Existing Member?


Hawaii - ahhhhhhhh

USA | Friday, 28 October 2011 | Views [322]

Part 2 Hawaii

10 hours on a plane – no on demand entertainment and no food for free or for vegetarians! But we got there – Honoloulu...ahhhhhhhhhhh. New York was great, but we were ready to relax!

I love Hawaiian airports, they are an odd mix of normal airport and open air corridors and waiting areas making the whole experience much more pleasant. We picked up our convertible and headed off to our hotel on Waikiki beach. We stayed at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel. Great location as it’s right at the end of the beach , but just heads up for anyone going to Honolulu – parking and traffic are terrible! Use the very efficient bus system and save yourself some time, hassle and a whole lotta money. Most hotels only offer valet parking which they charge like wounded bulls for.

After a minor panic attack (ok major), when I realised I had left all of my very expensive underwear in the new York hotel (including the strapless bra I was going to wear under my wedding dress that took me 3 months to find and cost me a small fortune) and a few frantic calls to New York to find my knickers, we met up with some friends to find a place to eat.

It is absolutely gorgeous walking along the beach front at sunset. We eventually settled on California Pizza Kitchen as Waikiki is not massively vegetarian friendly. It was great – definitely in my top 10 of pizza experiences, maybe even my top 5. We wandered around and did a  bit of shopping and then headed back for an early night.

We  were up with the dawn the next day to head over to Hanauma Bay – a protected marine life conservation area on the eastern side of Oahu that is renowned for it’s snorkelling. You have to get there early to get a car park. We watched a short film made in the 80’s about the park and how to behave before we headed down into the flooded crater. We were the first group to go through so it was still quiet. We had brought one set of snorkel gear, and when they told us the price to hire another snorkel, we decided to take turns with the one we had! All in all we had a good time at Hanauma Bay and saw some really cool fish, but the water was cloudy and so shallow over the reefs that is was dangerous at times, and just plain uncomfortable (scraping up against the coral) for the rest.

We left Hanauma Bay and travelled further around the east coast of Oahu to The Sea Life Park. This is where they shot some of the scenes for the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore movie 50 First Dates. We had booked in to swim with the dolphins in the afternoon and wanted to check out the park before that. We saw a couple of great dolphin shows where they not only show off the dolphins, but the relationship that they have with their trainers and handlers. They do a great show at one of the indoor amphitheatres where they bring out the seals so the kids can see them up close – I’ve never seen a seal do a handstand/flipperstand before –that’s some serious upper body strength! The dolphins splash the crowd, the kids scream with delight, it was great!

When it was time we headed over to the main dolphin pool for our swim. We were lucky enough to be in the water with the adorable Nani who the trainer calls his naughty teenager and   Kekaimalu the worlds only “Wolphin” – a cross between a  fasle killer whale and bottle nose dolphin. We got to do a dorsal fin ride (where they come up behind you and you grab onto their dorsal fins and the 2 dolphins tow you) and a foot push (the dolphins dive under water and come up under your feet pushing you up and along the water) which was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced.  We were also allowed to be in the water while the dolphins swam up to you so you could touch them and learned the commands for their acrobatic trips – you know just in case I quit my job and become a dolphin trainer.

We said goodbye to our dolphin and wolphin and headed back to Waikiki for a much needed shower – the dolphin pool was a bit icky! Once we were cleaned up we headed out for dinner – our mission, get a table at the Cheesecake Factory. We’d heard the food was good and we wanted to see if any of the girls looked like Penny from Big Bang Theory and take a photo with her. Alas it was not to be – the wait for a table was already an hour and a half. So we settled for something else, did a bit more shopping (I was frantically trying to find a strapless bra to replace the one I’d left in New York), watched a crazy lady with parrots swear and scream at a passer-by who looked at her birds and headed back to the hotel for our last night in Waikiki.


I was more than happy to be leaving Honolulu the next day as we headed for the glorious Maui. We did some cool things in Honolulu, but it’s pretty much just an upmarket Gold Coast. Maui on the other hand is wonderful.

This fabulous island is named after the Hawaiian god Maui who slowed the progress of the sun in the sky so his people could enjoy the sunlight. Sunrise and sunset are extremely special times and many activities revolve around these very auspicious times of day.

On every previous visit to Maui I have stayed in the little town of Kihei. Technically in South Maui, Kihei is about 30 mins drive from Kahului airport. It has enough basic shopping, great holiday villa/serviced apartment accommodation and some pretty good eating as well as surf schools and  a boat ramp for pick up for scuba diving and snorkelling trips. It’s also 15 mins drive from what I consider to be Hawaii’s best each- Makena or Big Beach.We were staying in a lovely little cottage just back from the beach.

Now if you’re ever in Maui make sure you rent a car. And make sure that car is a convertible! We picked up our friends from their hotel and began the drive to Lahaina. The drive from Kihei is mostly in a westerly direction and at sunset it is absolutely stunning. There are plenty of places to stop on the way, and in fact you’ll see many people (tourists and locals) doing just that to farewell the sun. The drive takes about 40 minutes when he traffic is good and the road winds right around the coast. Lahaina is an old whaling town that is now a quaint little combination of restaurants, jewellers, art galleries and tourist shops. It’s right on the water and a lot of the restaurants have live entertainment. We managed to squeeze in at the Hard Rock cafe (not very local I know, but in a town that pretty much just serves fish, eating out is a struggle for the vegetarian crowd!) and finished  off with some Coldstone ice cream – it’s the American version of Cold Rock, you know where you choose the ice cream and then they smash all the extra bits into it – yummy!!!


For our first full day in Maui, the first order of business  was the beach – Big Beach or Makena to be exact. This is my favourite beach in the world. And if you’re a bit cheeky, it’s right next door to Little Beach where you can strip down to your birthday suit and really enjoy the splendour of the valley isle.

Makena is part of a national park – there’s no shops, there’s no showers, there’s no loos (don’t use the porta-loo, you may not live to see another day), there’s only a guy in a caravan selling fajitas, hot dogs, drinks and coconuts. There’s no rubbish bins, so bring your own rubbish bag and take it all with you. And on glorious days the parking lot is full well before lunchtime.

We found a spot on the molten sand and pretty much got straight in the water. It’s no good for surfing as the waves break really close to the beach. But it’s fantastic for some good solid wave jumping.  It can get a bit rough so if you’re not a reasonably strong swimmer, Big beach probably isn’t for you.

The water on  Maui is so clear you can see the sand between your toes. I love being in the ocean as it always makes me feel part of something bigger. But on Maui the feeling is amplified because it is just so incredibly clean and beautiful. I stayed in the water for almost 4 hours straight, just floating in paradise before calling it a day. I was a bit pink but at this stage wasn’t too worried. We began to get our stuff together when my lovely partner gasps and pulls some very soggy, salty car keys out of her pocket. I nearly wet myself laughing as it says in very big red letters on the brochure you get when you collect your car “DO NOT GET THE CAR KEYS WET. THE CAR WILL NOT START IF YOU DO”. Now they are the new fancy remote car keys, but come on, seriously? I was amazed that after 4 hours in quite big swell, they were still in her pocket so wasn’t ready to panic yet. I did say a quick little prayer however as I had no pants over my bikini bottoms and didn’t fancy tramping all the way into town like that!

 It was tense walk back to our fabulous gunmetal grey mustang convertible, but when we got there the car was very obliging and started first go – thank goodness!

We grabbed some dinner and headed back home for an easy night in when I saw the full extent of my day in the water. I was red like a lobster! My face was practically radioactive and I had the most fantastic strap marks from my top. It seems while I had been floating in the ocean, blissfully unaware of anything else – I had not made any consideration for the re-application of sunscreen, or what this would mean for my one shouldered wedding dress the next day. Now I was no bridezilla, but after leaving all my knickers and strapless bra in New York, I was starting to get a little crazy! So I jumped in the car for a late night dash to Longs drugs to find some tan healing/setting/browning cream and some nuclear strength bronzer. I then spent the night applying Maui babe browning lotion to my entire body every hour. It was a sticky, sticky night!


When I awoke on my wedding day, to my horror (though not to my surprise), I was still a very Christmassy shade of red. So I just kept applying the Maui Babe and praying to any deity who would have me that either my sunburn would suddenly and miraculously fade, or that it was true what my partner and friends were saying – “it’ll look fine once you’re in your dress, no one will notice” or my favourite “you can always get the photographer to photoshop it”.

By the time I got to the beauty salon to have my hair done I was radiating a heat so fierce that I thought my face was going to melt off! It was also a very, very warm day on Maui so the freak out factor was increasing. I wasn’t worried about the actual marrying of my partner – that was something I knew I absolutely, most definitely wanted to do – I just wanted to be beautiful in my pretty white dress on the most special day of my life.

A few hours later the wonderful ladies at Sisters and Co salon in Wailea had worked a miracle. I’d given them no instruction for my hair other than it had to be all up and out of my face and that I needed my make up to minimise the sunburn but not make me look like a drag queen. They did a great job on all of us. There was now nothing to do but pick up the bouquet, get dressed and get to the beach!

When I finally stood in my dress with my hair and make-up done it really hit me.  This was it. The day that  girls dream of. I’d been bronzed within an inch of my life – and suddenly my sunburn didn’t matter anymore – and it really didn’t look that bad.  There was no more preparations, no more decisions about how everything should go. It was all done. We had arrived at the point of no return. My partner looked so beautiful that I couldn’t stop smiling at her. I know we’d technically “gotten married” last week in New York, but this was the one we had planned. This was the one that was the wedding we had dreamed of.

We drove a bit further south to a tiny little beach called Paipu. It was perfect. I haven’t seen a photo that does this place justice, it’s just something you have to see for yourself. The sun was getting lower in the sky and it was shaping up to be a magnificent sunset. We met our celebrant who was a radiant elderly lady who asked us if she could chant a Hawaiian blessing and blow the conch shell for us.

I walked hand in hand with my partner down the beach to stand with her while we spoke the vows we had written and exchanged rings. Maui gave us the most spectacular sunset as we committed our lives to each other and I know it will be the best decision I ever made in my life.

After getting my dress soaking wet in the ocean, we headed back to get changed and out for dinner. I’d always wanted to have my “reception” dinner at Fred’s Mex on the water. So we celebrated our wedding with the most massive plate of nachos I’ve ever seen and some very yummy frozen strawberry daquiri’s! Perfect!

The rest of our time was spent enjoying the beauty of Maui. We got up at 3am one morning to drive to the top of the Haleakala volcano to watch the sunrise – a very early, very tedious drive and totally freezing at the top, but worth the site you see at the top. The sky looked like molten gold at times, like red or pink lava at others.  We also took a short snorkel trip out to the Molokini crater. We went with a company called Blue water rafting who blasts heavy rock music while hammering over the waves and practically ejecting you from your very precarious seating on the edge of the boat! The snorkelling at Molokini was wonderful. The water was so clear and blue. The fish would come right up to you and there were so many varieties. It was so nice snorkelling in deep water where you didn’t have to be worried about getting smashed against coral. We started on the inside of the crater and because the weather was good, we were lucky enough to hop back in the boat and have them drop us off the back side of the crater. We spent almost 2 hours in the water and as it was starting to get rough – and I was starting to feel quite seasick because of all the up and down – we climbed back into the boat and headed home. I managed to keep my breakfast down, but not everyone was quite so lucky!

On our last day we went to Makena one last time, got tattoos while we watched a guy who had taken way to many drugs get horn implants (he was convinced once they were done that weren’t straight!), and enjoyed our final sunset o the sea wall in Kihei. We were fortunate enough to see some sea turtles which are supposed to be good luck.

It’s always a sad moment when you have to leave Hawaii. The people are so friendly and so respectful of their islands. Everything is clean and fresh and it hurt my heart to leave, as it always does. But I was returning back to my regular life having started something amazing. We had already started planning our next trip to Hawaii even before we had left.

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.

About yellowducks

Follow Me

Where I've been

Photo Galleries


My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about USA

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.