Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hawaii: Day 8 - Last Day on the Big Island.

Travel Date: Saturday, Nov 28 2015

Our final day on the islands of Hawaii. 

We arrived in Kailua-Kona late last night, and checked into the Marriott Courtyard Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel. Since there were a few minutes before last call, we headed to the local bar, got a few drinks, and then just crashed. 


In the morning, I told Justin we could choose to just take it easy, or we could go drive around and finish items on the bucket list. He decided to take it easy, and enjoy being around the beach. I think the view outside our room window did the convincing. 

And I was perfectly content with his choice. I needed some beach time.

The Hawaiian State Flag.

We leave the hotel, walk around, and grab some breakfast.

Breakfast and Mai Tai's. 

After breakfast, it is time to head out to the beach. The beaches of Hawaii are considered accessible to all. So hotels do not really have private beach front property.

We walk towards the Kamakahonu Kailua Pier.

I grab some snorkeling gear from the Kono Boys shack. I have not snorkeled in any of the Hawaii islands, so this was something I really need to do and scratch of the list of experiences.

I get in the water and snorkel for a bit.

And then go back in and snorkel some more.

After a wonderful snorkeling experience, I decide to check out the temple at the edge of the Kamakahonu Kailua Pier.

On the pier is a religious temple: The Ahu'ena Heiau . It served the King Kamehameha. The temple is  a 2/3 scale model replica. It is a considered a significant cultural site and must be treated with great respect.

And now it is time to relax, soak up whatever sun is there, and enjoy some beverages.

Justin decides to get a tan. And in doing so he falls asleep.

Happy hour rolls on, and we grab some half-priced poke for dinner.

Time to watch the sunset from the other side of the pier.

I thought this was amusing.


We walk back to the hotel, and read up on some history of the King Kamehameha. Earlier, during the sunset we talked to a native islander about King Kamehameha.

His opinion about the King enlightens us. To some he is a hero, and to others he is a villain.

I give some 'bear hugs' around the Christmas tree.

And we head out to the other side of the island to the Hilo International Airport.

On the drive there, the most amazing thing happened. We drove up the mountain through the middle of the island. It was dark. Very dark. Pitch black. And the clouds cleared up, and opened up the night sky. We pulled over along the road. Got out of the car and looked above at the sky for a few moments. The constellation of stars of the Milky Way was staring back at us. I wish I could take a picture with my iPhone. We both wanted to stay for longer, but also we didn't want to miss our flight home.

We drop off our car at the airport, leave the key under the car matt, and leave the front door unlocked. Those were the directions from our 'ugly car' rental company. After checking in, and clearing security, we relax in the lobby, and await our boarding call.

We board on the plane.

Woot woot, we have an empty seat in the middle.

And then FINALLY arrive back on the US mainland. What a trip!


Today was an awesome day of doing nothing. Snorkeling in the Hawaiian waters, and appreciating the Marine wildlife was fantastic. It was so good, that I had to do it twice, until I was literally exhausted from swimming.

Laying on the hotel chaise lounges, drinking cocktails, talking to Justin and some of the other hotel guests was relaxing. I was really grateful to just 'veg out' for the first time in a long time.

We planned on leaving right after the sunset. The sunset was epic with the backdrop of the trees. I couldn't have asked for a better ending to our Hawaiian trip. But the icing on the cake, was the unexpected and clear view of the constellation of stars of the Milky Way galaxy.

Thank you Justin for being a great traveling companion. Sure, we had our moments, but that was just tiny in contrast to the amazing memories, people, and journeys we shared.

I'm looking forward to a visit the next and last state (#50) on my list: Alaska.

Expenses: $277.82
Nov 28th 2015: $111.62
Gas: $8.31 (Minit Stop Leilani)
Breakfast: $19.82 (Paradise Brewing Co)
Scuba Gear Rental: $24.00 (Kona Boys)
Beverages: $35.13 (Courtyard by Marriott KKB Kailua-Kona, Big Island)
Dinner: $9.93 (Courtyard by Marriott KKB Kailua-Kona, Big Island)
Parking: $15.62 (Courtyard by Marriott KKB Kailua-Kona, Big Island)
Gas: $22.81 (Tesoro)

Nov 29th 2015: $166.20
Breakfast: $13.89 (Klatch Coffee)
Parking: $90.00 (IAD Dulles)
Dinner: $62.31(The Savory Grain)

Hawaii: Day 7 - A quick tour of Oahu

Travel Date: Friday, Nov 27 2015

After Justin and I came back from the Peal Harbor Memorial, we were greeted by a surprise catch. And then we took care of business.

Justin and I wanted to see the rest of Oahu, or at least bits and piece. Kathy, and Hank decided to join us for a short period. We hit the road.

And headed to the North Shore to see the giant waves.

Along the way we stopped into the tiny town of Hale'iwa.

We walk around.

And find a parking lot with a lot of food trucks and people. Since it is lunch time, we decide to go grab a bite to eat.

Interesting automobiles around.

My first inclination is to try out the Cajun food truck. But wait I am in Oahu, not Louisiana, so I pass. 

We decide to get lunch at the Giovanni's Shrimp Truck which is world-famous and renowned in these parts.

Although everyone talks about the Hot & Spicy Shrimp being the real deal, I get the Shrimp Scampi to be safe. I didn't want to end up paying for it later.

Really good, fun times with Kathy and Hank at Hale'iwa.

After we are done with our garlic shrimp conquest, we decide to get some shaved ice. Another Hawaiian treat.

I decide to pile it up with the Cookies and Cream.

It is delicious. Tastes like flavored ice and snow melting in your mouth.

And now with a full belly, we head out to the North Shore Beaches, more specifically the Banzai Pipeline to see the waves and some surfing.

Unfortunately, the waves weren't that high, and the surfing competition that was scheduled to be held that day was cancelled. We however enjoyed some of the surf action while being there.

No longer after we headed back to the car. And said our goodbyes to Hank and Kathy. They were heading home, and Justin and I were heading to check off items on my list of things to do in Oahu.

We drove to the east side of the island.

To the Nu-uanu Pali State Wayside.

You have to pay $3.00 to park. What a rip off!

We walk to the Nu'uanu Pali lookout point.

And begin appreciating the various views.

Back in the car we head over to Lanikai Beach to touch white sand.

And then the last item on the bucket list... watch the sunset on the very touristy Waikiki Beach. Very touristy! After fast walking through the crowds and various streets we decide to take this alley of surfboards.

And we get there just in time for the sunset.

I love this picture.

Hank told us that we must check out the statue of "Duke Kahanamoku" who is beloved among the native peoples of the islands. He was a Native Hawaiian competition swimmer, who is widely credited with popularizing the ancient Hawaiian sport of surfing. He was a five-time Olympic medalist in swimming. Duke was also a law enforcement officer, an actor, a beach volleyball player and businessman.

And so we stop by, pay homage, and take a few pictures.

And then in no time, we have to jet set out on the plane. So we head to the airport.

We get dinner at one of the airport restaurants, and I realize that I haven't yet tried the loco moco. Loco moco is a meal in the contemporary cuisine of Hawaii. There are many variations, but the traditional loco moco consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy.

After dinner, we get on the plane back to Kailua-Kona, Big Island. Goodbye Oahu.

Oahu is definitely the busiest of the islands. Our time there with Hank and Kathy made it very memorable. It was great to take a break and spend time with them, and try out different touristy things like Shave Ice and Giovanni's Garlic Shrimp.

I really wish the waves didn't die down at the Banzai Pipeline and Northshore beaches. I really wanted to see one of the biggest and best surf competitions out there. But appreciating what I have instead of what I want is something I continually work on. Seeing one or two of the surfers take a crack at the waves was enjoyable.

The Nu-uanu Pali State Wayside lookouts was great. The white sands of Lanakai Beach reminded me of the beaches of Dubai. And I swear I saw Henry Ian Cusick who starred as Desmond Hume in the hit show LOST. The sunset at Waikiki Beach was epic, but nothing like the pictures that Kathy posts on her facebook feed from the Ko Olina area. It is the perfect sunset point according to the locals.

Again, Hank and Kathy, we cannot thank you enjoy for such a wonderful visit and great company. I/we hope to be back soon.

Expenses: $142.07
Parking $3.00 (Nu-uanu Pali State Wayside)
Gas: $16.01 (Benton's Ahua St)
Rental Car: $59.66 (Dollar Rental)
Dinner: $63.40 (Stinger Rays)