February/March, 2007, in Hawaii

We completed a spectacular vacation of two weeks in the Hawaii islands, staying on Maui, Kauai, and Oahu. If you can do it, I'd recommend that you go there at least once in your life. The views are, well, spectacular, and the people are absolutely charming, helpful, and friendly. The accommodations are excellent and the food is great, especially if you like seafood and fresh fruits and veggies.

We flew to and from Honolulu on USAir (mostly on their America West planes/routes, recently merged in). We flew First Class all the way, thanks to accumulated Dividend Miles points, and the total airfare cost us a total of $10. From Honolulu, we flew on Aloha Airlines between islands. The whole trip, from home to back home, was a flawless adventure. Our checked baggage was always promptly delivered, onboard meals were good, service was excellent, and everything was on-time, or very close to it. We had no complaints regarding travel. The same thing could be said about accommodations. Every place we stayed was excellent, and I'll talk about each place as we go along.

We flew through Phoenix to Honolulu and then on to Maui, where we stayed at Ho'oilo House, perhaps the finest bed-and-breakfast we have had the pleasure of seeing. Our hosts were Amy and Dan, and our stay there was excellent in every way. You've got to see this place, and it is located just outside of Lahaina in the beautiful hills. Our backdrop were the mountains, and our view was the blue pacific with the island of Molokai in the background. Our first day was spent driving our Mustang convertible north to the Kaanapali coast and beyond. We ate lunch at the gorgeous Kapalua Golf course's Plantation House, and we spent the afternoon sunning and swimming on Fleming Beach in Kaanapali. That night we had dinner at Kimo's in Lahaina, overlooking the sun setting in the Pacific.

Below: Ho'oilo House, with the mountains of Maui as a backdrop, and Ho'oilo House View, with Molikai Island in the background
Ho'oilo House Ho'oilo House View

The next day we played the Bay Course at Kapalua, where we had a great time playing and enjoying the spectacular views of the coastline. After lunch at the Bay Course, we drove down to the Wailea area to Ulua Beach, next to the Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort. We played for a long time in the clear waters with great and continuous surf.

The next morning we drove the famous "Road to Hana", making breathtaking stops along the way. Waterfalls, primeval forest, cliffs, and a winding road that'll keep you on your toes, and especially, views that will knock your socks off. The drive takes most of the day (at least), but is well worth the experience. When we got back, we had dinner on the rooftop Lahaina Oyster Bar and Grill. The next day we did the beach at Kaanapali again, and had lunch at Canoes in Lahaina, overlooking the water. While at the beach, we saw humpback whales, lots of them, as they moved along the island. They'd spray as they breathed, giving away that there was a whale there, and then they'd breach the water. We lounged around much of the PM at Ho'oilo House and then went to the Feast at Lele for a tremendously enjoyable luau. If you haven't experienced a Hawaiian luau, you have missed a very entertaining (and appetite-pleasing) evening.

Below: View from The Road to Hana, and Karen on The Road to Hana
View from the Road to Hana Karen on the Road to Hana

On Sunday, we drove around the North Shore to the airport. Now that doesn't sound too exciting, but if you think that you haven't been on that road. It is largely one lane, unpaved at times, and traverses cliffs overlooking the water. The views are, again, spectacular, and the drive is treacherous at times. We stopped for a herd of donkeys to pass, and once backed up so another car could navigate through. But we wouldn't have missed it. At the end, stopped at Kanaha Kai to watch some kite surfing. Then we flew to Kauai.

In Kauai we stayed at the Poipu Sheraton Beach Resort, with a room overlooking the water. We had an excellent dinner at Shell's in the hotel, and then watched another beautiful Pacific sunset. On Monday, after breakfast at Joe's, overlooking the Kiahuna Golf Course. Then we did it... we took the Blue Hawaii helicopter tour of Kauai! Neither Karen nor I have ever experienced anything nearly as spectacular as this flight. The helicopter takes you where you otherwise cannot go, with views you cannot otherwise see. We saw so many mountain peaks with dense vegitation and thousands of waterfalls. We flew into the Olokele Volcano, which last erupted 400,000 years ago. Olokele has since eroded into two main peaks: Kawaikini (5,243 ft) and Mt. Wai`ale`ale (5,148 ft), and we flew over them, as well. We saw a 4,000 ft waterfall... and a dozen more of 2,000 ft or more. We flew along the Napali Coast. Kauai is over 5.5 million years old and is made up of eroding lava. It is lush and beautiful everywhere, and in its center mountains, it gets between 600 and 700 inches of rain per year (the wettest place on the planet). It has only 55,000 residents, and is relatively undeveloped, except for the resorts and plantations. You see all of this and more from the helicopter. If you would like to see clips from the DVD made during the helicopter tour, there are three from 6 to 12 minutes each you can select any of these:

Below: A view from our room on Poipu Beach, and A blowhole in the lava rocks near our resort at Poipu Beach:
A view from our room on Poipu Beach Blowhole near our resort
Below: The Napali Coast, as seen from the Helicopter:
Napali Coast

After the exhilerating ride, we ate dinner at Duke's in Kalapaki, watching the surfers in the evening glow. The next day we rested at the beach, right at our resort. The beach was pure white sand, clear waters, and continuous surf... pretty big surf. It was a blast! We could lay on the sand, in a lounge on the sand, in a lounge on the grass by the sand, by the pool overlooking the beach, ... you get the picture. That evening we opted for Chinese at Yum Cha at the Poipu Bay Golf Course. That evening, as we sat on our balcony having a drink, we spotted more humpback whales. What a view... the sun setting and whales in the foreground. Breathtaking.

Below: A Kauai Sunset... one every night! And Lighthouse on the North Shore; you can see the whales and the view is spectacular
Kauai Sunset Kauai Lighthouse

On Wednesday we played the Kiahuna Golf Course in the morning. Karen had woken up with a cold, but we still really enjoyed playing. It is an easy course, I must say, and there is currently a lot of home construction going on around the course. It "rained" (a mist) for the first hole, but otherwise it was a great round of golf. Rain is like that in Kauai... many days a mild mist or slight rain comes and then is gone in no time. It doesn't cause any interruption. After golf, we drove to the North Shore, stopping at a great Thai place for lunch: Mema in Kapaa. The North Shore offers such places as Hanalei Bay. There is a fabulous course course and resort called Princeville, where we stopped to tour. Next time we come, we'll play that course.

On Thursday, we beached at the resort in the AM, and then drove to the Waimea Canyon in the PM. Later, we went to dinner at the utterly beautiful Plantation Gardens for dinner. On Friday, we beached again, then flew to Honolulu. In Hololulu we opted for the "Express Shuttle" to the Marriott Beach Resort on Waikiki Beach. The shuttle was the single bad choice on our entire trip, and we got to see every damn hotel on Waikiki before we got to the Marriott. That evening we made up for it by having sushi at Sensei, followed by a walk on Waikiki.

Below: Diamondhead, as seen from our corner room. We also had another balcony overlooking Wiakiki Beach

On Saturday we toured the Pearl Harbor Memorial. We toured the International Market, ate Chinese there, and then lounged at the Marriott's pool for the afternoon. We had a scenic sunset dinner at the Hula Grill at the Outrigger. On Sunday, we lazed all day getting some sun, and then went to the airport for our all-nighter back home. All in all, a fabulous trip.

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