Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hawaii Day 6 and 7: Kauai

Kauai was our favorite island, perhaps because we got to see so much of it. It is more rural than the other islands and is incredibly lush.

This was the only island where we did an excursion- it was a half-day full of kayaking, hiking, and swimming. Amy, Dad, Jon and I all went on the same excursion while the rest of the group headed for the beach.

To start out we kayaked up the river about one or two miles. It was leisurely and beautiful. The tour guides pointed out some movie sites along the way, and told us some history about the island.



We then "parked" our kayaks and hiked to the falls. We could swim around in this pool, climb part way up the falls and jump. The falls were incredibly powerful, it was kind of scary to be under them.



We then hiked back, to the van. It was neat because the property we were on for this section of the hike and the falls is owned by the owner of AOL. The land was private, and felt untouched (besides the trails we were hiking on)



Remember how I said Kauai was very rural? There were chickens and roosters everywhere! Apparently they had a hurricane a couple of years ago that spread them all around the island and they can't be contained. It was weird to be on the beach or driving the car and randomly hearing a rooster crow.



After we got back from our excursion everyone told us they had been to an excellent beach. Jon and I were eager to get some more beach time, so those of us who had gone on the excursion, as well as mom, headed to Poipu beach.

Sunset was so beautiful:





There was good snorkeling, we saw a sea lion lying out in the sun and even found a big sea turtle rolling around in the surf. It was totally what you imagine a Hawaiian beach to look like.

We had a ton of activity that day and knew we only had a half day on the island on the second day.

We kept it simple and enjoyed a beach there within walking distance and did some shopping around town. It was rainy but the water was warmer than the rain, so it was nice to play around.





Once we got back on the boat we enjoyed one last show and a dinner with the family. It had been a picture perfect vacation, and it was soo nice to spend so much time with my siblings and parents. I know my parents arrange vacations like this so that we can make lasting memories. They are so generous to care so much about us and provide such amazing vacations. They truly succeeded this time around- it was so much fun and I love all of them so much!

And that sums up our Hawaii vacation.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hawaii Day 5: Kona, Hawaii

Be honest, are you sick of hearing about our vacation yet?
Its OK if you are, I am getting kind of sick of writing about it. But I know I will love that I did this ten years from now. I'll try to keep it simple folks- with lots of pictures.

In Kona we finally got our beach day- Jon and I headed out extra early to be sure we had enough time to enjoy the beach.

It was a black sand beach, it was nice because it had waves far off to the right, and a breakwater that made it ideal for snorkeling to the left.



Jon rented a surf board which ended up being lightly used. We are glad we got it through, we were able to go further into the water for snorkeling. And Joe was able to use it for a little while as well.



The snorkeling at this beach was great! So many beautiful fish. I am glad we bought an underwater camera, it made for a really fun beach day.



Under water kiss.



This was the coolest fish we came across on our entire vacation...



(love you mom!)

Since this was just a beach day I didn't take a ton of photos. But it was still super fun, and well needed. We all got just enough sun to keep us crispy, but not get terrible burns.

We had to be on the boat fairly early most days, but for those of you who don't know, cruise boats are not boring. During our trip we were able to see a Polynesian dance show, a magician, a hilarious comedian, and a fantastic singing group. Different nights had different entertainers, and most of them did not disappoint. We also enjoyed a lot of hot tubbing, eating (of course), and just hanging out. I didn't take as many pictures around the boat, but it was seriously fun to hang out after our beach day was over.

Tomorrow, my favorite island from the whole trip, Kauai!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hawaii Day 4: Hilo, Hawaii

On day four we visited the volcanic side of the Big Island.

That morning, by chance, Jon and I were both semi-awake around 5:30am. We knew sunrise would be at 5:45 from the itinerary we had been receiving so we decided- why not? And went out to see the sunrise.

It was totally worth it. And totally gorgeous.



We even saw dolphins. But from the top of the boat they looked so small, like little fish. Unfortunately there are no pictures of them for that reason.



Later that day we headed to Volcanoes National Park. We saw steam vents...



A huge crater...



And took a lovely little hike, seeing gorgeous plants everywhere...



Then we went inside lava tubes, which were incredibly cool...





Amy and Dad did a lot of spelunking in this park, but the rest of us were quite happy with the amount of time and education we received on our "mini" tour of the park. By day four we were dying for more beach time- so that's what we get tomorrow!

Coming up: Kona, Hawaii.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hawaii Day 3: Maui

For our second day on Maui, Amy set us up with a great discount on a submarine tour! A big thank you to her friends from making that happen- I am totally glad we got to do it.

The place where we went to start the sub ride was actually the same city on Maui that I was in when I first went to Hawaii, the city of Lahina. It was so fun to recognize parts of the island and feel like I knew my way around town a little bit.

There is this fantastic Banyan tree in the center of town that is ideal for pictures. We had fun waiting for our time to go on the sub.



This is probably one of my favorite pictures from the entire trip. I love these boys.



The girls! What a good looking group.



After our fun at the tree we hopped on a little boat and headed to the middle of the ocean. Maui looked beautiful from the ocean.



We got to watch the sub come up with the last group that was on it. This was one of the coolest parts of the entire experience with the sub- it was so stealth-like and so fast.



We then boarded the sub, which looked pretty cool inside.





And watched the show- fishies, ship wrecks, and more fishies. We got down to about 107 feet- further than divers usually go. The tour guide had all the couples kiss and told us that would be the deepest kiss we would ever have. Corny, but I can't deny that logic.



The sub ride was a great activity to do with the whole family. And since no one had done this before it was completely novel, which was really great for our group.

We had to get back to the ship a little earlier than normal this day, so after stopping for lunch we went back to the ship and enjoyed some entertainment and relaxation.

Next: Hilo, Hawaii.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hawaii Day 2: Maui

We were in Maui on a Sunday, so we took it fairly easy. We went to church in the morning, it was so nice to worship with the local Hawaiians. I think they are used to tourists being there, and I think I recognized a few people from the cruise boat. I have to wonder how many tourists they get each week.

After church, coming back to the boat:



We decided to lie out and read for a bit until we knew what was coming next. It was so relaxing. Jon finished the second Hunger Game book, Catching Fire, and I finished book number five of Percy Jackson, completing the series (which was fantastic, by the way).



Mom, Dad, Amy, Jon and I decided to drive part of the Road to Hana. It was a beautiful drive, and we had a book with us indicating what certain beaches were and what stops were fun. We decided to make a stop at a place they said had a short hike and pretty water falls. I am so glad we ended up taking this stop, it was one of my favorite things on the trip.

Jon hiking the beautiful trail.



My favorite picture of mom and dad from the entire trip, they're so adventurous!



The vegetation, ponds and sites on this hike were seriously beautiful.



Amy and Jon walking across the path, unfortunately the same one my dad tried to jump across and fell into the water- in his church clothes. Oops! This hike was a little more intense than we initially realized.



You even had to walk knee-high in water to get to the falls at the end (go mom!)



But it ended up being totally worth it...



Lovely Amy took pictures and videos while Jon and I tried out the rope swing. I wasn't very good at it but it was fun! There were also crazy boys jumping from the top of the falls... we decided we were ok without that much adventure.



Sisters



Jon and I.



What it is like to drive the Hana Highway...
it was short lived after the falls. It started turning a lot, and making us a little car sick.



So we got out, took some pictures of the beautiful road, and turned around.



We ended the day in my parent's cabin comparing photos with the other siblings who had gone elsewhere that day.

Tomorrow, Maui part 2!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hawaii Day 1: Honolulu, Oahu

Aloha!
I am going to share our Hawaii experiences one day at a time or one island at a time, I haven't decided yet. But that way it wont be a huge and overwhelming post about our vacation. Let me start out by saying, it was fantastic!

Our cruise started in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. From there we went to Maui (two days), Hilo on Hawaii, Kona on the other side of Hawaii, Kauai (two days) and back to Honolulu.

The first day wasn't too busy because there was a lot of travel. We woke up at 4:00am, and drove to the John Wayne airport, where we hopped onto a 5 hour flight, and arrived in beautiful Hawaii, ready to get on the boat.

Cruise boats never cease to amaze me. Think about how big you might think a cruise boat would be. Remember, it has multiple dining areas, thousands of guests, almost a 2:1 ratio with guest to crew, and lots of entertainment. Now take that image and times it by five. It was really impressive to walk onto this huge boat.



While we were waiting in the lines to check in and get our room keys, they had Hawaiian crew members passing out flowers and head wreaths. Jon was getting in the spirit of it all.



We were super tired and starving after traveling all day. We couldn't go into our room yet, not all the floors were ready. But we could eat! I had promised Jon there would be soft serve ice cream available on the boat, I am pretty sure he ate it every day. It was awesome.



A lot of people ask about how good the food was on the boat. I will attest that it was delicious. My favorite part? The fruit. They had the most delicious honeydew I have ever had, Jon had about 4 slices of pineapple each breakfast, and all other available fruit was seriously good. Jon and I also appreciated the desserts, they did not disappoint.

We were then able to put our bags in our room and after doing so we decided to go explore the boat.
I didn't really get a picture of our room, but it was small and nice. This is our elephant that our housekeeper made. And our bed was big and comfy.



This is the main deck of the boat. It was so great to be on the same floor as the pool and main eating area. Also, James and Jessica were our neighbors and Joe and Lisa were just down the hall!



After all of the exploring and settling in, we got to see James and Jessica. The boat sailed out around 7pm, and we all had dinner together that night.
You can't see me in this picture, but here is the entire group- all nine of us!



Being together as a family was the best part of the entire trip.

Tomorrow I will report on Maui!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sorry..

I haven't been posting much.

Jon and I have been much too busy prepping for Hawaii.



Just kidding. Kind of.
(just to clarify, those are Jon's legs)


Jon and I have become reading finatics. We have been blowing through the Percy Jackson series- it is so much fun, incredibly adventurous and it can make me laugh out loud. We also read the Hunger Games, which is amazing! We have been recommending it to everyone we know. Jon has also started in on some more Michael Chriton books. So really, we are getting our hands on good books as often as possible. If you have any recommendations please let me know!

We have been enjoying our time at home. It has been relaxing and a good chance for us to really catch up with our families.

and the sun.

even if reaching the sun sometimes means climbing up to lizards mouth- Jon recently got some rock climbing shoes.


It was actually really neat to drive up the mountains and come out above the cloud cover.



On Saturday we are heading to HAWAII. We leave early in the morning to drive to the airport, hop on a plane and land in Honolulu. From there we go on a cruise to Maui, the Big Island (Kona and Hilo), Kauai and back to Oahu. We seriously cannot wait. We have been trying to get as much sun a possible but it just hasn't been out lately. Good thing we are heading to a place where it will be!

I won't have my computer on the ship, but I promise great pictures and updates when we return.

Aloha!