The Big Island: Trip 4 – Day 7

Wednesday was our last full day on the island and we spent it relaxing and eating! We started by having breakfast at Daylight Mind Coffee Company.

After breakfast we relaxed and packed in preparation to leave the next day. For dinner that night, we celebrated Linda’s birthday again at ‘Ulu Sushi Lounge at The Four Seasons. The hotel was incredible and we got to enjoy one final sunset!

What a way to end such a special week! ❤

 

The Big Island: Trip 4 – Day 6

Of all the amazing days we had planned on our trip, I think I was most excited about this day/night because we had our Manta Ray night snorkel. This had been on my bucket list for a few years so I was REALLY looking forward to it!

The snorkel definitely did not disappoint. We went with Wahine Charters and I would highly recommend them to anyone! We took off from the harbor, had a half hour boat ride filled with stars and arrived at the site ready to hop in the water. We held on to these light boards and the manta rays were attracted to the plankton that are attracted to the light. They do somersaults and almost look like they are going to swim straight for you and turn at the last minute. It was so incredible it completely took my breath away.

 

 

The Big Island: Trip 4 – Day 5

On Monday we kayaked and snorkeled in Kealakekua Bay. Unfortunately, our Go Pro decided to not stay charged so we didn’t get any pictures. Huge bummer as we saw dolphins, tons of fish and an octopus! After a busy morning, we went back to the hotel and crashed before enjoying the sunset at Lava Lava Beach Club again.

The Big Island: Trip 4 – Day 4

We had a relaxing day planned for Sunday after our big Saturday (thank goodness). It was also Linda’s birthday! We woke up and had coffee on our lanai with our cats and left late morning to drive to Waipio Valley. It was a beautiful day and a great drive there!

After enjoying the view, we drove to Honokaa for lunch. We wandered around a bit and then settled on Grandma’s Kitchen.

After lunch we drove down the coast and back toward Mauna Kea as our plan was to enjoy the sunset and check out the stars. It ended up being too cloudy so we decided to eat at Merriman’s in Waimea. On our way there we saw an owl…which was rather amazing!

Merriman’s was maybe my favorite meal of the trip. The atmosphere was so great and the food was delicious. A great way to celebrate Linda!

 

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!

 

 

The Big Island: Trip 3 – Day 2

Our Sunday began with waking up and (for me) still being shocked. We spent some time calling family and friends and telling them the big news! After that, we checked out of our hotel and headed north to Waipio Valley to spend the day there.

Waipio Valley was the childhood home of King Kamehameha I. There are about 100 residents in the valley now along with taro fields, a ranch, rivers and wild horses. The drive into the valley was incredibly steep at a 25% incline. Luckily for us, we had a jeep and were able to drive all the way down and explore. Our trip to the valley included driving through a river, seeing wild horses and watching the waves at a black sand beach. It was beautiful!

The Big Island: Trip 3 – Day 1

This past weekend, Josh and I headed to the Big Island one last time for our last trip before Josh deploys and I move. We flew in on Friday night and checked into our hotel to get some sleep before starting our early and very busy Saturday.

Our first stop of the weekend was kayaking across Kealakekua Bay to the Captain Cook Monument to snorkel. The snorkeling and kayak tour came highly recommended to us and they definitely did not disappoint! On our 1 1/2 mile kayak to the monument, we were surrounded by a pod of spinner dolphins. It was so amazing to be so close to them and on their level! The video below shows just how close they were too us. Amazing!

Kayaking with Dolphins Video

After kayaking over to the monument, we landed our kayaks and got our snorkel gear ready. We also took some time to admire the monument. Captain Cook first visited the islands in 1778. It was thought that he and his crew were gods and were welcomed with open arms during a time of peace. After exploiting the kindness of the Hawaiian people, he left and returned during a time of war where he was not exactly welcomed back with open arms. He was killed in the bay by the Hawaiians and the monument memorializes his death.

Next, it was time to snorkel!! It was absolutely stunning. By far the best snorkeling I have ever seen. I could have spent hours just swimming around the area. It was great, as we were the only group (us and one other couple with our guide) and two other random people. We beat the crowd of tour boats!

Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling Video

After we finished snorkeling, we headed back across the bay. We encountered more dolphins along the way showing off their spinning moves. After we had lunch, we went back to the hotel to shower, change and start making our way towards Mauna Kea. The Mauna Kea summit sits at 13,796 feet and houses University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy and Mauna Kea Observatories. The 13 telescopes are operated by astronomers from 11 different countries. It was an incredible sight to see.

We stopped at the Visitor Information Station (9,200 ft above sea level) to acclimate to the elevation before heading to the summit. After about an hour, we headed up to the summit to catch the sunset and check out the observatories. Unfortunately, it was pretty cloudy so we didn’t get to see the sunset, but the clouds were still beautiful.

After that, we headed back down to do some star gazing. The Visitor Information Station sets up multiple telescopes for people to view things far, far away! It was awesome. The stars were absolutely breathtaking. I have never experienced anything like it! Once we finished viewing everything through the telescopes, we wandered through the gift shop and then headed over to a picnic table area, where it was pitch black, to better view the stars. As we were sitting there mesmerized, Josh said “So I have a question for you”. My response was, naturally, something along the lines of “Yeah, what’s up?”. To which he replied “Will you marry me?” as he got down off the bench onto one knee (in the dark). I was COMPLETELY shocked and surprised and uttered things such as “EXCUSE ME!?” and “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!”. After I slightly recovered, I remembered to say “OF COURSE YES!!!!!!”. Since it was so dark, I couldn’t see the ring he had…he jokingly said “So I know it’s dark, but I promise it’s pretty”. It was an absolutely amazing and unexpected way to end the day! As I sit here writing this, I’m still in shock! We attempted to take a selfie picture of the two of us and, of course, cut half our faces off (typical). So that is our engagement picture…sitting in the dark with half our faces cut off and squinty eyes! Once we got back to the car, we took a much better one (below). Then I decided to call my mom and wake her up at 2:00 am her time to tell her the amazing news! We then made it back to civilization to find a place to eat dinner. Since it was so late, one of the only places open was “Humpy’s”. Yep, we celebrated our engagement at a restaurant called “Humpy’s”. Hilarious! All in all, I would say it was one successful day on The Big Island!

Engaged!!!

Engaged!!!