Day 7: Waikiki

This morning we spent some time with Jen, Neil and Olivia, telling stories and drinking festive drinks until about noon.

Around noon the rain in Kaneohe Bay still hadn’t let up but we checked and the weather on the other side of the island, in Honolulu, looked good so we said “let’s do it!” We were finally going to tackle the Diamond Head Crater hike. Of course I didn’t bring running shoes so I had the choice of doing it in Birkenstocks or water-shoes, both horrible options, the Birks won though.

Hiking is fun! Especially when you have a 9-year old running laps around you saying “chop-chop” and reminding you just how truly out of shape you are. Olivia kept us humble, that’s for sure! But she also stopped us from taking, well, any breaks at all. Thanks to Liv we actually probably got a workout out of the hike instead of just a leisurely uphill walk at our own pace. She also made sure we made it to the top! Had she not I may have quit by the time we hit the slight incline in the parking lot.

Diamond Head Crater is the remnants of volcanic activity.

Here’s an aerial view:

Here’s a *very* rough estimate of our hike, from our parking spot near the arrow to the lookout at the highest point:

Above is Olivia around the 3/4 mark looking over the interior of the crater.

Here’s the view from the top looking south and then south west towards Waikiki and Honolulu. I would include a picture of us at the peak but we were in no condition for photos.

Above we are looking much happier once we reached the bottom again!

From here we went straight to Waikiki beach where we swam as the sun set and where Katie severely cut her foot on some sharp coral in the water. I also developed a severe migraine that was making me nauseous so we decided that was enough outdoors for one day and decided to have breakfast for dinner at Denny’s before we headed home.


Day 6: North Shore, Oahu

Today we got a later start to the day and headed out to Waimea Bay with the intention of snorkeling and getting some sun. When we got there the sun was high in the sky but the water was way too rough for snorkeling! Katie had another case of sand in her pants after a wave knocked her in half while she wasn’t looking… fortunately she survived. I wasn’t without incident either, my foot got stung by a bee! I have never been stung by a bee before and wow, does that hurt! Fortunately, I also survived and did not have an unknown bee allergy.

As we were laying and enjoying the sun a few clouds of rain passed overhead, as they often do here in Hawaii, but we were able to shield ourselves with a towel and let it pass. About 2 hours in when it happened again we attempted to do the same, except this time the cloud didn’t pass over and the rain got heavier and heavier until we found ourselves sprinting for cover. We ended up at the car, soaked with rain, covered in sand.

We continued along the highway to the famous Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck where we each ordered a plate of their famous lemon garlic shrimp. I have often joked about the fact that there is no such thing as too much garlic…. but this… this was something else. I think I will be sweating garlic until next Friday, Katie and I almost couldn’t even finish our dishes.

This is me before realizing our fate

This is me staring at my last two shrimps in distain… LOOK AT ALL THE GARLIC! Too much, we left Giovanni’s with sticky fingers and a sore tummy.

We need something to cleanse our palate so we headed to the Dole Plantation. Have you ever wanted anything and everything in the shape of a pineapple or with a pineapple on it? Do you want to look at SO MUCH YELLOW that you feel sick to your stomach? Go to the Dole Plantation! Dole Whips are pretty popular here and we had been seeing them since Maui but decided to save ourselves and indulge only at the source. We each got a $9 Dole Whip (dairy-free pineapple flavored ice cream) and… lemme tell you… it was pineappley. Very. Pineappley.

At this point my fingers smelled like a lovely blend of garlic and pineapple. Still too early to call it a day, but the rain hadn’t let up so the wind blew us towards the Waikele premium outlets. “Don’t let me buy anything, Katie” I said, “even if I say I really want it, even if it’s a great deal and super cute… don’t let me spend money, ok?” One Kate Spade purse and a wallet later we finally called it a day.

We stopped for some snacks at Safeway, headed home and watched Pearl Harbor before bed.

Day 5: Honolulu

Hello! Today we woke up to 2 weather warnings on our phone indicating severe rain and risk of flash floods, and sure enough there was very heavy rainfall for most of the morning.

We waited for it to clear up a bit and headed out for breakfast around noon. We went to Button Up Cafe, which was rated highly on trip advisor. It was a hole in the wall, as most things that are rated highly here in Hawaii are, but it was delicious!

I finally tried the Loco Moco, a local dish that I have seen on every menu since I got here but haven’t had the appetite to try yet. It’s basically eggs, on hamburger patties, on rice… smothered in gravy. It tasted just like my moms hamburger steak except with an egg on top! My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach though…. Katie got eggs benny and tater tots (and graciously shared her tots with me).

After brunch we headed to the Pearl Harbor memorial and visitation center. It’s free to enter the area but each attraction has a different entry fee, or you can pay $72 USD for the “all access pass” to all 4 attractions (Pacific Aviation Museum, USS Oklahoma Memorial, Battleship Missouri and USS Bowfin Submarine). We opted for the free boat tour, which included the viewing of a short 23 minute documentary, and we paid $15 to access to USS Bowfin Submarine as well as walked around the grounds.

Palms with the restored Battleship Missouri in the back

USS Arizona Memorial (erected over the sunken USS Arizona, which was never recovered and is the final resting place for 1102 men who were on board at the time it sunk). See photo below taken from the Internet for an aerial view:

We also learned that ~40 of the survivors of the USS Arizona have chosen to have their ashes left here and have since rejoined their fellow shipmates in their final resting placeBattleship Missouri USS Bowfin Submarine

Here are some photos from inside the submarine:

From Pearl Harbor we headed to Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. Unfortunately there was traffic, but traffic is not so bad when you’re in a convertible!

After we painstakingly made our way through Waikiki and found parking, my patience was running thin, but it was well worth the wait! We put on our swim suits and sat in the sand watching the sunset over the Pacific from Waikiki beach.

Once the sun had disappeared over the horizon we dropped our stuff at the car and walked down the strip in search of food. Kalakaua Ave. is packed with high end stores, surf shops, souvenirs shops and of course – tourists. Still, walking here and window shopping was peaceful. Unfortunately, every restaurant that appealed to us required reservations or had a 1h wait, but we found a Thai place hidden away, Noi Thai Cuisine.

I got Pad Sew and a Hawaiian beer, Katie got Pad Thai and a lychee tea.

Food was great, service…. not so much.

From here we headed back to the car and made our way home. This is the latest we’ve been up and out all trip!!! 11pm

Day 4: North Shore, Oahu

In Oahu we are lucky enough to be staying with family in Kaneohe, we woke up and had a lovely breakfast with Jen and Neil over looking Kaneohe Bay.

Shortly after breakfast we got ready and then hopped in our rental car, a VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE CONVERTIBLE!!!!!! Am I excited? Yes.

With the top down we took the coastal route and headed to the North Shore. Along the way we stopped for banana bread and an acaï bowl at the Sunrise Shack before plopping down for a bit at Sunset Beach to watch a paddle boarding competition. We also saw some cute little wild boar piglets!!!

We also got some iced coffee and tuna poke (finally poke) for the drive.

They announced all day rain but lucky for us we only got some off again on again drizzle and not much else! And it stayed dry the whole time we walked around the small town of Haleiwa, our main destination for the day. Here we hopped in and out of shops and succumbed to more souvenirs than I wish to admit.

We also each had shaved ice at the famous ‘Matsumoto Shave Ice’ shop. I got lychee, lilikoi and raspberry, Katie got lychee, mango and watermelon.

From Haleiwa we headed towards Honolulu but got sidetracked by some more shopping…

We ended the evening with some seafood snacks at Restaurant 604 overlooking Pearl Harbor.

Day 3: Maui

Today we woke up not knowing what we were going to do!

We had another acaï bowl at Farmacy Health Bar and a coffee at Wailuku Coffee Co before hitting the road. We headed to Haleakala in the hopes of driving up to the summit but after 50 minutes of vertical roads into the clouds we hit a road block, the summit was closed. We couldn’t make it all the way up but we were literally in the clouds and couldn’t have seen anything from any further up anyways.

From there we made our way down and made the impromptu decision to go to the Seven Sacred Pools at Ohe’o. We had been reading reviews and they were mixed in stating that it was both open and closed to swimmers. We wanted to call and see if it was open prior to making our way there but couldn’t get through so we said oh well! Since the summit of Haleakala was closed we couldn’t go over the mountain so we followed the Pilani Highway along the south side of the island. At first we were on a lovely highway on a mountain with a beautiful view of the Pacific.

The road slowly got narrower and narrower as we went along. Eventually it was no longer paved. And finally it was a one lane dirt road on the side of a cliff, again with hairpin turns and the risk of oncoming traffic. The road below is meant to be two lanes:

There was literally no turning back

Again, we made a few pit stops along the way for photo ops

Above is what our car should have looked like upon returning it to the rental location after the journey we had just survived…

Finally we got to the Seven Sacred Pools and after that drive there was no question as to whether or not we were paying the entry fee. Lucky us however, the pools were open! It seems that when there are heavy rains there are flash floods and the waterfalls intensify greatly and can be life threatening, today they were nice and calm however.

Katie didn’t want me to climb the rocks to jump in because she had done it and said how slippery they are, and she knows I’m not the most agile… but I tackled my fears and did it not once but twice! (Not without screaming when I jumped and holding my nose though.)

After the Seven Sacred Pools we pondered whether we should go back the way we came or take the Road to Hana back.. and Road to Hana it was. Road to Hana, as scary as it is, is not nearly as scary as the route we had taken in.

This time the Road to Hana was soaking from an apparent rain storm that we had totally managed to avoid so the forest around it seemed particularly lush and green. Also worth noting, the flora on this island is wildly diverse. On the north side (Road to Hana) the vegetation seems like a tropical rainforest. On the south side however we passed through rocky terrain with almost no green space, followed by fields that looked like the English countryside, followed by arid desert-like land and finally we ended up back in what looked like a tropical rainforest.

So diverse in fact, if you look closely in the photo below you can see snow atop Haleakalā

Katie got us safely to the airport and we are now off to Oahu!

Day 2: Road to Hana

Today we got up and went and had breakfast at Farmacy Health Bar in Wailuku (where we are staying) and I finally got an acaï bowl!!

After our breakfast we got coffees to go at Wailuku Coffee Co. and headed off on the Road to Hana!

I consider myself a good, careful and confident driver but I am SO happy I was not behind the wheel on this one. The Road to Hana is 4 hours of hairpin turns on the side of a cliff overlooking ravines, waterfalls, the Pacific, jungle and cliffs. Most of the time the road was barely wide enough for two-way traffic but often times there was “yield to traffic” or “one lane bridge” and…. I guess we just got lucky because we lived to tell the tale.

There were a lot of lookouts along the way and places to stop and take photos. Everything from the long hanging vines, to the hibiscus flowers to the quick peeks at the ocean through the palms was absolutely breathtaking. Also, every time we took a corner and an oncoming car was around it was also breathtaking… just in a different way. Fortunately Katie was a great driver and even if I was white-knuckled and nervous for most of the ride, I blame my mother and not Katie.

Twin Falls:

Peeks of the Pacific:

Causing Traffic:

We made a few pit stops along the way, one of which was Pua’a Ka’a State Park where we swam in a waterfall:

Then we relaxed and got sun at Black Sand Beach:

We got some crispy fish burgers in Hana to end the day before embarking on our journey home!

Day 1: Maui


Before we boarded our first flight, after we got upgraded to premium:

After 16 hours of traveling yesterday, we arrived in Kahului at 11pm and were ready to pass out:

Thanks to a bed without a pillow and a window beside a highway we had a less than restful sleep but a sleep nonetheless. This morning jet lag was working in our favor, since we are 5 hours behind waking up at 7am felt like 12pm instead.

We got ready and headed out to Tasty Crust breakfast (yes, “Tasty Crust”) because it was on Trip Advisor as being a popular breakfast place with local specialties. Fortunately for us, according to the sign posted on the front door, they had earned a conditional pass following an inspection due to insect and rodent issues. Great.

The food was good anyways, I got a Hawaiian breakfast (eggs on fried rice) and Katie got an American breakfast (bacon and eggs).

From here we set out West to explore Lahaina. The winding highway, Honoapiilani Hwy, that we took to get here brought us along the coast of the Pacific. There was a lookout spot along the way where we stopped and got to see humpback whales breaching as well!

The small white wave in the distance is the result of a whale!

As you can see the weather today was pretty grey, we were in and out of brief rainstorms all day, saw some fallen trees and even lost electricity for a few hours. The weather report said that there was hurricane force wind, camps were evacuated and one surfer on the island even died!

Shortly after the lookout there was a small beach, Papalaua beach. Cool thing about Hawaii, or Maui at least, is you don’t have to drive all the way to a public beach that is overloaded with people, there’s literally just beaches everywhere that land meets water. I don’t know if this beach was empty because of the off-again on-again rain or if it’s just because there’s beaches around every other corner.

We explored and Katie laughed at the fact that I am “so not-outdoorsy” as I tried feebly to balance my way across the fallen tree on the beach. She laughed again at how dramatic I was when shortly after this thorn went right into the ball of my foot and I was bleeding and limping around.

She didn’t laugh as much when a few hours later she stepped on the same twig and it went through her foot too…

In Lahaina we dipped in and out of gift shops until the rain let up and then we got some gelato and walked along the water.

In old Lahaina there is also Maui’s oldest living Banyan tree. A super impressive and colossal tree that they, over time, have gotten other trunks to grow up and merge with the branches as means of support and expansion. Looked like something straight out of animal kingdom.

It was so cool that we asked a man to take a photo of both of us in front of the tree and he cut the entire tree out so here is just a photo of Katie and I.

A short while in to our walk in Lahaina my shoe completely fell apart so we spent the remainder of our visit shoe shopping. Limping on one side because I had no shoe and the other side because I had a hole from a thorn in the sole.

From Lahaina we headed to Maluaka Beach where we are meant to be able to see sea turtles!! Of course on our way here we ran in to another rain storm and the dreary weather was taking a toll on our wakefulness, so we stopped for coffee at Honolulu Coffee Co. in the “Shops at Wailea” while we waited for the rain to pass. (The Shops at Wailea is a bougie shopping outdoor shopping mall with luxury brands). I enjoyed a Hawaiian latte (coconut and macadamia flavored latte) and purchased nothing else.

Finally, once the rain let, up the sun came out, for the first time since we had been here! We quickly made our way to Maluaka Beach but to our disappointment there were no turtles. However, we again had the small beach to ourselves! Because of high winds the waves were rough but Katie went in, like aaaaallll the way in. The amount of sand that came out her bathing suit after was not ok. While Katie rolled around in the waves I mostly watched from my towel on the beach but eventually I also dipped in up to my waist, and the water was warm!

When we both got out we sat on the towel in the sun to dry. Before I lay back to close my eyes I had put my phone and camera further up on the beach, and good thing, because not even a minute later a massive wave came up and wiped out our entire set up. Katie however was not so lucky. Both her phone and her kobo as well as all of her clothes fell victim to the rough ocean waters… We left the beach shortly after, mostly naked, in search of a bag of rice for Katie’s phone.

After freshening up back at our place (without electricity) we headed back to Lahaina to see it at night. We popped in and out of shops and had a delicious seafood dinner at Paia Fish Market on Front Street!

Also, my back has been killing me since before I left on the trip (of course) and the plane ride didn’t help. I’ve been walking around hunched over like an old lady since we got here, so I tried to stretch it out on the magic Banyan tree before we headed home to turn in for the night.

Today was eventful to say the least