Maui: Trip 4

To ring in 2019 we headed to Maui to celebrate our friends getting married! We had a beautiful sunrise and some great views of Molokai and Lanai on our flight over.

 

We arrived on Saturday morning and had breakfast in Paia at Paia Inn Café.

After breakfast, we drove around and then headed to Lahaina to check in and get ready for dinner. We made reservations to visit our favorite restaurant, Mama’s Fish House, for dinner.

On Sunday, we walked around Lahaina and then met at Hale Pa’ahao Prison for the rehearsal before the rehearsal dinner at Old Lahaina Luau.

 

Monday was the big day! The girls started their day at the Royal Hawaiian getting ready for the ceremony. We all got to wear the most incredible flowers in our hair! Caitlin was just stunning and we had a blast getting beautiful!

Next stop, the prison! It was a beautiful ceremony with more unbelievable flowers. After the ceremony, we boarded a whale watching boat to cruise around Maui, Lanai, and Molokai. We saw whales and an incredibly sunset.

Next stop was Down the Hatch in Lahaina followed by dancing at Monkeypod to ring in the new year! It was such a wonderful day celebrating!

 

 

Moorea

After our cruise ended, we stayed an extra two days on Moorea in an overwater bungalow. This was an item on my bucket list that I never thought I’d have a chance to cross off. I don’t think I can truly put into words how awesome it was to stand on our deck and be able to see fish, stingrays, and sharks clearly. We spent every day walking outside, jumping into the water, and snorkeling for hours.

On our first day we checked in, grabbed lunch, and hopped in the water to snorkel. After snorkeling, we enjoyed some champagne, a sunset, and some pretty awesome stingray watching.

After our sunset, we headed to dinner at the crepe restaurant. At night, the blacktip reef sharks come to visit the restaurant so we had quite a few friends hanging out for dinner.

After dinner, we crashed after our big day and got some sleep so we could do it all over again!

 

We woke up on Friday and started our day on stand up paddleboards in the lagoon. We saw tons of fish, sharks, and took in some great views. After that, we grabbed our snorkel gear and jumped in the water. The day brought more fish, more sharks, and a snowflake eel!

We ate dinner again with the sharks and organized ourselves so we could spend the morning in the water before we had to check out!

 

We woke up on Saturday and made the most of the few hours we had left. We spent the morning in the water with some familiar fish. We went pretty far out in the lagoon and on our way back we encountered a giant moray eel…which is the scariest thing I’ve seen in the water snorkeling and diving. He was really annoyed at us and came pretty far out from the coral and made it known he was pissed by baring his teeth at us. Pictures do not do this thing justice. Pretty cool that we got to see this without an incident!

We checked out of our hotel, grabbed the ferry back to Tahiti, and headed to the airport to hang out until our flight left. No words can describe how incredible this trip was and the pictures only start to do everything justice. So thankful we were fortunate enough to see this part of the world! ❤

Cruise: Taihiti

Our last stop on our cruise was Tahiti, the largest island in French Polynesia. We had one full day there and took full advantage of it. We started the day by having a lovely breakfast in our room, wandering around Papeete and visiting the market, then renting a car to drive around part of the island. Once we picked up the car, we headed North to start our trip around Tahiti Nui (we only had time to drive around the larger part of the island).

After stopping at a black sand beach and waterfall, we continued our rainy drive by a bright colored church and stopped at a botanical garden. Unfortunately the botanical garden seemed pretty desolate. However, we did see a Galapagos turtle but we were somewhat concerned since no one seemed to be there.

Our final stop on our tour of the island was the Maraa grotto. It was pouring down rain but well worth the stop. We met the cutest kitten and wished we could have taken her home with us!

After a decent amount of time at the caves, we drove back to Papeete to return the car and explore more. We walked around the city, visited the market for lunch and souvenirs, and eventually made our way back to the ship to eat dinner and pack our bags for an early morning departure.

 

 

 

Cruise: Raiatea

Our next stop was Raiatea, where we actually docked vs. anchored in the bay. We were the very first people off the boat and rented another car to explore the island. We drove all the way around the island to see as much as we could.

After we circled the island, we walked through Uturoa and then had lunch on the boat. In the afternoon, we did a drift snorkel in a coral garden on Tahaa (Tahaa shares a lagoon with Raiatea). It was pouring rain when we left, which made for an adventurous boat ride across the lagoon. It cleared up and the snorkeling was incredible. We drifted right over a really shallow coral garden and saw a ton of fish and beautiful coral.

After an amazing afternoon, we were the last to board the boat. We caught an amazing sunset from our balcony before a delicious dinner.

Cruise: Fakarava

Our second stop in French Polynesia was Fakarava in the Tuamotu Archipelago. This was up there as my most favorite place we stopped. Fakarava is one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia at 37 miles long. It is known for some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world. We anchored offshore and took a tender boat to the town of Rotoava. We rented bikes and biked all the way north 9 kilometers to a beach and had it completely to ourselves. That spot on the beach is potentially the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. It looked like it was out of a magazine! We were hoping to snorkel but the wind was incredibly strong and the ocean was way too rough to snorkel that day.

Cruise: Nuku Hiva

After four days at sea and crossing the equator for the first time, we made it to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands! Nuku Hiva is the second largest island in French Polynesia after Tahiti and is the most populated island in the Marquesas Islands. We anchored in the bay near Taiohae on the southern coast, which is where most of the population (less than 3,000) lives on the island.

We took a tour to Taipivai Valley for a large chunk of the day. The excursion started in Taiohae and we road with a local across the mountains to the valley. We stopped in the valley and watched some of the locals at work carving different wood sculptures (Nuku Hiva is known for their wood carvings). We enjoyed some local fruit and a stop at the beach as well.

After a full day on Nuku Hiva, we had another day at sea as we headed towards Fakarava in the Tuamotu Archipelago. On our day at sea, we had another delicious dinner with the fanciest dessert yet!

Maui: Trip 3 – Days 3 & 4

On Sunday, we got up and enjoyed coffee on our lanai again. After that, we picked up Brick and Danielle and headed to Paia for lunch and to walk around the town. After that, we decided we had enough time to head up to Haleakala. It was a really clear day so the views were stunning!

After that, we drove back to our hotels for the evening and relaxed and packed up to leave the next day. Josh and I enjoyed the most gorgeous sunset from our lanai. So many different colors!

On our last day, we once again enjoyed coffee on our lanai and took in the view one last time. Josh also played some Hawaiian games on the lawn of the hotel before we left. Our last stop of the trip was Lahaina to wander around the town. We had lunch with Danielle and Brick on the water at Lahaina Fish Co. before heading to the airport. Such a wonderful trip!

Lanai: Trip 2 – Day 2

On our second day, we got up and had breakfast and coffee at the hotel and took full advantage of the big rocking chairs looking out over the front lawn. After breakfast, we packed up the Jeep for our adventures that day.

First stop was the Munro Trail. We didn’t do the whole thing, only the first couple of miles. We found a really cool swing and stopped at a lookout that had some lovely views of Maui and Molokai!

The next stop was Garden of the Gods. The trail there was insanely muddy with tons of potholes due to the amount of rain Hawaii saw in the early Spring. It made for quite the adventure!

After taking in the view for a bit, we kept going down to Polihua Beach. The last time Josh and I were here, it was SO windy we couldn’t even enjoy it. Luckily, this time it was perfect. We sat for a long time and just enjoyed the empty beach and sunshine!

After plenty of sun, it was time to head back! It took us a little over an hour without any stops due to the rough terrain.

Once we got back, we wandered around Lanai City for a bit and relaxed before dinner at Lanai City Bar & Grille. Dinner was at our hotel, so quite convenient! We sat outside and listened to live music for a couple hours to end our night!

Lanai: Trip 2 – Day 1

In April, we took a long weekend trip to Lanai with my mom and Tom. Josh and I left early in the morning on Friday so we could go visit the Lanai Cat Sanctuary, which we missed on our first trip. We picked up our jeep and went to Blue Ginger Cafe in Lanai City for breakfast. After that, we drove back towards the airport to go visit the kitties! We spent three hours (and I could have spent more) feeding them treats, playing with them, and giving them attention. The facility and staff were wonderful and I love their mission. We also sponsored a cat for a year (her name is Ava and she’s pictured below). She’s 11 and SO sweet! Can’t wait to go back!

After we pulled ourselves away from the kitties, we checked in to Hotel Lanai and changed to go pick up Linda and Tom from the airport. After picking them up, we walked around Lanai City for a bit before heading to dinner at One Forty at The Four Seasons at Manele Bay. The dinner setting was beautiful and the food was delicious!

Sunflowers

We visited the sunflowers on the North Shore this past weekend. It turned into quite an adventure as it happened to be raining and was incredibly muddy. The flowers were beautiful, even in the rain and it was a pretty fun day! We spent some time in Haleiwa and ended the day hanging out in the rain in the hot tub soaking off all of the mud!