Being here in Hawaii and at the Hale Koa has allowed us to meet all kinds of people. The most amazing people to me are the Veteran's that we have had the privilege of meeting. While my husband has been to Iraq twice, and others are quick to thank him for his service, my husband has been quick to thank others for their service as well. Without them we would not enjoy the freedoms that we have today, and my husband is securing that same freedom for our future as well. While visiting the USS Missouri today the tour guide was telling us about a guy who he took on the tour yesterday that was on the USS Missouri back when it was first commissioned by Truman's daughter. He described him as a "kid in a candy store" being able to talk about his experiences and what different gauges, etc., were used for. I wish we had been on that tour because I would have never tired, hearing of his experiences. I only hope that someone documents the stories that these Veterans have to share, because one day their memoirs will be all that we have.
This was the first place we went kayaking. I didn't want to get sand in my shoes. Better yet.....DH didn't want to get his feet wet and was wearing sandals with socks. We were much better the second location, but he did keep the socks on all day. Yuck!
A view of the water that we were skimming over. We saw two turtles!
My hot husband! We bought the thingies for the sunglasses after my 10 day old pair was lost in the water the day before.
A view from our private island. We found a deserted island and had lunch and relaxed till some other people showed up. Damn tourists!
We are old. I don't think that there is one part of our bodies that doesn't hurt anymore, although mine was feeling much better last night after a HUGE maitai!
Kayaking was great but our bodies are paying for it.
Yesterday we hiked up koko crater which is 1,106 steps from the bottom to the top. It was rough and our legs are killing us. Then we went on to hike to a waterfall, but we thought we were on the wrong path because we had gone several miles and hadn't found it. We looked at the book when we got back and apparently we were about 1/4 mile from it.
Oh well. Determined to see a waterfall, we walked to one today and it was beautiful, but not the nice little jaunt through the Hawaiian rainforest that author indicated that it would be. It was muddy, but a nice hike and after lunch at the NEX we came back and sat at the pool and even soaked our weary bodies in the hot tub. We watched the fireworks tonight from the Hilton and had dinner on our Lanai. This is the life.
Unfortunately reality will set back in a few days from now when we get home and have to get Abs squared away at school. I talked to her today and asked her how biting this little girl worked for her and she told me "kind of good". I wonder if she will ever learn!!!! Abs has definitely given my mom a run for her money. Sorry Mom!!! I miss them all terribly and can't wait to get home to them. I keep them in mind in everything we do and try to take pictures that they will like or enjoy...from the huge leaves to the turtles resting on shore. I'd love to take them all to Hawaii one day....definitely when they can swim!
Tomorrow we are hitting the big swap meet and going to see the USS Missouri and Bowfin. We have seen so much since we got here. Sunday might be snorkeling at Shark's Cover and stopping by the big surfing competition. Monday we will hit the Dole Plantation to do the maze, stop by Schoefield barracks and try not to sweat before we begin the long trip home!
Since we went to bed so early on Friday night, we were up at 4 am on Saturday. Since Hanauma Bay is open at 6 and it gets crowded, we headed over there before 6 am. We got to the park to find out that if you arrive before 7 that you can park for free and get in for free. Music to my frugal ears! We got down there and got our snorkel gear on and headed out into the water. DH was nervous about going snorkeling because he is not a strong swimmer. I had no fears and was ready to go. I put my face in the water and had what I can only describe as the start of a panic attack. I started breathing so fast and couldn't stop until I stood up and calmed myself down. Then I put my mask back on and couldn't breathe because I was trying to breathe through my nose, so I started to panic again. Meanwhile DH is already snorkeling away from me. I finally got myself calmed down and learned that if I immediately put my face in the water that I would breathe through my mouth with no problems. Everything is fine and I start to catch up with DH to find that he was over the reef. I freaked out and went back to the sand. Something about being over the rocks and not knowing what was underneath them scared me! I got myself squared away at this point and finally managed to snorkel without any problems. I am going along next to DH and an eel comes out from a rock and I take off out of there! I was ready to quit, but Dh was having the time of his life so I headed back out again. This time Dh found a green sea turtle having breakfast and so we got to be about two feet away from him/her and just watch for a long while. Then the sea turtle decided to swim right towards me so I took off again. We had back to the center of the bay and everything was going great again till I saw another eel. I was done. We had been there for over two hours though, so we were waterlogged and ready for breakfast.
We stopped off and checked out the Japanese Fishing Shrine and the Lana'i Lookout after snorkeling and got some great pictures but I wanted to come back with my camera. Next on the list was the view of Halona Beach and the blowhole. Apparently people have been killed by getting too close to the blowhole and getting knocked in, so we opted for a few quick photos and were on our way back to the hotel.
After we showered and got ready to go, we took off for Diamond Head. We stopped off at a farmer's market for a quick snack and then walked 1.5 miles to the entrance of Diamond Head. You could park in their parking lot, but cheap me wanted to save $8. What was I thinking??? The hike was nice, tons of people and very rocky. It was worth it though for the view from the top.
Of course we couldn't stop there and took off for the Lana'i lookout again so that we could get some better shots. Afterwards we headed to a hike up to the 647 foot summit near Makap'u. It wasn't a bad hike but we were running low on water after doing Diamond Head in the middle of the day. We checked out the Marine Base while we were up in the area, and they are so nice there! We got our tickets for the Polynesian Cultural Center while we were there and hit the px for a few things that we were missing. From there we went to the Pali Lookout--it really is cold there! We searched for a waterfall off the road but I think we went the wrong way, so we got back in our car and left. We were tired and our feet hurt!
We got back to the hotel and were hungry so we strapped on our chaco's and headed out again. (I think we had walked about 7 miles by this point if not more!) We ventured down to the shopping district and hunted for a restaurant that wasn't totally overrun with tourists and we could find a reasonably priced meal. Finally I was so tired and hungry that we stopped at Chili's and had an overly expensive hamburger! It will make the Chili's back home look inexpensive! We walked back to the hotel taking the time to watch all of the performers and interesting people that were all over the place. If I hadn't been so tired we would have people watched a little while longer!
A pic of DH on our lanai at the Hale Koa. The view is great! We had an uneventful flight which was good because we both hate to fly. We got in about 3 Hawaii time and then spent 30 minutes trying to get the car we rented from the girl behind the desk. She was pretty clueless, so we eventually gave up once we found out there was an office for the same company outside, and we were on the streets in minutes.
we found the hotel with no problem and got unloaded and then set out to explore the area. we are right on the beach and it was so beautiful. We had dinner at the restaurant at the hotel and sat on the porch with a view of the water. We are right next to the Hilton (which is beautiful Jessica!). After dinner we went and walked around and then went to bed early as we were exhausted. We actually slept through the night!
It's only day 5 and we have seen and done so much.
I really miss the kids. A lot. I do call every day and I left so many instructions (my mom called me anal, what's up with that?) and I am not worried about them, but just like to know that they are doing okay. My mom did sound a bit frazzled one day so I told DH that we might have to return home early, but they were back to school today so that seemed to help. Read about my mom's adventures here. My kids are hilarious!
The Hale Koa is really nice and the staff are great.
There's so much to see and do here that we haven't had time to relax yet. We can do that on the plane ride home.
We have survived four year long deployments--one to Bosnia and three to Iraq. We have been married for almost 17 years and have three children--Em, Abs, and Junior. Gunner is currently deployed for the 5th time to Afghanistan. We are fast approaching the year mark, and then we will focus on the prize--retirement!