We spent our last couple of days in more typical Hawaii vacation fashion – lots of time at the beach, and a little more at the pool. The sunburns are still blazing, but what are you going to do? We got pretty attached to Hapuna Beach. It’s a beautiful (although quite popular) white sand beach about 15 minutes north of the hotel. A couple of days had some really great waves (for landlocked kids anyway), plenty of sun and just enough breeze to keep it comfortable.
We had to leave the hotel by 1:00 on Friday, and our flight didn’t leave until 8:00. The weather was getting pretty gray, so we decided to take a drive up to the north side of the island. We stopped at a municipal park and walked along the coastline a little while, where we came across another turtle sunning himself on the rocks. Then we drove to Kapa’au to see the King Kamehameha statue. It’s not a great site, but we felt compelled to see it while we were here.
Driving back to the airport over Kohala Mountain took us up into the clouds, where visibility was down to 30 feet at times. It slowed us down, but luckily we still made it back to Kona in time to turn in the car and grab a quick bite before boarding the plane. We were all sad to end the trip, but we had a great time. We’ll definitely be back.
Here’s a little compilation of our trip. It’s hard not to have a good time in Hawaii, and I think we proved that to ourselves on this trip. Aloha!
We were back at Hapuna Beach for the morning. The weather was absolutely perfect, and the swells were just about right to give them boys a thrill. We saw a few 4 footers that started to break into a “tube”. Perfect for body surfing. We hated to come in, but we had other things to do. The big activity was the dolphin swim. The boys had about 30 minutes in the lagoon with a trainer and a couple of dolphins. The got to tell it to do some tricks, and got up close and personal. Both of the came out of the water beaming, so we know it was worthwhile!
Today did not go at all as planned. It started out well enough. We got up early and made the drive around the north side of the island on our way to Hilo. The closer we got, the worse the weather became. By the time we got to Hilo, we knew our much hoped for helicopter tour was in jeopardy. When we checked in, the tour operator wanted to hold out hope. They cancelled our 11:30 flight due to limited visibility. We hoped for the best and rescheduled for 5:30, thinking that just maybe we could have a twilight ride over the lava flow.
We headed off for lunch in Hilo, and then drove down to the black sand beach at Punalu’u. The weather was intermittent, but never what you would call good. The rain subsided long enough for us to walk down by the beach. We were lucky enough to find a sea turtle had climbed up on the beach for a rest. He apparently decided that it was too crowded, and quickly turned back to the ocean. I managed to get the departure on video, though that will have to wait for some processing when we get home.
By then, the helicopter company had let us know that all flights for the day were cancelled, so we decided to take the old fashioned tour through Volcanoes National Park. Evan picked up the camera and started showing off his eye for photos – you’ll see a few of his signature pieces below. We hiked for a ways along the coast road, but there was no way the boys were making the 10 mile round trip to the lava flow. So, we headed back up the hill to check out the lava tube and one last glance at the Kiluea crater before heading home. We were glad we did, because we reached the crater just at twilight, and saw some pretty active lava bubbling just below the rim. It was a long way off, but an awesome sight nonetheless.
We stopped in Hilo for dinner, and made the trek up over the Saddle Road, which cuts across the heart of the big island, between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. We finally made it back to the hotel around 9:30 (or 1:30am by the body clocks), exhausted, but satisfied with an improvised day. Here’s hoping for better weather tomorrow for the big dolphin swim!
We technically arrived in Kona yesterday afternoon, but all we managed to do was check into the hotel, get some dinner, and do a little exploring around the sprawl of the Hilton grounds in Waikoloa. Body clocks were still askew, so we woke up this morning around 5:00, which gave us just a little time for more exploring before sitting down to enjoy our $29/person continental breakfast (good thing Hilton “gold” members get two free continental breakfasts!). Did we mention, things are expensive here in Waikoloa?
The pictures below show several scenes from walking around the grounds. We got to watch the trainers feeding the dolphins, and saw a couple of sea turtles swimming in the local lagoon.
After breakfast we went to the pool for some swimming and sliding. There are several pools here on the facility, so we’ll do more exploring in future days. That left us only partially sun burned, so we decided to take a break and go grab some lunch off-site. We drove up to the little town of Waikoloa Village, which is where Lara and I stayed in a condo the last time we were on the island in 2005. Not much had changed in this neck of the woods.
Then we went to Hapuna State Beach to complete our “Day 1” sun burns and test the waves. This was the first time in the Pacific for the boys. Evan jumped right in with body surfing and wave diving. Alex was a little more reluctant, but got the hang of it after first burying himself neck deep in the sand. Time to sign off now. Tomorrow we head to Hilo for a helicopter tour of waterfalls and Volcanoes National Park. We can’t wait!