Our Hawaiian Vacation: Feel free to check out this video to highlights from our trip to Hawaii! And as always a recap of our trip from my perspective below talking about specific moments and memories from our trip! ;).
Well, if there is one thing I have learned, it is not to send two Florida-raised, sunshine-loving people to Hawaii’s perfect breezy warm shores right before the 6 months of Alaska winter set in. It never is easy to leave from vacation, but knowing the cold and dark that were waiting for us had us searching for real estate and a way to continue the next 6 months in flip flops and tank tops. 😉 Who knew we missed the warmth so much! Bryan and I were invited to join his parents as they visited Hawaii for a business trip. This would be our first time in Hawaii. Since my cousin Matthew is serving there in the Air Force as a weather officer there in Oahu, it was perfect to visit and catch up with him! We were able to stay at his place in his awesome home with panoramic views of the coast and grab a bite to eat at some of his favorite spots in town. It did my heart good to see him again and experience a little bit of the things he loves about the island. Shame on me for not wanting to bother him for a picture together! :-
Ko Ko Head and East and North Beaches
The first morning, Bryan and I hiked Ko Ko head, which is a trail straight up the mountain up to old military bunkers and WWII machine gun nests along old railroad ties from an old train route. To all those of you who suggested this trail to us – my 50% sincere / 50% sarcastic “Thank you”. 😉 Having hiked a good bit in Alaska, we thought for sure this short hike would be no sweat. Wrong. Much sweat! Let’s just say there were no layers to take OFF once we were hot and sweaty. However, the view from the top was spectacular, and the wind at the top was a true gift! In true Brittany form, I also entertained morning hikers as I ate it on the way down the mountain trying to catch up with Bryan. Typical Tourist falling down the railroad ties head first and hat in the air. 😛
The rest of the day after a Band-Aid run, we drove along the Eastern Shore (which became my favorite beaches!) and later on up to the North Shore where all the famous surfing waves are. Since we both found these to be absolutely gorgeous, we literally beach hopped for two days along this side of the island.
We came across sea turtles and a baby Monk Seal (endangered species); we wandered our way to the Turtle Bay Resort where a movie scene was being filmed. Magic Island Bryan and I tried to avoid the infamous rush hour traffic by spending some mornings and evenings closer to Matthew’s place at the Ala Moana / Magic Island Beach Park, where there were beautiful indirect sunrises and sunsets, paths to walk and a small beach to get sand in your toes. It was also entertaining to us to watch a half dozen photographers running around at any given time when we were there photographing brides, grooms and clients. Bryan’s Parents and Aulani A few days later, Bryan’s parents arrived and we made our way out to Aulani – Disney’s resort on Oahu. If you love Disney – you will LOVE Aulani. It is just unlike anything else. Time and time again we heard guests say they have been to almost all of Disney’s resorts and Aulani is the icing on the cake. It is impeccable service as always with Disney, and there is a lot to do right there at the resort. Right around the corner from their lagoon is a small cove where more Sea turtles play in the surf and two adult Monk Seals came to shore for a nap in the sun.
While Bryan’s Dad was in his conference, Bryan, his Mom and I wandered around enjoying the resort and were treated to the Disney Aulani Laniwai Spa for a couple hours of relaxation in their gardens, pools, whirlpools, steam room, sauna, and relaxation room followed by the massage. This was absolutely amazing and above and beyond my expectations of the normal massage experience– I highly recommend it – it may just be the best spa you have ever been to. Sorry no photos – I was relaxing! But everything was so beautiful it made me wish I had brought my camera! Luau That night we joined Bryan’s Dad for the Luau where we enjoyed Hawaiian food favorites and admired the Hula and fire dancers! Sorry no photos – I was taking it easy! After the luau I have a newfound respect for Hula and intend on finding a Hot Hula Fitness class! Sunrise Couple’s Photo Session The next day, we headed out for a sunrise Couple’s Session out near Kailua park with Hawaiian sweethearts Cheyeanne and Andrew – who are simply adorable and possibly the most hilarious and fun couple ever – but there is more to come about them later! 😉
My Biggest Fear – Snorkeling
That afternoon, I conquered one of my BIGGEST. FEARS. EVER. The excursion was a “boat ride, dolphin watching, 1 hour of snorkeling, and lunch.” WELL…..in my mind it was “1.) boat ride – yes. 2.) dolphin watching – heck yes! 3.) Bryan will snorkel while his mom and I enjoy the boat, and 4.) lunch – I’m there!” The only snorkeling I have done as an adult have been in netted areas. Don’t judge me. Unfortunately, the boat stopped and I immediately began getting sea sick as it rocked. Before long it was A.) Get really sick on the boat for an hour or B.) Take my chances in the Pacific Ocean – where I became edible. The sicker I got, I logically and calmly made my way to the snorkel gear and got ready. And then, it was my turn to get in. Talk about not a proud moment. I almost drowned Bryan. Seriously, they threw him a floatation device to help. After a short dramatic freak out scene that I am not proud of, I found that the only way I was not going to get sick was by looking underwater. It was pretty, and I thought it was great because I could swim backwards and watch Bryan’s 6 o’clock for sharks as he watched mine. 😉 Though I was utterly humiliated at my freak out, the fish, the corals, the sea turtles and the way the sunbeams moved in the water calmed my heart some. Though I am not sure I would feel completely confident to snorkel again, I am glad I can say I did it and am not against trying it again.
Bryan was so thankful we were able to spend one morning at Pearl Harbor, to experience and learn about the events, people, and history behind such an impactful event in our nation and military’s history. It was surreal being there, and the memorial and grounds were truly beautiful honoring those whose lives were lost.
We spent an afternoon at the Swap Meet – a local flea market type set up with Hawaiian items and foods set up outside the stadium. It was fun to look at the novelty gifts, custom crafted art, and fresh authentic items available here.
A true highlight of our trip was a Helicopter ride with Blue Hawaii, where we had a chance to fly over and get an aerial view of the Island, sea turtles, what they call lily pad reefs, a beautiful waterfall called Sacred Falls, some of our favorite beaches as well as some famous spots like where Jurassic Park, Lost, and other movies and shows were filmed. It was again like a cherry on top of the cake to see Hawaii’s beauty from that perspective!
Waikiki + Kona Coffee
After our helicopter ride, we ventured out to see the shopping strip and beaches in Waikiki and also to visit the Kona Mountain Coffee Café – since I buy Kona Mountain Coffee! J We enjoyed a cool drink and then headed back to the resort to relax the rest of the day! As I write this we are sitting in the airport and I am still insistently wearing my flip flops. This may change when we arrive in Anchorage…but hey I am relishing every moment! 😉 Everybody was so gracious and helpful in pointing us to some amazing things to do while in Honolulu, and I am so thankful we had great recommendations and am happy to remember and share some of my very favorite things from our trip with you!
Mrs. Bonnie Jo and Mr. Alden – Thank you so much for the trip of a lifetime! 😀 Love you!