It. Was. Awesome.
We left on Monday, May 20th. My father-in-law paid for a driver to pick us up and take us to the airport. It was great. Didn't have to worry about traffic, parking our car, or who would take us. We just got in and sat back enjoyed the drive.
On Tuesday we went kayaking on Kailua beach to a Flat Island and one of the two Mokulua Islands.
The water was the perfect temperature, the waves we ideal for easy kayaking and the ocean was so clear the when we snorkeled the visibility was awesome. We saw several fish, one teeny-tiny one chased me back to shore.
That night we went to the movie to see the new Star Trek movie (A's choice), and out to dinner. On vacation we eat grown-up food - Japanese noodle-house -- Yummy.
Wednesday we each had a massage:
And ate lunch at Cinnamon's in Kailua. Red Velvet Pancakes for lunch? Yes, please!
That afternoon we played in the water and went to eat at the Army Recreation Center. It was inexpensive, the food was good:
And the view was out of control!
We took the boat out to the USS Arizona memorial, an incredibly touching sight.
And toured the USS Bowfin, a WWII era submarine. We had the audio tour, which made it really fun and interesting.
I have always loved the picture 'The Kiss', this statue is in front of the USS Missouri, so A and I had to capture our version.
Next we toured the USS Missouri, where the Japanese officially surrendered at the end of WWII. The ship is HUGE! I kept saying that over, and over, and over, because it really is. We got to see the first 3 levels and it took us at least 4 hours. It was incredible. We also saw the actual spot where the surrender agreement was signed. The tour guides provided a lot of very helpful insight and really brought to life the importance of this ENORMOUS ship.
We performed sealings in the Laie temple on Friday, and ate lunch in the temple's cafeteria (yummy soup and bread, one of our best meals on the island).
The Polynesian Cultural Center took up the majority of our afternoon on Friday. It was A's and Erica's first time at the PCC and we all really enjoyed our experience. The food was good and the entertainment well worth the while.
Oahu was a good experience because A and Erica had never been there, and we figured that if we were going to fly all that way there were things to do on Oahu, touristy things, that are pretty Hawaii essential.
Saturday we took an island hopper to the Out-of-Control-Beautiful Island of Kauai. We stayed at my dad's time share in Kapa'a. Again, right on the beach, but the town was a much nicer area than Waimea.
That afternoon we toured the area, saw a waterfall, and chickens, chickens, and more chickens. They are everywhere! Locals told us it is because in the '90's there was a hurricane and a bunch of the chickens flew out of their coops, and have become wild.
Attended the Kapa'a 2nd ward on Sunday and then went to the McBryde Botanical garden. The perfect solution for what to do on a Sunday on vacation.
Monday we went on a catamaran tour up the Napali coast. Brian and I were brave enough to go under the waterfall, we are adventuresome folk.
We saw this amazing coastline:
That evening we ate at Puka Dog in Poipu. Delicious! A hotdog in a sweet bread bun with a choice of relishes (I had mango relish, A and Erica had coconut relish) and lilikoi mustard. SOOOOO good!
Then the best thing I we had on our entire trip, what else, but dessert. It is a gelato shop right next to Puka dog. I had salted caramel and chocolate, A had lilikoi (which is like passion fruit). It was amazing, we had to eat it a second time right before we came home on Saturday.
Wednesday was THE day. While planning our trip I casually mentioned to A that Kauai has a hike along the Napali coast called the Kalalau trail that leads to a beach that can only be accessed via this trail or by a boat but only during the Spring or Summer. It is 11 miles one way and is ranked as one of the hardest hikes in the world. My love is an avid hiker and knew that he had to take this hike on. I figured it would be hard but I could handle it. And I was right. It was HARD, and I handled it, but barely. It is a lot of switchbacks, a lot of ravines, a lot of up and down, a super narrow trail where if you misstep you will, literally, fall to your death. I did it because I knew it was important to A and it is a once (for me) in a lifetime opportunity. It was made a lot easier by having our friend Tyler with us, he had done it before and was a huge help. He carried my pack for me and both he and A were an enormous emotional support when I was super scared. One section is sheer rock and a straight drop into the ocean 200 feet below, I was terrified, but they talked me through it. This trail is beautiful and exceptionally challenging. At one point I cried (at about mile 9). Not just a few tears, I mean, face-in-my-hands-sobbing. I think it was mostly because I was tired and knew that I had to re-do the whole hike the next day.
The end result was a beautiful secluded beach (so secluded that several people thought that clothing was optional), we camped that night. We met quite a few very interesting people during our journey, on the trail we passed a pair of young men who had stopped along the trail. A little bit later they passed us. Later, we passed them, they passed us (at least 6 times, I'm not exaggerating), at one point when we were stopped along the way we noticed that they were stopping to smoke weed. For the life of me I can not figure out how you would attempt trial under any impairment, and why you would need to dope up 6 or 7 times long an eleven mile trek! So weird.
The next morning, lucky for us (we didn't know beforehand), there was a boat that came to the beach and took us back to town, saving us from having to hike back the next day.
It was really, really, really hard.
Start of the hike, notice the optimistic smile on my face.
After 2 miles, still smiling. 9 miles to go....
1 more mile, I was trying to hard to smile, but not sure I was super convincing.
Friday A and I drove to the west side of the island to see Wailea canyon and drove up to see several of the lookouts.
I loved Kauai, it is beautiful, small, and relaxed, felt exactly how an island vacation should feel. Would go back in a second!