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We are here!!! Beautiful!

Minneapolis...
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394 posts
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We are here!!! Beautiful!

We arrived last Sunday evening. Quite a long wait at the airport, but we sent one person on to get the rental car while the rest waited for the luggage, so we got 2 long waits done at once!

Went on the Fairwinds morning snorkel cruise.......amazing! Good food......smooth ride, so nobody got seasick...YAY! And absolutely the most beautiful snorkeling possible. The water was so clear by Captain Cook, and such beautiful shades of blue. The crew was friendly and helpful, and in no rush to follow the clock. We ended up seeing whales in two different spots! Enjoyed the water slide and the high jump platform too. All around the best we could hope for! Martin, the videographer, was friendly, informative and attentive without being in your way, and I can't wait to see his final video! Definitely would go with the Fairwinds again and again and again!

We have also snorkeled a few times at Kahalu'u Beach Park, which is directly across the street from our vacation rental home. Everybody has gotten to see sea turtles (and been taken by surprise a few times!). Fun experience, and lots of unique memories. Kind of rocky near shore to walk out.....water shoes a must, so we appreciated the snorkel boat cruise even more as the water was deeper, and you didn't have to worry quite as much about bashing into rocks! Kids tried body surfing, or boogy boarding.......lots of fun, although they learned a lesson from the lifeguard, after going out deep near the surfers......never go without fins on!!! They got stuck in the current and could not move.....a neighboring house told them what to do, before they got too banged up on the rocks, and the lifeguard said that if they had not gotten out at that point they would have been on their way to Maui!

My husband has hunted birds twice now with Patrick Fischer, from Parker Ranch. He loves hunting, and is entranced with the wide variety of birds on the island. In one day he saw more species than he dreamed possible. Turkeys, pheasants, dove, quail, francolins, and chuckars. Hunting at a variety of elevations, and in different terrain, has been an amazing experience for him. Patrick Fischer is the ultimate guide, and a great person to hunt with. Jim has hunted in many different places, and this hunt was the first one that I set up for him.......he has been overwhelmed by how much it has exceeded his expectations, and wifey here gets to take the credit for encouraging him to try it!!! Not many people can say they have been bird hunting in Hawaii!

My sons golfed at Makalei Golf Course, and got a kick out of seeing peacocks walking around like they own the place! Turkeys too, and they even saw an albino pheasant! The golf was challenging and fun, and the course was amazing. Thanks for the recommendations we got on here guys!

Friday night we went to the Kona Village Luau. Relaxing, fun evening, with great food, and a wonderful show! The Imu ceremony, dinner, and show were conducted at a leisurely, but steady pace. Food was excellent - I was concerned beforehand that my kids would have a hard time finding things that they would like, but everyone (excuse the pun) pigged out!!! I had read about other luaus having kind of a "cheesy" Las Vegas type show, and was pleasantly surprised at how good the Kona Village was! Lightly funny, beautifully done, and very enjoyable! My kids are 24, 23, 19 & 17......so pleasing them was quite an accomplishment. Even our toddler grandson, having not had a nap all day, was mesmorized by the dancers. I had looked at the idea of a luau as something you have to do once, if you visit Hawaii, just to try it, thinking that my kids would be bored, or that it was dumb........after our experience here, I definitely would make the Kona Village a family tradition for any future trips to the Big Island. (gossip tip too.....we actually sat at a table with an actress that my son recognized, and her current director!) Didn't have the nerve to ask for a much wanted photo op, but gave us a thrill anyways!

Having a vacation rental home is the way to go! We have our own pool and hot tub, bbq grill, pool table, foosball, and a lanai with a view right down our driveway of the ocean. We walk down the driveway, cross Alii Drive, and are on the beach! No trying to find a parking place, and a kitchen where everybody can fix what they want, whenever they want! No hotels for us ever again!

Still have a week to go.........but time is going way too fast!!! Aloha!

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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1. Re: We are here!!! Beautiful!

Great report! Happy to hear your research has made you the queen of setting up great activities. Hope your family appreciates you!

There ARE cheesy luau's, you went to the premium one, guess we'll use your post to discourage people who want to go to King Kam's. Such a tease, so who is the actress?

Where are you staying? Is it a house rather than a condo?

Lastly, glad to hear your kids didn't head for Maui! Scary!

Minneapolis...
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394 posts
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2. Re: We are here!!! Beautiful!

All of the help from the experts on here deserves the credit more than me!

The actress was "Charmed", at least she used to be! And her director comes from "Sin City"...........don't want to say much more right now, because they are probably still on the island, and I'm sure they are enjoying some anonymity!

Would like to visit Maui some day, but very glad my kids didn't take the long route there! Yeah, it was scary!

Minneapolis...
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394 posts
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3. Re: We are here!!! Beautiful!

Forgot to tell you, we are in a vacation rental home called "Heaven"! 5 bedrooms, large, clean, and perfect! Helpful, friendly caretakers.........couldn't be better!

San Jose
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11 posts
50 reviews
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4. Re: We are here!!! Beautiful!

Just back from Christmas week on the big island.

Positives:

- snorkeling at Kahalu'u Beach Park. Stayed at the Outrigger, talk about convenient.

- diving with Torpedo Diving....really, really nice guys. They work their fannies off so you have a pleasant diving experience. And talk about just friendly, nice, professional, and up beat. And pretty good for ride along snorkelers as well.

- swimming with the dolphins out in the ocean with Capt Vedo (808-936-1470), wow what a phenomenal experience.

- Torchy's restaurant in downtown Kona.

- BBQs in the PM at one of the local beaches.

Place of refuge, Pu'uhonua Honaunau, very nice go down the road to the left. Picnic tables, BBQs, plenty of parking.

Also Kekaha Kai beach, north of Kona. Picnic tables on the beach just next to the parking lot, though no BBQs, gotta bring your own. But we picked one up at Lowe's for $18, and it worked fine all week. The road down to the beach is in much better shape than the last time we were here (Dec 2004). Passenger cars were making it down to the parking lot w/o a problem, this was not the case 2 yrs ago.

Not so positive:

- the traffic of course.

- getting a parking ticket in one of the downtown parking lots, what a RIP!

Negatives:

- The Luau at the King Kam. Oh my goodness it couldn't get anymore cheesy, it was so bad it was humorous. And made us appreciate all the more the Tahitian Village experience we had on Moorea last year.

A note about the current at Kahalu'u Beach Park. 1st morning I went out for a nice and long swim, and noted just how darn fast I was swimming, decided to turn and check the current and could barely make any forward progress at all. Turned in towards shore and got out before the rocks. Had a nice chit-chat with the life guard and he told me it happens all the time, though many people don't turn to check current and end up having a bad day getting stuck on the rocks or worse getting sucked out for an unintended ride down the coast. Fins, fins are a good thing :-)

Minneapolis...
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394 posts
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5. Re: We are here!!! Beautiful!

ditto on the parking ticket!!! never saw any signs, or pay box, had no idea you had to pay to park!!! They must make alot of money on that lot!

New Jersey
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6. Re: We are here!!! Beautiful!

BebeCGC,

Interesting info on the bird hunting. My DH is very into hunting - actually taking separate vacations as he is heading this year to IOWA and I am going with the kids to Hawaii.

Maybe next trip I can lure him with the promise of the hunt...

Enjoyed your report. Have fun on the rest of your trip!!

MG

Minneapolis...
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394 posts
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7. Re: We are here!!! Beautiful!

hey.....it works!!! the hunting was the clincher to get him to agree to a family trip here! there are lots of unique birds, and he has been very happy with his guide. we came for 2 weeks, and he scheduled 4 1/2 days of hunting, so we have plenty of "together" time, and he is also getting to enjoy doing something that he loves to do! Not often that you can hunt turkey, different varieties of pheasant, 3 types of francolin, chuckars, partridge, quail, sand grouse, and doves all in 4 days! They also do some "big game" type hunting through Parker Ranch, if your DH is interested!

washington
2 posts
2 reviews
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8. Re: We are here!!! Beautiful!

Does anyone know anything about the Sunlight on the Water tour operators out of Kona who offer a swim with the dolphins tour? It's operated by Michael Yee. It looks great, but very expensive. Or any other ideas on a dolphin swim experience worth the money for a family. We will be on the Big Island the week of Feb. 19.

Island of Hawaii...
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9. Re: We are here!!! Beautiful!

It is against the law to harass the dolphins here and anyone offering "swimming with the dolphins" tours is a scumbag. The only place where you can legally swim with the dolphins is at the Hilton in Waikoloa.

Portland, Oregon
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10. Re: We are here!!! Beautiful!

Do you mind telling me where you stayed. My family is planning a vacation for April. Thanks