HAWAII (See Map for Islands)
This is heaven-on-earth. Paradise. I took a 15-day vacation there in 1996; visited Oahu, Maui, The Big Island and Kauai.
In February, a life-long dream came true for me. I spent 15 days in Hawaii! I went all by myself, so I was pretty scared; but I met up with my tour group and made many new friends. Most of the people on the tour were senior citizens, only a few in their fifties. I was the third youngest in the bunch, but it was great. We spent 5 days on Waikiki Beach in Oahu, so I got to see Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center. Yes, I even saw Don Ho--actually, his show was quite good and he signed autographs and gave me a kiss. I also got to see Charo--coochie, coochie. She was great. I took many bus tours on all the islands. Then we went to Maui for only 2 days. I really want to return to Maui for at least 5 more days, there is so much to do there. I did do a whale watch, but the weather was really bad--we were the only boat out--so the few whales we did see were quite far away. The town of Lahaina is adorable. We then went to Hilo on the big island of Hawaii for one day. Personally, I thought this was a waste of time--wanted to be back on Maui. We then drove to Kona, so we went through Volcano National Park and saw steaming craters and old lava flows--really eery! This is a Hawks-billed sea turtle sunning itself on Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. Kona is a great tourist town, I really liked it there and would like to go back. We stayed right by the pier, so there were plenty of activities. We went on Captain Bean's dinner cruise, pretty wild! I even danced on the table! And I went in a glass-bottomed boat and observed sea-life. But the greatest adventure I had (and it was totally unplanned) was going with the tour guide and a few people to snorkel. I have discovered something that I absolutely love and must do again and again and again. It took me 3 tries before I believed I could breath under water, but once I did it, I swam for 2 1/2 hours straight. The fish are so colorful. It is fantastic! I got a little bit sunburned on my back and calves, tho'. (To see the snorkeling pictures, click here.) Then we flew to Kauai for a couple of days. The beach was absolutely beautiful and there was a great little shopping center next to the hotel. We went to Fern Grotto and Waimea Canyon. And I did another thing, on my own, that I have always wanted to do: A helicopter ride over the island! I thought it would be really scary and bumpy, but it was easy and smooth. The last night there, we went to a Karoake bar and the tour guide sang and danced with us. I really did not want to go home. The 17 hours on planes there and back is sure worth it. I know I left a lot out, but I really wanted to give you a short synopsis of what it was like for me. After 8 years of working with no vacations, this was a God-send. I do intend to go back to Hawaii, perhaps re-do the tour or, if I can find someone to go with me, I'd just like to do Maui and maybe Kona.
THE ADVENTURES OF SNORKEL-MONSTER:
Snorkeling with Cuz'n Dave at Kahaluu Beach, The Big Island, Hawaii, 3/7/96:
Moorish Idol (Kihikihi) Yellow Tang (Lua'ipala
Cornet Fish swims at the surface.
Convict Tang (Lu'ipala) Rectangular Trigger Fish Raccoon Butterfly
Black Trigger Fish in foreground, Reef Trigger Fish (Humahumanukanukaapua'a) Hawaii's state fish.
Pink-Lipped Parrotfish Teardrop Butterfly (Palukaluka)
Cornet Fish (they swim right at the surface!) Rudderfish
Picasso Trigger Fish
In the middle of a feeding frenzy!
Look! Up in the Sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, no-it's me!
Views from the Safari Helicopter: We took off from Lihue, Kauai.
Wailua Falls ("The plane, the plane!" These are the falls used in the old TV series "Fantasy Island.
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