Author Topic: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)  (Read 3752 times)

Offline PBaruch

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After many visits to the Big Island and last year's winter trip to Maui, Kauai beckoned us.  Once again, we stopped off in Honolulu for Shabbos and we stayed the final two days of our trip on the Big Island.

EWR - HNL (UA J)

EWR - HNL by P Bryan, on Flickr

Shhh...Do Not Disturb

Shhh....Do Not Disturb (On our way to Hawaii) by P Bryan, on Flickr

I'm very busy....

 On our way to Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Part 1 - Oahu

We arrived in Honolulu on a Thursday afternoon, picked up our minivan from National, and headed over to our hotel - the Ala Moana.  I know some of you might be surprised we chose to stay at the Ala Moana again after last years experience, but the convenience of being next door to Chabad along with not having to shlep my little one on a 20 minute walk made more sense than staying at the Royal Hawaiian, which I would have preferred.  Since we were all tired, we relaxed at the hotel, ate dinner delivered by Oahu Kosher (there is no option for pickup), and went to bed early.

We awoke early the next morning for our drive to the north shore of Oahu hoping to see big waves and big wave surfers.  After some initial confusion as to where we should go (my friend said people line up by the side of the road but we arrived while it was still pitch black and couldn't see the ocean or where we should park), we ended up at Ehukai Beach, commonly known as the Banzai Pipeline, the most notable surfing spot on the North Shore.  Unfortunately, we didn't see any monster waves that day as they were only about 6-8 feet high.  (The waves there are known to get 25-30 feet high).  Nevertheless, it was still fun to watch the surfers.  I was told that there were many famous surfers out that day.

Ehukai Beach Banzai Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii  - DSC_0050 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After Banzai Pipeline, we visited the Bishop Museum, which contains historical and science exhibits.  Founded in 1889, it is the largest museum in Hawai'i and has the world's largest collection of Polynesian cultural artifacts.

Bishop Museum, Oahu, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kahili at the Bishop Museum, Oahu, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

What are Kahili Sign, Bishop Museum, Oahu, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kukulu Ka Hale (Building a House), Bishop Museum, Oahu, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Portrait Of King Kamehameha The Great:

Portrait of King Kamehameha The Great, Bishop Museum, Oahu, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Outside Hawaiian Hall, we saw several individuals dressed in a traditional Hawaiian loincloth.  Unfortunately, one of these fellas took the period dress a little too seriously and some of us were treated to a very unpleasant view - wardrobe malfunction.  We then stopped by the planetarium and science discovery center, where the kids had a great time playing and exploring.

Bishop Museum Planetarium, Oahu, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Bishop Museum Science Adventure Center, Oahu, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

After visiting the Bishop Museum, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for Shabbos.  Once again, we dined with Chabad on Friday night and Shabbos day and the food was delicious.  There was a medical convention in town and many doctors from all over were in attendance.  We also met a doctor now living in Honolulu after relocating from the mainland.  On Shabbos, I had the chance to meet and speak with Yudi from Oahu Kosher.  I told Yudi how much we enjoyed the meals from Oahu Kosher on our return flight from Honolulu last January and asked if he was still providing meals to UA.  Unfortunately, Yudi told me he had some issues dealing with UA and that he was no longer providing meals to them.  Yudi did ask, however, that I write to UA and ask that they continue to offer meals from Oahu Kosher.

Part 2 - Kauai

On Sunday morning we flew to Kauai.

HNL-LIH by P Bryan, on Flickr

Fortunately, my buddy Bruce Omori and his wife were able to join us for three days.  Bruce is an award winning photographer with a gallery in Hilo on the Big Island.  If any of you find yourselves in Hilo, please consider stopping by his gallery.  Bruce also leads photo and non-photo tours on the Big Island.  Information concerning the gallery can be found here:  www.extremeexposure.com.

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Kaui, which I booked through a friend's Diamond Account.  Since the hotel was fully booked, the best upgrade that we were able to obtain upon check-in was to a room that opened to a garden with a partial view of the ocean.  Although there was availability to upgrade to better rooms and suites later in our stay, we decided to stick with the room that we were given because all of the better rooms all had one king size bed and we needed at least two beds.  We very much enjoyed staying at the Grand Hyatt Kauai and frequented the club room where we were able to obtain lox, cream cheese, jam, cereal, and fruits in the morning.  Although they offered bagels from Oahu Kosher, the bagels were frozen and we stuck with eating bread brought from home.

On Monday we flew a doors off helicopter tour with Jack Harter's.  First I flew with Bruce and his wife on a photography charter, followed by my wife and daughters on a separate flight.  My little one wasn't permitted on the doors off flight so we had to take turns watching him.  The flight was wonderful and I highly recommend Jack Harter's for a doors off tour.  Photographs taken during our flight:

Door Off Flight with Jack Harter, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Flight with Jack Harter, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Wai'ale'ale Crater:

Wai'ale'ale Crater, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Wai'ale'ale Crater, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Wai'ale'ale Crater, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

One of the many waterfalls we saw during our flight:

Wai'ale'ale Crater, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Na Pali Coast:

Napali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Napali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

You can drive a boat into this:

Napali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Rainbow over the ocean:

Napali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

After our flights, we returned to the Grand Hyatt Kauai and made a BBQ on Shipwreck Beach directly in front of the hotel.  We commandeered one of the beach front cabanas for our BBQ:

BBQ at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

We grilled burgers, salami, sausage, zucchini, and pineapple.

BBQ on Shipwreck Beach, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Tuesday we drove to Polihale Beach, a real gem.  On the way, we stopped off here:

Menehune Food Mart, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

The Menehune Benjie was searching for?  We found them---or at least their food mart.  Bruce and Sheryl went there to get kulolo---a dessert made from poi, sugar, and coconut.

Polihale State Park, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Polihale Beach, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Playing with the shutter speed is lots of fun:

Polihale Beach, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Having fun on the beach:

Polihale Beach, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Playing At The Beach by P Bryan, on Flickr

As you can see from the photographs, we saw storm clouds moving in so we had to hightail it out of there.  Unless you have a 4WD vehicle (which we didn't), you can easily get stuck on the road if it rains.

After Polihale, we went to the Waimea Canyon Overlook.

Waimea Canyon Overlook, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

When we arrived, this was the view:

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Several minutes later, however, we were treated to these views:

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Enjoying the view:

Waimea Canyon Overlook, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Feeding chickens at Waimea Canyon Overlook:

Feeding The Rooster by P Bryan, on Flickr

Feeding The Rooster by P Bryan, on Flickr

Waterfall in Waimea Canyon:

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

We then visited the Pu'u o Kila and Kalalau lookouts but there was little visibility due to clouds.

On Wednesday, we spent the morning at the Grand Hyatt relaxing with our friends, as this was their final day in Kauai.  I enjoyed the club room and we went swimming.  After our friends departed, we visited Wailua Falls.

Wailua Falls, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

At Wailua Falls, we saw a family of pigs near the road.  Apparently they hang out in the area as tourists feed them.

Wailua Falls Overlook, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

In the evening, we went to Poipu Beach, where we saw monk seals:

Hawaiian Monk Seal, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Hawaiian Monk Seal, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

The next morning I awoke early to photograph turtles and seals at Poipu Beach, and I was not disappointed:

Hawaiian Monk Seal, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Hawaiian Monk Seal, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Green Sea Turtle, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

After I returned to the Grand Hyatt, we all went to feed the fish, which is done each morning at 9:00 a.m.

Feeding the fish at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Fish at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

We then went to view and hold a macaw, which is done daily at 10:00 a.m.  I think the macaw was just about as big as my little one.

Holding a Hyacinth Macaw at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Afterwards, we went to Allerton Garden, renowned for being one of the nicest gardens in the world and the site of several movies.

Allerton Garden, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Orchid at Allerton Garden, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Picking a pomelo at Allerton Garden, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Allerton Garden, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Enjoying the view at Allerton Garden, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Coconuts at Allerton Garden, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Allerton Garden, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Exploring Allerton Garden, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

We then drove back to Waimea and visited the Pu'u o Kila and Kalalau lookouts again.  On the way back, we found a beautiful spot along the road in Waimea:

Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Friday morning, I returned to Poipu Beach hoping to take more photographs of turtles and seals but this time there were only turtles on the beach:

Look what I found at Poipu Beach? by P Bryan, on Flickr

Napping Green Sea Turtle by P Bryan, on Flickr

Napping Green Sea Turtle by P Bryan, on Flickr

Green Sea Turtle at Poipu Beach, Kauai by P Bryan, on Flickr

After I returned from the beach, we went swimming and used the hot tub at the Grand Hyatt.  We then prepared for Shabbos.  DW made challahs and cake in a toaster oven that we had purchased at Walmart.  Afterwards, I made a potato kugel using the toaster.  DW also made chicken in a crock pot, which was substituted for chollent shortly before Shabbos commenced.

Baking Challahs by P Bryan, on Flickr

Part 3 - The Big Island

On Sunday morning we flew to the Big Island.

LIH-HNL-KOA by P Bryan, on Flickr

We visited Greenwell Coffee Farm, a favorite spot of ours:

I love my Kona Coffee! by P Bryan, on Flickr

Avocado Tree at Greenwell Coffee Farm by P Bryan, on Flickr

Relaxing at Greenwell Coffee Farm by P Bryan, on Flickr

Making A New Friend by P Bryan, on Flickr

This time the resident chameleon showed itself:

Chameleon Crossing Sign at Greenwell Coffee Farm by P Bryan, on Flickr

Greenwell Chameleon by P Bryan, on Flickr

We then stopped off at Higashihara Park for lunch and the kids played in the playground.  Afterwards, we stopped off at the Mark Twain Monkeypod Tree.

Our next stop was at Punalu'u, where we saw turtles on the beach:

Punalu'u Turtle by P Bryan, on Flickr

Lilly pond behind the beach:

Punalu'u Beach 1-2017 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Punalu'u Beach by P Bryan, on Flickr

After Punalu'u, we made our way to Volcano Inn, where we stayed the night.  We were not very impressed with this inn.  The room, although large, had a musty smell to it (I was told that running the dehumidifier helped with that).  They did not permit shoes in any part of the hotel and refused to print our boarding passes telling me that they had no printers available for public use.  Nevertheless, for one night it sufficed.  After checking in, we made our way to Jagger Museum overlook to view Halemaumau Crater but the weather was rainy and foggy so there wasn't much of a view.  Also, it was extremely crowded and park rangers were directing people to parking spots.  It was not this way in the not so distant past when I had the place almost to myself.

The next morning we got an early start.  Our first stop was at Rainbow Falls in Hilo:

Rainbow Falls, Hilo, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Girls Also Like Climbing Trees by P Bryan, on Flickr

Rainbow Falls Forest by P Bryan, on Flickr

We then visited Boiling Pots (where we saw broken car glass in the parking lot) and finally stopped by our friends' gallery in Hilo to say farewell.

Flight home:

We flew from Hilo to Honolulu, where we stopped by the UA lounge and relaxed for a bit.  We then made our way to the gate, where we heard an announcement asking if anyone was willing to give up a first class ticket in exchange for $1000.  I immediately ran up to the gate agent and offered our five tickets.  Sadly, I was told that they only needed one.  Interestingly, a family that was on our flight to Hawaii was also on our return flight.

ITO-HNL-EWR by P Bryan, on Flickr

Perfect ending to a wonderful trip:

On our way back in UA J by P Bryan, on Flickr

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this trip report.

PS:  All who comment in this trip report are eligible to win one of three 2017 Extreme Exposure Lava Calendars with free shipping anywhere in the United States.  Drawing will be held on or about March 7, 2017.

Final Note:  A video of the doors off helicopter flight with Jack Harter will be posted later.
What do you do after your dreams come true?

Offline mgoldhammer18

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Re: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2017, 12:24:50 PM »
Wow, literally just wow!!!

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Re: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2017, 12:35:50 PM »
I wasn't gonna comment, but what won't I do for a free calandar ;D.

(Also, awesome report and epic pictures. I especially love the turtle ones.)
Check out all my Trip Reports here!

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2017, 12:36:30 PM »
Wow, nice TR, and up so quickly after the trip! Looks like you had a great time.

Offline shulem92

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Re: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2017, 12:47:05 PM »
Love it how u found the Benjie's menehune! ROFL

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Re: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2017, 01:03:52 PM »
Great TR! Great pics! Thanks for sharing!

Did they give you any issues for grilling on the beach?

Love it how u found the Benjie's menehune! ROFL

ALOL I've been waiting in his TR to see if he ever found them... Good job on locating their Mart...  ;D

Offline PBaruch

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Re: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2017, 01:10:12 PM »
Great TR! Great pics! Thanks for sharing!

Did they give you any issues for grilling on the beach?

ALOL I've been waiting in his TR to see if he ever found them... Good job on locating their Mart...  ;D

I was told that grilling anywhere on hotel grounds was not permitted but that we could grill on the beach.
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Offline yoshapman

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Re: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2017, 01:26:47 PM »
Great report. Out of curiosity, are you using miles to get those 5 business class tickets?

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Re: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2017, 01:32:25 PM »
Great report. Out of curiosity, are you using miles to get those 5 business class tickets?

He is rich. He doesn't need miles.

Nice wildlife pics. Must have had a great tip as to when and where to locate those..
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Offline PBaruch

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Re: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2017, 01:40:30 PM »
He is rich. He doesn't need miles.

Nice wildlife pics. Must have had a great tip as to when and where to locate those..

Lol. Yes I should mention Benjie told me the turtles and seals hang out at Poipu.
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Offline Luvtotravel

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Re: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2017, 02:03:47 PM »
beautiful TR and as always inspiring to see how you include your kids, giving them age-appropriate adventures and still getting an awesome vaca.
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Offline BarryLincoln

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Re: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2017, 02:12:31 PM »
Well done.  Love the pictures... really incredible.  What camera/equipment did you use?

Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2017, 02:13:22 PM »
Amazing! I am not sure why, but the pictures of the seals full of sand are my favorite!

Offline PBaruch

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Re: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2017, 02:19:40 PM »
Well done.  Love the pictures... really incredible.  What camera/equipment did you use?

I use a Nikon D810 with a Nikon 17-35 f2.8 lens for wide and a Nikon 80-400 f4-5.6 for zoom. I also have a macro lens that I use sometimes. Other equipment that I use includes a variable ND filter and cable release. I use a RRS tripod and ballhead when necessary.
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Offline yoruel

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Re: 12 Days In Paradise II: Oahu, Kauai & The Big Island, By PBaruch (2017)
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2017, 03:08:07 PM »
All these great TR's, will hopefully get DW to take the leap and go to Hawaii.