Sunday, March 31, 2013

Kaua'i (part 2)

On our second day docked in Kaua'i we jumped back in the car and headed north.  Our first destination was Wailua Falls.  If it looks familiar, it's because it was in the opening credits of the show 'Fantasy Island.'  I used to love that show.

On our way there, we drove through some pretty rural ranch land.  I liked the look of these trees and snapped this out the car window.  They looked like the trees you see in movies of Africa.

Coincidentally, a pretty tree that we saw all over the islands was called the African Tulip Tree.  Our tour guide in Hilo told us it was a nuisance tree, but look how pretty.

I just had to get a picture of the flowers and it looked like I was going to have to climb, but finally I found a low branch.  Wow!

We stopped at Kamokila Hawaiian Village, a recreated traditional village, but didn't have time to do it justice, so just snapped a couple of pictures.  They have kayak trips from here to Fern Grotto and 'secret' waterfalls, but, once again, not enough time.  We'll save that for our next trip to Hawaii.

Hey, here are the chickens I would catch and raise (well, if I was into raising chickens.)

And I guess this is a peahen, although for all I know it could be some exotic Hawaiian bird.

And at the end of the navigable road, in the Kealia Forest Reserve, we hit an area that truly looked tropical.

Our last stop was the island's largest city of Kapa'a.  It had some interesting buildings.

How about those coconuts?

To leave the bay, our giant ship had to navigate the narrow channel between the breakers.  Looks hard.

But, never fear, we'll be getting some help.

And with a couple of strategic nudges, we were on our way.

I read that there is a mountain that looks like a sleeping giant.  On our way up the coast, I spotted this one.  If that's the sleeping giant (head towards the left), he seems to have a goiter problem.

Our cruise took us along the Na Pali Coast for some dramatic scenery.  Unfortunately, the fog had rolled in so the picture isn't the best.

The evening towel animal was a snake.  So pathetic, I didn't even take a picture.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Kaua'i (part 1)

Although this looks like sunset, it's sunrise as we came into Nawiliwili, Kaua'i.  Maybe I should get up for sunrises more often . . . Maybe not.

This was one of our overnight stops, so once again we rented a car.  I had never been to this island and was very excited to see Waimea Canyon.

It lived up to its colorful reputation.

We met the Hawaiian ambassador up there.  Actually there were chickens running wild all over Kaua'i.  The story we heard was that the chicken coops had been destroyed by a hurricane and the chickens just went wild.  You'd think somebody would catch them but we understand they're pretty tough.

Hey, Mister!  Don't you walk away from me.  I'm not done talking to you.

At the Kalalau lookout you can see part of the scenic Na Pali Coast.

Here's Diana looking for that perfect shot.

But we did spot this guy - looks like some kind of sandpiper, but up at about 4000 feet above sea level.

We thought we were at the end of the road, but the GPS said otherwise, so we continued and found the Pu'u o Kila lookout with an even better view of the valley below.

Well, he might get carsick, but we know Ron doesn't have a problem with heights.

Somewhere in all this greenery is Mount Wai'ale'ale, one of the wettest spots on earth.

Back at sea level, we stopped to view the Spouting Horn which preformed beautifully.

I took a short video so you could have the whole experience.

And I mustn't forget the animal of the day.

As one of the islands I hadn't visited before, I had some preconceptions of Kaua'i.  I had pictured it as dripping with dew and having vegetation so thick you had to machete your way through it.  I was surprised that it didn't seem any different from the wetter side of the other islands.  Now maybe if we had hiked to Mount Wai'ale'ale . . .

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


The next morning I was still up in time to see the ship pull into Kona, Hawaii.  The second week of our vacation would be spent in Kona, so we just elected to walk around town for a bit.

I dressed up in my 'new' Hawaiian shirt and Ron wore the closest thing he had.

This was the only stop where there was no dock so they brought out the tender/lifeboats.  Hey!  We get to ride in a lifeboat without the ship sinking.
Notice that the lifeboat holds 150, but as a tender, only 97.  Let me tell you, we were packed in there even with 97 or less.

Here's our captain steering the boat with his knees.

There was a craft fair close to where we docked.  I don't think it's a coincidence that it's the same day 2100 passengers arrive on a boat.  They had very nice things and I even bought a pair of earrings  breaking my rule that I wouldn't buy any more until I started wearing them.

We saw the Moku'aikaua Church which is the oldest Christian church in the Hawaiian Islands.

And the Hulihe'e Palace which is the former vacation home of Hawaiian royalty and now a museum.

But mostly, I was just so thankful that Diana had the foresight to suggest renting cars at the longer stops.  I can't imagine being stuck in the port towns, visiting tourist shops.

We headed back to the ship and enjoyed a rare lunch on board instead of at McDonald's.

Then Diana and I attended the daily lei making class.  This one was an interesting ribbon weave.

Here's a close up.   Funny thing:  I got to the end and had quite a bit of green left.  The teacher said they must have been cut wrong, but I'm guessing user error.

For the evening's entertainment, we attended Dancing with the America Stars.  Volunteers (or would that be victims) pair up with one of the production staff for a 'wildly silly' competition.  Phil was a good sport and participated.  If it had been an actual contest, I'm sure he would have won, but we should have known it wasn't by the 'wildly silly' description.

The nightly animal was a Brontosaurus.

Monday, March 25, 2013


The third morning on the ship, I made it to 6am.  At this rate, I figure I'll be sleeping in until 8 by the end of the week.  As the sun was coming up, we cruised into Hilo on the island of Hawaii.
I believe that's Mauna Kea peeking out of the clouds.  At 13,796 feet above sea level, it's the tallest in Hawaii, but if measured from its base on the ocean floor, it's 32,000 feet high!

We only had one day in Hilo, so we thought it would be most efficient if we took one of the bus tours.  (Also we had a $250 credit from when we booked, so we had to use it.)  Due to Ron's problem with buses, we got the front seat.  Yeah!

First we drove Banyan Drive lined with banyan trees planted by various celebrities, mostly in the 1930s.

We caught a glimpse of Lili'uokalani Gardens.

And when one of the passengers couldn't wait for a pit stop, we got to watch workers climb the palm trees with just spikes on their shoes and a rope around their waist.  They risk their lives to trim branches and cut down coconuts so no tourists will be harmed.  You couldn't pay me enough.

But our first scheduled stop was at picturesque Rainbow Falls.

Then it was on to Volcano National Park and a view of Kilauea Caldera.  This is the view from the visitors center.  It was pretty calm the day we were there, but depending on the activity and wind direction, it can be hard to see or the lookout closed because of the sulfur fumes.
The Crater Rim Drive is now closed so this was as close as we could get.

Watch out for those fumes, Ron.

Next stop was the Thurston Lava Tube through which you can walk where lava previously flowed.  Along the path to the tube, someone had left a gift for Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes.  Good idea to keep her happy.

The lava tube is conveniently lighted.

I really liked the vegetation along the trail back to the parking lot.

Next we stopped at a lava flow from the 1970's where I was amazed by the blue and gold colors.

On the way back to Hilo, we enjoyed the gorgeous Akatsuka Orchid Gardens.

It just doesn't get any more beautiful.

And speaking of orchids, our bus tour ended just in time for Diana and I to attend the orchid lei making class.  They had brought in 20,000 orchids for the class, but surprisingly, it was not well attended.  So instead of having us make a 'single' lei, we used a lot more flowers to make a 'double.'

Which we then wore to dinner.

We were told that around 10pm we would be cruising within sight of where the lava is actively flowing into the ocean.  I was hoping it would look something like this:

But it actually looked like this - still thrilling, but not quite as spectacular.

The nightly entertainment was Oh, What A Night! - a tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and was out of this world.  I didn't get any video to show, but Diana probably did.

And here's the nightly towel animal.