FC: Hawaii 2012
1: Finally the day of departure to Paradise has arrived! On August 18, 2012 we left LAX for beautiful Hawaii. Our first stop is Honolulu then on to Lihue, Kauai. Kevin and Christie are ready to go!
2: Our first glimpse of Hawaii – Honolulu!
3: Our first sighting of Kauai. After flying for five hours and seeing only ocean, it really strikes you how isolated these tiny dots of land are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
4: In our shiny black Mustang convertible (that ended up being a bit tricky since it rains so often in Kauai) on the road to Bali Hai condos in Princeville.
6: After stocking up on some groceries, we headed out to taste our first authentic Hawaiian food at The Tavern in Princeville. A beautiful setting to watch the sun go down. We loved the Shrimp and Grits and finished with Tavern Pie. We’re off to a really great start!
7: One of the many sudden and refreshing rains sweeping across the island...
8: These little one-lane bridges were everywhere in Kauai. Kevin quickly perfected the art of catching up with the car in front of him entering the bridge so he could pop across without waiting for the folks on the other side to come through. Quaint but a bit scary – especially at night!
9: Hanalei – a cute, quaint town west of Princeville. | Wai`oli Hui`ia or Little Green Church – 100 years old this year.
10: The Zip N’ Dip adventure at Princeville Ranch allowed us to fly like birds on 9 adrenaline generating zip lines over lush forest and deep ravines.
11: We had a great group zipping and dipping with us. Three families from all over the Mainland US. | Kay, one of our great guides.
12: Woo hoo!
13: Swinging bridge...this is harder than it looks!
14: Kevin zipping over a really deep ravine. The equipment made it very safe but stepping off those platforms was still scary.
15: The mountains and lush foliage of Princeville Ranch was spectacular in itself.
17: Kay and Chet were great guides. They were funny, supportive of our fears and really seemed to know what they were doing. They made the adventure fun and exciting. | The funny plant above is a Hala Tree. The fruit looks like a Pineapple but isn’t. Hawaiians use the tree leaves for hats and baskets and the fruit is edible but not very tasty – doesn’t taste anything like a Pineapple. It’s pretty though.
18: The Dip!
19: The grand finale - King Kong!
21: Kalalua Trail – This is a trail that actually runs 11 miles along the Na Pali Coast of Kauai. We only went 4 miles starting at Ke’e beach to Hankap’ai beach then took an unmaintained trail to an inland waterfall. The hike was difficult as the hike varied between valley floor terrain and cliff top hiking but it was worth the pain and blisters!
23: Finally at the waterfall! That is my head bobbing out in the water with new friend, John, from San Francisco.
26: All aboard the Na Pali Experience with Captain Nate! This was a beautiful half-day trip on a 7-seat cruiser along the Na Pali coast. The coastline was incredibly dramatic with alternating sheer cliffs, carved out “meadows”, sea caves and deserted beaches. The question of the day...will Kevin get seasick?
27: The first wonder was the spinner dolphins that came and swam beside our boat.
28: Many movies were shot along the Na Pali coast. South Pacific, Blue Hawaii, King Kong, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pirates of the Caribbean and lots of others. Can you guess what movie this shot appeared in?
29: The sea caves were amazing and scary. Only the smaller boats with expert captains can maneuver into these small dark holes in the rock. Captain Nate was an expert!
30: The first cave was an open ceiling cave. The sea cave grew and grew until the ceiling collapsed and left a beautiful hole letting the sky and sun inside the cave. | The ceiling!
31: The other type of cave is the dark cave. No ceiling but an eerie hidden beach at the back. Captain Nate found his way back into this cave by having us take flash pictures from the bow so he could see where the walls of the cave were – scary!
33: This is a natural bridge connecting the valley to an adjoining beach. | One of the guides who did flying tours of the Na Pali Coast used to fly his plane through this as part of his tour. The FAA eventually shut him down.
35: The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. St. Augustine
36: Captain Nate giving snorkeling instructions. Kevin’s only question: Where do you want me to throw up? Needless to say, Kevin gets to be the first person in the water.
37: Like Ariel and Sebastian, Kevin feels much better “under the sea”.
38: Some of the best food we ate while in Hawaii was in hole-in-the-wall dives we stumbled on while sightseeing.
39: Love the fish tacos!
41: Goodbye Kauai...we’re headed to The Big Island!
42: Starving after we landed in Kona, we found The Coffee Shack with a fantastic coconut creme pie –oh yeah, and a great view.
44: One of the “must sees” recommended by the locals was Place of Refuge at Honaunau.
45: In the days of the Hawaiian kingdom, defeated law breakers could seek sanctuary at the nearest temple, or place of refuge, where after performing a ritual, absolve themselves of their crime and return to life in the community. | The Great Wall separates two major sections of the Place of Refuge, the Palace Grounds and the Puuhonua O Hnaunau, the Place of Refuge.
46: From our hotel room at the Hilton Waikoloa we could see the beautiful coastline and their onsite Dolphin Cove.
47: My first Mai Tai. at Roy's
48: The pools at the Waikoloa were amazing with waterfalls, caves, bridges, water slides and bars. This place is a destination all its own.
50: The Dolphin Cove below our balcony was always busy. The Bottlenose dolphins were always ready to engage with their trainers and the folks just passing by. Like Maggie, we learned dolphins are definitely motivated by treats. In these guys' case, it was all about the fish.
51: A lovely sunset dinner at the Kamuela Provision Company.
52: Akaka Falls State Park. A lovely self-guided tour through lush tropical forest that I pictured all of Hawaii to be like. It was beautiful.
54: 442 ft. Akaka Falls
56: Finally, off to see the volcanoes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.. This is a strange place of active steam vents, lava flows and Martian-esque landscape.
57: Nahuku, a 500 year old lava tube. These tubes were formed when a river of lava gradually builds solid walls and a ceiling. When the lava flow stops and the last of it passes downhill, cave is formed.
58: The terrain around the volcano was barren.... | like we had landed on a different planet.
59: From 1983 to 1991, lava flows repeatedly invaded communities on Kilauea's coastal south flank burying eight miles of highway and destroying 181 houses and a visitor center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. This was an intense place.
60: It was very exciting to actually witness geological change with your own eyes. One usually only reads about these earth changing events in history books – Pompeii, etc. When you looked at the burning, steaming crater and the barren landscape around it, you felt part of something “earth-changing” that was happening right under your feet. Scary and wonderful.
61: There were many steam vents scattered around the volcano area. I guess this kept the area from just exploding.
63: This was a fun unplanned trip. As we were coming back from the Volcano area, we noticed the macadamia factory. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't - today we did. So we pulled in. This place was great! The store had every kind of macadamia nut you could imagine – chocolate covered, barbequed, salted, roasted, wasabi and teriyaki, honey roast and the list keeps going. I am now an even bigger fan of macadamia nuts.
64: Kevin and I had an amazing couple’s massage experience out on the point overlooking the bay and the ocean. That was the shortest hour of our whole vacation.
65: Kevin hit another food home run with Dave’s. Coconut maple syrup on French toast with Portuguese bacon... Wow.
66: Last night of our Hawaiian vacation... | Kevin and I go searching for the perfect sunset.
67: We found it!
69: Goodbye beautiful Hawaii!