Hawaii 2/08 and 3/08

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Surf's up Hawaii - winter & spring breaks...

Surfin Waikiki: Ben up, Wayne paddling out

Oftentimes life just doesn't suck! Twice in the course of about a month I took the opportunity to burn some frequent flier miles and spend some family time in Hawaii. The first trip was to the Big Island in February with Mary Lou and Craig during high school winter break. The second trip was to Oahu in March with Ben during his spring break from UCSB. We saw familiar places, did a lot of new things (like surfing for the first time!) and armed Mary Lou with photographic fodder for oil paintings to come.

Trip 1 - Big Island: Monday February 18th

Mary Lou, Craig and I arrived in Kona late Sunday night and drove the 20 miles north to the Marriott Waikoloa, a Big Island hotel we've stayed at for over 25 years. Monday we drove south past Kailua-Kona to St. Peters church (first picture below), where we were married 24 years ago. Continuing south, we stopped at the Painted Church and Place of Refuge (second picture below) enroute to visit the little plot of land near South Point that we bought the day Craig was born.

Big Island Waipio Valley mule ride

Tuesday February 19th

Tuesday morning we drove northeast from Waikoloa, stopping at Umauma Falls (third picture above), Akaka Falls (fourth picture above and first picture below looking toward the coast), Rainbow Falls (close up of the "rainbow" in the second picture below) and the "Boiling Pots". After lunch in Hilo, we continued south to Volcano National Park (third and fourth pictures below). Most of Crater Rim Drive was closed that afternoon because of high sulfur levels in the air, but we were still able to see a lot of the crater and walk through the Thurston Lava Tube.

Wednesday February 20th & Thursday February 21st

Wednesday we drove northwest to the Waipio Valley. Mary Lou and I had done a Waipio Valley tour 20 years back and enjoyed it, so we thought it would be worth a return. We weren't disappointed. Very little has changed in the valley, although the tour is now done with a mule driven wagon (large picture top of page right) instead of in a Jeep. The first picture below is from the lookout at the top of the road. The second picture below is at the base of the valley where we met our wagon and mules. The tour goes through small rivers and is very beautiful, along with being just plain fun (third picture below). Wednesday night we watched the sunset (fourth picture below) and a Hawaiian Luau show from our balcony. Thursday we stayed around the hotel to swim in the ocean and the pools before heading to the airport for our overnight flight back to LA. A nice trip - it was especially great to travel with Mary Lou again and this was our last winter break with Craig living with us. Next year he'll be a freshman at UCLA.

Trip 2 - Oahu: Monday March 24th & Tuesday March 25th

Ben and I arrived in Honolulu in the early evening Monday and drove to the Marriott Waikiki, at the south end of the famous beach. We took a long walk north along the crowded sidewalks and grabbed dinner and drinks (Ben recently turned 21) at Planet Hollywood. With spring break in full swing for many students, Waikiki was buzzing with crowd energy. Tuesday morning I had coffee on one of our balconies, taking in the great view shown in the first picture below. After a morning beach walk (second picture below), Ben and I tried to figure out what adventure might be both doable and worthy of telling stories for both of us when we returned home.

So we both did our first-ever surfing lesson (large picture top of page left with Ben riding and me paddling back out in the background)! Waikiki has great beginner waves and warm water, but it's crowded in the afternoon (third picture above). It was easier than I had imagined to stand up and stay up on the board, but harder than I had imagined to paddle back out over and over again. One hour of surfing was plenty! But my attraction to climbing hadn't been satisfied yet, so in the late afternoon we drove to the base of Diamondhead and did the 30 minute hike up to the top. The views were outstanding (fourth picture above). Arriving back at our hotel balcony in time for some cold beers and a great sunset, we felt like conquering heroes (first picture below). We spent the rest of the evening bar-hopping Waikiki (that's more "sober" than it sounds - Hawaiian drinks tend to have very little alcohol in them).

 

Wednesday March 26th & Thursday March 27th

Ben and I drove northeast from Honolulu in the late morning passing Chinaman's Hat (second picture below) on our way to the Polynesian Cultural Center. A little PCC goes a long way if you're an adult who's been there before, so we did just a basic admission. We visited all the lands, saw the boat parade and took in a quick Ukulele lesson (third picture below) before heading southwest along the famous surfing beaches of Oahu's north shore. We stopped at Jameson's by the Sea in Haleiwa for dinner as the sun set (fourth picture below). We got back to our hotel in the evening and did some more Waikiki bar-hopping, ending up at the beachside Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian sipping drinks with paper parasols from real pineapple glasses into the wee hours of Thursday morning. Thursday we hung around the beach by the hotel before heading to the airport after lunch for our return trip to LA. All-in-all a great tropical experience with my now adult son.

Home Up Boston 5/01 Grand Canyon 11/05 Hawaii 11/00 Hawaii 2/08 and 3/08 Hawaii Big Island 9/13 Maui & Kauai 12/12 Kauai 10/14 Key West 12/06 Key West 12/09 New York City 12/04 Orlando 12/02 Pacific Northwest 4/02 Philadelphia 8/02 San Francisco 12/05

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