Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Kauai August 2017

When we flew over to Kauai the plan wasn't even 1/5 full and we were able to spread out and relax. I haven't had an empty seat next to me on a flight for years!

We staying in a condo that we rented a few years ago and we already knew we liked the location. 

We decided to do some things we didn't get to do the last time we were here. 

One day we decided to do the Smith Family Luau and Garden tour along with the Fern Grotto tour. 

We boarded a large flat bottom boat to travel up the river and get to the fern Grotto which had a little waterfall and a bunch of hanging ferns trailing from the overhanging rock. 

(Telling us the history and singing songs about it)

They used to have wedding ceremonies under the water but they stopped due to the danger of falling rocks. 

We got to explore the beautiful gardens before the Luau started. 

(The kids decided to sit and wait for us)

On the way back we saw an entire peacock family...

The dinner was great but the show was just OK (nothing compared to Polynesian Cultural Center) but we still enjoyed it. 

One of the other days we drove around the islands to see the parts we hadn't seen the last time we visited. 

We stopped at this bird sanctuary and lighthouse.

Waimea Canyon was more impressive that we thought it would be. It was amazing. 

Then we drove as far north as we could and looked out over the Napali coast.

(little too close to the edge for my taste)

At the top of the ridge we are at the wettest place on earth. 

Of course it rained on us while we were there. 

One of our last outings was ziplining. This was my first experience ziplining. 

I was apprehensive but I was glad I did it. 

The great thing with this company was they did the braking for you so you could relax and just ride. 

We were able to ride on something like 8 lines with one of them being about 1/2 mile long. 

Most zip lining companies wouldn't accommodate someone who was the height of a dwarf but this one did. Ashley just met the weight requirements too! 

Very impressed with them and it was a great time. 

One of the last days we drove to this waterfall right off the road. 

Our final dinner at Dukes by the ocean  

Our final night there was the most impressive electrical storm that I've ever seen. This was the sky in the middle of the night. We just stood on the balcony listening to the thunder and watching the sky light up over and over. 

We tried watching the eclipse in the morning but we couldn't see anything so I explored the beach one last time before we left to come back home.   

Maui August 2017

This Hawaii trip is dedicated to Ashley who decided to play Hawaiian music one day while she was doing homework. I told her "be careful because dad is going to come home and hear it and want to go to Hawaii"

That's what happened, ha ha. 

We spent half our time in Maui and half in Kauai 

We got in late Friday night. Our resort was right on the water and nice but also a time share so they were offering us things left and right to take a timeshare tour.  

(Some of my favorite sunsets)

We ended up attending a breakfast that told us about some of the excursion options on the island and Taylor decided that watching the sunset at the top of Mount Haleakala and then riding bikes down with a tour group sounded fun. 

So he got up at 1:00 am by himself and went out to meet the bus to pick him up to go on his tour. He didn't even complain as we drug him around later that day to go exploring. 

He said they got there about an hour before sunrise and the stars were amazing. 

He loved the bike ride and I loved that there was a van in front of them and a van behind them protecting them as they rode down the road. Taylor said he heard all kinds of harrowing tales of bike accidents from tourists making the ride down with tour groups that left them on their own.  Scary. 

He had a lot of fun. 

Some of our favorite things to do while we were in Maui was go to the down town area and explore. 

You could walk along the water front and watch the water splash over the rock barriers. 

We went to an outdoor festival and art show that featured all kinds of photographs, glass blown projects, wood carvings, soap and bath salts and more. 

One of the highlights of the trip was snorkeling at Molokini. Its the best snorkeling we've found and it our first snorkeling experience (which ruined us for all other snorkeling) so we were excited to go back and experience it again. 

The boat was really nice and we met some nice people on that trip

Ashley loved it.

Another favorite day was the day we drove the Road to Hana 

The first time we did it the kids were younger and they weren't loving it. 

We had stopped for a lot of waterfalls and at a certain point they wouldn't even get out of the car and they complained or slept the rest of the way. 

But not this time. Taylor and Ashley enjoyed every stop off, all the exploring and it was one of my favorite days on the trip. 

My least favorite part of the day was going inside this lava tube that was right off the side of the road. We had paid for an app that followed us along the route and would tell us things to stop at and one of the spots was this lava tube that you wouldn't know was there...

Th opening was small but the app assured us that it opened up bigger inside. I have a tendency to feel claustrophobic at times so I debated but I decided to go with the rest of my family inside to explore. 

I ended up slipping on one of the rocks and falling backwards cutting myself up (I tore holes in my shorts and my skin was bleeding underneath) I decided to go on but after bumping my head on the ceiling a couple of times I was done and turned back around. But I have to admit it was a cool thing. 

Later when we were at the black sand beach we explored another lava cave but this one was much more open and easier to explore (and see in)

The black sand beach. 

Taylor took a video of the water rushing over the "sand" which was more like really small pebbles of lava and it sounded like a loud crackling noise and the water receded over it. 

We hiked up to the top of the ridge to get a better view (you can see the black sand beach behind us).

Some of the waterfalls were literally right off the road. 

Some of them took a bit of hiking but everywhere we looked was beautiful. 

Our last stop on the way back was the botanical garden. Ashley wanted to get a picture of the painted Eucalyptus trees. The way the bark peels makes the trees look like they've been painted. 

The boys weren't as excited to hike after a long day but they did it anyways and we got some pictures. 

Our last stop was a crazy jumping rock that only the locals know about (unless you have the app). We had to hike through someone's field and follow the directions to find it and then it was like a 30 foot jump into an unknown depth of water. 

No thank you. 

But Taylor did it anyway! Crazy. 

Shaved ice was a great way to end the day.

What a rebel Ashley!!

Our final breakfast in Maui before we left on our flight out was at a pancake place where you can cook your own pancakes. You buy the batter and then cook it how you like it right at the table. It was a fun concept.