swam out of the coral for us to see his whole body. This is very unusual behavior for an eel with divers in the water. 

The three of us returned to that same resort a number of times. Patrick learned to surf on a later trip. Patrick also became a certified diver there as well when he was ten. We traveled to and dove at many tropical locations over the years. We visited Roatan (Honduras), the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Jamaica over the years. We dove with giant Manta Rays in Hawaii, with sharks in Roatan and with dolphins in Honduras. Many amazing memories.

hawaii goralka









swim with dolphins

kids pool

On one of the vacations we dove with manta rays. Check out the fun video:


I got married on December 10, and began a new chapter of my life. For vacation this year we visited Kaanapali on Maui. Our vacation was incredible – eleven days off - my longest vacation in almost twenty years. The resort was beautiful with tropical flowers, birds, and swans throughout the property. The resort reminded me of those earlier trips with my kids. We went snorkeling, survived the zipline and enjoyed a helicopter tour. 

Goralka law estate planning tax law

goralka tax law

goralka estate planning

We left our most recent trip just three days before the fires. We stayed only five minutes from where the fires destroyed the entire town. The pictures of devastation seemed surreal after that wonderful trip.

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Gurbachan S Virk 09/12/2023 10:39 PM
John, This was a beautiful trip through the memory lane and led directly and seamlessly into the current lane of your life with Ainur. Our best wishes: Rosemary & Gurbachan
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