Day 1We all flew from Utah to Honolulu and from there our little family continued on to the Big Island. The kids did great on the flight. We all appreciated the in-seat-entertainment that allowed the kids to zone out.
When we finally got to our destination the kids were rewarded with and ice-cream-bar dinner purchased from a liquor store because that was the only thing we could find that was still open at 8:00 on the 4th of July. We stayed our two nights on the big island in timeshares that Debbie's parents graciously provided and both locations were pretty cool. From our flat right on the water we were able to see the Kona fireworks across the bay.
We got an early start (because Abby said it was 8:30 in Utah, which turned out the be a theme for most of the trip) with a delicious breakfast sandwich, bagel, and green smoothie.
We then played at a random playground and continued on to Volcano National Park.
We wanted to hike to a viewing area on the Halema'uma'u trail but mistakenly wore the wrong shoes (Debbie thought the trail was paved) and the kids got kind of whiny and hungry. So we bailed and went to the lava tubs instead. After some lunch we stopped and played at a black sand beach. Then went to the hotel and played in the pool. It wasn't until after swimming that we realized we had not planed well enough for dinner or breakfast the next day. The place we were staying was pretty remote. It had a kitchen which was nice but we had not gotten any groceries on our way in and when Greg went to get some the only close-ish place (10 miles away) that was open was a quicky mart. So for dinner that night and the next morning we had stale cereal and yogurt.
We packed up and headed for Hilo pretty early because we were hungry. We found a delicious bakery and chowed on some cinnamon rolls, doughnut, and turn overs. After the bakery we visited the Richardson Ocean Park and then Rainbow Falls.
About lunch time we caught our flight back to Oahu to meet back up with Greg's family.
Day 4On Oahu, we all shared a large house that was on the water. The location was great as it was on the North Shore and near attractions and gave us a place at night to all play games and hang out.
In the morning, Greg's sister-in-law had arranged for a trip to go swimming with sharks. There were 6 of us from Greg's family which filled the boat's capacity. We headed off the coast a couple of miles to the designated shark spot where Galapagos sharks are known to congregate. When the boat arrived at the spot, the movement and bubbles in the water had gotten the sharks excited and there were fins and large shapes all around the boat. Since this was a cage-free swim we were all a bit nervous but the guides assured us nobody had ever been eaten so we headed in. For about an hour we got to hang out with 11 or so sharks that were curious but thankfully not *too* curious. Most of the time we were hanging on to the boat (while in the water) but we got to swim free in the ocean some as well. The experience was super cool and had been something Greg had wanted to do for a long time. Although the sharks were amazing, the strong current and up-and-down of the boat made us all a little woozy once we got back on board. Apart from that, it was an unforgettable time!
|We enjoyed beautiful sunrises every morning. Thanks to Abby we were always awake. Notice the shark-cloud in the picture, a sign of things to come.|
|Abby and Grandma at sunrise.|
|Gotta watch your back with sharks in the water!|
|The guides told us that when the sharks get near lift your fins for defense. Lots of fins were up that morning.|
|Hanging out with grandma while the rest of the adults are sharking.|
After some sharking and sea-sickness, we were close by the best shave-ice we know of at Matsumoto's and had to go, even though it was just mid-morning. After that delicious treat, we went back and rescued Grandma and Greg's sister from taking care of all the kids.
The rest of the day was pretty mellow with us hanging out on a beach for the afternoon and then taking the kids for a stupidly-price and stupidly-large shave ice that was nearby to the house.
|Digging in the sand at Hukilau beach.|
|Abby liked going out to "ride the waves".|
|Each kid finished maybe 1/4 of these shave-ice cones.|
Greg doesn't know which was scarier, swimming with sharks or having a morning of picture taking. Day 5 started with family photos on the beach. The kids did pretty well and although we all got some bug bites, we are hoping the pictures turn out well.
After pictures we needed restoration with some lunch and shave ice in Haleiwa. This was Alex and Abby's first trip to Matsumoto's and they loved having the ice cream in with their shave ice.
After lunch, we headed to Waimea beach, one of everyone's favorite beaches. The beach was very long and the shore was calm. Although there were quite a few people there was space enough for us to stake out a spot and enjoy a variety of activities. While Alex mostly stayed on the shore and worked on sand creations, Abby spent all of her time in the water. With some equipment that others had brought, Abby got to try snorkeling for the first time and she took to it instantly. Once she had taken her first breath underwater she was a natural and spent a long time out swimming and exploring. We were really impressed how much her swimming lessons and hard work have paid off.
After that long day outside, the kids headed back with grandparents in their convertible (they both loved it even though their legs were smashed) and we had dinner and enjoyed some pie from Ted's Bakery (one of our must-do's whenever we visit).
Day 6Ever since we had arrived at the rental house, Abby had been eyeing the "surfboards" (paddleboards) that were at the house. Finally on her uncle's last day she convinced him to take her out in the rocky little bay outside our house. They went out for a bit and had so much fun that Greg and Alex and most everyone else took turns after them. Abby did a good job in convincing us to try something new. The rest of the day was quieter with lunch at food trucks and then an evening walk around the temple.
|These boys and best frienemies (friends and enemies)|
|After eating all of her lunch Abby didn't mind eating much of Papa's too.|
|The place Greg and Debbie were married 11 1/2 years ago|
On our final day we began the day like we had the one before with paddleboarding around the inlet. Abby also went for a short snorkel which she couldn't get enough of.
We had to leave the house by 11:00 which left us with some time to kill before our night time flight. Surprisingly, it was a bit difficult since all of the sandy and dirty activities were off the table (all our changes of clothes were in suitcases). We decided to go to the aquarium and although it wasn't huge, the kids all were like ping pong balls bouncing around from exhibit to exhibit and loved it. They particularly loved the hermit crabs which they got to hold and feel.
The food highlights of our trip were all bakeries and we went out with one more hit at a place that does malasadas called Leonards. The malasadas (basically donuts with no hole) were warm and puffy and exactly what we hoped for. We could have eaten many more than we did.
Our flight that night was a redeye and after lots of airport hassle we were exhausted as we took our seats for the flight back. Alex and Abby both got a couple hours of sleep but Greg and Debbie were awake the whole time. Overnight flights with kids are probably something we'll avoid in the future but hey, at least there weren't any transfers!
It was a great week to get away that went by way too fast. We're really happy for the vacation time and great memories!