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Old 28th March 2018, 08:52   #1
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Default Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales

Hawaii Ė when you see/hear this word, all you can imagine is beaches, coastline, oceans, volcanoes, greenery, palm trees, heat. In short, a tropical paradise. I wanted to travel more in 2018, so while going through some travel shows on Netflix, I accidently landed on the Hawaii one and that moment I knew Hawaii was the next destination.

While discussing Hawaii a colleague suggested that his friend had just been to Hawaii and that he will share his itinerary. In the next two days what I got was a 2-3-line summary of what places he had been to, so it was next to being useless. Since I had got the idea from Netflix I started browsing other shows on Hawaii including youtube and amazon. After going through multiple shows, I came to the conclusion that a 9-10 days trip should be good enough, considering the number of leaves Iíll get and the budget I had. Two other friends also instantly wanted to join on this trip and we were now 4. After discussing with customer and my managers we finally decided that mid-March was the most practical time which would have the least impact on the work schedule and would be before the spring break for school children (which would increase the rush and prices). We started looking at flights and prices and narrowed down on Alaska airlines with 1 stop each to and fro. We were booking just a month in advance, so the prices were not going to be low, but we managed to get a flight with the least flying time at a somewhat average price. There were flights that were cheaper by around 300$ but which had around 30+ hrs of travel time, which was pointless. After the flights we started looking at accommodation and the activities we had planned to do. We got a mix of Airbnb and hotel accommodations in the 3 islands we were going to stay. We also planned for 2 air tours, one full day road trip, some hikes, volcano tours, whale watching, submarine ride, snorkeling and if time permitted anything else that we could find there. The final plan was like this

Total islands visited Ė 4 Ė Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Big Island
Total days in hand excluding travel Ė 8
Maui Ė 4 nights Ė Snorkeling, Whale Watch, submarine ride, Road to Hana, Haleakala summit sunrise drive, beaches
Oahu (Waikiki Beach/Honolulu) Ė 3 nights, - North east coast, 1-day trip to Kauai, Central valley, Lanikai beach, Polynesian cultural center
Big Island Ė 1 night Ė Mauna Kea summit drive, Kona beaches, Volcano helicopter tour, Hawaii volcanoes national park
In order to maximize island time and reduce travel, we decided to reach Maui first and depart from Big Island on the last day. This way we would avoid to and fro travel across islands (except for Kauai)

T-1 and T0
So fast forward to a day before the travel. I had started packing 2 days in advance but the actual packing happened on the Friday evening. Our flight was at 6:30 Am in the morning, so we had to get up by 3:30 and leave by 4 or 4:15 for a 30 mins journey to the airport. Getting Uber/Lyft in the early morning can be tricky so we wanted to have some buffer. We didnít want to leave the car at the airport as for 10 days the cost would be atleast 110$ and above and add to that the additional 20-25 mins you need to park, board the bus and similar time while returning. Self-park is better for a 5-6 day trip. The last time we took an early morning flight to Alaska and it had turned out to be a nightmare, so we were hoping things would be better this time (and we were not flying American but on Alaska). The stopover was at LA. So, with around 3hrs of sleep we managed to get ready by 4 and then the wait for uber started. We searched on 3 phones but could managed to get only 1 uber and that too the arrival was around 4:40 AM (30 mins late departure). The car was big so luggage was not a problem (4 of us with lots of bags). The driver turned out to be the slowest I have even seen, mostly driving a lot below the speed limits and no concern for timely arrival. We couldnít complain, so had to hold our tension and reached the airport just around 5:20. At this point we had only an hour and 10 mins to departure. We rushed to the baggage counters to get our boarding passes and get the bags tags. Luckily there were no issues and our bags were on the way to the flight. After 20 mins we were at the boarding gate and our journey started around the correct time.

The onward flight was on Virgin (which merged with Alaska last year). Virgin flights are good as they offer in-seat entertainment and food purchases are also via the touch screen. Seats are somewhat ok, though not very comfortable for a 6 hrs flight. Soon 6 hrs passed and we touched down at LAX. We initially hurried but realized our next gate was just in front of the arrival gate. Quickly we ordered some pizza at the restaurant near the gate and then eat it up as soon as we boarded the flight. One we were ready, the pilot announced that our flight had a detour. Instead of flying directly to Maui, it would first go to SFO, refuel and then go to Maui. The route seemed strange (instead of going down on the map, we were going north and then south) but the pilot quickly announced that the winds in the LAX-Maui path were causing turbulence and hence the SFO-Maui path was a clear and better one. All this meant we were delayed by almost 2-3 hrs and there was our first problem (we hoped it was the last one)

The flight to SFO was less than an hour and refueling took another 15-20 mins and soon we were on the way to Maui (Kahului airport). Before the flight took off I had called the car rental to inform them that I would be delayed by around 3 hrs and they mentioned the booking is held for 24 hrs from time of pickup. We had booked an Airbnb apartment near a beach, so we had the codes and details of how to get into the house. After reaching the airport it took another 20 mins to get our bags. We gathered some tourist material at the airport and then crossed the road for the car rental shuttle. There are many car rentals in Hawaii from the big ones to the smaller ones. The rental facility was 5 mins from the airport and within 10 mins we were checked in and out on the lot to select the car. We had to choose from a Santafe, Pathfinder, Traverse and some Chevy mid-size SUV. We decided the Nissan as it had the biggest trunk with 3rd folded down. Soon we were off to our apartment. We reached in about 30 mins. The car entrance was so small that we had to go around the area to find the tiny entrance that barely fit our car on the driveway. It was big building with 2 floors and we had the ground floor (or 1st as itís called here). We hadnít planned anything for that evening so we just went to the beach, clicked some photos and then started looking for restaurants. We found an Indian restaurant nearby (ratings were high, so we decided to try out). While it was crowded but food wasnít that great and it was run by folks from Nepal. We quickly finished the food and then went to a grocery store nearby to get some water and other items and walked back home. We had to sleep early as the next day would start at 6 AM.

Sunset from the beach next to the apartment
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_00451.jpg

Last edited by aditya_rao : 29th March 2018 at 23:27. Reason: adding photos
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Old 28th March 2018, 08:54   #2
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Default re: Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales

Day 1

This was our first active day in Maui and we had planned 2 things Ė snorkeling with a possible SNUBA dive and whale watching in the evening. We left home by 6:10 and had to reach the harbor by 7 AM. We had booked Aqua Adventures Maui at the Maalaea harbor as they were in the top 3 on TripAdvisor. This was a Molokini Snorkel and SNUBA tour and I also read that they were one of the first boats to reach Molokini crater. 3 of us canít swim and none of us had snorkeled before so we hoped it would be some adventurous. We left the harbor by 7:15 I think and within 30 mins we reached the crater. The currents were not very strong, so we were split into 2 batches. The trip also included a buffet breakfast so after a quick bite we slipped into the wetsuits. I was initially hoping that we would be given life jackets (for non-swimmers) but soon it turned out that we would be hanging on to the pipe shaped noodle. It didnít sound the most exciting thing but we still thought of giving it a try. Most snorkeling boats offer their packages along with a seasonal whale watch free (Nov-Mar or April), however you would hardly find a whale on the trip as you are moving too fast and have lot of things to be done and whale watching needs patience and time. You should not rely on their whale watch promises.

Our instructor said that we should try to snorkel first and the go for Snuba in round 2. One of us had some travel sickness so had to cancel the snorkel/snuba plan. With some fear in mind we entered the water. The person who knew swimming had no issues, but two of us held on to the noodle and entered the water. The moment we entered the water all the instructions the boat captain had given almost vanished from the head and we turning all ways barely managing to stay afloat. The only thing between keeping our head above water and below water was the noodle. For the next 15 mins I was somehow trying to remember the instructions and keeping afloat and the second person gave up and second instructor/helper had to jump in and pull him out. I was hanging on to the noodle and trying to look below. I saw some fishes and the crater/ocean floor. The depth might have been around 30 or 40 ft. The view was amazing for someone who did it the first time, but soon I realized the boat was far away and the currents had carried me away from the boat. I started waving my hands for someone to see. The friend was onboard by that time alerted the helper instructor and he again jumped in to take me back to the boat. No matter what I did my left were always going towards the surface with my face upwards instead of the other way.

Moral of the story Ė never attempt snorkeling with something you have to hang on to. Always carry life jackets or take a tour with boats that provide life jackets. Youíll spend more time seeing below the water rather than trying to hold a noodle or something else. The currents were getting stronger so the captain suggest we go somewhere near the coast. Soon we were off to the second location and dive instructor came and told us that we should avoid snuba and try snorkeling. At the second site the 3rd person bailed out and that left only two of us willing to go back in the water. Luckily the second was the one who knew swimming and I decided the stay close, in case I needed any help. This time we were very close to the beaches and the houses and waters were calm so I could see more underwater but could not go far because of the noodle. We were back in 20-25 mins and then stayed on the boat having some more food. Some of the tourists also went to find the underwater life Ė fishes, octopus, even one turtle, sea urchins etc. after around an hour we were on the way back. We reached the harbor by around 12 PM. Two folks had had enough of water, so they decided to cancel the whale watching trip (without any refunds).

We decided to have a quick bite and then head back to the other harbor for the whale watch. Our trip was around 2:45 so we reached by 2:25. There are many whale watch tours and we had booked on the ultimate whale watch one which was a 2 hrs trip. Some companies also run a photography whale watch tour which is a bit more expensive and goes to around 3 hrs. The boat was a small speed boat (the ones similar to what the navy uses for quick drop ins) and soon we were crossed by spinner dolphins (almost 40-50 of them). They were jumping all around the boat and going in groups. After some time, the naturalist onboard spotted the spout and then we counted atleast 5 or 6 whales in a group. The naturalist told that normally a whale goes alone and at most with the kids. Spotting a group at this time of the year meant it was a group of males trying to fight with each other to attract the female. For the next hour we saw the whales do tail slapping, coming out of the water and even saw the heads of some of them. Some were trying to push each other. On the return trip we saw the some of them even moved close to the coast which was not usual. We even saw the female with her offspring (identified from the smaller spout). By the end of 2 hrs we were back at the harbor and were happy overall after seeing so many whales and even the mouth couple of times. We had some coffee on the way back and then reached home by 7..ish. We didnít have a proper dinner, so we decided to have dinner at home. We had carried over the ready to eat Haldirams items so it did not take a lot of time to cook it and were soon asleep as we needed another early start the next day.

Molokini crater, on the way to the snorkel point
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_00851.jpg


Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_01031.jpg


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Octopus taken out of the water by one of the crew members
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Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_01731.jpg

A dolphin swimming close to our boat
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_02111.jpg

dolphins all around us, there were atleast 50 on one side and might be more on other sides
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_02511.jpg

two whales bumping into each other
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_04881.jpg

a whale trying to surface
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_09801.jpg

view from boat, returning from the whalewatch
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_11201.jpg

Last edited by aditya_rao : 29th March 2018 at 23:40.
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Old 28th March 2018, 08:55   #3
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Default re: Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales

Day 2

We had planned to do the Road to Hana trip in a day, so our second was dedicated to this road trip. While we had planned on starting by 7, realistically we started around 8:20. The scenic route is hardly 45 miles approx. but takes atleast 6-7 hrs roundtrip. Hana is a small town and you might not find a lot to be done there, but the main attractions are on the route. Most of the route takes you along the coastline and you can stop along the scenic viewpoints, see waterfalls and do hikes. We had marked many points on the maps (probably too many for a day, that were collected from different tourist maps), but realistically we can cover hardly 10 points that too in a hurry. Our first stop was to fill up gas at Paia as there are no gas stations once you leave the town areas. The next stop was hookipa beach park. We spent some time taking pictures and admiring the ocean from the view point. From there the roads take a slightly inner route hiding the coastline. Our next stop was Twin falls where you can walk for 15-20 mins to see a set of 2 small falls. The day was not great in terms of weather and it was raining intermittently. So, our hike to the falls was also under a light shower. We continue from there to a place called Nailiilihaele hike, which is more of an unmarked trail. The map takes you to a point which just has space on both sides for few cars and starts in between a thick bush with a small opening. The hike takes you up and down a slippery path through a bamboo forest. Once you cross the first part, you will reach a small river with a strong current. Crossing it takes effort and we had to remove our shoes and cross barefoot. From there it was a muddy patch and 2 folks went ahead and lost their way. I continued barefoot and eventually found another family for company. There are few waterfalls on the hike. Together I saw 3 waterfalls with them and the next set of waterfalls were through ne even more difficult hike. The father and son went a little ahead and decided to return back, prompting me also to cancel the hike ahead. My feet were already aching after walking on the stones and mud and water, so I was happy to go back. The other 2 folks with me had anyway vanished, so I was hoping they had found their way back. After a grueling 30 mins barefoot walk back I was happy to be on the road and found everyone back in the car. This was probably a wrong decision we had taken and the hike was not worth putting the effort, that too on a rainy day. It might be a good one on a sunny day, but definitely not a good one on the day we travelled.

We continued our journey to a place called Garden of Eden. Itís a man-made garden with different trees and view points to waterfalls and the ocean. The entry fees is 16$ per person. There is a small food truck near the exit which has good food (especially tarot chips, which are probably found in Hawaii only). It took us less than an hour to go through the main view points and at the time of exit we thought paying 64$ for 4 people was not worth. We had our quick lunch before entering the park itself, so we continued our journey stopping at some view points and then eventually reaching Hana. Hana is a small town and we reached around evening, so the crowds were almost gone. We decided to go a little further near a beach but that turned out to be just a waterfront area with no beach. We took a quick rest stop and then started our way back. We wanted to see blue water pools but it turned out that they did not have direct access and we might have to park a little away and access might be through some private property.

We decided to skip it and continue our way to the Keanae lookout as our last viewpoint. We certainly missed many viewpoints but covering everything in a day is not realistic. Had we skipped the hike to see the waterfalls we might have covered few more points, but the day was already over, so all we wanted to do was get home and have dinner. On the way back, we started looking for options starting with Thai and Mexican places. We found a highly rated Thai restaurant but it quickly turned out that the address google was showing was Courtyard Marriott. We continued our way to an Indian restaurant but found that Thai one somewhere else on the way. The Indian restaurant was Monsoon and was not far from our apartment. It was in a residential area and after some search in the apartment complex, we finally found the restaurant. It was an Indian restaurant but except the cook, nothing was Indian. The food was still better than the previous night and we sat in the open seating area, behind us was ocean views (though we could not see anything at night). After dinner we headed back and already tired slept off quickly.

at the hookipa bay area
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_00331.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_01451.jpg

one of the other waterfalls at twin falls
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_01921.jpg

twin falls
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peacocks at the garden of eden
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another view from the gardens
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_02831.jpg

a waterfall view from the garden's viewpoint
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_03281.jpg

Near Hana
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_03841.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_05621.jpg

a waterfall on the way back
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_05771.jpg

Last edited by aditya_rao : 30th March 2018 at 08:54. Reason: photo addition
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Old 28th March 2018, 08:57   #4
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Default re: Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales

Day 3

This was the day which would be more relaxing (only during the day). We had only one planned thing Ė submarine ride. The other unplanned item was sunrise at Haleakala National park. Situated at around 9000-1000- ft above sea level, this place is famous for sunrises. We managed to get a booking online, but had to leave the apartment by 3 in the morning. The drive was around an hour and 30 mins to 2 hrs. While the weather wasn't great the previous night, we hoped at the higher altitude it would be better than at the sea level. But nature had it's own plan. We reached well on time, but found that it was completely foggy, cloudy and raining occasionally. Even after the official sunrise, we could not see anything, so disappointed we came back. For the next adventure, we had booked Atlantis submarine ride on the west coast and had to be there by 1:30 for the 2 PM ride. The harbor was same as the one we used for whale watching. They would first take us on a boat and then transfer to the electric submarine around a mile away from the slip. We had never gone underwater in a sub, so this was going to be interesting. Soon we reached the tugboat which was going to hold our boat and the submarine in the same spot. The guests on board the sub transferred to the boat and we then transferred to the sub. I think there would have been around 35-40 people on board. The crew quickly took positions and then started the dive in a navy fashion with the sirens and their military style permissions. The total trip time was around 100 mins with around 30-40 mins to and fro to the sub. The maximum depth we were going to go was around 120ft. There were about 7-8 things there were going to show us, one of them being an old ship that they had sunk in the water to attract underwater fishes, creatures and sea life. Most of the time was spent in seeing fishes and then we moved towards the ship. It was not a big ship but what I remember is they had purchased it for a dollar for marine conservation (hence the throwaway cost). The only different thing apart from the sunken ship was that we could see was few sharks that were at the bottom of the floor. For most of the time we saw fishes come up close to the sub and go around it. We also saw shoals of other smaller fish and some bigger ones in groups. One of the crew members has seen a whale underwater a few days earlier and he showed us the pictures on his phone and said it was very rare for whales to come near to the sub. While the water was clear, the viewing distances were not great. The farthest we could see was probably 50-60 ft. as there was some mud in the waters.

The ride lasted around 40-50 mins and soon we were ready to come afloat. We quickly transferred back into the boat and then headed back to the harbor. Most tour agencies take photos at the beginning of the tour and then try to sell it for around 20 or 30$. We passed on our photo and decided to go to a beach from there. The nearest beach was Kaanapali beach. Most of the beach is occupied by the resorts, so you might not find easy access, but there was one next to Marriott where public access was there. We parked in the beach parking and spent another hour there. From there we thought of doing a circular return journey back to our apartment and passing by a blowhole (water gushes out of a circular opening in the rock next to the strong currents at the shore and creates a tall geyser like spray). But it was dark soon and we thought letís continue the journey without stopping on the way, but just follow a different route. Our route to the beach was through the crowded streets so we thought this would be offbeat route with lesser traffic.

It looked fine initially but as we kept going the roads kept becoming narrower and narrower and in the last hour and half we nearly had only 1 lane both ways and at places one side had to stop for the other side to pass. To add to that the roads were full of sharp turns and lower speed limits (25-45 mph). It also started raining suddenly and we all agreed that we had made a mistake of choosing a road with less traffic compared to the busy streets where the roads were straight and had multiple lanes. Turning back would have meant adding another hour or two to our time of arrival. Praying that we donít encounter any more bad roads were somehow made it to the city area and finally into our apartment. I would not recommend anyone to do this road unless you have lot of time to spare and are doing it in broad daylight. As we were reaching our apartment, we decided to have dinner outside. Luckily, we found a Thai restaurant open at the time and within an hour we were headed back and started packing up. This was our last night in Maui and we had a flight to catch to Oahu (Honolulu)

views while coming down from Haleakala
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_00171.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_00401.jpg

underwater views from the submarine
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_01471.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_014712.jpg

sunken ship
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_02141.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_02191.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_02451.jpg

views while coming back from the sub
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_03301.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_03651.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_03761.jpg

Last edited by aditya_rao : 30th March 2018 at 09:02.
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Old 28th March 2018, 08:59   #5
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Default re: Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales

Day 4

Our flight was in the morning around 8, so we had to leave from the apartment by 6 as we had to fill up gas, return the car, check-in the bags by 7 AM. We found a gas station on the route itself and filling it up took hardly 5 mins. By 6:45 we had started for the airport on the enterprise shuttle. We had already checked in, so adding the check-in bag did not take long. Our inter island flights were on Hawaiian airlines and if you become a member, they offer check-in bags at 15$ per bag, else it was 30 I think. The flight to Honolulu was a short one, but the wait for the bags was almost 30 mins. For some reason the bags did not get loaded on time and many people were waiting at the baggage claim for the bags. Once we got the bags we went looking for the enterprise shuttle and within 10 mins we were at the rental facility just outside the airport. We were initially offered a Honda CRV or a similar sized SUV, but for an additional 30$ we got an upgrade to Nissan armada. The car had enough space for bags and the four of us. So, we set the destination as our hotel on Waikiki beach and headed there.

The hotel was a 30-min drive and once we reached the front desk told that the rooms would not be ready until afternoon (we had put in an early check-in request). So, we decided to leave our bags at the lobby with the hotel staff and then enquired on our options to visit Honolulu. We also got a pass for the parking garage next to the hotel (35 for hotel guests and 50 for non-hotel guests). After discussing the sightseeing options with the hotel travel desk, we decided to cover the eastern and central part of Honolulu. We quickly grabbed a sub from the subway in front of the hotel and then headed for Diamond head state park. Entry fees is 5$ per car and after reaching there we realized that it was too hot and almost a 45-50 min hike to the top and a similar hike all the way back. We hiked about 10 mins and then returned, deciding to go to another viewpoint.

From there we went to a place called Hanauma bay lookout. The entry fees is a dollar, which is returned if you exit within 15 mins. We took photos from different points on the lookout and decided to skip the beach part. The beach however looked very good it did not have strong currents as it was situation in a bay. Water clarity was very good and from the top, we could see rocks and reefs also. From there our next stop was Halona blowhole lookout. We had missed Nakalele blowhole in Maui, so thought we should give this one a try. The water spray was not that high but it was still a view point. From a distance we could see whale spouts also and occasionally a small tail in the distance. We continued our journey to the Makapu’u point lighthouse. Our impression was that the train was a short one, however this too turned out to be a long hike. It was past 2:30 and we wanted to be at the valley of temples before sundown, so we moved on and stopped at Waimanalo beach. Taking some quick photos, we set our destination to Valley of temples. There is a Buddha temple here based on the Japanese architecture (temple is called Byodo-In Temple) and it had an entrance fees of 5$ per person. After going through the temple, we moved on to a back road that lead to a scenic view of towering mountains arranged in a parallel fashion. The view was amazing with the mist, clouds and small waterfalls all along the mountains.

We spent another 30-40 mins taking photos and then decided to go on H3 (the highway that goes through these mountains). The detour cost us an extra 30 mins but was a good one, as we took a u turn after crossing the mountains and then decided to go the Nuuanu Pali lookout. There were hardly any people there, so we quickly took pictures and then decided to come back to the hotel as it was already time for dinner. Coming back, we checked-in and then asked the staff to deliver the bags. It was nearing 7:30 pm and the beach service was also closed, so we decided to walk along the beach and then have dinner in a mall next door. The sidewalks and roads were crowded with people even past 11 pm. After dinner we came back home and got our bag packs ready for the next day’s trip.

scenic views in Oahu
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Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_00261.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_00391.jpg

At hanauma bay, the water here is very clear
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_00811.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_01241.jpg

we stopped here on the way while going to see the blow hole
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_01681.jpg

water splashes at the blowhole
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_01951.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_02461.jpg

few more scenic views
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_03821.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_04231.jpg

entrance to the valley of temples
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_04741.jpg

the Byodo-in temple
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_04801.jpg

Buddha statue in the temple
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_05031.jpg

temple view
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_05101.jpg

the backroads to the temple takes you to this scenic location. Once you are here, you feel
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_05291.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_052912.jpg

views from Pali lookout
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_06231.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_06381.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_06431.jpg

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Old 28th March 2018, 09:01   #6
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Default re: Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales

Day 5

This was our day trip to Kauai. We had not included this in the plan earlier, but after looking at the photos of the Na'pali coast, we decided to go for a day and take a flight tour. Little did we know that our day trips always have some adventure. Anyway, we rented the car only for a day, so we had to return the car and then catch the flight. We again started by 6:00 AM reaching enterprise around 6:30 and then hopped on to the shuttle to the airport. We only had bag packs to carry, so check-in was quick and we were on the way to Kauai. The flight around 30 mins, so the only service offered on most inter island shuttles is water/tea/coffee/juice. By the time you get and drink it itís time to descend.

The airport in Kauai is at Lihue. Itís a small airport and once you are out, there are shuttles that you can get to the rental centers. We had pre-booked a jeep wrangler from Hertz. Renting a wrangler was on my list for a long time, so this was our chance. I also got an email giving the color and car details. As soon as we reached I saw a red jeep take off from the lot and I commented, we might be getting a similar one. But soon I saw that there was no other red jeep. I have gold service from hertz, so I walked up the counter and asked the lady pointing to my name and she was a bit surprised. She said you just took the car and that was the first shock that we got. I said we just got here and then she pointed towards that red jeep that we saw earlier and said thatís your car. She started running towards the jeep and stopped that family and asked them about their contact and it turns out they did not even check the papers and were casually leaving with the vehicle. The hertz lady then apologized that she should have checked the id properly and she probably misheard the driverís name in that group and thought that was me.

So, after 10 mins we got our car back and were on the way out of Hertz. We had heard about a Shiva temple in Kauai, so we wanted to check it out first before going for the flight tour of the rainforests and the coastline. The temple was around 20 mins from the airport and we spent around 30 mins there. The original temple is a small one and a new one is getting constructed very near to the existing one. There are few monks who stay there all round the year. From there we came back to the airport only to find that the weather was not supportive and that due to bad visibility the morning tour was cancelled. The operator was asking us to come back the next day, but since we had a day trip we asked if we could be accommodated in any afternoon one. The chances were low, but we still wanted to give it a try. The tour desk lady took our numbers and said she will text and call us in case there is any availability. Since we had the jeep, we decided to go the north coast, which was around an hourís drive. We went till the Hanalei bay.

The roads were blocked in the morning due to water flooding on the road on the northern highway, so we were not sure if we reach till the end, but we heard on the radio that the roads were getting cleared. We also visited a waterfall on the way. The water was muddy so the falls did not look that great. After taking some photos, we continued our drive. Once we reached Hanalei bay we took photos for some time and then got a text that there were 4 open seats on the 4 pm tour. So, we thought of having a quick lunch and then heading back to the airport. On the way we stopped at a local mall and apart from the fast food centers, we saw an Indian restaurant. While not great in terms of review we decided to go ahead as we did not have lot of time. We wrapped up the lunch in around 40 mins and then started back for the airport. We decided to see one more viewpoint before reaching the airport. At around 2:45 we got a call from the flight tour operator stating that the visibility was still bad and that they were cancelling that tour and would refund us the money we had paid. We were disappointed as the reason for the day trip was the tour and that practically wasted our day on the island.

Our return flight was after 8 pm and since we had nothing else to do, so we decided to go up to Waimea canyon lookout. The drive was another hour and we could come back by 7 to the rental center. The initial drive was good and the weather was also alternating between cloudy and sunny. But as we gained altitude, there was more fog and mist. Soon we were driving in low visibility. At one point we decided to go back, but then the lookout was only 15-20 mins away, so we decided to go anyway. Once at the lookup, there was only car, that was ready to leave. Once we were on the viewing area, the only thing we could see was clouds and mist. The canyon is called Grand Canyon of Hawaii, so not being able to see anything was not a pretty sight. We were at the mercy of nature, so the only thing we could do was return. One the way however we were again encountered by sunlight and skies that were clearing towards the coast. We stopped at some view points on the way to take photos and then headed back to Hertz. Sine we were reaching around dinner time, we decided to stop at a Mexican restaurant on the way to airport and got some burritos packed. The shuttle took us back in 10 mins and we were on our way back to Honolulu. We did not rent the car that night in Honolulu as that would have meant paying for an extra day along with parking. Taking an uber was cheaper. Once at the hotel we finished our dinner and prepare for the next day. Our next day was in Honolulu, so we decided to start a little late and sleep more than the prior days.


Wailua waterfall on the way
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_000112.jpg

a canal on the other side of the waterfall
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_00092.jpg

our red monster
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_00533.jpg

Opaeka'a falls
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_00661.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_06431.jpg  


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Old 28th March 2018, 09:03   #7
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Default re: Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales

Day 6

We had not planned a lot for today except for taking the central Oahu route to the Lanikai beach and then depending on the energy levels and time visit few other scenic spots. We had tried booking the Pearl harbor tour to USS Arizona but the online booking gets sold off quickly (that too well in advance). Even the tour desk advised against it and suggested we can plan a visit to the Polynesian cultural center. This would need atleast half a day and we could go to the beach for a short time and then spend the remaining day at the cultural center. The idea of spending half a day there especially on a nice sunny day was not inviting and looking at the videos we were in two minds. However, since we did not plan well, we decided to go there and take the risk. The entry was around 90$ plus tax, which included the day admission to the park, dinner and night show.

The drive for Lanikai beach was good and we did not encounter a lot of traffic and we found a spot to park, next to the beach road. The water there was quite clear and we thought this was the best beach we had seen so far. Even with the sand, we could very clearly and we even saw a green turtle on the beach surrounded by curious onlookers. A turtle safety group was trying to keep people away as the turtle had to go back into the water, so we took photos from a distance. The day was ideal for being in the water- no strong currents and proximity to the road and not very crowded. But we had to move on, if we had to do the cultural center (I prefer to call it an amusement park without the rides).

After reaching the parking area we enquired about the tickets and spent 400+ $ on the tickets and then tried to see whatever possible till 5. The park is divided into the different islands that represent the Polynesian islands/groups Ė Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, Aotearoa, Tonga, Fiji. Of all only Hawaii is situation above the equator (based on what they told us there). Each area represented by the islands had activities relevant to the specific island. Some had tattoo printing, some had cultural dances, presentations, some even had acrobatics with fire and tree climbing sessions. There was also a canoe pageant, where each island performed dances on the canoe. Dinner was served after 5 pm, since we had the cheaper ticket, ours was a regular buffet (which wasnít great considering 3 of us were vegetarians). But we had no option but to rely on salad and fruits. Once the dinner was over, it was time for a show called Ha Ė breath of life at 7:30.

The show would last atleast an hour and was probably the summary of everything that we saw during the day time but in a play/drama style. This was somewhat better than the day experience, but we still thought that we could have spent the day somewhere else without spending so much money. Each experience teaches us something, so this had its own learning. By 9 we had started back towards our hotel and reached by 10:00 PM. This was our last day in Waikiki, so we decided to use our hotel drink vouchers at the bar at the hotel. We packed up our bags and kept them ready for the next day.

At Lanikai beach
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_02761.jpg

another view of the beach
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_03741.jpg

turtle looking for a way to the water
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_03951.jpg

another water view from the rocks
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_04311.jpg

entrance to the cultural center
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_04642.jpg

there is a canoe tour over this canal in the center
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_04663.jpg

Cultural program being hosted
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_04734.jpg

performance from the main polynesian groups
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_04765.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_04996.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_05087.jpg

the traditional boat. I heard that there is course on Hawaiian culture (or something similar) and they have to master sailing on this boat to pass the course
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_05258.jpg

a carving near the exit
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_05389.jpg

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Old 28th March 2018, 09:07   #8
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Day 7

On most days we had chosen morning flights and this meant leaving by 6. Today our flight was around 8:45, so we had few more mins. We left the hotel around 7 and then reached the rental facility by 7:30. Return took hardly 5 mins and by 7:40 we reached the airport. We were just around the bag drop time, so somehow managed to print the bag tags and enter the security queue. The queue however turned out to be a long one. By the time we finished screening boarding had already started, so we quickly headed to the gate. This flight like others was around 40-45 mins. By the time we landed in Kona it was 9:30. This is the smallest airport I have seen. At most other airports (even if small) there were aerobridges but here you need to walk to the terminal and the deplaning happens from both the exits. As soon as you get into the terminal, you will feel as if you are at a beach resort (except when you see the security staff and screening equipment) and people are going all over the place. The baggage claim is also in the open. Our plan for today was to see 1 or 2 seafronts, Waipio valley lookout and then go to Mauna Kea observatory in the afternoon for sunset and night sky viewing. Mauna Kea visitor center is situated at around 9000+ ft. and the summit is at around 14000 ft. The road from visitor center to summit is not paved completely. The requirement put down by the authorities is to have a 4wd (not even an awd) and half a tank of gas to go up and down. The distance is less than 10 miles but the gain in elevation is a lot. Most rental companies allow driving their cars till the visitor center and in case you get stuck after that, you are on your own (including violation of agreement). The road isn’t that bad if you have a 4wd and know how to drive on the lower gears (using your breaks to come down 4000ft will burn them like anything).

There’s only one rental company on Big island that we could find, who rents to drive their cars until the summit – Harpers. I had called them up and booked a 4x4 (mostly a Toyota 4runner). Their rental rates are almost twice of hertz or enterprise, but you can drive up to the summit without any issues. They also had an airport pickup and drop. Since our 4x4 requirement was only for Mauna Kea, we booked it for a day and planned to get a regular rental for the next day. Our Airbnb apartment was in Hilo (around 1.5 hrs from Kona) so we had lot of driving on both days. We got picked up by harpers and then reached their office in around 15 mins. Their office is like a shack with space hardly for 3-4 people, but they have a big parking lot. The most unusual thing about their rental is the inspection. They do a video inspection with an iPad recording every inch and part of the car, including tires, interiors and underbody. We have to point out any marks, dents, scratches, issues before signing the agreement else the damage is on us. It took around 20-25 mins to complete the inspection. The office guy also showed how to engage and disengage 4wd and guidelines on driving to the summit.

Finally, we took the car and left for the nearby NPS trail. The trail was a bit longer than what we had expected, so we just explored the area for 10-15 mins and left for another nearby beach. Here too the beach wasn’t great, so we decided that instead of wasting time on this side of the island, we should go to the Hilo side and Mauna Kea was closer to the Hilo part of the island. We first set our destination for wapio valley. We also stopped couple of times to takes photos and reached the Waipio lookout. The views were great from the lookout and while we wanted to go the actual valley, it was a single lane road and we would have to put the vehicle in 4x4 mode before starting the journey from the lookout. This meant additional time spent in just going and coming. The weather was changing, so we decided to go to the summit and started our journey back.

The road to the summit takes a turn from the main highway and soon we were going into foggy, occasionally rainy and misty conditions. Visibility was changing every minute, so we were not very hopeful. After a long time, we reached the visitor station. One must wait at the visitor station for atleast 30-40 mins to get used to the altitude and oxygen levels would drop at the summit and people have all types of issues with coping up with this new environment. We looked around the visitor station and found that the star gazing program was cancelled due to bad weather. The staff told us that the weather at summit was not good, so there was no guarantee about seeing the sunset. While we were debating on what to do next, we saw that one portion of the sky was getting clearer. Hoping that the change would spread across majority of the sky, we decided to start our journey to the summit.

The staff at the starting point was checking with every car on whether they were equipped with 4wd and had enough gas. Past that point we put the car in 4Lo and started climbing slowly. The drive up is probably easy as you don’t have to worry about breaking. There were many bigger SUVs that were going faster than 20mph and probably on a regular gear. The first 2-3 miles was unpaved and then we gradually moved on to a paved road till the end. Towards the end you will start seeing the observatories before reaching the summit. It was just about time for the sunset, so we quickly found a parking spot and positioned our cameras for the sunset. After taking lot of photos, we decided to wait a little longer, but soon a security staff came by and explained that all vehicles must leave the summit within 30 mins of sunset. The telescopes would be opened at night when it is completely dark and having cars on the summit creates light pollution.

So we decided to head back to the visitor station. The drive was difficult this time as we were going downhill. It was somewhat similar to the drive to Mt Washington in New Hampshire where the road is paved but elevation is around 6000 ft. The drop kept increasing the car wanted to go faster but being in the lower gears was raising the rpm. We stopped at one point to get some photos of the night sky and it was amazing to see so many stars in the darkness around us. Soon other cars started to come down, so we left quickly and stopped at the visitor center. Since weather had improved the staff had brought out one of their telescopes attached to the computer and were showing the stars and deep sky objects on the computer screens in the open. The milky way was not visible as it was in the lower hemisphere at that time and would rise only early in the morning. I had high hopes of seeing the milky way but found out only later that this was not a good time of year to see it before midnight. We spent some time taking photos and then headed back to the apartment. The apartment right on the road, but it took us sometime to find the actual entrance We went to a nearby Safeway store to get some groceries and had the ready to eat packs for dinner. Tomorrow was our last day in Hawaii, so we packed up whatever we could and then slept off.

one of the rocky beach near Kona
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_06011.jpg

Crab in the lava rock
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_06232.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_06413.jpg

at one of the points we stopped on the way
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_06674.jpg

view from waipio valley lookout
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_06895.jpg

at the Mauna Kea visitor center
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_07576.jpg

a wider view of the observatories
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_07667.jpg

closer view of the observatory
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_07788.jpg

one of the observatories at the summit
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_07929.jpg

setting sun
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_080010.jpg

view after sunset
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_085811.jpg

stars in the sky without any editing
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_099412.jpg

Last edited by aditya_rao : 30th March 2018 at 23:03.
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Old 28th March 2018, 09:11   #9
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Default re: Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales

Day 8

On big island Hilo is facing the wind (hence windward side) whereas Kona is safe from the direct winds (leeward side). Our main concern for today was that we were going mostly on the windward sides and rains or clouds could play spoilsport. But the first task of the day was to return the rental and get the next rental from hertz. It took us 1.5 hrs to get to the harpers office, another 30 mins to return it and then another 10 to reach hertz at the airport. The car allotted to us was a 2018 Chevy Tahoe (with hardly 1700 miles on the odo). The paperwork was already in the car (benefit of the gold plus membership), so we checked the car for any damages and left for Hilo. The drive back was around 1.5 hrs on the same route. By the time we reached back it was 11 AM. The next hour passed by in packing up the leftover items and having a quick lunch. From there our plan was to go to Rainbow falls, Akaka falls and then take the helicopter lava tour. We had to reach the airport by 1:30 so after rainbow falls we decided to skip Akaka falls (though we regretted that later) and head to the airport.

At the airport we had our own helicopter through Paradise helicopters but it took a really long time for them to get started (and hence the regret for skipping the other waterfall). There are multiple operators like Blue Hawaiian, Big island air etc. The helicopter was a 4-seater one and we had got the safety briefing after check-in, so we boarded it after a quick refuel and headed off to the active volcano. On the way we saw the city of Hilo, the rainforests with the pilot telling some facts about the volcano and islands. Soon we could see lot of smoke and then we reached one of the smaller craters where we could see some lava spewing out of the earth’s crust. Now this isn’t same as what you see in the advertisements or NatGeo channel, but is still an interesting view. After that we went over some fields that were razed by the lava flow and could see the lava flowing on the ground. After that we went to the rainbow falls but the view wasn’t that great. We hoped we would see Akaka falls, but that was not included (so much to call it a lava and waterfalls tour). The tour lasted around an hour or less (maybe around 45-50 mins). We were originally planning to take the circle island tour on a small plane through big island air.

Their tour lasted around 100+ mins and apart from the lava viewing they also took us around the island. Cost wise it was similar except that this was a plane tour compared to the helicopter that we took. However, when we called there was no availability, so we had no choice but to take the helicopter tour. There was an option to take the doors off the helicopter but that would cost around 50-60$ extra per person (ours was 274 per person) and both options use the same helicopter. Anyway, once the tour was over next and last stop was the Hawaii volcanoes national park. This was around an hour away and it was already nearing 4, so we had to hurry up. There wasn’t much traffic, however with lower speed limits, the drive took longer. The one unusual thing I’ve seen in Hawaii is that apart from the regular police cars, cops seem to use their own cars also for official purposes. I know there are unmarked cars, but on US mainland the lights on the cars follow a standard pattern, whereas in Hawaii, they use a blue beacon (similar to the red or blue individual ones used in India) and they have all sorts of cars – from SUVs to different sedans.

Once we reached into the visitor center at the park entrance, we asked on the best options for us for that day. The ranger told us that we should do 2-3 main points since it had started to get dark – Jaggar museum for viewing the lava activity from a far-off distance, Thurston lava tubes, steam vents and come back to the jaggar museum for viewing the lava activity when it becomes a bit darker. There were other lookouts and views that required a full day, which we did not have. We quickly headed to the museum where a ranger talk was going on. The ranger showed us how the lava flows would look during the peak lava activity. After that we went to the lava tube. While the pictures on the internet seemed interesting, the actual walk through the lava tube was more like walking through a dark tunnel. From there we decided to skip the steam vents (having seen enough in Yellowstone) and coma back to the museum for a last photo shoot of the lava. It was darker than before, so after taking some more photos we decided to call it a day and head back to the airport for our flight to mainland.

Instead of taking the return route via Hilo, we decided to take a circular trip from the south to Kona. However, the speed limits were much lower and we almost were going to miss our flights. Add to that some cars were driving almost half the speed limit, which slowed us down even further. Our flight was at 10:10 and we reached Hertz at about 9 pm. Return was quick but the shuttle driver was taking his own sweet time to take us back to the airport. We finally reached around 9:15 with less than an hour to spare and with 2 bags to check-in. Add to that weight problems. The Alaska agent helped us check in quickly, but as soon as we reached the security queue there was a big queue and only one screening machine in use. The boarding had already started by the time we reached the gate and we managed to get in with just 15 mins to push back. Our return was via Seattle. Sleep was nowhere in question as both flights were around 5-6 hrs in flying time. By the time we reached home, it was late evening.

10 days had nearly passed and we couldn’t wonder where all the time went. While we wanted to have more relaxation time, in the end we did have some days of rushing around and a less fruitful day trip to Kauai. All in all, we did manage to tick off Hawaii on our travel list. Next destination? Maybe Canada or Iceland, who knows what’s in store for us.
Happy travelling!

At rainbow falls, we did not see rainbow though
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_10221.jpg

At a viewpoint on the way to the airport
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_10342.jpg

we stopped at another viewpoint on the way to Honoli'i beach park, didn't get to the park itself as we were getting delayed for airport
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_10413.jpg

another view from the same place
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_10984.jpg

view from the helicopter
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_11285.jpg

fog and smoke in the air as we go towards the crater
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_11546.jpg

the grey color comes from the cooled lava
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_11797.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_12528.jpg

first glimpse of the lava in the crater, this was however not the main crater of Kilauea. you can see the Halemaumau crater from the Jaggar museum overlook
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_12779.jpg

the reddish dot you may see is the lava flow on the ground
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_136410.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_140511.jpg

returning back
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_156712.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_166613.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_167614.jpg

views of houses and forests
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_168015.jpg

Hilo city views from the air
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_170116.jpg

One of the smaller falls that we saw from air
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_177517.jpg

another view of a different fall
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_178918.jpg

waterfront views
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_183919.jpg

our chopper
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_187520.jpg

At Jaggar museum
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_187621.jpg

Halemaumau view from the museum lookout
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_188422.jpg

if you see anything in red beyond the smoke, that's the lava
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_189923.jpg

view while entering the Thurston lava tube
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_195724.jpg

a closer view of the lava spewing out
Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_197525.jpg

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Old 31st March 2018, 21:31   #10
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Adding a few more photos of the cars i drove

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_5271.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-img_5405.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-20180315_130358.jpg

Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales-20180317_104941.jpg

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Old 1st April 2018, 21:03   #11
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Default Re: Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 2nd April 2018, 10:36   #12
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Default Re: Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales

Truly a travelogue that has it all (just like the destination)!

Awesome pictures accompanied by thorough write-up.

Can you please name the Netflix and Amazon shows on Hawaii which got you to make the trip? The only ones I can think of at the top of my mind are Hawaii-Five-O and the movie Moana

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Now this isnít same as what you see in the advertisements or NatGeo channel, but is still an interesting view.
Always wondered how much of a difference does good camera work make in the actual portrayal of the nature's beauty.

All in all, a very beautiful place which seems to be very close with nature.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 3rd April 2018, 05:35   #13
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Default Re: Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales

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Originally Posted by Omkar View Post
Truly a travelogue that has it all (just like the destination)!

Awesome pictures accompanied by thorough write-up.

Can you please name the Netflix and Amazon shows on Hawaii which got you to make the trip? The only ones I can think of at the top of my mind are Hawaii-Five-O and the movie Moana


Always wondered how much of a difference does good camera work make in the actual portrayal of the nature's beauty.

All in all, a very beautiful place which seems to be very close with nature.

Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, there are a couple of them - alien deep (doesn't cover everything in Hawaii, just the volcanoes and their origins), humpback whales.
On amazon - Hawaii inside paradise, Smart Travels with Rudy Maxa (2 episodes have covered 3 islands), World Natural Heritage Hawaii - Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
On youtube also there are so many videos, some from NatGeo

The shows and documentaries always show you the best of the place, sometimes going to places where general public would not be allowed, eg getting close to the lava flow, getting the best shots of the scenic places.
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Old 30th June 2020, 08:48   #14
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Default Re: Hawaii: Aloha to beaches, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling & whales

Adding a video of the drive to the Mauna Kea Summit

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