Tuesday, May 24, 2016

cruzin' Hawaii

We decided to come back to the USA when we did because my extremely generous parents offered to take on a cruise to Hawaii with them. So three days after arriving back in the country we met up with them in San Francisco and boarded the ship. The sailaway out of San Francisco was, as you would imagine, amazing:

We were at sea for four days and spent our time sleeping, relaxing, doing trivia, going to a couple lectures on Hawaii, occasionally visiting the gym, and of course eating a ton. It felt great to gain back some of those pounds that I had lost over the last 7 months.

Our first stop in Hawaii was Maui. Unfortunately my dad was sick so it was just JJ, my mom and I that headed out to see Haleakala Volcano National Park. If you don't already know this about me then I am big into the national parks. It is something of a goal of mine to visit all of the 59 national parks and I was super excited to see the two that are in Hawaii. So the three of us headed up on the long but incredible drive up to the park, which took us from sea level all of the way up to the summit at 10,000 feet. The terrain changed from green lush topics, to plain meadows, to mountainous pine forests, and then finally to a barren dead lava landscape that look down into the clouds.

the Néné, looked for this bird the whole time, and finally found one chilling in the parking lot when we were leaving

mom and i

JJ in the clouds

The next day we arrived into the island of Hawaii, which meant it was time to head to Hawaii's second national park: Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Thankfully my father was feeling better so we all headed out to see the volcanic magic. Inside the park are two still active volcanoes, so the landscape is otherworldly. The most famous activity in the park is the lava that flows out into the Pacific Ocean, creating the "newest land on earth". But driving through the heart of the park you get to see the usually sudden changes from rich rainforest into a dead black landscape that was "recently" covered in lava and then to new plants that have started to reclaim the dead earth.

That day we also made it out to see the 'Akaka Falls State Park. The park and it's waterfalls were of course beautiful, but the thing that stole the show for me was the three inch long Hawaiian freshwater goby fish. We didn't see this fish, but our minds were blow when we learned that it uses a sucker on its underbelly to climb up this 442 foot waterfall in order to spawn. A three inch fish climbing that waterfall! Insane!

Our next stop was Kona on the big island. It was here that I started to feel kind of off. I won't go into detail but it started with body aches and just regressed from there. Over the course of the next five days I had a rotation of ailments that kept me curled up in a ball in the cabin and later hotel room. I'm still not sure what it was, the first doctor said a sinusitis (which didn't make much sense) and the second said a viral infection and dehydration. The only thing that I was able to see during this time was when we cruised past the stunning and remote Na Pali Coast on Kaua'i.

Luckily I was able to recover enough in time to see some of Honolulu, Pearl Harbor, and the crazy blue waters of the Oahu coast.

ʻIolani Palace, Honolulu

Father Damien Statue at the Hawaii State Capital

Pearl Harbor

Oahu coast

Oahu coast

Over the last eight months we have been to a decent amount of places where people throw out the "paradise" word. Of those places Hawaii seems to me to be the most apt. What a place! Thanks mom and dad!

more Hawaii pics at our flickr

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