So this is a long, detailed post, but I am writing it so I can remember all the bits of our trip, and so next time we visit I can look back and see what we enjoyed.
A few months ago Raimo got scheduled for a work conference in Hawaii over spring break, and I started bugging him about letting me come along. So eventually he booked me a ticket and his mom kindly agreed to come stay with the kids for 5 days. We left very early Sunday morning while the kids were still sleeping, and got on our plane. We were both exhausted that day and felt nervous about the kids. We would have liked to bring them, but aren't staying long enough for it to really be worth it since we'll only have 3 full days. Plus it is a really nice break for me and a chance to spend some time with Raimo. I brought a book and read 1/4 of it on the 5 hour plane ride. I also kept falling asleep. I think Raimo got a little bored. Anyway, when we landed it was only 10:30 in the morning, and we were starving for lunch. We got the rental car figured out and headed for lunch at Mama's Fish as recommended by the rental car associate. It turned out to be quite an expensive lunch! But the restaraunt overlooked the water and it was really very beautiful and everything we ate was delicious.
Then we made the drive to our hotel on the other side of the island. We got to see quite a bit of coastline as we drove. We were both surprised to see so much open space and natural landscape, even by the water. I remember Oahu being very busy and crowded. It definitely has a different vibe. We are staying at the Hyatt Regency in Ka'anapoli on the West side, where there is a line of big resorts along the ocean. Our room was not ready for us to check in when we arrived and I was really frustrated because I was so tired and we were hot in our travel clothes. We changed in the bathroom and went down to the ocean only to find that the water was quite cold! Hawaii was not impressing so far! Overpriced lunch, room not ready, very little assistance, cold water, and no open lounge chairs anywhere! We did some tanning for a while and finally went back and got our room, took a shower and relaxed a bit. The bellman showed us some of the other pools and features of the hotel and gave us some suggestions for places to go. Hawaii was starting to look a lot better. We took a walk to Whaler's Village just as the sun was setting over the ocean. We couldn't have timed it better if we'd planned it.
On Monday morning Raimo had to leave for work at 6:15. Around 8 he came back for a break so we headed downstairs and I got a fruit cup to eat. Even eating breakfast while looking at the ocean makes it so much more peaceful.
Then I hung out while Raimo worked. It was perfect!
We enjoyed the beautiful blue water and riding over the big waves. It was really relaxing. They had a lot of snacks for us to eat too.
We saw a lot of humpback whales flipping their tails and breaching. It is mating season so they were probably 3 males competing for 1 female, hence the extra activity. It was exciting- I haven't been whale-watching since 5th grade! Their tails were so big, and I also saw one of their faces come up out of the water. Later we also saw a mother and calf and probably male acting as protector. These whales travel here to mate and go all the way to Alaska to hunt.
We got to ride around for two hours and enjoy the sunset. I love boats!
When we got off the boat we were right by Whaler's Village again, and we both could really happily spend hours shopping.
Tuesday I woke up early again- 5 am. The time change is so rough. Raimo went to work and I went to my favorite pool next door and relaxed, read, and inched in and out of the pool. I reapplied sunscreen like 4 times because we found out just how harsh the sun is here the day before. Raimo got done a little early again, and we headed out in the car for the first time.
We walked all over these black rocks and looked for creatures and treasures. Raimo found a sea snake, and I found some coral. There were also a lot of little fishes. Raimo said it was his favorite part of the day.
We walked back, super hot and ready to get in a cool car. We showered and got ready for the Drums of the Pacific Luau.
My favorite number was about the creation of woman where a girl in white came out and dropped white petals all over her long hair and did this slow beautiful dance. I loved it. That was about it for the day. We got a little rain during the show but they brought out ponchos for us. It was a really beautiful day!
Of course, we couldn't sleep in yet again on the third night. Some kind of fire alarm got set off outside at 3 am and it stayed on for like 30 minutes. It was a little stressful laying there wondering if it was just some stupid kid or if there was a fire or tsunami. You know... Just the middle of the night thinking. I was awake for a long time, but I think I fell asleep for a few more hours around 6.
Wednesday was a much cooler morning, with sea spray blowing all the way up to the hotel. I bought some souvenirs and went to Starbucks at the Marriott resort. That is a resort I'd like to stay at in the future. It's very family friendly and has a pretty beach in front of it. Our hotel's crowd seems more adult/spring break. I relaxed in a hammock for a bit waiting for Raimo. It had been raining the night before and the morning was still windy, so it was rocking me a bit, and as I was laying there I realized the air smelled sweet. There weren't any flowers right by me or anything, but Hawaii just smells good!
So anyway, we took off for the road to Hana. We bought an app called GyPSy that told us where to go and what sights to see along the way, and even how to cross the one-land bridges.
We stopped to take a short hike/walk, and my favorite thing was the rainbow eucalyptus trees- they were gorgeous, and soo tall.
Another stop was this peninsula all made of lava rock, and it was amazing how turquoise the water was, even on such a cloudy day. At one point, there was a tsunami on this part of the island that wiped out everything on this side of the peninsula. Unfortunately it happened on April fool's day, so a lot of the warnings weren't taken seriously. The only thing left standing was an old church that is still there. Raimo really liked exploring that part and checking out the rocks and seeing the huge waves spraying over them.
We also saw these waterfalls, called the three bears.
A few of the stretches were quite long. It was really so green and the trees and cliffs went way up over our heads, and it was so rainforesty.
One of our favorite stops was at a black sand beach called Wai'anapanapa where there were fresh water caves and big black lava arches and cliffs and black sand.
I had hoped that we could stop along our way and swim in some of the pools and waterfalls and relax on some beaches, but we really didn't get any sun that day, so we just enjoyed the sights and took off.
We finally made in to Hana. The last couple beaches were right next to each other: Koki beach, with big red cliffs,
We skipped the last few stops of the route and headed back so we could beat the sunset.
We had plenty of time to pack up and get to the airport and do last-minute shopping. Our flight was at 11:30 and we should be arriving in San Diego around 8 pm. It was bittersweet to leave-there is definitely a lot left to do and see in Maui. We'd love to check out the volcano at sunrise, go to Makena beach, see some more of the towns, do some more water activities like snorkeling or surfing (we'll save that for the summer), and more. But I can't wait wait wait to see the kids!!!