We decided to sandwich (no pun intended) a 3 week trip to Hawaii between the births of two granddaughters (pics: 1,2). Bill did a lot of research on the Internet to organize our itinerary. As it turned out, the trip far exceeded our expectations.
Day 1 (Tuesday, 04/05/05)
We had wanted to view the Dali Exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum, and we were scheduled for an early flight on Wednesday, so we decided to attend the Dali Exhibit and stay overnight at the Airport Fairfield Inn. We finished packing and closing the house and left mid-morning for Philadelphia. We had a nice lunch at the Art Museum and then enjoyed the exhibit. We checked-in to the Fairfield Inn during mid-afternoon. Bill had selected this hotel because of an Internet ad that indicated that free parking was available for up to 30 days for travelers using the airport. We immediately found out that the free parking was a myth. We had to bring our car to Sunpark and pay $194 for the duration. We took a walk along the busy highway near the hotel and then ate dinner at the nearby Ruby Tuesdays. We turned in early after setting 3 alarms for 3:30 AM (travel clock, cell phone, and hotel wake-up).
Day 2 (Wednesday, 04/06/05)
Our morning started early at 3:30 AM. We took the 4:00 AM hotel shuttle to the airport and checked-in with Continental Airlines. We grabbed some breakfast before we had to board our first flight from Philadelphia to Houston. We had a short layover and then boarded the long flight to Honolulu. We spent 11.5 hours in the air; poor Cathy really suffered due to her restless legs. It's hard to believe that one can spend so much time in so little personal space as that provided in the coach section of an airplane. We took a shuttle to our hotel, the Radisson Waikiki Prince Kuhio and were given a free upgrade to an ocean view room. We hurriedly refreshed ourselves and took a taxi to meet with Cathy's sister Marianne and husband Bob, who were coincidently leaving on a cruise later in the day. We enjoyed a brief reunion and drinks at Don Ho's near the Aloha Tower. Later, Bob and Marianne headed to their ship and we walked 4 miles back to our hotel. During our walk, we were introduced to the constant 20 mph NE trade winds and the sporadic rain that one can expect in the tropics. We explored the section of Waikiki Beach close to our hotel and were pleasantly surprised with the cleanliness and attractiveness of the area.We ate dinner overlooking the beach in Lulu's Waikiki Surf Club where we enjoyed Tiger Eye Sushi and fish. We finally went to bed at a decent hour in the evening.
Day 3 (Thursday, 04/07/05)
We started the day around 6:00 AM, a time which would become usual for the whole trip. Bill had obtained a special Internet deal for the hotel which included a daily breakfast buffet. Although the buffet was extensive, we settled for fruit and oatmeal to begin most days. The Hawaiian fruit was wonderfully tasty, especially the pineapple. We planned to simply stroll along Waikiki Beach for our first morning, so Bill wore sandals. He had recently bought a pair of North Face Gor-Tex Trail Runners to match those that Cathy already had been using for hikes, but only Cathy wore them. We began to walk to the east, toward Diamond Head, the landmark mountain at the end of the beach. Bill had spent 24 hours on the island back in 1963 on his way to Thailand in the army and had, with some buddies, driven around the island in a rental car. Diamond Head was one of the highlights that he remembered. It was a lovely morning with sunny sky and 85 degree temperature, so it was quite a pleasure to walk. We kept walking past the beach and the road began to climb along the base of the mountain. Soon we needed water and a bathroom, but there weren't any opportunities for either, so we continued to walk past the lighthouse and a popular local surfing spot. We continued up the mountain to the Diamond Head Crater State Monument where we found water, a bathroom, and a gaggle of tourists from buses and vans. Bill didn't feel so bad about his footwear when he saw flip-flops and water shoes on the feet of some of the others. We joined an "ant trail" of tourists and ascended to the summit, where we were rewarded with a great view. We bought some more water and visited the bathroom again after descending from the summit and walked back toward our hotel. The round trip was 15 miles, a good way to get started in Hawaii. We ate lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise, near our hotel. After lunch, and a short rest in our room, we knocked around Waikiki for a while. We found the answer to the question, "What do Wildwood, NJ and Honolulu have in common?", when we found a Wyland mural on the side of a building. This is one of Wyland's series of "Whaling Walls" that appear in many interesting places throughout the world. We ate dinner at the Tiki Grille along the beach. Bill ordered a spinach salad, which came loaded with Spam, a Hawaiian treat. We discovered a detail that we had overlooked the night before: the many torches along Waikiki are fueled by an underground gas pipeline and have automatic re-ignitors.
Day 4 (Friday, 04/08/05)
Bill allowed Cathy to sleep in by taking an early morning run. There were many other joggers out early. After breakfast, we took one of Honolulu's fabulous and cheap buses toward downtown. We got off in a major Waikiki shopping area, filled with upscale stores. Bill had wanted to sign up for a Sunday race, but it was still too early. We walked to the Maritime Museum, near the Aloha Tower and spent the rest of the morning exploring this most interesting museum. We ate lunch at the Gordon Biersch Tavern. Then we took a bus to Niketown, where Bill signed up for the race on Sunday. We returned to the hotel and unwound in the hot tub. Then we headed to the beach, where Bill swam, while Cathy did some rare relaxation. One of the big attractions at the beach is the statue of Duke Kahanamoku, who popularized Hawaiian surfing. We ate dinner in an upscale Italian Restaurant, Villa Paradiso, in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.
Day 5 (Saturday, 04/09/05)
We decided to take a tour to Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial. We opted for an 8:30 AM bus trip to Pearl Harbor, including a city tour. Our guide, "Cousin Pedro", did a good job explaining the sights as we headed to Pearl Harbor. We picked up a ticket for the 11:00 AM boat to the memorial and then walked around the area until it was time for our group of 150 visitors to view a film and load a boat shuttle to the memorial. It is very dramatic how the bookends of the war in the Pacific, the Arizona Memorial and the battleship Missouri, are now so closely located. It was very emotional to be on the memorial, sited right over the sunken ship which is just a couple of feet below the surface. The list of dead crew members, whose average age was 17, is also very dramatic. Bill found it difficult to deal with his feelings about the many Japanese tourists at the memorial. He thought about how their parents had probably cheered when hearing of the event of December 7, 1941 and wondered what they thought about the attack today. What if the war had come out differently? "Cousin Pedro" had told us that we could have a snack after the trip out to the memorial and then rejoin the tour, or at least that's what we thought. We went to the snack bar and got lunch. While we were eating, "Cousin Pedro" left without us. Luckily, we had mastered the bus system, so we caught a bus to the huge Ala Moana Shopping Center where we explored for a while. Then we walked back to Niketown and Bill signed up for the race. We continued to browse some shops on the walk back to the hotel. Later, we walked to the Outrigger Reef Hotel and had a wonderful dinner at its Ocean House Restaurant with a table at an open window the the beach, one of the best settings we've ever had for a dinner.
Day 6 (Sunday, 04/10/05)
Bill had to grab a quick breakfast at the hotel and walk up to Niketown for the start of the 1st annual "Rock around the Park" 5K/10K race. Cathy took the opportunity to attend mass at a lovely little church in front of our hotel, St. Augustine. The concept of the race was that there would be a musical group at each mile marker, playing upbeat music to cheer on the runners. The course was on the road along Waikiki Beach to Kapiolani Park, where it did one lap for the 5K run that Bill was in. The heat and humidity, and more importantly Bill's lack of training, took its toll and Bill ran a new personal worst time. It was fun anyway. We returned to our room, packed our bags, and took a stretch limo (we had only ordered a cab) to the pier, where we were first in line to board our ship at 12:30 PM. After we got settled in our cabin on the 4th deck, we headed up to the 11th deck for a lunch buffet. We decided to never use an elevator on the ship and so we became frequent travelers on the forward stairs. Our ship was Norwegian Cruise Lines, Pride of Aloha, which featured an American crew and freestyle dining. Because of the American crew, the ship could simply cruise to the Hawaiian islands without visiting a foreign port. The many international ships have to make an artificial visit to Fanning Island, or end up in Encinada, Mexico, causing several days at sea. Freestyle dining meant that we could eat when and where we chose. After lunch we made an extensive tour of the ship and then participated in the mandatory lifeboat drill at 5:00 PM. We went for a drink at a bar on deck 12 where Bill purchased a "kiddie card" for free fountain sodas for the cruise for $27. We ate dinner at the Crossings Restaurant and had a very good meal. The ship sailed at 8:00 PM, so we joined the throng on the upper decks and enjoyed the beauty of Honolulu at night. The ship sailed smoothly into the night and the bed was comfortable, so sleep came quickly.
Day 7 (Monday, 04/11/05)
As we awoke, the ship was passing the Nanini Point Lighthouse and moving toward the harbor at Nawiliwili Bay on Kauai.We ate at the breakfast buffet on deck 11 (oatmeal and fruit) and then lifted weights in the gym, also on deck 11. When we were first thinking about taking a Hawaiian cruise, Bill was very reluctant to board a boat with over 2000 passengers on it. However, he discovered two excursions that looked interesting. The first was to ride a bicycle down from the summit of a volcano on Maui or the Big Island. The second was to take a kayak trip in the open ocean around the Napali Coast of Kauai. Cathy had nixed both of these ideas and let Bill have his way on picking other excursions. Bill came up with a schedule of adventurous excursions, one per day, for the whole cruise. We began with a hiking trip to Princeville Falls on Kauai's north shore.Our guides were Garrett and Tom, whose home has neither heat nor AC. We had to don some silly looking rubber socks, a backpack with water and raincoat, and a harness for some later adventures. Then we loaded into 2 Swiss Army surplus trucks and headed into Princeville Ranch. We looked as though we were ready for some adventure, and we were going to get it. We began walking up and down hills in fields with cattle. Then we entered the rainforest. We came to a small waterfall, and then came the part that Cathy was dreading, a semi-rappelle down a rock face along another waterfall, which Cathy executed perfectly. Then we had to cross a surging stream in the midst of waterfalls.We trekked further through the rainforest and finally arrived at our destination waterfall. Bill clamored into the water and swam to the waterfall and climbed the rocks under it. The guides prepared a good lunch for us; food always tastes good outside. They decorated the spread with Plumeria blossoms, the flowers used in leis, and gave them out to the ladies after lunch. Cathy posed for a classic Hawaiian photo after lunch. We had to climb up the rock face and do the stream crossing as we headed back. Then we returned a different way, which involved 6 more stream crossings. We certainly got our money's worth on this trip. For a good trip, Bill always tips the guides $20 (for both of us). He knows that the guides are paid very little and need the tips to survive. Unfortunately, many of those taking tours don't understand this need. We didn't get back to the ship until about 5:00 PM. After showers to wash off the mud, we ate dinner in the Palace Restaurant. We shared the table with Don and Lilli, a couple from Idaho. Don is totally blind and his first wife had just died about a year ago. Lilli became his second wife recently and is Don's guide. They were quite the inspirational couple and provided an interesting evening.
Day 8 (Tuesday, 04/12/05)
We were still in Kauai and had an early kayak/hiking excursion. Our guides were Chris and David. We paddled up the Huleia River, whose shores are choked with mangroves. Most of the flora and fauna on the Hawaiian islands have been imported, not always for the good of the ecology. We moved past the rope swing used by Indiana Jones in "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Many movies have been made in Kauai. When we reached the end of the kayaking part of the trip, we hiked to a small waterfall. Bill got the opportunity to jump off of a rope swing in that area and again at the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" rope swing. We walked through a field used in the filming of "Jurassic Park" and finally took a motorized canoe back to the launch site. When we returned to the ship and took showers, we ate lunch in Crossings Restaurant and got a good look at the scenery as we sailed off at 1:00 PM. The reason for the early sailing was so that we could all get a good look at the magnificent Napali Coast (pics: 1,2,3,4,5) of Kauai in daylight. We decided to multitask and took a 6 mile walk on deck 6 as we were sailing around Kauai. While we were out there, we spotted flying fish, 3 whale spouts, Gannets, Boobies (not what you're thinking - click here), and Shearwaters. Even the ship's wake looked beautiful. Later in the evening, we put on semi-formal duds and went to dinner at the premium restaurant, Kahili, where we had an excellent, intimate dinner. After dinner, we attended a very entertaining show, "Hey, Mr. Producer!", by the ship's resident dance company. We got to bed very late.
Day 9 (Wednesday, 04/13/05)
We were treated to a view of the snow-capped extinct volcano, Mauna Kea as we sailed along the Big Island. It was raining when we passed the Tsunami Memorial near Hilo. After breakfast, we lifted weights as the ship docked at Hilo. We had a bit of a traffic jam trying to get off of the ship for our excursion of the day, a trip to Volcano National Park. It rained as we explored a lava tube, and until we arrived at the lava field. The whole idea of this excursion was to view flowing lava up close. The location, if any, of the flowing lava for the day was discovered by a chief guide early in the morning. Today, we would be hiking 3 miles into the lava field to get to the red hot, flowing lava, and 3 miles back. We wondered what we were in for when Bill spotted our guide, Dominick, putting up an antenna to call for help if we needed it. The terrain was unworldly and tough to walk on. There were a lot of people walking on the lava field, some in various tour groups, some freelancing. The temperature grew hotter as we approached the new lava. Finally, we arrived. It was incredible to see the lava glow red and move so close to us. Bill stood within 4 feet of the moving lava. Cathy didn't get quite so close, but her photo shows the red-hot lava just as clearly. The lava flow is so unpredictable, that parts of the road sometimes get covered. We drove up to Kilaueu crater, where it was chilly due to the rain and temperature at that altitude. Afterward, we went to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory before returning to the ship. We ate dinner in Crossings Restaurant by ourselves and had good food with lousy service. The ship sailed at 6:00 PM and did a slow pirouette in front of the glowing Kilaueu mountainside. Unfortunately, Bill's camera wasn't up to the task of getting a decent photograph, but it was an awesome sight.
Day 10 (Thursday, 04/14/05)
The ship anchored offshore from Kona on the Big Island with Mauna Loa looming in the background. After breakfast, we met in the Blue Hawaii Lounge, shipboard, to organize our kayak/snorkel group and to go to the tender together for the ride to shore. We took a van to the the launch site and met our guide Matt. Unfortunately, Bill did not have a camera for this excursion. We had a nice, open ocean, blue water (deep) paddle down the coast. We had some swells on the ocean, but nothing was breaking, so it wasn't a problem.Here is a representative photograph of where we paddled. After a couple of miles, we anchored and tied our kayaks together and got off for snorkeling or swimming to a rocky promontory. Cathy stayed on our kayak. Bill saw some interesting fish right under the kayaks and then swam to the rocks. There was a nice cliff there, so Bill climbed up and jumped off. Here is a representative photograph of someone jumping off the cliff.We snorkeled a bit more, and then paddled back up the coast. We realized that we should have planned to stay in Kona, rather than trying to take a tender back to the ship, change, and come ashore again. We borrowed $10 from Chris, a fellow passenger on the trip, Then we stayed in Kona for a couple of hours, walking around, getting a cup of Kona coffee at Surf-Ass Cafe, and eating lunch at another small cafe. Kona is beautiful and has great weather because it's on the dry side of the Big Island. Finally, we took a hot tender ride back to the ship. Bill did a walk/run on deck 6, while Cathy just walked. We had drinks on deck 11 as the ship sailed away from Kona. Then we ate a quick dinner at the buffet which reminded Bill of a crowd that you'd see at a NASCAR event. The dance troupe put on its version of Cirque de Soleil and did a great job.
Day 11 (Friday, 04/15/05)
We saw some interesting scenery, and were greeted with a rainbow as we sailed along the Maui coast on our way to Kahalui. After breakfast and lifting weights, we met with our tour group and guide, Susan, for a rainforest hike. We learned a lot about the irrigation systems built by the Chinese plantation laborers and about the plants and trees of the rainforest. We had a cross a couple of swinging bridges on the way out and back. The crossings were much harder than they look. We were supposed to ford a stream, but the water levels were too high, so we had to turn back a bit early. It was overcast on the way out to the hike and sunny on the way back, in typical tropical fashion. It was interesting to see how Taro is cultivated with flowing water. We returned to the ship for a fruit and salad lunch from the buffet. Then, we took a walk around the port and discovered how bad the traffic can get in paradise. We ate dinner in the Crossings Restaurant with 2 couples from Canada. After a long dinner, we went to part of a musical performance and then headed for our cabin. We discovered then that Bill had received the wrong ID card back from the waiter at dinner. The other person also had the first name of William. We went to the credit desk on deck 5 and the person on duty cut us new cards immediately.
Day 12 (Saturday, 04/16/05)
We were still at Maui. Our excursion was a kayak/snorkel trip on the other side of the island. We had an informative ride over to the other side in a cab. Our kayak guides were Jason and Todd. Jason told us that paddling a tandem kayak is just like driving a tank. The weather and the water were beautiful. We paddled straight out from shore to the other side of the reef and then anchored and tied up our kayaks. Cathy stayed in the boat again while Bill snorkeled. Todd led us to the reef and dove down and showed us lots of fish, 4 Green Turtles, and a Spotted Eel. Bill's snorkel malfunctioned and he swallowed a lot of seawater during his time in the water. When we returned to the ship, we had a fruit and salad lunch again and then walked on deck 6 for an hour and 45 minutes. For our last evening on the ship, we decided to treat ourselves to a great meal at the Pacific Heights premium restaurant. We watched the show, "Running Wild", put on by the dance troupe which was another wonderful performance.
Day 13 (Sunday, 04/17/05)
We ate an early breakfast, lifted weights, packed our bags, and carried them off of the ship at 7:30 AM. This was the way to beat the crowd, most of whom had chosen to have their luggage carried off of the ship by stevedores overnight. They would have to leave the ship in large groups between 8:00 and 10:00 AM. Meanwhile, we caught a shuttle to the Alamo office and picked up our Chevy Malibu rental car. We drove up the Windward Coast of Oahu and up to the North Shore. It was 85 degrees and very pleasant with the refreshing trade winds blowing. We discovered a number of shrimp farms at the top end of the Windward Coast and ate a great shrimp lunch from a truck. We met a middle-aged surfer there who told us to expect big waves on the North Shore on Monday. We made a quick visit to the Mormon Temple Visitors Center. Then, we drove to our bungalow rental in Hauula and met with Dana, the manager. After we settled in, we took a short, 1/2 block walk to the beach past a neighbor's yard filled with 4 snarling rottweilers and a couple of smaller dogs, all barking murderously. Cathy used the bungalow's washer and dryer while Bill borrowed Dana's laptop to do some Internet work. We did a shopping trip nearby and then had to improvise to cook a pasta dinner without a proper pot. We appreciated the many channels of the TV cable in the bungalow.
Day 14 (Monday, 04/18/05)
Bill went out to get some sunrise photos from the beach (and wake the dogs). Then, we breakfasted on oatmeal, pineapple, and papaya. Bill and Stacey called. Luckily, Bill found the bungalow phone number on our itinerary because our cell phone had no reception. The baby was due to come early, on Friday, 4/22. Since there was a high surf advisory, we drove up to the North Shore to see the big waves and the surfers that ride them. We were not disappointed. There were huge waves at Sunset Beach and the Banzai Pipeline (pics: 1,2,3,4). There were also Coast Guard helicopters, police cars, ambulances, lifeguards, photographers, fans, and lots of surfers. The body boarders seemed to do the best overall, but they have the easier job of board control. We saw one guy come in with a broken surf board. He probably had mixed emotions, like a guy who smashes his own glass backboard with a dunk shot. We also saw a guy in a wheelchair with a body board on the back. That must be quite a story! We hiked to Kaena Point, about a 5 mile round trip, using our hiking poles. It was a hot walk, but we had plenty of water. We saw a glider, an albatross, and a monk seal. We ate a private lunch at the point. Afterward, we toured the "quintessential beach town" of Haleiwa and visited the original Wyland gallery. Bill had shave ice (Cathy is only holding it for him). We made a reservation at the famous sunset restaurant, Jameson's. We stopped by again at the North Shore beaches and then shopped at Foodland in Laie, which sells no alcohol due to the Mormon influence in town. We cooked pasta again for dinner.
Day 15 (Tuesday, 04/19/05)
We enjoyed 100% Kona coffee with breakfast. We were expecting a phone call from our neighbors, Joy and Tom Brozka, who were arriving in Honolulu for a cruise, so we stayed close during the morning by taking a walk on the nearby beach. We saw crab holes on the beach that reminded us of the Ghost Crabs back home, but saw that the Hawaiian crabs were darker in color. We went to the Shark Cove Internet Cafe to upload photos and process email. Then we went to the Audubon Center at Waimea Valley to walk through the botanical gardens. We spent a couple of hours wandering around all of the various areas in the Park (pics: 1,2,3,4,5,6). We ate lunch there. As we drove around the island, we saw many tsunami alarms, especially on the North Shore. It wasn't until we got home, that we discovered the information on what to do if an alarm sounds. We talked with Joy and Tom later in the afternoon, but decided that we were too far away from downtown Honolulu to drive in for a meeting. We knocked around Haleiwa, watching surfers, until it was time for our dinner reservation at Jameson's. We saw a great sunset from a table with a good view, but the food was ordinary and a bit overpriced.
Day 16 (Wednesday, 04/20/05)
After breakfast, we drove to the Leeward Coast for some exploring. On the way, we stopped at the very touristy Dole Plantation (pics: 1,2,3,4). The Leeward Coast is a drier, sunnier area with beautiful water color and lots of sandy beaches. Unfortunately, there are homeless people camping under tarps and living in cars on most of the beaches. The small towns in this part of Oahu are filled with trashy shacks. There are many warnings on signs and in tour books indicating that it is unsafe to camp here or even park a car here. It's too bad that the local governments in this area of the island have let the situation get out of hand. We took a quick tour and only made a few brief stops. One of those stops was at the beach used in the filming of the movie, "Hawaii". There is a small cemetery on the rocks there. We ate at a Pizza Hut and headed to the North Shore for a walk. We picked up takeout shrimp dinners to bring back to the bungalow.
Day 17 (Thursday, 04/21/05)
We decided to drive south to Makapuu Point in order to hike up to the lighthouse there. This brought us to one of the most scenic areas of Oahu. Bill had read that parking was difficult near Makapuu Point, so we parked too far away at Kaiona Beach Park, where a field trip of elementary school kids was underway. We tried walking up the road, but a narrow bridge on a road with heavy traffic and no shoulders made us turn back. We drove closer and parked along the side of the road. We discovered an advertising photo shoot up on the cliff at the overlook parking lot. Bill tried to find a trail along the cliff that was described in one of our guide books, but the once-popular route seemed abandoned. We settled for a hike up a jeep road. We found another overlook above the lighthouse and then Bill hiked higher to some old bunkers at the summit, while Cathy stayed below. We ate lunch with a beautiful view out over the ocean toward the islands of Molokai and Maui, visible in the haze in the distance. After we hiked down, we drove to the Hanauma Bay Wildlife Preserve. This beautiful spot is known for the best snorkeling on Oahu and is always crowded. Because it is a preserve, visitors are required to view a short video emphasizing conservation of the area. Bill rented snorkeling equipment and enjoyed seeing lots of colorful fish, some of them quite large. Meanwhile, Cathy enjoyed some beach time. Then we drove to the North Shore for Internet access. After showers and change of clothing back at the bungalow, we had a great dinner at Lei-Lei's Restaurant on the golf course in the Turtle Bay Resort.
Day 18 (Friday, 04/22/05)
Our son Bill called with the joyful news of the birth of Sarah Mary McArthur. We packed our bags and checked out of the bungalow at 9:30 AM. We wanted to make some calls on our cell phone, so we drove up to the Polynesian Cultural Center parking lot where the signal was strong. Then we drove to our B & B, J & B's Haven, where we met Joan and stowed our stuff in a very nice suite in the lovely house. We drove to the nearby Koko Marina Shopping Center and ate lunch at Kona Cafe. Then we drove to the Manoa Falls trailhead above Honolulu. This rainforest area is like a fairyland of dark forest filled with towering trees, but it's filled with signs warning of falling branches, car break-ins, bacterial infections, and rock slides. We hiked up to the falls on a wet and slippery trail and then, taking the advice of a navy man with his wife and daughter, hiked up to the ridge on a wetter and slipperier trail with one open view and with nasty mazes of roots. It was a muddy 6 mile round trip. When we returned to the B & B, we met Barbara and chatted for a while before showering and changing. We had dinner a Assaggio's at the Koko Marina where the food was good and the portions were gigantic. Bill was fooled again by ordering a meaty Pasta Fagioli soup.
Day 19 (Saturday, 04/23/05)
We lay in bed until 7:00 AM because breakfast was to be served at 8:00 AM. Cathy talked with Stacey and Marianne. We had a beautiful breakfast spread and good conversation with Joan and Barbara, spiced with a good dose of their British wit. We went to a second of the nearby shopping centers, Hawaii Kai, and accessed the Internet at a Copy Shop, Inc. Bill had to use a Macintosh computer and suffered from its nonintuitive user interface. We ate lunch with food and drink from Starbucks, consumed at a table on the marina. Then we drove back to Hanauma Bay and hiked on an illegal trail to Koko Head. The views from the trail were outstanding. Afterward we drove over to Koko Crater and walked the 2 mile loop in the botanical garden there (pics: 1,2,3,4,5). We ate dinner at Roy's which was outstanding for both its food and friendly service.
Day 20 (Sunday, 04/24/05)
We enjoyed another good breakfast at the B & B after Cathy talked with Stacey. We drove up Route 72 and stopped at a gift shop which contained a number of authentic Hawaiian craft items. Then we drove up Pali Parkway to the overlook. The views and the wind were powerful. We walked a mile down the old Pali Road and wondered how any car could have made it up the steep grade. We ate lunch at the Kona Cafe again, Paul Monahan, one of our fellow travelers from the past two winters, called to let us know what they're doing (looking at snow rather than planting crops). After lunch we drove to the third nearby shopping center, Niu Valley, and made a dinner reservation at Le Bistro Restaurant. We drove to Makapuu Point and hiked a trail to the beach. Then we drove to the blowhole lookout. Bill hiked down the "From Here to Eternity" beach which Cathy stubbornly refused to do. Back up top, Bill scanned the horizon with his binoculars and saw several whale spouts and splashes. Then he saw two whales breech, one a skinny gray whale, and one a humpback. We ate an excellent dinner at Le Bistro.
Day 21 (Monday, 04/25/05)
This was our last day in Hawaii. We began with another good breakfast at the B & B and were checked-out by 9:30 AM. We drove over to Waikiki Beach and walked around a bit before eating lunch with a view at a rooftop restaurant. As we were walking back to the car, Cathy took her first Hawaiian tumble. After all of the tricky hiking, she must have tripped over an acorn. Luckily, no harm was done. We drove up on Round Top Drive above Honolulu, a purportedly very scenic road. We found the sides of the road so overgrown with vegetation, that we only got one good view and it was a great one with Diamond Head in the background. Afterward, we entered the near gridlock of the city's early afternoon traffic and turned in our rental car at Alamo. We took the shuttle into the airport and waited for our flight in the airport garden. Our flights back were shorter than our flights out, but were still too long.
Day 22 (Tuesday, 04/26/05)
We arrived in Philadelphia at 11:30 AM. We called for a shuttle to SunPark and were soon on the road. We were home around 3:00 PM, ready for the warm weather to arrive with us.
1. Waikiki Beach is a great destination for a short vacation. The area is clean, the water is beautiful and warm, and there are lots of good hotels and restaurants. There are also sufficient interesting sites and sights and activities to fill the days and nights.
2. You can easily hide from the crowds on a big cruise ship. The keys are starting the day early and wanting to do activities different from the norm. We think that having a family reunion on a cruise could be a lot of fun.
3. Our bungalow on the Windward Coast provided us with the opportunity to tour much of the island and to enjoy the quieter side of life on Oahu. We really enjoyed watching the surfers in the big waves on the North Shore and hiking away from the crowds.
4. The B & B in the Honolulu suburbs put us near good restaurants and the most scenic part of the island. It was a great change of pace for a couple of days to relax and begin the day more slowly.
5. More things that we would want to do on Kauai:
a. Kayak the Napali Coast
b. Hike the mountains
c. Explore the Waimea Canyon
6. More things that we would want to do on Maui:
a. Tour the island
b. Visit Haleakala Volcano
c. Explore the historic town of Lahaina
7. More things that we would want to do on the Big Island:
a. Walk around Kilauea Crater
b. Explore Kona more thoroughly
6. More things that we would want to do on Oahu:
Bill and Cathy McArthur