5-12-17 Friday to 5-19-17 Friday (Hawaiian Vacation Remainder)

At this point, the rest of the vacation was slow going.  5/12 to 5/16 we were at sea.  5/17 and 5/18 we were in Vancouver.  This particular entry is a hodge-podge of left over info, pictures, etc

slothSo what’d we do at sea?  Well… we became sloths.  We slept many many many hours.  Too many to fess up to without being very embarrassed.  Most of the time, we missed breakfast, got up for lunch, and in some cases took a nap between lunch and dinner.  We had a long multi-course dinner, sometimes saw a show and then drank with friends at the Martini Bar.  We had an alcohol package.  What can I say? 

We frequented that Martini Bar with a group of friends we made during dinners or excursions.  Our friends were, straight, gay, young, old, Canadian, Australian… it was quite a mix of people.

Martini Bar…

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They had many martinis, this was just a sample menu they offered:

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More evidence:

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Our favorite Martini Bartender, John from Romania:

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One night they had a great silent disco party.  For whatever reason, they had it in the Martini Bar.  Anyway, it was fun.  If you’ve never heard of it:

People dance to music listened to on wireless headphones. Rather than using a speaker system, music is broadcast via a radio transmitter with the signal being picked up by wireless headphone receivers worn by the participants. Those without the headphones hear no music, giving the effect of a room full of people dancing to nothing.

In the earliest days of silent discos, before 2005, there would be only one channel available to listen to music through. Over time, the technology moved along to where there were two, and later technology allowed for a third channel that three separate DJs could broadcast over at the same time.

Our silent disco’s headphones had 3 channels.  Depending on which channel you switched your headphones to would make them light up a specific color coordinated to the music type.  There was current music, 70’s and 80’s rock… I think.  The most interesting thing was tuning into the current dance music tracks, noticing the blue color and then looking around at who else is listening to that channel.  It was amusing at how many old-er people were listening to it.

Take a look:

One night, a couple of guys with bags came to the bar and started making everyone balloon items.  They didn’t work for the cruise line.  It was funny:

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Curious about some of the menus?  Dinner:

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One of the many desserts we ate.  I just thought this one was pretty and worthy of a photo.  Meet Baked Alaska:

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Here’s a price list to have laundry done onboard.  There’s no public facility.  Check out the price for a pair of socks!

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If you’re curious, here’s a copy of the daily newsletter they leave in the cabin each day.

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If you haven’t already figured it out, we loved this vacation.  It was amazing.  Best part of it?  The Shaka GPS driving tour. 

We’d like to go back sans the cruise.  We love cruises as evident by the fact this was our ninth.  The problem for us, was we need more time in ports.  We had plenty of time on Oahu/Honolulu because we stayed in a hotel for a few days and also the ship stayed in the port overnight.  Maybe next time, we do a cruise that stays in each port longer or just spent a week on 1 or 2 islands.  I’m thinking no cruise though.  We’d definitely rent a car and explore.  Maybe we’d take some tours too.  There’s many waterfalls we wouldn’t have seen without a tour company. 

I’ll probably have 1-2 more posts about the trip.  I’ll tell you about Vancouver soon.

5-11-17 Thursday (Kailua Kona)

Today we have a 9am-3pm excursion on the other side of the Big Island.  Yesterday was Hilo, today is Kailua Kona.


Our excursion?  Kohala Waterfalls Adventure - Immerse yourself in stunning private waterfalls, tranquil streams, scenic coastlines and rugged valleys on this North Kohala adventure. Kick off the fun with an off-road drive to an exclusive trailhead.

Highlights include:
  • Ramble off-road in a 6-wheel-drive Pinzgauer (an Austrian military vehicle)
  • Take a relaxed, guided walk through a private nature reserve
  • Cool off with a swim under one of seven cascading waterfalls
  • Walk through a restored ancient Hawaiian agricultural site
  • Enjoy a private picnic lunch with views of soaring seacliffs and remote valleys, at one of the island’s best scenic lookouts

This tour was on private lands as well.  Our tour guide, Uncle Danny… wait… wasn’t Uncle Danny yesterday’s tour guide?  Well coincidence, we got him again.  This side of the island is actually where he lives and generally guides.  So we took a small bus from Kailua Kona to Hawi (see map below). 


Pros: We got to see the terrain change.  Near Kailua Kona, there isn’t much for landscape.  The land is still healing from an eruption years ago.  As we drove to Hawi, the landscape/terrain changed.  We were back to tropical. 

2017-05-11 417Above: Scrunched into a Pinzgauer (an Austrian military vehicle) to get to the waterfalls.

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At one of the waterfalls, everyone was invited in for a swim.  Only a few partook.  Jim was one of them.  Jim said, “It was cold!  Not romantic at all.”

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We ended up here for lunch.  This overlook with several picnic tables.  Uncle Danny had drinks, chips and sandwiches.  What a friggin’ view.

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A couple of short videos:


How do we end a day like this?  Back on the ship with a cocktail and stunning view of course:

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5-10-17 Wednesday (Hilo)

We woke up as our ship arrived to Hilo (The Big Island).  We have an early excursion booked.  Actually, we have 2 excursions.  The first is the “Waterfall, Cave and Black Sand Cove” tour.  Our tour guide was “Uncle” Danny, a very active native Hawaiian who still surfs!  His middle name is quite a long traditional Hawaiian name.  He goes by Uncle Danny because of his cultures admiration and respect for elders. 

Any who, as the name of the tour indicates, we had 3 sights, which were located in different places, different stops. 

Below: The waterfalls were actually on someone’s private property that the tour company pays to allow us to visit.  If I remember right, there were 3 different waterfalls on the same property.

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Below: We climbed down some steep ass treacherous steps and went a few feet into the cave.  We could see others ahead with flashlights. 

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The first 3 photos were taken as we walked to the Richardson’s Beach.  It’s either fresh water or brackish water (I can’t remember).  Richardson Beach is the only beach in the Hilo area with black sand and green sand.

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We also stopped at a chocolate factory, Big Island Candies.

2017-05-10 190Above: Behind glass, workers are dipping all sorts of goodies into chocolate.

We saw these chocolate dipped squid “treats” there but did not partake.  Here’s a photo from their website:


The tour ended with a drop off to the ship.  We boarded, dropped off our chocolately treats and headed for some lunch.  We hit the buffet (excellent as previously mentioned) because we had another excursion to take!  Yep.  Another.  Another helicopter tour to see some lava!

Circle of Fire Plus Waterfalls - Tour the most geologically active environment on earth which has been continuously erupting since 1983. Tour emphasis is on the most current areas of volcanic activity. View lava flows, tropical rain forests and cascading waterfalls while learning about the history and culture of Hawaii.



We bought the $40 video, I uploaded it to YouTube but unfortunately the tour company has music playing in the background that has been flagged as copyrighted.  The video from the other day seemed to have passed the filters.  I can’t cut out the music since that would also cut out the pilot’s narration so here’s a couple of short videos I took.  Besides, were you really going to watch 45 minutes of their video?  I think not.


On the last tour, our pilot was Kristi Hickey.  We liked her.  While talking to her she mentioned she was going to help on Hilo with some tours with the same company.  We said we were booked for a tour around the same time (we all couldn’t remember exact dates).  When we arrived here, we asked if she was working.  They said yes, we requested her and we had her once again!

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2017-05-10 407Above: Those 2 bright orange dots?  Lava.

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Here’s where it flows into the Pacific.  We could only see some orange spots here and there but later tonight, we’ll see the lava at night while on the ship:

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And on the way back to the helicopter headquarters (airport):

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Back on board the ship, we had our typical sit down 4 or 5 course dinner.  Mmmmmmmmm.  I will post a sample menu sometime in this blog. 

Around 10pm, the ship approached the lava flow.  We were in the theater at the end of a show.  An announcement was made over the ship wide PA system stating we had arrived to the lava flow.  As soon as that show ended (a minute or 2 later), everyone rushed to the upper decks on one side of the ship; we began to list.  OK, we didn’t list to one side.  Made you think, didn’t I?  We could see the bright orange glow and smoke/Sulphur/steam as it flowed into the Pacific.  It was amazing.  It was a little heard to see because of some plexiglass rail barriers.  We didn’t get a great spot to view from.  The gap between the glass was 6 inches which offered a view.  The captain announced he’d swing the ship around to the other side.  We rushed down to our cabin and watched in amazement from our balcony.  It.was.spectacular. 

My photos and videos didn’t come out that great but one of the friends we made on board, Audley, took some great phots with a fancy camera.  He submitted them in a ship contest for best photo and won a photo package.  Anyway, I asked him to email me a copy of his best ones:

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Here’s 2 very short videos:


Exciting day… wasn’t it?