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Hawaii Honeymoon

Day 1

Most of day 1 was spent in the air unfortunately. Our plane left Dulles Airport at around 7am on Tuesday. About five hours in the air, then a two-hour layover in San Francisco, then another five hours in over the Pacific. We landed in Honolulu on Oahu, then had another brief layover before our 20 minute flight to Kauai. We landed at around 10pm Eastern Time, 4pm Hawaii time.

The Hyatt Regency Kauai is the most beautiful hotel we’ve ever seen. Had dinner at the Tidepools restaurant at Hyatt. Nice setting — the entire restaurant is built on top of a giant fish pond… so the fish swim up to your table and wait for you to feed them. If you throw some bread in, hundreds of fish swarm into the area and even jump out of the water in a frenzy. Kathie’s fish dinner was good, my Filet Mignon was not very good.
Kauai hotel
Kauai hotel

Day 2

Didn’t sleep very well… and still on Eastern time. The first few hours Wednesday were spent in an Air Kauai helicopter on an aerial tour of Kauai. We saw many amazing waterfalls, mountain ranges, and the fairly inaccessable Na Pali coast.
After the ‘copter tour we took to the road to explore the East and North coasts of Kauai. The island is only 20-by-30 miles so it’s not a very daunting task. Our first stop was Wailua Falls, which were used in the opening scene of Fantasy Island each week.
As we continued up the coast we passed a number of beaches, but no one was swimming — apparently the surf on the coast of Kauai gets pretty rough, especially in fall and winter. We got our feet wet at Hanalei Bay, then continued on. We took a side road to Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge. The site offered a beautiful view of the coast. The lighthouse at one point in time had the (biggest? brightest?) light in the world, and saved the first mainland-to-hawaii flight from disaster after the plane overshot the Hawaiian Islands and almost ran out of fuel.
Finally we drove back to the Hyatt at Poipu beach. We went out to dinner at Plantation House, in the Poipu Shopping Village. The food was good, and the prices were reasonable! Took a quick look up at the stars that night, which were much more visible than most places we’ve been on the mainland.

Day 3

Ate lunch at Keoki’s Paradise, again in the Poipu Shopping Village. Very good hamburgers and steak fries. Then we loaded ourselves up with SPF-36 sunblock and Off bug repellent and headed to Outfitters Kauai for the “Hidden Waterfall” kayak trip. First we kayaked about two miles down a river — I forget the name, but it was the river where the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed. We saw the spot where Indy, chased by angry natives, swung on a rope into the river to be picked up by the sea plane. Also saw some amazing views of the mountains and various plants and flowers. Eventually we pulled to the side of the river and hiked a half mile or so into the jungle, past wild coffee and other plants, to a small waterfall and pond, where we did our own rope-swing into the pond to cool off. Then, because we’re lazy and on our honeymoon, a power boat took us all back upstream, towing the kayak’s behind us :-).

After washing off the layers of sweat, sunblock, Off, and mud, we headed to a nice, but expensive, dinner at House of Seafood, right down the street from the hotel. The caesar salad was prepared tableside and was excellent. Watched the geckos on the ceiling and walls eat bugs as we ate our dinner. Very entertaining!

Day 4

Slept late, then drove towards Lihue and had lunch at Paradise Seafood and Grill. A small, casual place, with good, cheap food (again, good steak fries!). Then we drove West and took Route 550 North into Waimea Canyon — the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. The views were amazing, and we stopped many times to look around and take pictures. The first 3 miles on the road we climbed 2,000 feet. We finally made it to the end at Kokei State Park (altitide 4,000 feet) which normally has a fantastic view of the coast to the West, but we were fogged in and couldn’t see more than two feet. As we started down again, it started raining and we had to put the top up on the convertable for the first time. It was also pretty cool and we actually turned the heat on in the car for a bit!
We decided to take it easy the rest of the day, so we explored the hotel grounds, and went swimming in the various pools, waterslide, hot tubs, and the saltwater lagoon. We stepped out into the ocean a bit as well, though the surf was pretty rough and there were many signs warning about the surf conditions, so we didn’t go far.
We went to dinner at Brennecke’s that evening. It turned out to be a very casual, fairly cramped place with a view of the ocean. The salad bar was pretty underwhelming, and my spare ribs were at best average. Kathie’s seafood was good though (too bad I don’t like seafood!).

Back to the hotel to do some laundry since we’re going through clothes faster than expected.

Day 5

Slept late again (there’s a pattern emerging here), then went to breakfast buffet at the hotel. Very good food, though expensive. Great pineapples and guava juice. Packed up our things, checked out, and headed to the airport for our flight to Honolulu and then to Maui.

Landed in Maui and drove to the Kea Lani Hotel on the south coast. The staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. The hotel looks nice from the outside, but was no match for the Hyatt Regency on Kauai. The inside is another story altogether. All rooms are actually suites, so we had a bedroom (with a TV), living room (with fold-out bed, big TV, VCR, and DVD player), and wet bar with microwave and refrigerator. The bathroom was giant and gorgeous: marble everywhere, soaking tub, open shower, mirrors, twin pedestal sinks… just amazing.

After a quick look around the hotel we headed to Lahaina on the West coast for the Old Lahaina Luau. We had a buffet of various dishes, including the Kalua Pua’a — a 125 pound pig cooked all day in a traditional underground oven. Afterwards the luau began. It was a historical presentation of Hawaii’s past, and was very well done.

Day 6

Drove to Lahaina again. Had lunch at Cheesburger In Paradise. Everything we’d heard suggested that the burgers would be excellent, however they were not very good. Pretty thin, not juicy at all, and overcooked (they didn’t even ask us how we wanted them cooked).

After lunch, we ended up shopping in Lahaina for a couple of hours. If you like lots of little shops with knick knacks, this is a cool area to hang out at. Tons of different shops, unfortunately most of them have similar things (t-shirts, jewelry, souvenirs). However there are lots of galleries in this area. Went into a few of them, but a lot of the artists seem to use the same style of half underwater, half over water with a very “sci-fi” look to it all. Also, if you like restaurants, this is the place to go. There are a lot of different restaurants and most of them sit right by the water.

We stopped at the Hawaii Domed Theater. Its like IMAX but a little more rustic. The movie were about Hawaii and a little of its history. There were only three of us in the entire theater.

After lots and lots of shopping, we headed back to the hotel. We were feeling lazy, so we just ate at the hotel at Caffe Ciao which has a wood burning pizza oven. We got pizza with roasted chicken, maui onion and garlic. Not bad, but they don’t put any marinara sauce on it and the garlic pieces were HUGE!

Day 7

Got up early for the Molokini snorkel trip. Molokini Island is a small U-shaped island off of Maui which is a marine preserve. Great spot to go snorkeling. We went with Trilogy Excursions who fed us cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate and fruit for breakfast. Stopped at Molokini Island and did some snorkeling. Trilogy also does scuba as long as you let them know in advance. The water was so clear with so many different types of fish and coral. Very beautiful.
After about 45 minutes at Molokini, we all got back on the boat and headed to “Turtle Hacienda” which is also called “Turtle Town” (The actual name is Five Graves because there are 5 Hawaiian burial sites at that location). On the way there, Trilogy provided veggies w/dip and fresh homemade salsa (very very good). Once we got to the location, we all went back in for more snorkeling. We saw a few turtles and actually swam with a couple of them too! Its about 30 ft down to the bottom, so we had to keep repressurizing our ears as we went lower down. The turtles were very cute…especially when they came up for air and you could see just the tip of their head above the water.

trilogy1.gifAfter the snorkeling, we had a barbeque chicken lunch on the boat. Saw a couple of spinner dolphins while having lunch. They were a lot smaller than we thought they would be. The ride back was pretty wild. We went into a wind line with some pretty large swells and lots of wind. We got some great splashes and the up and down motion was very roller-coaster-esque. We also saw some flying fish on the way back (they really look like they are flying!).

The tour was excellent. If you do a Molokini snorkel trip, we highly recommend this company. Other than a couple of jellyfish stings and some sunburns, we had a great time on the trip.

After the snorkel trip, we came back to the hotel and cleaned off. We went to dinner in Kihei at Tony Roma’s Ribs. Pretty good ribs and buffalo wings. We came back to the hotel and rented Shakespeare in Love on DVD and snuggled on the couch.

Day 8

Slept late, and went for brunch at the Kei Lani restaurant. It was O.K., but definitely not as good as the Hyatt Regency Kauai’s brunch. We spent the rest of the morning lounging around in our room, doing some reading, watching TV, and writing postcards. Made a trip to the local Mailboxes, Etc. to ship all our gifts and souveniers home so we wouldn’t have to carry them all on the plane. Picked up some snacks at the supermarket, then back to the room. Definitely an easy, relaxing day.

Went out for dinner at the Charthouse, which apparently is a chain since there’s one in Maryland. I had a very good filet mignon, Kathie’s fish was good, and they had delicious bread. I got a flight of four red wines to try with dinner. The Pinot Noir and Merlot were the best, and I didn’t really care for the Cabernet or Zinfandel. After dinner we headed to bed early since we had to get up early tomorrow for the drive to Hana.

Day 9

We got up around 6:45 A.M., a little behind schedule, and left the hotel around 7. Stopped for breakfast in Paia at Charley’s, which was very good. They make enormous pancakes. Kathie ordered one macadamia nut pancake with coconut syrup, and couldn’t even finish it. Then we began down the long, slow, winding road to Hana, which is supposed to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world. There are over 600 turns and over 100 one-lane bridges on this 40 mile drive, which makes it very slow going. We stopped along the way at various waterfalls and scenic views. There was also a black sand beach which was interesting — the sand felt like regular sand, but was jet-black.

After we passed Hana the road got even worse — very narrow and even more winding. Eventually we reached Oheo, and hiked around a bit to see some of the “sacred pools”. Then we began the long drive home. Part of the road ahead is unpaved and our car rental agreement forbid us from going that way, so we turned around and returned the way we came. It took us about 5 hours to get to Oheo (with various stops) and 3 hours to get back (express).

When we finally got back to the hotel we washed off all the sun block, put on some skin lotion where we got too much sun (the one problem with having a convertible), and headed to a local Italian restaurant in Keihi for dinner. The food was decent, and the prices were reasonable (since it’s not a tourist trap). Went to bed early again.

Day 10

Our last day in Hawaii, and boy was it a killer. We got up at around 2:40am and headed to the hotel lobby where a tour bus picked us up at 3 to take us to Haleakala Crater. It took us a little over two hours to get there. Haleakala Crater is what’s left of the volcano that formed Maui. The altitude was about 10,000 feet, and it was about 35 degrees F and very windy. We had brought sweaters and jackets, but we were still freezing. We should have brought gloves and hats! The sun rose around 6am and was very pretty since we were above the clouds. I don’t think it really lived up to all the hype we had heard about it though. At 6:15 the bus took us to the very summit of the mountain where we could see in all directions — the Big Island of Hawaii to the East, the rest of Maui to the West, and the Haleakala sheild crater all around us.
The van took us back down and we stopped at the Pukalani Country Club Restaurant for breakfast. The food was not bad, but the O.J. was very watered down and small. We finally got dropped off at the Hotel around 9:45am, just in time to start packing for our noon check-out. After checking out we drove back to Lahaina and did some more window shopping. We had a good lunch at Lahaina Fish Company (I had a teriyaki burger with pineapple on it), then drove to the airport and returned the rental car. After hanging around the airport for hours and eating a light dinner, we boarded our plane to San Francisco around 10pm. The flight was full, so we weren’t very comfortable for the 5-hour flight. Then we spent 90 minutes in the S.F. airport, and flew back to Dulles, arriving around 4pm local time. Boy were we exhausted!


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