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Hawaii almost done.......what a great trip!!
      #1716287 - 10/01/16 08:40 PM (

So! Our much awaited and anticipated anniversary cruise through several of the Hawaiian Islands on NCL's Pride of America is now over and behind us, and what an incredible week it was!

We both fell in love with our butler, Georgie, and sadly I had to break it to John that "No! We can't keep her or take her home!" The NCL people ALL treated us as though we were royalty so it was a fun experience in every way.

During the course of our cruise we managed to see dolphins swimming with us on Kona; we saw molten lava spilling from the volcano, Mt. Kilauea, as we departed Hilo. It was a beautiful sight to see as the mass of glowing and molten lava tumbled down the mountainside, probably in and back out from numerous lava tubes and finally into the sea with the backdrop of the night skies and the music of the waves. You could actually smell the burning sulphur-like odor even as far out as our ship was. We tried to video it but that just didn't work out. I would have loved to share the sight of it with everyone since this is the only currently active volcano in North America. We saw Hawaii gold, a school of golden colored fish (Tang or Ono?) swimming in the waters at the state park on Kona and they really did turn the water to gold as they swam well as a few turtles beaching themselves for short shore breaks. And also, a couple of manta rays swam by us while we were on a boat excursion off Kuwai.

And then, there's the historical stuff - learned both legend and lore about Pele, King Kamehameha, Captain Cook and viewed the memorial in his honor at either his original landing site or perhaps it was the spot where he was killed, depending on whose version you most liked. We visited the Painted Church where one of the earliest missionaires first settled and erected his house of worship. Since he spoke no Hawaiian and his potential communicants spoke no English, he painted murals on the interior of his church explaining the Lessons of the Word to the possible parishioners with, of all things, house paints - since he had no artistic paints, and those murals and teachings have lived on from the late 1800's in this beautiful little church to the present. It was very beautiful. We did the volcano tour and John even walked through the lava tube there, which wasn't my idea of anything fun to do so I stayed behind and contemplated all the different shades of green Hawaii has to offer in its vegetation as well as the beautiful flora that abounds naturally on each and every island.

And of course, what would a trip to Hawaii be without a day spent driving the road to Hana? Our tour was the deluxe option and it was the best! Spoke to several who did the tour in other ways - rental car or big bus trip - and didn't enjoy it nearly as much as we did. I don't remember all the details but I want to say it was approx. sixty miles each way, with a thousand ninty degree corners and over a hundred little one lane bridges. When we finally got to Hana we enjoyed a catered picnic lunch just off the black sand beach there. It was ringed with black sand and ultimately lava rock everywhere. It was a great day, too.

We took the Director's Cut movie tour on Kuwai, seeing so many places first on the movie screen of our van and then a stop at some of them along the way. Much of the filming for Jurassic Park, along with many scenes from The Wackiest Ship in the Navy, Donovan's Reef - a real oldie but goody - and even South Pacific did actually take place on Kuwai. I was crushed to learn there really was no Bali Hai.

And here we are, back in Honolulu with just this one last day before we head home tomorrow afternoon. A power nap for Johnny and then we're off for a few last sites or maybe a chair by the pool?

It's been a great trip and everyone should visit this beautiful 50th State if the opportunity ever presents itself. If you're at all interested in real history and/or island lore, there's plenty of it to go around here, for sure. But one last thought - we've now visited beaches in Kona and Hilo, Maui and Kuwaii, not to mention the beaches all around Oahu including those out at the North Shore, and they were each beautiful in their own way, but NONE, IMHO, can take the place of priority over our favorite Caribbean locations if it's just plain 'beaching' you're looking for. The beaches of SXM, AXA and St. Barths would still win in my book. Of course, the differences between a 3.5 hour flight time and an 11.5 hour flight time have to be factored in there, too, and might have something to do with my preferences also.



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat

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