Thursday, April 30, 2015


Hey look! I'm going to write about Hawaii in the same month that we got back from Hawaii! (shush, the last day totally counts!)

So the trip was truly a last minute deal. We went last year (to Oahu) and I thought that was last minute because we planned it a couple of months ahead, but this time it was really last minute, about a month out. We had two trips on the line for March and both fell through for different reasons so we ended up with vacation longing and no vacation planned. Brent really needed a break from work and finally just said, "That's it, we are going someplace. Pick Disney or the beach!"

I went back and forth. This is actually a really hard choice for me. But the beach finally won out. He booked tickets and a hotel and left the rest up to me. Maui was the island choice. I want to go to each of the Hawaiian islands and pick my favorite. So far the Big Island is still my favorite but I'm not sure if that's because it was my first trip there, because it was all three of us so it was good family time, or because the excursions we did were in between work meetings so the little breaks were really highlighted as special. Or it could just be that volcanoes are super cool. We will have to go back before I can make my final call.

Anyway...this time was Maui. Last minute and good deals meant a long travel day with layovers and connections but that was really the only travel woe. I know right? Usually there is a good travel story but other than the length of time it took there really wasn't one. I took a picture of us on each new leg and posted it to Facebook as a travelogue of sorts and, I'm not going to lie here, a fuck you to the people who gave me grief about our traveling and my posting too much. Yes I know, be the bigger person...blah blah blah...

Or fuck of those for sure.

So we got to the hotel and BOOM! Upgrade! Wow, that's really nice. They gave us a junior suite with an ocean view instead of the queen bed ocean view. It was all very nice until we got off the elevator and walked the three feet to our room; there were little hints that someone had been in it already that day. So basically because we got in late they took our smaller room and gave it to whoever was in the elevator shaft room once they complained about the noise...It was too late and I was too tired to want to do anything about it that night (I had an hour sleep the night before) so we decided to wait and see how bad it really was.

Turns out it wasn't bad. We were exhausted and people stopped coming and going fairly early so the elevator noise wasn't an issue for most of the night. It started up fairly early in the morning but me being me had us booked every day early with activities anyway so it wasn't an issue. But next time we will ask where the room is located before getting impressed with our "upgrade."

But that view though...

Okay, first day! I booked us on the Road to Hana tour. I really went back and forth on this one. I knew I wanted to drive it, it is the thing to do right? But I wasn't sure about the actually driving it part. Or I guess us driving it. But if we took the tour it would be all day and since our time was limited did I really want to book and entire day? I finally went with the tour because that way Brent could look around and enjoy things as well instead of having to focus on driving.

It was the right call. The roads are narrow, the local drivers are crazy and the enjoyment factor for the person driving would have been super low. We passed one woman on one of the one lane bridges who was slightly confused about what one lane meant and tried to make it two; the entire side of her rental car paid the price. Ouch. So if you want to do the Road to Hana I highly recommend taking a tour.

We stopped numerous times to take in sites. Waterfalls, historic sites, pretty beaches, snack and potty breaks as well. They also supplied breakfast and lunch so not bad at all. It was pouring rain at the top of the mountain (also a great reason to be glad we didn't drive) so the Seven Pools (don't call them Sacred, they aren't that was just marketing, oh you marketers!) were closed when we got there. We could still see parts of them from the trail that was open, but no swimming that day since they figure people don't really want to be swept out to the ocean in a flood of water. 

This was probably my favorite stop. Walk through a narrow short cave then it opens to this. The beach was all black sand and the waves and water were gorgeous. 

See the post? That's the edge of the road. See how there is no road showing? That's how close to the edge you drive.

My last piece of advice on the tour is this...If you are a parent please know who your kid is when you book the tour. If your child is the sort that can tolerate a 12 hour van ride then have at it. If your child is one that will complain about oh...five minutes in...then don't! Also have a sense of humor and be polite. You are going to be riding in a van with strangers for hours and hours. Put your public manners on and keep them there. Okay? 

When we got back to the hotel we grabbed dinner (oh my god good lobster mac and cheese) and then took a walk on the beach. Brent was a little concerned with my mental health by this point. I hadn't been in the ocean yet. Or the pool. I had explained that the trip was short and there wouldn't be time for me to just be in the water, but he didn't really believe it. I love the ocean so I can understand his confusion, but I wasn't kidding about tight schedules. But we walked the beach until it was too dark for me to see anything anymore. Feet in the waves. Then legs. Then a couple of surprise BIG waves and we were good and soaked. I could do that every night and not get tired of it. 
 The water was SO warm. Ahhh...

They had these boats all up and down the beach that would load and unload their passengers right on the sand. This was the end of the sunset cruise. I thought it was pretty cool.

Losing daylight...

The next day was snorkeling at Molokini and Turtle Arches. Another one I recommend. The water was super clear. The weather was perfect. It was really incredible. At Molokini. Turtle Arches not so much, I would recommend doing that one from the shore out rather than from a cruise. Everyone I have talked to that did it that way saw more turtles and fewer crowds than we did. But Molokini was incredible. 

The only part that was a bummer was rude people. We had seats facing the rails and these two couples from Canada came and stood in front of us. They got on the boat later and didn't care for their view so they blocked ours. Who does that? And then the people sitting on the other side of us kept using Brent's towel. The first time I gave them a pass, all the hotel towels look alike, though honestly, you should know where yours is and realize you are grabbing someone else's. The second time? What the hell, really? So Brent had a damp towel each time. 

Not exactly the view I was hoping for...

But when you are snorkeling in water like this how can you be mad for long?

And bonus whales on the way back to port!

The other funny part was this is where we realized we were in the height of Canadian tourist season. It was us and hundreds of Canadians everywhere we went. I told Brent that I thought the very large group of two families sitting near us were Canadian due to their accents. He wasn't sure. I made the joke that we should yell Hockey! and see who looked. We laughed...and then later the Canadians who blocked our view and the large family started talking hockey...I just smirked at Brent. And then was very proud of being a grownup and only saying the snarky things under my breath, like when they both announced their picks for The Stanley Cup and said, "Really any team as long as it's a Canadian team." *whisper to Brent* "'s an idea then, play better." And then they talked about or at least make it an Original Six team. Ugh. There is very little that makes me roll my eyes harder than Original Six talk. And yes, I know, the NHL team I cheer for is an Original Six team. But it just doesn't matter...

Yes, I was on a boat in Hawaii in 80 degree weather snorkeling, whale watching, diving with turtles and thinking about hockey...totally normal.

This was also the part of the trip where I messed up. I put on more sunscreen after each dive but I don't think I dried off enough after the turtle dive for it to stick. Between that and not thinking about reapplying before the drive back to the hotel (convertibles aren't designed for the translucent) I ended up with a sunburn. Which isn't hard for me to get, but I am usually really good about not getting much of one. The first trip we took to Hawaii we were there for a week, I was in the water every day, and I came back beige with a pink nose. That's the way I usually handle the sun. This time? Bright red. Ugh. 

We headed in to Lahaina for some site seeing and to see the world famous banyan tree. Okay, I'm going to be honest here, we should have gone back to the hotel and spent the afternoon in the pool or the ocean until dinner time. The tree was cool, I recommend seeing it, but it's a tree. It will take about 15 minutes. And unless you shop, Lahaina is not all that wonderful. But the guides all said GO! So I went. I wouldn't again. I would swim. But we saw it, and that was something. The best part of Lahaina was vacationing Canadians. Or I guess more specifically OUR vacationing Canadians. Friends of ours were there with their family and we got a chance to have dinner with them. It was awesome to see them and just reinforces that we need to take the drive and the ferry to their island soon!
It really is a cool tree. You should see it, just don't plan on it taking long. 

Yay for Canadians!

And on to the last day! Which came really quickly while we were living it, but I appreciate you are probably thinking, FINALLY! 

This was the geek day. I made Brent do a tour of a pineapple plantation. Yes, I know, not super exciting edge of your seat stuff, but I thought it would be cool. And I did think it was cool. Because I'm a geek. If you are interested in farming and pineapples and seeing how the only pineapple operation in the states runs, then take the tour. It's short. Like an hour and half long. You get to sample pineapples at different stages of ripeness that are cut right out of the field while you are there and you get to take home your very own pineapple for later. It was a yummy tour. 

Then on to the helicopter tour! When we were on the Big Island we went back and forth on taking a helicopter tour over the volcano. I finally decided there was no way I could justify the expense. This trip I justified. And it was amazing. If you can fit it in your budget (it's not cheap, I'm not going to lie) you should do it. We saw parts of the island we would never have been able to get to otherwise. We saw the Road to Hana from above and got to see all of the switchbacks and narrow roads we had been on. We saw waterfalls, and bamboo jungles, and whales in the ocean It was gorgeous. Really and truly.

The crater of the volcano

 The waterfall from the opening of Jurassic Park

One of the best parts for me was when we took off she played the theme to Hawaii 5-0. It was geektastic. There was also one point where just as we were turning in to a canyon and this majestic waterfall came in to view the theme from Superman started. Really nice! She did the "use their names to establish a connection" tactic a little too much for our liking, and needed to add a few more stories to her repertoire, there was a lot of repeat, but those are really nit picky things when you are talking about the views we got to see. Gorgeous. 

We wrapped up the day with a trip to the aquarium and dinner in Paia, or hippy town as they call it. Then the red-eye back home.

Whirlwind trip but I got us a pretty good overview of the island, I think. We have a list going for things we missed that we wished we hadn't so someday when we get back to Maui we will hit those up.

Some extra travel tips! Pack expecting it to be windy. The trade-winds on Maui are no joke. I wear skirts instead of shorts and had to wear my maxi-dress twice because the shorter pleated skirt would have been a disaster! The longer skirt I wore the first day took both Brent and I to wrangle it at one point on a stop on the Road to Hana tour! And watch that sunscreen! With the winds you might think it's not getting you...but it's getting you! Make reservations at Mamma's Fish House as soon as you know when you are going! We didn't and they could have fit us in on a cancelled reservation 45 minutes before our flight left Wednesday (remember we were taking the red eye!), or April 25th.  And remember, ask just exactly where that upgrade room is located...


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