Friday, February 28, 2014

Renewing our Wedding vows at the Wailua River and Fern Grotto

We took another Roberts Hawaii tour while on Kauai, this time we enjoyed a drive through Lihue Town and headed north along the coastline to the Wailua River.  At a marina, we boarded a flat-bottom motorized barge for a journey up the river. After a 30 minute cruise, we arrived at dock in the lush rain forest, and a short walk brought us to the Fern Grotto. This natural lava rock cave and grotto is lush with ferns and tropical foliage. We renewed our wedding vows there, on my 65th birthday, and then back on the barge for a cruise back. Then we boarded the bus and continued a bit further into the valley of the Sleeping Giant. From here, a short walk to Opaeka’a Falls, one of the island's most popular waterfalls.  Just another day in Paradise.
Our cruise barge
Heading up river
The Fern Grotto and waterfall
We renewed our vows with other couples
A dance to celebrate our wedding vows
The music played for us
Heading back down the Wailua River
Opeaka'a Falls in the drizzle

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The island of Kauai

We arrived in Kauai and spent the morning on a nice walk to do some shopping in Kalapali.  We stopped at the Marriott Kauai Beach Club hotel to see the beautiful beach, pools, magnificent gardens and accommodations, just in case we ever head back this way on a trip to the South Pacific.
The evening was one of the highlights of our trip, the Lu'au Kalamaku.  We experienced plantation life and learned about Kauai agriculture as we explored a 100 acre plantation on an authentic narrow-gauge train. Once we boarded the King Kalakaua-style wooden cars at the station we began a very informative 30 minute journey back through time, touring fields of sugar, pineapple, banana, papaya, coffee, tropical flowers and hardwood trees that show the plantations history, as well as the story of commercial farming on Kauai today.  The entertainment was hula dancers, fire poi ball twirlers, traditional fire knife dancing and a wonderful story of a fathers concern for his daughter, her meeting and falling in love, marriage, and birth of a baby boy come together for this once in a lifetime authentic experience. In addition, to a traditionally roasted pig, the buffet of local delicacies such as poi, purple sweet potato, veggies, fruits and lavish desserts. I forgot, all the free Mai Tai's and Blue Hawaiians that you could drink.  Lu'ua Kalamaku was another highlight on this wonderful journey discovering Hawaii and it's people. All we can saw is "Wow!"
a beautiful view of the beach pool, bay and mountains at the Marriott
A couple and their instructor rowing for some excercise
Hawaiian geese are different from those on the ranch back home
The Plantation train
Debbie is ready to party at the Lu'au
Debbie volunteered to learn the hula

Dancers celebrating
They fall in love
The Wedding
More celebrating at the reception
The next generation arrives

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kona, Hawaii, our second stop on the big island of Hawaii

We had a wonderful journey of discovery through the historic city of Kona and along Hawaii's beautiful sun-drenched Gold Coast. Departing from the pier, we traveled past ancient temples, fields of coffee and macadamia nuts, as well as breathtaking coastal scenery. Hawaii is world-famous for its rich blends of Kona coffee, and a stop at the Kona coffee house gives you a chance to sip the flavorful brew while browsing through the shop and exhibits. We had a tasting of some very different and delicious coffees. Then on to a breathtaking sea view of Kealakekua Bay. Another highlight of this tour was St. Benedict's historic painted church, noted for its colorful murals depicting biblical scenes. Then a trip to discover old Hawaii at Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. This place of refuge has served as a political and religious sanctuary since ancient times and is home to the sacred Hale Keawe Heiau, a temple that once housed the bones of deceased chiefs. Our Roberts Hawaii guide Valarie was a wealth of information.

Getting ready to surf
A view from Kona Coffee
St. Benedict's, known as the painted church
Some of the many murals
How beautiful!
Bread fruit, take of the skin, bake & it tastes like bread

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park
A net fisherman
The fisherman's catch, so far today.
Debbie is enjoying the park
An ancient burial hut sits on lava rock
another great view
Yes, we are enjoying a windy day at the park
Traditional dining areas

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hilo, Hawaii on the Big Island of Hawaii

Day 3 of the cruise takes us to our first of two stops on the island of Hawaii.  Hawaii is the name of this particular island.  So, there is a state and an island with the same name.  Don't get confused. Today was a great 45 minute helicopter ride over Maui and we got to see two volcano, Mauna Loa and Mouna Kea.  We did see some lava, some smoke and burning vegetation. These volcano are active, but not spewing lava, just some small above ground streams. We also saw some great waterfalls.
Getting ready to depart
My brides having a great time.
Lava taking over the forest
Flowing lava
One of many waterfalls
A smoldering spot in the crater on Mauna Loa
Mauna Kea from above
Another waterfall
The Pride of America from our helicopter
We had a great helicopter experience

Monday, February 24, 2014

Maui, Hawaii-Day 2

We spent our second day on Maui on another Roberts Hawaii excursion that took us to Lahaina, for an underwater cruise on the submarine Atlantis, followed by a nice lunch at the Pioneer Hotel, and lot of shopping.  we first took a boat out to the ship. The submarine ride was great, as we got to see a sunken ship, tropical fish, and lots of coral.  We dove to a depth of 130 feet.  Another great excursion.
Submarine Atlantis starts to surface
The submarine on the surface
Debbie at 129 feet below the surface
These fish must be Italian, look at their noses!
Two sharks relax on the bottom
A nice view of the Maui mountains from the submarine
part of the sunken ship
Debbie talks to a noisy parrot at the Pioneer Hotel.
Please disregard to photo on the wall!