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!

The Big Island: Trip 5

A couple weekends ago, we met our friends Lindsay and Channa on The Big Island for a quick trip. They were visiting from Seattle so we decided to crash their vacation for a couple days.

Saturday was a bit rainy so we slept in and then walked into Kailua for brunch. We ate at Daylight Mind Coffee Company (which was delicious) and then wandered back to our hotel.

After eating plenty of food, we decided to go on a short walk to the End of the Earth. We watched a few people jump off the rocks and enjoyed the spectacular view of the ocean.

After a relaxing day, we walked to dinner and enjoyed the evening!

On Sunday we decided to go snorkeling at Two Step. Great location with tons of fish! Videos below!

After lots of snorkeling, we worked up an appetite. We ate lunch at Da Poke Shack before saying bye and venturing back to Oahu! The poke was DELICIOUS.


The Big Island: Trip 4 – Day 3

Saturday we woke up and had coffee on our lanai before embarking on a long haul to the Hilo side of the island for a packed day. We drove through the middle of the island and stopped at Kaumana caves first.

After exploring the caves, we drove a few minutes down the road to Rainbow Falls. We spent some time enjoying the falls and the banyan trees.

After exploring, we decided it was time for breakfast at Ken’s House of Pancakes. The goal was to eat enough so we could make it through the day to our late dinner after our hike. We definitely achieved that goal!

After breakfast, we drove through the Puna area and stopped at MacKenzie State Park and to watch some turtles.

We finally pulled ourselves away from the turtles so we could meet up for our lava hike at Kalapana Cultural Tours! Josh and I went with this company before and they are so wonderful. The hike was different than a few years ago (as expected) and we started by riding bikes a couple miles down a gravel road and then hiked the remainder of the way to the surface flow. We lucked out as there were quite a few breakouts. After that, we hiked back to the ocean entry to check that out before hopping on our bikes for the ride back.

After our hike, we were all pretty hungry and ready to relax. We drove back to Hilo and stopped at Pineapples for dinner before driving back to the other side of the island. It was perfect after our long day — good food, good drinks and open air seating!

After dinner, we drove back and completely crashed after much needed hot showers…very excited to sleep in the next day!


The Big Island: Trip 4 – Day 1 & Day 2

In the beginning of September, Josh, my mom, Tom and I all took a much needed vacation to The Big Island for a whole WEEK. This is the first trip to another island that lasted longer than a few days for Josh and I…which was wonderful!

Josh and I met them at the airport and we all flew to Kona together. We checked into our hotel in Waikoloa (which was lovely) and then headed to Lava Lava Beach Club for drinks, dinner and a beautiful sunset.

The next day, we didn’t have a ton planned (on purpose) so we could relax and explore where we were staying. We had coffee on our lanai and then my mom and I went on a walk to explore. It was a gorgeous day and we had the walk along the beach mostly to ourselves. After that, we ran to the grocery, took a nap and then got dressed for dinner at Roy’s. Linda had two restaurants that she wanted to eat at and this was one of them. The food did not disappoint and we lucked out with a corner table surrounded by water!



Maui: Trip 2 – Day 3

Laura and Jim’s Wedding Day!!!

On Monday, we woke up and headed down to have breakfast at the resort. After that, Josh and I drove to La Perouse Bay to hike around and see what it was all about. It was beautiful, but very windy. Snorkeling is supposed to be great in the bay, but the ocean was pretty rough. On our walk, we saw several goats just hanging out on the beach and in the wooded area. It was kind of hilarious to see goats hanging out on the beach. I feel like that would happen only in Hawaii.

After we got done with La Perouse Bay, we went back to the hotel to grab lunch at the pool bar and then got ready for the wedding! We went to the wedding around 4:00. It was in such a gorgeous location! Everyone looked so beautiful and it could not have been more perfect! I am so incredibly happy for both of them :). Towards the end of the night, Laura and I even got to dance to our song (Wouldn’t It Be Nice by the Beach Boys). The night could not have been more perfect for the two of them!

The Big Island: Trip 2 – Day 2

On Sunday, Josh and I woke up at 3:15 a.m. to head to our sunrise lava boat tour. Our tour was leaving at 5:00 a.m. from Isaac Hale Beach Park and we had to be there a half hour early to check in. We booked our tour through Lava Ocean Aventures and it was well worth it! Our boat was open on all sides so we were prepared to get wet and be cold! The coast we traveled on has some of the roughest waters in Hawaii. Part of the reason we chose the sunrise tour is that it would be the calmest time of day.

The amusing thing about this tour was that we all boarded the boat in the middle of a parking lot. They towed the boat to us and we all climbed up via a ladder. Once we were all on board, they towed us to the boat ramp and launched us…then we were off!

It took about 35 minutes to get to the lava ocean entry. It was pitch black and you couldn’t see anything…kind of scary! You could see the glow of the lava 10 minutes before we got there…amazing! Once we got there, you could instantly feel it getting warmer. The water around where the lava was entering the ocean was 180 degrees. Even 25 feet out, the water was still about 75 degrees. They stuck a bucket in the ocean to get some water so we could all feel how warm it was. The Captain got us within a couple yards of the flowing lava…it was SO close that we could hear the lava hissing when it hit the ocean. Pictures and videos below!

Lava Boat Tour Video 1
Lava Boat Tour Video 2
Lava Boat Tour Video 3
Lava Boat Tour Video 4


After hanging out at the lava for a little over an hour we headed back. I was SO seasick at this point, so I was thankful to start moving again. We got back to the park and headed back to Hilo, showered and slept for two hours until we had to check out. I was dying from being so seasick, so I was quite happy to sleep for a few hours. We checked out of our hotel and had lunch at Café Pesto before going to the airport to catch our flight out. I was quite happy to have some good food and a diet coke. After our amazing weekend, I think Josh and I can mark off the volcano area of the big island. It was so worth the two trips and a once in a lifetime experience!

The Big Island: Trip 2 – Day 1

Josh and I headed back to the Big Island this weekend with two purposes: to see lava (since we got rained out a few weeks ago) and to see Belinda and Ted (two people who have known me most of my life and were visiting Hawaii for vacation). I am so very happy to say it was a HUGE success!

We landed late Friday evening and headed to Ken’s House of Pancakes for dinner since it was the only place open past 9 p.m. in Hilo. I had a fantastic curry chicken salad sandwich and Josh had a conglomeration of things (pictured below). After that, we checked in to our hotel which was on Hilo Bay and crashed in preparation for our big weekend ahead.


We got up on Saturday, grabbed a small to-go breakfast and coffee and headed to Honoli’i Beach Park. It is a black sand beach full of surfers. It is just north of downtown Hilo and is on a beautiful, scenic road.


After our slight detour, we headed north to the small town of Honokaa to meet Belinda and Ted for lunch. Honokaa was about halfway between where we were staying and where they were staying. We had a wonderful lunch at an Italian Pizzeria called Café Il Mondo. We then headed to Tex Drive In to introduce them to malasadas. They were pretty amazing!


We then drove down to where our hike was starting in Kalapana (fingers crossed the entire time that the weather would stay nice). We arrived around 3:00 p.m. and took off around 3:30 p.m. with our guide. Our group had nine people in it, which was a great size to be hiking with. We started off heading towards where a surface flow might be. From what our guide said, it didn’t sound like we would get to see one but he wanted to try anyways to see if there was any action. The terrain was definitely rough on the ankles and feet. It was amazing to hike on the different types of lava from over the years. You could tell a huge difference between ten year old lava, three year old lava and month old lava. The newer stuff was much looser and easier to slip on (luckily, neither of us fell). The lava is super sharp (kind of like glass) and can cut you if you fall on it. We could see the different areas where the steam was rising from the lava tubes on the hillside. It appeared that there would be lava to see there, but it was all underneath the top layer flowing in the tubes to the ocean. After about three miles, we reached a surface flow and it was amazing! At first, there wasn’t much action and we spotted just a faint glow. But once we got there, there were a few different areas opening up and flowing. I have never seen or experienced anything like it in my life….the sound alone of it hissing was just insane! The lava was 3,000 degrees and if you got close enough, it felt like your face was melting. The closest I got was about two feet and I couldn’t stand it after that. It was incredible. Pictures and videos below describe it much better than I ever could.

Lava Surface Flow Video 1
Lava Surface Flow Video 2
Lava Surface Flow Video 3
Lava Surface Flow Video 4
Lava Surface Flow Video 5


After spending about 45 minutes at the surface flow, we headed to the ocean entry area to see the lava flowing there. On our way there, we stepped over a crack that was glowing orange…amazing and scary at the same time to think about what you are walking on! There was tons of lava pouring into the ocean! There were about four different areas…it was so hard to see because of all the steam, but you could see the glow through the steam.

Lava Ocean Entry Video


After about a half hour, we headed back toward where our shuttle would come to pick us up. Walking back on the lava at night was pretty rough and I was so thankful for my headlamp. The lava was so incredibly beautiful under the light…super shiny and sparkly. We finally made it back after about an hour and a half hike from the ocean entry point. In total, our hike was 5.6 miles. Our hike was through Kalapana Cultural Tours and they were AWESOME.

After profusely thanking our tour guide, we headed back to Hilo for a quick dinner before crashing. We decided to try a new place instead of going to Ken’s, since it was Saturday night and places were open past 9:00 p.m.! We ended up at a restaurant called Ponds close to our hotel. We had a corner table that was surrounded by water on both sides. It was very nice and relaxing. I had a pasta dish and Josh had fish. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to go to bed. We had to get up at 3:15 a.m. for our lava boat tour the next day!

The Big Island: Trip 1 – Day 4

Monday morning we woke up early to head to Isaac Hale Beach Park to catch our boat for the lava tour. Well not surprisingly this also got rained out due to the weather and roughness of the ocean. So instead we headed to Kalapana Cafe for breakfast and to regroup and figure out what we wanted to do on our last day.


After breakfast we headed to check out the Kapoho Tide-pools and Wai`opae Ponds. Rumor has it that they are wonderful for snorkeling, but with the current state of the weather we only visited them from above ground.


After our brief stop at the tide-pools, we headed north for a few miles to check out a natural lava swimming pool. The drive there was along one of the prettiest roads I have ever been on. It was also ridiculous how instantly our surroundings changed to a jungle. The surf here was outrageous. So much so, that we took a video because pictures just couldn’t capture the magnificent waves.


After hiking back through the mud to our car, we headed back to the paved road to Highway 137 to visit Ahalanui. Ahalanui is a spring- and ocean-fed pool containing a man-made wall that separates it from the ocean. The pool is heated to about 90 degrees…but we opted not to get in as it looked pretty disgusting. Even though fresh water replenishes the pool daily, I’m still not sure it was the cleanest thing to swim in. However, it was still pretty neat to look at. It also amazes me that there are pools that are heated by the earth to such high temperatures.


Our next stop down Highway 137 was back to Isaac Hale Beach Park. This time to visit Poihiki pool, which is also a warm water pool, but completely natural. We walked along a short path to the pool…and while it looked much cleaner, there were already a lot of people in it. However, we did sit for a bit and watch all of the surfing action at the park.


Once we got sick of watching the surfers, we made one last stop at Mackenzie State Recreation Area. We weren’t sure what to expect, but the owner of our B&B told us to make a stop here because the scenery was beautiful. We definitely were blown away. We thought the waves were ridiculous at the lava pool, but they were nothing compared to the waves here. They were so large and powerful that there were little crabs on the top of the cliffs that had been tossed up by the water. They would start to then make their way back down the rocks. Rough life for the little crabs. We also took a video at this location because the pictures could not begin to do what we saw in person justice.


After that amazing experience, it was time for us to head back to Hilo to the airport. Lucky for us, this time we were on Hawaiian Airlines which meant we had a big plane that would have no problems taking off in the rain…unlike our Molokai experience from a couple months ago :). Adios Big Island..til we meet again!

The Big Island: Trip 1 – Day 3

The third day started out with another amazing breakfast and oddly enough no rain! We had pancakes, fruit, toast, coffee and juice. The other two cats also studied us during breakfast, attempting to decide if they should bother with us.


After breakfast, we packed up and headed to the easternmost part of the island. Since the winds come from this direction, scientists use this “untouched air” as a benchmark to compare to air in other areas around the world. The lava on this side of the island was also incredibly difficult to walk through!


After we stopped for a bit, we headed down a 4WD road to Champagne Pond. We took the road for about a mile along some very bumpy lava and ended up at the pond. The pond is a calm, protected ocean inlet that is completely clear. You could see to the bottom…and it was heated! It was about 90 degrees. When I got in, four little yellow and black striped fish surrounded my legs (of course). So I immediately got out and let Josh entertain the fish while I took pictures.


Unfortunately, after our visit to the pond, we got a call telling us our Lava Hike was canceled due to weather. We were both pretty bummed as we had been looking forward to it all day. But we decided to grab some lunch in Pahoa and head back to the Volcanoes National Park to see Chain of Craters Road in the daylight. We had lunch at Kaleo’s and it was just as good as the dinner we had there the night before!


Back we went to the park for our third and final time for this trip. It was definitely a good decision to go back. Chain of Craters Road was beautiful during the daylight (pictures below). At the end, you can hike to the current lava flow. Had we known this, we would have planned a bit better and hiked there ourselves. But it takes about 3 1/2 hours to get there and back and we were running out of daylight…so we made the safe decision to come back and do it on another trip (even though we both were DYING to go).


We headed back up Chain of Craters Road and out of the park towards the Puna area to check out Kehena black sand beach. It was actually kind of hard to find. It was created by the 1955 lava flow and then it sank three feet all at once in 1975 because of an earthquake. We ended up there during high surf and it was ridiculous. The waves were HUGE and covered almost the entire beach when the tide came in. It was beautiful!


After visiting the beach, we headed to the Kalapana Cafe for dinner (Josh) and ice cream (me). Yes…I had ice cream for dinner and it was amazing! We headed back to the B&B to pack up as we had an early morning with a lava boat tour!