Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 7- Honolulu , Oahu

Today was our longest day on the islands and we intended to use every second of it! We were in the first group to get off the ship. We intended on taking the bus down to Pearl Harbor.
 We asked what bus we should take and were pointed in the wrong direction several times… after almost an hour of wandering down town Honolulu we decided to take a cab! I hailed my very first cab and was quiet proud of myself until I found out later that Kenny was right behind me hailing it… Oh well. Our driver was super nice and got us right over to the memorial for a small fee of just $30! Sure makes me thankful for our own vehicles and not having to depend on public transportation! 

We were lucky enough to get on the next boat out at 9AM and there was no charge for tickets (not sure why but I was expecting a $35 ticket per person). It was surreal being in the middle of a battle zone and visiting that watery grave site. Although, I didn’t know anyone who was there it still made me SO sad for the lives lost and thankful for our service men (and women).

 our flowers from the leis we brought mixing with the oil 
black tears still bubbling up...

I am glad we went and got to see Pearl Harbor, however it was kind of a sad way to start a vacation day. We were all pretty somber as we headed toward the beach. We caught the bus and got quit the tour of the island as it took us an hour and half to get to Waikiki beach! I don’t think any of us expected the bus ride to last that long and I was pretty frustrated, but changed my attitude when Sarah talked emphatically about all we had seen and the parts of the island she had never seen before. It really was like a $2.50 island tour or a LONG boring bus ride wasting precious beach time… depending how you look at it. I choose Sarah’s view.

We got to the beach and found out the waves were too small to do the outrigger and we were a few blocks down from where we needed to be to Parasail so we settled for a few mai-tais and beach time.
Kenny and I rented a surf board and paddle to try out Paddle Surfing which I guess is a new trend…. It is a lot harder than it looks (especially after drinking a mai-tai!)  But man, we had so dang much fun laughing, swimming and drinking salt water!

 we finally figured out how to do it ; ) 

After we had our fill of sun and salt water we decided to check out the International Market Place which was defiantly on my list of must do’s. I liked it and thought it was a fun shopping afternoon, but wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be.
Again I am not a fan of bartering and a lot of the shops had the same items. I got some souvenirs for our buddies at work and Kenny bought me a really pretty Abalone ring and Barb and Sarah had the most fun playing at the Pearl Factory. It was really exciting to watch them. Barb and Sarah both ended up with the prettiest pink, blue and large white pearls!! I think the sales man got more excited about the blue pearl than Barb did! He said it was something like only 7 in 100 are blue! Plus she got a nice sized white pearl he seemed pretty impressed with.

Once the pearls were set, we rushed over a block to hail a cab to take us to the hotel where we had to meet the shuttle for our Luau at Paradise Cove. I think the Luau was one of my most favorite things we did in Hawaii! Our driver was awesome and joked about taking just 15 Hawaiian minutes to get to the Cove (which is just whenever we get there!) He had us pumped up and ready to party by the time we got to there! It was SO stinkin’ gorgeous and there were tons of things to do. 
We got fresh lei's (they were made from the same flowers that we used on the ship to make our leis) and a free drink when we walked in-

First we gawked at the beautiful sunset - 

Then Kenny and I took a little canoe ride around the cove-

Then it was time to watch the showering of the flowers ceremony (I cannot remember what they actually called it). A man climbs to the top of this tree and showers the crowd with flowers. If you catch a flower before it hits the ground you are supposed to have luck in love for 1 year. Kenny caught 2 and I caught 1.

Next they did the bringing in of the fish nets- Love this picture because you can see him throwing out the net-
A little dancing-
Then it was time to pull the pig out of the ground... more dancing- 
There it is... don't look to close you can see his little face :  ( (but he sure was tasty) 
Kenny and I got our picture with the flame thrower guy-

This is Kenny's tattoo for the night. I forget what it means, but it was something like power and strength.
One of the too many drinks I drank that night- 

Oh yeah and Barb got on stage to do the hula with the group-  
My favorite of the night was the fire guy at the end. He was awesome... he even licked the fire! 
When we got back to the ship about 10:30 PM I was exhausted and quickly changed into my PJ’s. Kenny ran out to get a slice of Pizza and found a huge party going on, on our deck! I took these pictures of all the chefs’ masterpieces. I could eat anything, because I was feeling a little sick from all my drinks at the Luau… Enjoy the pictures.

Today’s Forecast: Scattered Showers High 80, low 71

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 6- Hilo Hawaii The BIG ISLAND

We woke up early today to make sure we were one of the first people off the ship and got the most of our day in Hilo. First we took the bus downtown since we didn’t have any excursions until early afternoon. We did a little shopping, although many of the shops weren’t open yet. It was actually HOT and humid out and felt like summer even though it was the end of November.
I was fascinated by the greenery and just loved the giant Banyon trees! We found Hilo Guitar and Ukulele that our Ukulele teacher recommended and ended up buying an awesome Ukulele to take home. After that is was time for the last bus to come at 10:35 to take us back to the ship for our excursions… we waited and waited and no bus came. Panic was setting in. We could see the Princess cruise passengers (our blue cruise bags were a dead give away to find each other while at port) began to bunch up at the bus stop. Luckily we ran into another group that was going on the Kayaking excursion and need to get back to the ship ASAP too. They took us to the shuttle pick up area and we all made it on the last shuttle and back to the ship just in time to catch up with our tour! Talk about stress!!

We relaxed a little bit when we met up with our group for the excursion since we had booked the excursion through the ship we knew we would get back in plenty of time to board the ship. We headed right back downtown where we had just come from and actually parked across the street from the shopping area! (ironic how things work out sometimes).

We got a short lesson on how to row, steer etc and jumped into our Kayaks. This was both our first time Kayaking and I can’t think of a better place to try it out! It was absolutely gorgeous! We headed out into the bay several hundred yards. It was pretty exhilarating and scary once we started hitting some of the waves… I quickly put on my life vest which had been optional moments earlier. Something about being out in that deep water in a little plastic ‘boat’ didn’t sit well with me! We were in the middle of the bay when one of couples got dumped out of their Kayak! The guide had to go back and help them out. He laughed and was a little surprised because he said that people rarely dump over… (we later found out the guy did it on purpose… his poor wife!) Then we were on our way to a little cove area which was so unique and beautiful. Our camera lens had water drops on it so most of the pictures didn’t come out, but I will put them in here anyway-

The next area was pretty tough to get through and our guides had to pull each Kayak through the narrow against the current. Fun ride for us : )

When we got to the waterfall area Kenny paddled us right into a waterfall. Since I was in front I got showered with icy cold water and started to freak out thinking the Kayak would sink… When I turned around Kenny and all the other Kayakers in the group were wildly laughing… glad I could give them a laugh… We even paddled under the other falls (again none of the pictures really came out because of the lens was covered in water droplets)

After everyone was done playing in the waterfalls it was time to paddle back to shore. Another exhilarating moment hit when we paddled against the 5 foot waves…. I was terrified we would get tossed upside down, but we made it out just fine. (the same couple that capsized earlier repeated that 4 more times…). We made it back to land and realized how tired our arms were! Poor Kenny was our motor AND navigator… I felt like I was doing a good job, but didn’t paddle as much as I could have since I was taking lots of pictures!

We had a little time to swim before we headed back to the ship in a great area where a fresh water stream fed into the ocean. Our guide told us the fresh water was about 60 degrees and the ocean water was about 80… no matter how you slice it was cold in that spot! Isn’t it beautiful how you can see the different water colors?

The sand felt like quicksand under our feet (or at least how I think quicksand would feel)!

Here are some pictures of the tugboats as we left the island -

Today’s Forecast: Scattered showers High 80 low 66