If you can’t tell by my Maui trip report, my life is one big comedy. Well, I married a clown, so what do you expect? I just hope you all laugh and enjoy my words.
Mahalo, ahead of time.
Big Island- Day 1-10/23-10/27
Took off from Maui on time. Left hubby at baggage claim and jumped on the Thrifty shuttle. YAY! I was the only one on the shuttle, hence, the only one at the counter. The agent upgraded us to a luxury car for free, so I drove off in my big ‘ol Chrysler 300. Swung around and picked up hubby at the terminal and stopped back at Thrifty to add him as a driver. Some rental agencies will let you add another driver, with just the other person’s license, but Thrifty requires the second driver to be present. I always add the second driver because a few years ago, a friend was driving a rental that he was not an added driver on, and there was a huge accident, and it was a huge mess and problem because he wasn’t registered to that vehicle. Don’t take any chances. It’s only like 6bucks a day for a second driver.
Anyhoo……….Got on highway 11 and drove South, to the Kona area to check into our condo.
We are staying at the Outrigger Kanaloa at Kona. I see that they are widening the highway, which will be really nice for the residents and tourists alike. The traffic moved slower, the closer we got to Kona, with long lines of cars at stoplights because it’s only 1 lane, with 2 lanes in certain spots.
Found the Kamehameha III Road easily, and turned right, down a big hill towards the water. Great view from here…there’s even a scenic point turnoff to get some great pics.
Checked into our condo with ease. Now we are condo-virgins at this point, so there is a long shpiel about maid service and pool hours, etc to listen to when you check in. We have 2 room keys, a safe key and an air conditioning key.
Found our parking spot and unloaded the luggage. Found our unit #3304 and I immediately left hubby, to run through my new residence for the next 4 days.
WOW! This place was NICE! I knew it would be nice, but I didn’t know it would be THIS nice! We had an upper floor unit, but the front door was on the bottom. When you open the door, there was a stairway that led to the ‘foyer’. I ran up those stairs like a kid in a candy store! At the top of the stairs, there was a hutch and a wooden picture that looked like it was from Japan. Take a right and head down to the bedroom. Nice palm tree comforter on the queen size bed, ceiling fan, full dresser with mirror, bookcase with a TV and huge walk in closet with………….GOLF CLUBS! One set for men and one set for ladies. I don’t golf, by the way, but hubby does. Of course, he’s still downstairs trying to lug all our crap up the stairs by himself because I’m busy exploring, *smiles and bats her eyelashes* so he has no idea about the golf clubs.
Out of the bedroom, into the bathroom. Dark wood with granite counter top, 2 sinks and shower/tub combo. Hallway has a closet and lo and behold there’s a washer and dryer in there! That’s what I was waiting for…that’s why I didn’t bring so many clothes. I brought little bottles of detergent and downy, too!
Back down the hallway to the kitchen. NICE! Black granite counters, microwave, stove, dishwasher, side by side fridge. Really nice. Dining room has nice dark, wicker table and 4 chairs. Living room feels just like my own house! Dark wicker couch, 2 chairs with ottoman, coffee table and a leather lazy-boy. Huge flat screen TV with DVD player, some movies, and a Play station with games. Nice, vaulted ceilings with ceiling fan.
OH MY GOD! There’s a loft! WOW! Up the stairs to a room with a wooden floor, big couch with fluffy palm tree pillows, a chaise lounge and work desk (in case you want to work while on vacay HAHAHA!) and another small entertainment center with a TV, DVD player and a small stereo. The second bathroom is up here as well. It smells like fresh wood. Light colored wood with chrome fixtures, light granite counter, lots of storage space and full shower, plus a toilet of course. This is a really nice condo!
The lanai is a place all its own. The double sliding doors leading out to it, open up completely, and outside is a new glass table with chairs and 2 lounging chairs. There is a wet bar with sink and fridge out there, too. Hanging above the door is….maybe a goat head? I’m not sure what it is, but it isn’t a dear…or a bear. For certain.
The view is breathtaking. Looking out over an inlet, the water maybe 30 feet from my lanai. Awesome. I can see the Sheraton across the water from me. The best part is the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks. I’m probably going to sleep out here. (NOT!)
Hubby finally makes it up the stairs with all our crap and is awestruck with the place. I drag him from room to room; this makes him say, “Oh my god” louder in each room we visit. This is a pretty cool place. Showed him the golf clubs last. He was bummed I wouldn’t let him bring his own, so he was happy at the thought he might actually get to at least visit the driving range while he’s here.
Now we need groceries. I do a quick survey of the stocked utensils, etc in the condo. There is a coffee maker, blender, food processor, espresso maker, toaster, plenty of pot and pans, mixing and storage bowls, plates, cups, etc, plenty of silverware, cooking utensils and bbq stuff. Coffee filters are there, but no sugar, salt, nothin’ (virgins, remember). So the closest store is KTA. I knew there was a Safeway somewhere, but I didn’t know where it was and we wanted to eat.
Sooooooooo….went to KTA and spent a small fortune on a few groceries. 4 steaks, a whole chicken, dozen eggs, quart of milk, coffee, coffee creamer, small thing of sugar, breakfast sausage, loaf of bread, lunchmeat, provolone cheese slices, frozen pizza, Frozen corn, frozen brussel sprouts, small tub of whipped butter, small tub of sour cream, lettuce, tomato, onion, small bag of potatoes, 1000 pack of Bud Light (kidding, 18 pack) 12pack of Mt Dew, 6 water bottles, 2 cans of tuna, small mayo and mustard…..$160.00. WOW! I was amazed at how expensive stuff was. I belong to Safeway’s’ club, so I may have gotten a better deal there. Back in AZ, I probably would have spent about 60bucks on all that…ok maybe 70bucks.
We grilled steaks and had baked potatoes and brussel sprouts. Just chilled on our lanai, enjoyed the evening. We have some gecko’s living on the lanai walls, so we talked to them a little bit. Hubby came to me and told me he killed a huge roach with wings, in the bathroom and I freaked out. I hate roaches. Thank God, I never saw one.
Woke up at 530am…imagine that. Made some coffee and watched TV. Love watching the sun rise. Made eggs and sausage for breakfast, then headed down Ali’i Drive to see what was going on. Saw all the the resorts I’ve been reading about and all the restaurants around there. Parked and walked a ways back down Ali’i. Lots of shops and stuff. Stopped in at a tattoo place cuz we wanted some new ink. Pirates by the Sea. Linda is the owner and artist there. Her son also tattoos there. Hubby wanted a honu on his calf, and I had been wanting an ohm symbol on my back. I thought she was very expensive, but hubby liked her, so we put down a $50.00 deposit and made an appt for Thursday. Found U Top It, only I never got to eat there. Hubby was in need of an eyebrow wax, so we found a nail place across from U Top It and he got his brows done for 12bucks.
We browsed shops for a while, then I got hungry. Stopped at a place we saw called Kahuna Joe’s Pizza. Tiny little place with 4 tables. Ordered a slice with pepperoni and garlic, hubby had a slice of Hawaiian and one with anchovies and some other crap. The owner, Ruben was very nice and was telling us that he just moved here from CA and loves it. He was telling us about what he was doing when the earthquake hit. He said he was slammed because no one had electricity and he had cold water and cold sandwiches, so there was a line out the door. Nice guy, good pizza. He gave us a tip about another little place in the same plaza that has huge, ice cold beers for 2bucks from 11am-6pm. It was called Ohana III…a little Korean place with karaoke. So we had a beer there, then decided it was time to get back to the condo. We have a night snorkel with the manta rays and have to check in at 330.
Got our suits on and arrived at Kona Honu Divers at 325pm. We would have gotten there 10 mins earlier, but hubby has no idea how to park a car. I tell him there’s a spot, but he has to circle the entire building to see if there’s a better one. Oy vey. Just park the freakin’ car, will ya? What are you, my grandfather?
We get checked in and get driving directions to the dock. Met the crew, Captain John and dive master Jason. There were only 8 of us. 4 divers and 4 snorkelers. A few rules later, we’re on our way. We get out to “Manta Ray Point” and we get ready to snorkel for a while. We chose Kona Honu because they served sandwiches between the day and evening dives. I didn’t see any other dive company offer that.
So we snorkeled for about an hour, then everyone had a snack and waited for the sun to set. We forgot the towels in the car because we were arguing about parking again, and left them behind. BUMMER. I was really worried I was going to freeze when I got out of the water, but I was fine…just wet.
The boat starting rocking from side to side, making me a little queasy, in turn making me mad because I was not going to miss this. It was ok when the boat just kind of swayed, but when the water got a little rougher, I was afraid I was going to lose it.
We got to use wet suites for the night snorkel, so we watched the sunset then got suited up.
Before we got into the water, Jason told us that there are about 15 manta’s that show up on a regular basis and they all have names. They can tell who’s who because they all have distinct marking on their bellies. Hopefully someone will come tonight. *crosses her fingers*
Snorkeling in the daytime is strange enough because it forces you to breathe out of your mouth, but doing it at night is a whole other show. For this trip, there are lights on the bottom of the ocean that they turn on…those lights attract plankton, which is what manta rays eat, this in turn, attracts the manta rays.
SO…..we all have these huge flashlights that go around your wrist that we have to keep on at all times and keep them facing down, so you don’t blind anyone. Plus, hubby and I have underwater camera’s on the other wrist, to try and capture the magic we’re about to see.
The 4 of us get into the black water and this is where you experience a fear that you have never experienced before. It’s not SCAREY, per se….just a little intimidating. You can’t see what’s below or around you, so it’s a little freaky.
Now we have to swim about 50 yards to the lights, so we get moving…wetsuits, masks, snorkels, flippers, flashlights and all. We look pretty funny. We get to the lights and we take a deep breath, blow out our snorkels to make sure there’s no water in it, then plunge our heads into the water. Focus my eyes and to my amazement, there is something HUGE swimming around at the bottom.
WOW! Here she comes…..all back on her backside, and white with black markings on her belly. Did I say WOW?! This is the kind of stuff you only see on the Discovery Channel, and here it is…30 feet in front of me. She glides thru the water like a ballerina, doing somersaults, catching her dinner. Man is she beautiful. She disappears for a minute, then comes back for more. In the middle of the circle, are small fish, swirling around in this crazy dance.…it’s really bizarre. At one point, I float into the middle of those fish, and now I can’t see anything. *Back kick, back kick* Ok, back to my spot.
On this particular night, there weren’t a whole lot of snorkelers which is good. I’ve heard stories about there being so many, that you keep drifting into each other. Not on this trip…it was perfect. It was almost like were alone. (ok…that’s kind of scary)
So after about 30 minutes of trying to take pictures while holding my flashlight DOWN, hubby says he’s starting to feel sick and wants to go back. I tell him just give me 5 more minutes. We’re both really glad I did. About 5 minutes after that, it looked like she had left, but then all of a sudden, here she comes again……2 feet from me! It turns out (we found out later) that all the other snorkelers had left except for the 4 of us, and apparently, Lefty, (that was the manta’s name) wasn’t ready to go home yet. She came out of the darkness, and was somersaulting right in front of us. She was 2 feet away from me! It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I can’t even find the words to describe it. The captain tells you that these mantas are 14 feet wide, but you don’t really think about how big that is until its right in front of you. It’s HUGE! Her mouth was open, and is as big as the front end of the 300 we were driving. WOW! She did a couple flips and slowly swam away. *sniff, sniff. wipes a tear from her eye*
Back to reality and the swim back to our boat. If you can figure out which one is yours. They all look the same at night, so we start swimming back to the closet one (please God, let that be the one) and it IS..YAY! At this point we were so tired from all the excitement that the swim back felt like it took days. Captain John helps us out of the water and back on to the boat. A couple minutes later, the divers come back and as they were getting out of the water and storing their gear, I hear a swish in the water. I look over the side and it’s Lefty! She followed them back to the boat! She didn’t want us to leave! Awww, she was so sweet. She swam around for a couple minutes, then disappeared again.
Note to self….when I come back in my next life, I want to be a manta ray and live in the waters off Kona.
That’s where my fun ended. I was feeling queasy again and as soon as we stared heading back to the pier, I lost my cookies….and the pizza I ate for lunch. How embarrassing. I don’t really think anyone noticed except for another couple and hubby. Everyone else was too excited, so it wasn’t too bad. I felt MUCH better afterward. I only felt like a loser for a few minutes.
Man, that was quite an experience. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was definitely worth the 80 or so bucks we spent per person. I recommend this to everyone. Everyone should experience this. It was awesame!
A couple tips: Bring towels. Another couple didn’t have any, either, and it’s not cold out, but it sux to be dripping wet the entire time. Take a Dramamine or something called Bonez, I think it’s called…it will help with the seasickness. (I may be way off on the name)
We brought our own snorkels because I don’t like putting something in my mouth that’s been in someone else’s mouth, but they did have all the equipment for snorkeling and diving. We did use their masks, finsand wetsuits.
Now that I’m home, my disposable camera pictures didn’t come out. Not even one. It’s too dark out there. I’m bummed because I had some great shots of her belly. Friends of ours that went on this same trip, a month earlier took a ton of pics and only 3 came out.
The entire trip took 5 hours. This particular dive company has the before and after sunset dive/snorkel. We did see a couple boats show up at sunset, so they only did the night dive, so those companies may be less expensive, because of only one dive, but I don’t know. Just do your research.
So back to the condo and a semi late dinner…it’s about 830 at this point.
Day 3- 10/25
Today is volcano day. Up at 530….uuughhhh. Breakfast, and out the door. We made a few sandwiches and used the cooler that was in the closet and the ice packets in the freezer for later. I stopped by the front desk to see if my credit card had come yet. Guess what? It hadn’t.
Take highway 11 and follow it all the way to the volcano.
Doh!…for those of you ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ fans, we drove by the BI office of Da Kine Bail Bonds. *I wonder if Leland is in there* I took a picture for my friend who is a die hard Leland fan, but I refused to go in and look like an idiot. I did enough of that last night.
It’s pretty funny how I found it. I remember reading a post from TT, I think, that said Leland eats at Guys Grinds, so when we were driving, I just happened to look up and see that place first…then I was like, “Da Kine is around here somewhere”, and then I saw it. I wasn’t looking for it, Guys Grinds just popped up. Too funny. If I had never read that post, I would have never seen it. Thanx TT!
I remember driving by an office that said ‘Typically Tropical Rentals’ or something like that. Is that you’re office?
Stopped at Place of refuge. VERY cool place. It almost has a calm about it. Saw a couple honu hanging out on the beach. We made the mistake of not having any cash on us, and it’s 5bucks to get into the park. We drove back to an ATM about 5 miles and when we got back to the park, the park ranger was at lunch and the sign said to just drive thru. I think he could have just told us he was going to lunch in a few minutes, so we didn’t have to drive all the way back up to the ATM….or just let us go in for free, seeing that’s what happened in the long run. Whatever.
Once we got back on the road, we saw a fruit stand on the side of the road, so we stopped. Bought some papaya bread, a mango, a strawberry papaya and some weird purple thing that looked like it had spines on it…she called it a rumba-something. It was good, but I’ve never seen it before. Anyone know what the heck it was? All for the grand total of $3.50. What a deal!
Back onto the volcano. Stopped at black sand beach and I was telling hubby that the honu come here to rest, just then, we saw 4 just chillin’ on the beach! He was so excited! We took our pictures and walked from one end to the other, then had a couple sandwiches and soda from our cooler. I took a great picture if this cat that came and sat next to our picnic table. It’s the cat looking over her shoulder at me, with the ocean in the background. CUTE!
Back on the road. The drive wasn’t that bad…only took an hour and a half, not including stops.
Just as we pull up to the visitors center, it starts to rain lightly, and it’s a bit chilly….of course, the blonde that I am, I’m wearing shorts and a tank top, and don’t even have a sweater in the car. Oh boy…this outta be fun! I have a towel left over from last night, so I wrap that around my shoulders and work with it. We only spent a minute at the visitors center because there busload of kids and we wanted to get as far in front of them as possible.
Stopped at the Thurston lave tube first. Pretty cool place. The ceiling drips, so don’t wear your favorite silk jacket in there. I’m surprised the pictures I took inside, turned out so well. I’m still trying to get them downloaded and labeled for you.
On to Chain of Craters Road. When you get to the first official stop where there is an elevated platform to take pictures from, the land looks like the moon. I got out and hiked out a little ways. It was REALLY windy here. I could see the ocean, not too far out in the distance.
Once we got on this road, the rain stopped and the sun came out.
As we drove down the road, we could see the smoke from lava pouring into the ocean. WOW! Now that’s something you don’t see everyday! I really wanted to hike to that spot, but I knew it would be far. This is a really nice drive….curvy, but relaxing.
Finally got to the end of the road and parked to walk to where the lava crossed the road. Walked and walked. Saw one of the couples that were on our boat the night before…small world.
How freakin’ long IS this walk? Sheesh! Personally, I think they could have made the walk a tad shorter by moving the parking area up, half a mile. I SWEAR this was a mile walk to the end of the road. And there it is…the lava that crossed the road. Neat! We hiked out to the ocean front and just sat and listened to the water. Relaxing. (I’m trying to gear up for the hike back to the car)
The walk back seemed much longer because by this time, it was 430-ish and the sun was beating in my face. We bought a Camelback before we left AZ. In case you don’t know what this is, it’s a backpack that carries water….there’s a drinking tube attached, so you can drink hands free.…it’s pretty cool, so that came in very handy right about now. I hate having to carry a bottle of water, so this makes it easy….nothing to hold in your hand, keeping them both free. We got ours at Costco..I think was 20bucks.
After our trek back to the car, we had the rest of our sandwiches and chips then started toward home because we didn’t want to be driving those roads in the dark.
TIP: There are restrooms here and a snack bar to get water if you don’t have any. The trek from the parking area to the end of the road is long. I wished I had a scooter at that point.
Tattoo day! I actually slept in till 730! WOW! The only reason I got up at that time, is because hubby can’t STAND to see me sleep when he’s up, so he woke me up. Butt head!
I turn on my cell phone and get a message from the GM at the Sheraton. He said my package arrived on Tuesday and he sent it off to me on Wednesday. I hope it gets here tomorrow because we got back to the mainland on Friday.
Back down Ali’i Drive to the tattoo place. I had a dream last night that I didn’t like the stencil the lady did of my tattoo, so I didn’t get it….but that was only a dream.
Hubby went first. He’s getting a sea turtle, with a gecko on the shell, on his calf. All went smooth…the place is clean and she used new needles. It took her all of maybe an hour to finish it.
I was up next, getting an Ohm symbol on my back, in between my shoulder blades. This is not my first tat, so I know what to expect.
OUCH! The first couple of lines hurt because there’s hardly and meat back there.
I thought my contacts were going to get stuck in the back of my head as I was clenching my teeth and squeezing my eyes shut. That lasted 4 minutes..then I was fine. She was done in 45 minutes.
I like my new tattoo. I don’t LOVE it, but I do like it a lot. The reason I don’t love it is because the design is right, but the shading I asked for, isn’t what I had pictured in my head. Now I can’t draw to save my life, so I couldn’t show her what I wanted….I had to tell her. When I saw the drawing she did, it didn’t have any shading on it, just the outline of the design. So she did the shading freehand. It’s something that can be fixed, once this heals….but I do like it a lot.
Hubby LOVES his turtle.
Had lunch afterwards at Splasher’s Grill. I ordered a teriyaki burger with onion rings and hubby had the jalapeno burger. The burgers were wonderful, but the flies were horrible. There were about 45 million of them swarming around my plate. We sat outside on the patio and watched to NCL cruise ship sitting out there….saw a homeless guy with 5 dogs (what’s THAT about?) and just people watched for a while.
After we ate, it was my favorite time of the day….nap time. Went back and crashed for a couple hours. I had to get up and take the bandage off my back.
DOH! The office called and said my package is here! YAY! Finally!
Now it was time for last minute gift shopping because we leave in the morning and I want to pack tonight. Off to ABC (my new fave store) to get macadamia nuts and t-shirts. Now that I have that card, might as well charge that sucker up!
Cooked up the last of the steak and crashed early. Sad, sad, night.
Got up and ate the rest of our eggs and packed up the last of our junk. I thought we were going to have to buy another small suitcase, to take all the junk we bought, home, but I’m a former flight attendant and I can pack 2 weeks of clothes in my purse, so I managed to find a place to shove everything.
Bye condo…we love you. When I was checking out, I was telling the clerk how much we enjoyed the place and she told me that the owners just remodeled it. I told her I could smell new wood in the upstairs bathroom. I have to reserve that condo again.
Off to drop off the car and wait for our flight. The bad thing is that we have a 5 hour layover in Maui before our connection to Dallas. Good thing I have a book.
The flight from Maui back to the mainland, was awful. Again, unhappy flight attendants, but the real kicker is this is a red-eye flight, getting in to Dallas at 5am. Those flight attendants would not shut their holes for the entire flight. They’re up in the galley, cackling like witches. CHRIST! That would be fine if it was daytime, but people are trying to sleep!
I really missed my babies at home (dogs) and couldn’t wait to get back and see them.
Again, thanks to all of you for your advice, we had a great trip!