Wednesday, March 25, 2009


At the very beginning of this month, over my birthday, in fact, Sean and I took a trip to the Hawaiian islands. We spent two days on Oahu and six days on Maui, with a little Lanai thrown in for good measure.

We flew into Honolulu in the evening on Saturday, Feburary 28th. After walking around the shops along Waikiki for a while, we crashed and woke up refreshed the next day, ready to start our adventures in paradise. The main reason I wanted to visit Oahu, being that I had never been there and Sean had, was to go to Pearl Harbor. I was very excited about it! And what an experience it was! I am so glad that we took the time to see the USS Arizona memorial. The feeling of being directly above the ship, watching the oil bubble up from the sunken tomb where 900 men still rest, and looking at the names of the 1,177 men who gave their lives on that quiet December morning in 1941 was a memory that I will take with me forever.

We decided that visiting Punchbowl National Cemetery would be a good follow-up to the sobering experience of the USS Arizona memorial, so we drove there next. The memorial area at the cemetery has an abundance of information on the Pacific battles during the time of WWII, so we spent a while reading and looking at maps.

The rest of the day was spent driving around Diamond Head, taking pictures at beautiful beaches, walking the shops at Waikiki, and getting some delectible seafood at one of the resturants on the beach.

The next morning we walked along Waikiki (when can you ever get enough of that!!) before packing up and heading to the airport for the twenty minute flight to Maui.



We arrived on Maui in the afternoon on Monday, March 2nd. After a 50 minute drive across the island (in our rented convertible, of course) from the airport to our resort in Ka'anapali, we spent the evening taking in the beautiful resort grounds and beach and planning our adventures for the next few days. My favorite part of the place where we stayed was definitely the view from the balcony of our room! We looked out over the ocean with the nearby island of Lanai in the background. Watching the sun on the water with the occasional whale surfacing in the bay between Maui and Lanai and listening to the crashing of the waves on the beach was surreal.

The next morning we went horseback riding along the coast and through the mountains, spent the afternoon swimming in the ocean and lying on the beach, and ate some more seafood for dinner. On my birthday we headed out of Lahaina Harbor in a speedboat for an all-day tour of Lanai. We went snorkeling, swam on a deserted beach on the "uninhabited" side of the island, saw two WWII shipwrecks, watched a school of dolphins swim around our boat, and witnessed a humpback whale surface about twenty feet from our little boat. I think it is safe to say my 28th was the best birthday ever!

Mendes Ranch

Snorkeling Around Lanai

We had a relaxing day on Thursday as we drove around and looked at the beautiful cliffs and beaches and swam in the ocean. We even met up with a co-worker of Sean's and her husband for dinner. We all just happened to be on Maui at the same time!
On Friday, we drove the beautiful Road to Hana. 50 miles of twists, turns, one-way bridges, breathtaking views, waterfalls and pools, and gorgeous hiking ended at Wainapanapa State Park and the famous black sand beach. I didn't think it was possible for someplace to be more stunning than the sights we had witnessed along the road, but the jutting lava rocks, black sand, lava tubes, and blow holes with crashing waves contrasted with the bright green foliage took the paradise prize!
The Road to Hana

Black Sand Beach
Wainapanapa State Park
On our final full day before departing back to "real life," we took a whale watching tour in the morning and went to a magnificant lu'au in the evening. It was the perfect way to end our wonderful vacation. What a beautiful place! I would go back in a second!