Friday, March 9, 2012


Kauai – Day 1

We arrived in Kauai right on schedule and we were off the ship and at Thrifty to get our car in no time flat.  Our first stop was going to be Waimea Canyon – we headed there and instead of taking the turn off that the road signs suggest we took the Waimea Canyon Road – which at first you think that you have taken a wrong turn and have ended up in a residential area…just give it a few and you will find yourself seeing some gorgeous scenery.  We soon came along the red rocks with waterfalls – these to us were just gorgeous…they just kind of mesmerized me….not really sure why but it may have been the white rushing water falling over the deep red rocks.

We then headed up to the first look-out….quite fascinating..we live in the “Grand Canyon State” and have visited it quite often and Waimea was so definitely is worth the visit.  The greens mixed with the reds and then the blue skies…such a magnificent place.  We stopped at several of the areas on the way up to the top and went all the way to Pu’u o Kila Look-out – it is a pretty steep incline to the top but it is a ramp not stairs that lead the way.  Views are beyond awesome….the clouds were pretty good to us while we were there…it wasn’t completely clear but enough to be able to see the ocean down below.  I completely forgot about the Koke’e Museum as we left…so can’t comment on that.  We left via the Koke’e Road so we had completely different views on the way down – that didn’t disappoint either. 

We then headed North from here to Polihale State Park – which we had to drive on I believe it was 5 miles of dirt road – not all that rough but you definitely knew that you weren’t on pavement any longer….it was a beautiful beach and the sand dunes of average height here…the water was very nice…didn’t go all the way in but standing at the edge the surf came up and hit me about mid thigh….refreshing to say the least.  You could see the start of the Na’Pali coast line from here…again a gorgeous view.

We decided that we were hungry and we headed towards Island Tacos but once we got there we veered off and ate at Shrimp Station – ordered the garlic shrimp since at the time we didn’t know that they are known for their coconut shrimp….the plate was good but didn’t come close to measuring up to the garlic shrimp that we had at Giovanni’s on Oahu.  We decided then that since we had heard good things about Island Tacos that we needed to try one of those as well…we shared a taco…very good and very friendly people here. 

We have red dirt shirts here in AZ from our Sedona dirt so we definitely needed to have red dirt shirts from Hawaii….so we made a stop at the Red Dirt Shirt Warehouse – had a hard time choosing just one shirt so we ended up with two – one red dirt a piece and I had to get a purple one with all the islands on it and DH got a black one that says “Bite Me” on it with a big lizard.

We still had about 4 hours before we needed to be back at Thrifty to catch the last shuttle to the ship so we headed to Wailua Falls….the falls were raging since there had been quite a bit of rain in the last week and it was pretty red as well.  We left here and decided to hit another waterfall – Opaeka’a Falls….this was just as beautiful but not flowing quite as much as Wailua. 

At this point we had a decision to make….we were trying to decide to drive the rest of the way to Princeville or turn around and head to Duke’s to get a Hula Pie….we decided to head to Duke’s…this became an issue since we knew it was in the Marriott but didn’t know exactly where…we drove through the entire Marriott area – which is very pretty and was a really nice drive…we got to the end – turned around and headed towards Anchor Cove and that is when we spotted Duke’s – we parked in a handicap spot to walk over to Duke’s and we were told that we had to leave because it was parking for another restaurant (didn’t know that they could do this with handicap spots).  We decided at this point to just take the car back and head back to the ship – it was about 6:30 or so at this point.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hilo Day 4

We woke up to rain and it was pretty solid the entire day and from my weather reports it had been raining earlier in the week and was still raining when we left Hawai’i on Saturday.  I know that some people let this keep them from their plans but we headed out since we love the rain to begin with and besides we were in Hawai'i how bad can it get.   We headed towards Volcanoes National Park and went to the Visitor's Center and then to the museum.  It was still raining pretty well but we made our way down the Chain of Craters Road - this is just unbelievable and the feeling that you get walking around pretty much on an active volcano is pretty surreal.  We made it clear to the end and then I walked the additional what 1/2 mile or so to where the lava came across the road...I figured I hadn't come this far to not make that trek and lo and behold the rain subsided long enough for me to get there and get back before it started up again.  The seas were pretty rough that day so the waves crashing into the side were spectacular and the Hole'i Arch was beautiful. 

We also made a stop at the Orchid Farm - which there is not much to say except that those flowers are just beautiful....we didn't see the $20,000 dollar one but we did see the sister to it and I have to say with beauty and all...still can't see spending that kind of money for a flower...especially one that you have to handle with kid gloves to get them to live at least here in Arizona.
We then headed to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory...oh this was a BIG wallet took a direct hit.  I am a huge macadamia nut fan and to be surrounded by them in every possible form I had a hard time deciding what I wanted.  We ended up with our selection and checked out.  Found out later that our favorite so far has been the Onion and Garlic ones – ended up picking up more of these later in the trip.  We headed out back of the store and had some macadamia nut ice cream....yum!  It was a great end to a very nice day.

Madame Pele'

Holei Arch

Sister of the $20,000 Orchid

Friday, March 2, 2012

Maui - Day 2

Maui Day 2

Today we rented a car with Thrifty again and it was again pretty painless.  We drove to Lahiana to go whale watching, everyone says that this trip takes about 45 minutes but it didn’t seem to take nearly that long.  Parking is a bear here...we arrived about 9:30 if I remember correctly and the free lot was already full.  We did find close parking to the Banyan Park but had to pay $16 for 4-6 hours.

We chose the Pacific Whale Company because not only do they do great tours but also some of the money goes to the conservation of whales which is important to us.  We arrived quite early for the tour so we had some time to check out the Banyan Tree and they were having a art show under it - so wish that we would of had a way to get some of the photos back...just awesome photography.  We boarded the boat and no sooner did we get out of the harbor that we were seeing whales.  They were everywhere.  I understand that a couple breached but I wasn't at the front of the boat to see this happen.  We must of seen at least 40 whales...doing everything but the breaching part for the rest of the trip.  The guide actually at one point counted over 10 whales all swimming together.  We saw them fighting, fin slapping, diving and blowing.  It was amazing watching all the activity.  There were babies all around as well.  This made the entire trip at this point.  I had unfortunately forgotten to pack my larger lens so the whale photos aren’t as close as I would of wanted them to be.  We finished up the tour and headed down Front Street - we were going to eat at Bubba Gump's but ended up going to the Aloha Mixed Plate - very good food and with it sitting almost right on the beach it was a perfect setting.  We then headed back towards the ship and on the way back there was a big traffic back-up and realized as we got closer that there was a seal laying on the beach.  All in all it was a very successful day.


Maui – Day 1

We had the Road to Hana planned today with Valley Isle Tours.  We get to the meeting point and our van is pulling up to meet us.  David our tour driver for the day and he did an outstanding job.  It started out as a pretty dreary rainy day but that didn't let us hold us back.  He stopped at just about every waterfall that was out there and let me tell you there were a ton.  My DH is a little impaired when it comes to walking due to arthritis and Dave was so fantastic - never made him feel rushed or pushed him at all.  This tour takes you around in a circle instead of going part of the way and then turning around.  We were also in a van instead of a big bus - I think there was something like 12 of us on the bus.  At our first stop Dave pointed out turtles in the water – I think I caught a glimpse of one of their heads but he said that this is a very popular beach for wasn’t too far from the ship.  When we started on the Road to Hana – he stopped at the first waterfall and I mentioned that he could do that all he wanted to so he did – seriously we stopped at tons of waterfalls all the way thru the trip.  We stopped for the world famous banana bread at Aunt Sandy’s and they ran out before we could get up there so Dave kindly stopped at another roadside stand to get us some more and the place he stopped had a bunch of fruit as well and let us sample some of it.  We spent quite a bit of time at Black Sand Beach - enough time to enjoy the beach and use the facilities if it was necessary.  We stopped at a house on the side of the road that sold flowers and bouquets that shipped anywhere and this is also where we had our lunch - which was quite tasty – it included macaroni salad, chicken, drinks, rolls and dessert – which was chocolate covered macadamia nuts - yum.  We stopped at the Oheo Gulch which is a little bit of a hike to get to them and we couldn’t swim in since the waters were running at such a rate.  We visited Charles Lindbergh’s grave.  At one point on the back side of Hana, Dave stopped and pointed out some waterfalls up the mountain – one of the ladies on the tour said she counted 19 of them...breathtaking.  Our last stop before returning to the ship was at the winery - which I think is probably a mandatory stop.  The wine was pretty tasty but we didn't purchase any.  All and all I wasn’t big on taking a tour but I would highly recommend Valley Isle – you definitely get your money’s worth and you don’t have all the hassle of driving the road and someone not enjoying the day.  I know that several people say that it isn’t that bad of a road and it really isn’t if that is what you want to do is drive...but if you want to look at the scenery and enjoy the views then this is the way to go.