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Real Time Trip Report-Five Magical Weeks

Oklahoma City...
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Real Time Trip Report-Five Magical Weeks

For the past 4-5 years, my mother has faced perilous health issues and one year ago, I was making her funeral arrangements. It has been a difficult journey, but she is now home with 24 hour care. Since I am her primary care taker over these 4-5 years, my dear hubby has been waiting for just the right time for us to get away. He decided 5 weeks on the Big Island, in our favorite condo next to our favorite beach with no travel companions would be just "what the doctor ordered" for me.

Day 1: This past Saturday, we departed on American Airlines and had fabulous flights, watching movies with noise canceling headphones, eating movie candy and pop corn. Our flights literally flew by. Landing at KOA, all our baggage showed up, we got our rental car from Budget (through Discount Hawaii Rentals), ran by Safeway (renewed our discount card) to get a couple of basics and got to our condo at 9 pm. As soon as we opened the doors, the sound of the waves and the cool breeze made us immediately feel welcomed and a blissful night's sleep followed.

Day 2: Waking up at 4:30 am, drinking coffee on the lanai, watching the day begin and relaxing for the first time in a long time, I was slowly beginning to feel like myself. It felt magical.

A quick breakfast and we were off walking north on Ali'i Drive. Following all the shore access signs, we walked around 3 miles. Normally, we immediately follow our walk with an hour or so swim/snorkel, but we don't usually go to beaches on the weekends so locals may have that precious time with their families. Instead, we relaxed on our lanai. Suddenly, DH grabbed the binoculars and said, "There's our dolphin pod!". They jumped, flipped, twirled, and spinned as they made their way north in front of us. What a magical start to our first full day!

I finally peeled myself off the lanai and off to the store we went to get our grocery and supplies. Costco, WalMart, and Sack and Save for fresh fish and poke (thanks for that recommendation, TT) we finally made it back home in time for our first sunset next door at Pahoehoe Beach Park. They have benches and picnic takes along the sea wall and makes for a panoramic sunset experience. Beautiful!

DH cooked our fresh fish on the grill down by our complex pool while I made a salad. We ate, by candlelight, on our lanai serenaded by the sound of the waves. Wow. Just wow.

After another amazing nights sleep, we did our walk on Ali'i, this time heading north. Very fun place to walk and visit with locals. Back home, we quickly rehydrated, changed into our swimsuits, got our snorkel gear and walked next door, 20 steps, to one of our favorite places to snorkel, Magic Sands Beach Park. In Hawaiian, it is known as La'aloa Bay meaning "very sacred". This place should be a marine sanctuary! That morning we saw 4 turtles and about 15 varieties of reef fish. After an hour or so back home we sat on the lanai and took in all the ambiance that surrounded us. I'm almost back to normal.

Day 3: Reverse jet lag kicked our butt and had us turning in around 8 and getting up at 4ish. This morning, however we slept until 6! Walked 4 miles, breakfast, snorkeled an hour or more, lanai time, poke for lunch, nap, sunset, fresh fish for dinner, talking for uninterrupted hours on end to the love of my life, unbelievable nights sleep. I could get used to this:) Day 4-6 tomorrow, where we actually get off the lanai and go for a scenic drive of the rest Kona, our favorite place on earth, meet some locals and eat someone else's cooking.

Edited: 31 August 2012, 03:33
washington
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1. Re: Real Time Trip Report-Five Magical Weeks

Ahhh...sounds perfect! Can't wait to hear more!

California
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2. Re: Real Time Trip Report-Five Magical Weeks

Sounds like a great trip so far. I only dream of being able to go for 5 weeks! Those noise canceling head phones make a HUGE difference on a plane.

Kapaa, Hawaii
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3. Re: Real Time Trip Report-Five Magical Weeks

Thanks so much Bips, the snorkeling sounds wonderful. I'm looking forward to your adventure!!

Oklahoma City...
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4. Re: Real Time Trip Report-Five Magical Weeks

Thanks for the encouragement everyone. I will be looking forward to all ~your~tips on having a budget friendly Hawaiian vacation as we go along. Here are a few of mine:

Accommodations are the largest and most important expense, to us, so I have researched that aspect extensively. What I have come up with are a few requirements for us. First, it has to be a condo with a lanai (back porch) so close to the ocean, I could throw a rock left handed and it will hit the water. Why a condo? More room, ability to cook, less interruption, interaction and interference from others like resort staff and other guests. Also, we require being within walking distance to a snorkeling/swimming/lounging beach. Nice, but not a must, is a small pool with lounging and BBQ areas. Oh and our price point is around $100/night. We found all this and much more at Magic Sands Beach Condos. Here is a picture I took on my camera phone last Sunday:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85976404@N07/7877846728/

(copy and paste if the link is not clickable)

Total cost, ~including~ taxes and fees for 36 nights is $3681.75 or $102.28/night. I negotiated with the owner for the per night fee, then he waved the cleaning fee to arrive at that price. A bonus is this unit has been recently remodeled with state of the art appliances, electronics, granite, tile, and furnishings. It's the loveliest unit we've stayed in here. Be advised each is individually owned and differ in amenities. Do your homework before booking. Once you book, make sure a local management company is responsible in case something breaks or is needed during your stay.

Also, realize the beach next door is awesome for lounging, but you need to be experienced to swim or snorkel because of the wave or shore break. In the winter, the sand is sometimes taken out to sea by the high surge. I have snorkeled here when the sand is gone, in the winter, and also in the spring and fall. When I go to beach, however, I look at the conditions first. If it is suitable to go into the water, I do. If it is not, I don't. If the sand has disappeared, it means the sand is gone and you might want to go to another beach. If it is there, it might be a nice place to veg. Seems logical, right?

In this area of Kona, a typical day starts out sunny with a blue sky and white fluffy clouds. The water is light blue, deep blue, turquoise, and a darker greenish blue. The light blue is over sand, not great snorkeling, but some sea life. Deep blue is deeper water, not great snorkeling. Turquoise is in between sand and coral reef and can be very good snorkeling. Dark greenish blue is the best because it's over coral. This bay has coral on both sides and extends out beyond the bay. We stay in the bay to snorkel, but don't go out into the boating lanes.

After our walk and swim or snorkel, we lay out by the pool in the sun and warm ourselves like the turtles on a beach. I'm already several shades darker than when I came here a week ago...with sunscreen on. As the day goes on, the sun is hidden by the clouds, so don't expect total sun all day here. Another reason it fits our needs perfectly. As the sun is hidden, the temperatures stay very comfortable. In fact, we prefer no air conditioning. Instead opting for the cool breezes that blow day and night and the sounds of the ocean coming through open doors and windows. We are so blessed to have found a place that fits us to a tee and truly, magically renews our spirits.

Edited: 31 August 2012, 20:50
Hana, Hawaii
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5. Re: Real Time Trip Report-Five Magical Weeks

I don't know much...but I know I love this TR....isn't that a song?....and that's all I need to know.

Thanks Bips....be sure to slather your SPF sunscreen all over before you goes out...I think it was almost 100 in hot Texas land...and ....that Hawaiian sun is intense even through the clouds...at that latitude.

Changes in latitudes....changes in attitudes......."The lower the latitude....the better the attitude". :)

Chesterfield, Mich.
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6. Re: Real Time Trip Report-Five Magical Weeks

Loving it! I am looking forward to more! Wish I could just stop by for dinner! Or coffee on the lanai in the morning!

Chesterfield, Mich.
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7. Re: Real Time Trip Report-Five Magical Weeks

Love the picture!! Thanks.

washington
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8. Re: Real Time Trip Report-Five Magical Weeks

Bips...has U-Top It reopened yet? My favorite breakfast joint and it was missing in Feb!

9. Re: Real Time Trip Report-Five Magical Weeks

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Chesterfield, Mich.
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10. Re: Real Time Trip Report-Five Magical Weeks

Bips, I have just the CD for you!! I can imagine listening to it when you are on your lanai having coffee! It's the soundtrack from The Descendants.

I just bought it about a week ago from Amazon. My DH says it is 'hardcore' Hawaiian music. I think it's beautiful. If I had gotten it before you left, I would have gladly lent it to you for your listening pleasure on your trip!