Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

August 31, 2017

August 2017 – Family Updates

Filed under: 2017 Hawaii,Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 12:09 am

August Highlights:

We Take a Trip to the Big Island of Hawaii

Compared to the rest of it’s brethren, the Big Island lives up to its name. You could take all the other islands in the chain, put them inside of the big island and there would still be plenty of room to spare. After doing a little research, my triathlete coach, Scott, convinced me we should stay at theNa Hale O Keauhou condo complex off of Alii Drive, in the town of Kona.  Initially, I had booked a VRBO place that was right on the beach, but the one drawback to that place was no that it did not have air conditioning. Scott assured me that after being out in the heat of the day, AC is a luxury well worth paying for.  

I’m glad I heeded his advice. Hawaii weather is awesome, but it does get hot and the nights don’t get much lower than 73 at night. The complex also rocked because it was new, had a pool, and was only a quarter mile away from the shopping center, and a half mile away from the great snorkeling location of Kahaluu beach. This was the first time we rented a VRBO place and man was it a good one. Lilah loved her big room and queen size bed, remarking, “Why is this place nicer than our house?” Luke had his own room as well and we had a nice master suite with ensuite bathroom. In addition, the owner provided us with beach chairs, boogies boards, shade umbrella and coolers we could use for our outings. Couldn’t have asked for a better set up. We packed a lot into this trip — having such a comfortable base camp to recover in was a nice added bonus. Below are some of the highlights of what we did.

South Point

South Point is the southern most tip in the United States. About two hundreds before you get to the tip are cliffs that have these old boat hoists ancient Hawaiians use to pull of their small fishing boats. The big thing people do here now is jump off the 40-foot cliff into the ocean below which is thousands of feet deep here. Luke had expressed an interest in doing his own jump and to our surprise, he actually did it. He was a little nervous about it and asked if any of us would do it too. Since none of us volunteered to join him in his quest, he thought about blowing it off. Cat said it was fine if he didn’t do it, but to think about it and make sure he wasn’t going to regret not going for it. In the end, Luke decided to jump. Here is the short video of the leap and here is the sequence captured in photographs.

He expressed he was glad to have done it, but said the scariest part was climbing back up the rusty, slippery ladder that swayed in the wind as he steadily made his way back up to the launch platform. Nonetheless, he accomplished his mission and enjoyed himself in the process.

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. It’s about 2 miles long and 200 yards wide with small waves for the kids to boogie board — although I hear that when storms hit, the waves can get big. At the north end of the beach lies the Prince Hotel, which appeared to a really nice place to stay and somewhere you might never leave if you were so inclined to just camp out in one spot on your vacation. I took a walk through the place as part of my solo beach exploration stroll. They have a nice pool area that leads right out the beach where they have lounge chairs and umbrellas set up for the guests or people like me who look like guests but are just passing through ;). In any case, we spent the good part of day here eating, lounging and frolicking in the waves.

Circle Island Tour

This was the only sponsored activity we did as a family. It was an all day bus tour that pretty much circles most of the island. It’s a great way to see a lot in one day and figure out if any of the stops you see along the way are places you would like to go back to and explore in more depth later. For some reason, I thought the tour was going to be in a small bus/van, but we ended up getting one of those big luxury touring buses for the occasion. The tour was led by a big very entertaining Hawiian old timer named Kala. During the course of our travels, Kala sang to us, told us the story of Captain Cook, let us know that you can get land in Hawaii for free even if you only have 1/32 of Hawiian blood, and told us about how living in Hawaii really forces you to get along with people of all races because, he would say, “think about it, you are on an island, where else are you going to go?” Many of Kala’s common sense-isms were prefaced by that “think about it” clause. Now I need to stop saying it. 

The circle island tour includes the following stops and sites:

  • Kona coffee plantation
  • Volcanos National Park – we made three different stops here. One hour for lunch Kilauea crater, a second stop at another crater and a stop to walk through a lava tube
  • Punaluu black sand beach
  • Two stops in Hilo — one to hike through Rainbow Falls area and one at a chocolate factory to do some sampling of the product and also have some ice cream
  • A drive up the northern coastline and Parker Ranch – once the largest cattle ranch in the world (beautiful green hills and pastures here)
  • Macadmia nut processing place where we again got a chance to do some sampling – I joked with the kids that they should eat up as that was going to be their dinner

From the time we were picked up by the bus, to the time we were dropped off, the tour lasted 12 hours. But it didn’t feel that bad because of the the stops you get to make, things you get to see, and treats you get to taste ;). 

Hawi/Downtown Kona

Another cool part about staying in Kona was that I literally got a chance to do my morning runs on the iconic Alii Drive, which is where the Ironman Triathlon made it’s debut back in the 70s and is now the home of the annual world championships which NBC covers every year. We also made the drive up to Hawi, which is a small town on the northern tip of the island. Hawi is also the turnaround spot for the 112 mile bike leg of the Ironman race. As you drive up the highway toward the town of Hawi, you can see why the race is so tough. The bike leg goes through pretty much the hottest, most desolate looking scenery on the island comprised mainly of lava fields for miles and miles until you start getting closer to Hawi and things get green again.

There’s not a ton of stuff to do in Hawi, but it’s a cool little town with some decent restaurants. And just a tad beyond Hawi you reach the end of the highway at Polulu Valley. From Polulu you can hike down to a beach below but the waves are a little more hard core here and on the day we went a huge storm cloud was making it’s way toward us. That meant we got a chance to take a few quick pictures and then drive back in some pretty heavy rain that then subsided about 20 minutes later. That’s how quickly things change in Hawaii. 

Off Alii drive, we snorkeled at Kahaluu State Beach, taking care not to step on the sea urchins. Another benefit of staying at our VRBO is that the owner also had snorkeling gear for us to use. Amazing how many fish we saw at Kahaluu — bright yellow fish, clown fish (or Nemo fish as the kids call them), rainbow fish, angel fish, etc. 

On two different days, Luke and I did some boogie boarding at a spot we found between two hotels. The waves weren’t big, but they broke cleanly over a reef. That was the first time Luke and I surfed a reef break and the only tricky part was making sure to avoid the sea urchins. I almost did but at one point my foot made contact with the bottom and that’s when one of those little guys stung me. Luckily, I was wearing water shoes and I only experienced a “feeler” sting. Afterwards, a Hawaiian guy on the beach told me I was lucky. He said that if at all possible, you want to avoid touching the bottom when you go out into reef breaks. He said that what I got was just a warning sting. He also told me a story about how he had once seen a little boy get the big sting where the spine went through the bottom of his fin, through his foot, and out the other side through the top of the fin, pretty much locking his foot in place. He assured me that I definitely didn’t want that type of sting, but that the best thing you can do after being stung is to pour any one of the following on the affected area: urine, vinegar, warm water or coke. So the takeaway is to always go with a buddy and drink plenty of water just in case you or your buddy has to pee on your sting. The good thing is that Luke made it out without getting stung and managed to catch his fair share of good waves (here’s the last wave he rode all the way in).

On our last day in town, we strolled through downtown Kona which looks like it’s probably a pretty lively place at night as it’s got dozens of bars and places to eat. We ate at Lava Java’s and the food there was delicious.

Kids Tour Washington DC

It had been a long time since the kids had seen their aunt Christine (6 years, I think). That’s one of the reasons I thought sending the kids to visit her and explore Washington DC would be a good idea. So a few texts and e-mails later, I had Christine on board with the plan and then let the kids know what I had in store for them. They were okay with the idea, but seemed even more excited when they found out I was sending them on their own without mom and dad. Plus, they’d get to stay in their own hotel as Christine’s place was too small to house them all. 

When I took them to the airport, I was the one who was nervous. My biggest concern was how they would find their aunt when they arrived in DC. I asked a TSA agent if I was allowed to walk with the kids to the gate. He said, I’d have to go down to the ticketing area to see if I could get a pass. Lilah, then said, “What? Why? You don’t need to walk us to the gate. We can do it.” Luke then added, “Dada doesn’t trust us.” That snapped me out of it a bit. True, the kids had just flown with us to Hawaii a few days ago and they knew the drill so there was nothing to worry about here. So I responded that I did trust them and that they were free to proceed through security without me. And, of course, they made it to DC and found their aunt just fine, growing up and becoming just a tad more independent in the process.

I don’t have a lot of pictures from the trip since I did not go, but apparently they did and saw a lot. Here are a few images Lilah sent me just so that I’d have something to document their journey.

Here’s a quick recap of what they did on their trip:

  • On the first day they got a tour of congress and the Library of Congress. They also did a lot of walking around at the national mall that first day which led to Lilah getting a blister on her foot. According to her app, she took around 25K or 30K steps that day alone.
  • On their second day they saw the air/space museum, national history museum and american history museum. Third day, they went to National Harbor and went on the new ferris steel.
  • On the third day, they saw the white house and I believe they went through the towns of Alexendria and Georgetown.

From what I gather, they had a great trip. They also learned some life skills as they had to figure out how to go through airports on their own and hang out together, independently in their own hotel room, after each day’s sight seeing activities. A great way to end the summer I’d say. That’s all for now…more next month!

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress