June 8th-June 20th, 1999
In June of 1999 we left the mainland for an adventure in paradise on the islands of Hawaii. We would spend the next thirteen days snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, swimming, sunning, and sightseeing on four of the most beautiful islands on earth. Oahu, Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui were the islands that we chose to visit with a stay of four days on each one.
We flew into Honolulu on the island of Oahu to start our adventure. Our hotel was right on the famous Waikiki Beach. I had expected to be disappointed in this beach due to the fact that it is so busy and “touristy”, but I was pleasantly surprised with how beautiful it actually was. The white sand stretched all the way to an awesome view of Diamond Head dotted along the way with colorfully designed surfboards. We walked along the surf taking in the sun and the spectacular views until the sun dropped below the horizon. The next day we jumped on “the bus” and headed for Haunama Bay. Decked out in our fins, snorkel and mask we hit the water in search of tropical fish. Fantastic coral formations and a kaleidoscope of fishes set the scene for a super morning. Several colorful fish call this bay home including the Humuhumukununukuapua'a (go ahead, just try to pronounce that one) a triggerfish that is considered to be the unofficial state fish of Hawaii.
Our next stop was the Byodi-In Temple. The bus stop is quite a walk from the temple especially when you are carrying all of your snorkel gear. I am sure it was quite a sight to see the three of us trekking up this hill at a cemetery carrying fins and masks, too funny. The temple sits in a valley behind the cemetery in the most stunning setting. High mountains form the backdrop for this Buddhist temple. In addition, misty clouds envelope the tops of the temple as peacocks stroll along the grounds. It felt like we were in Japan where the original temple actually still stands.
The rest of our days were spent visiting places like Pearl Harbor with the memorial to the U.S.S Arizona, climbing Diamond Head, visiting the pineapple gardens, and driving the coast to see the many beautiful beaches. Our favorite was Kailua beach. The water was a bright aquamarine and the sand was soft and white, it was absolutely postcard perfect. We hated to leave but it was time to catch our flight to the Big Island of Hawaii.
The Big Island’s volcanic landscape is spectacular. We took in all the sites at Volcano National Park including a hike to an active lava flow, you can read all about it on our hiking website Natural Born Hikers. We also visited the historical park Puukohola Heiau where you can see ruins of ancient Hawaiian temples, but our highlight of this island was our kayak trip to Captain Cook’s Monument. We rented three kayaks and headed for Kealakekua Bay where the monument is found. As we kayaked across the bay towards the obelisk we were escorted by a pod of dolphins! It was awesome. Once at the Cook Monument we strapped on our snorkel gear to see if the reputation this bay has for spectacular snorkeling was true, and we were not disappointed. This would have to be one of the best places that I have snorkeled at in all my travels. Huge colorful brain corals were everywhere and several varieties of tropical reef fish swim right along side of you. The paddle across the bay can be a little intimidating but if you are strong you can easily make it and you will be glad that you made the effort.
Kauai was our next stop where the highlights included Waimea Canyon, Polihale Beach, and the Na Pali Coast. Each of these is spectacular in their own right but our favorite was the Na Pali Coast. In order to get spectacular views of this amazing area drive to the town of Haena and then hike the Kalalau Trail. Na Pali means cliffs and you will see how this coast got its name if you walk just a few miles on this trail. Beautiful emerald cliffs plunge into the sapphire blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. You couldn’t ask for better views while hiking!
Maui was the last island that we were able to visit while in Hawaii, and it could be said that it was our favorite. The list of highlights on this island are extensive, so long in fact that it could be said that the whole island was a highlight. From Haleakala, Waianapanapa, and Red Sand Beach, all the way down the Road to Hana we enjoyed every minute of our stay. Pick and Cupcake even tried surfing while on Maui. They actually got pretty good at it too, after a local girl gave them some much needed pointers. We did a couple of snorkel trips while on Maui as well. Our first adventure was a kayak trip to “turtle town” through South Pacific Kayaks. This was an amazing trip where you were able to kayak and snorkel with endangered green sea turtles. It was so cool to have the turtles swimming right up to you and looking into your eyes! Our guide was amazing and very knowledgeable and he made sure that we all had a great time, thanks Paul. Second on our adventure list was a snorkel trip to Molokini Crater. For this trip we went with The Pacific Whale Foundation on their Molokini & Lana'i Snorkel
& Wild Dolphin Eco-Adventure. While at Molokini we saw a huge Manta Ray about 60 feet below us! Very cool. We also stopped at Lanai for some snorkeling among the most colorful coral we have seen so far. The boat trip out to these stops was amazing in its self, especially when a pod of spinner dolphins raced along the bow of the boat! It was an excellent way to end our Hawaiian experience. We hope our brief write-up answers some of your questions or in the very least, entertained you for a while. Below are some of our photographic memories from the islands, enjoy.
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