A Travellerspoint blog

Photo Friday: Aloha Maui, Aloha Kauai

Or... Goodbye Maui, Hello Kauai

sunny 80 °F

After our families departed for the mainland, Dan and I spent our final day in Maui visiting a random assortment of beach and sights.

We started our morning with a walk along Kaanapali Beach where we greeted by this fellow…
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We breathed in the beautiful scent of the Hibiscus one last time (well before we would be in Kauai that night!)
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And did a few self portraits...
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We still wanted to drive the Road to Hana, but our time was limited. We decided to drive as far as we could go before turning around to go to the airport. We didn’t make it very far and ten minutes in and I was already sick to my stomach. The Road to Hana is far from a straightaway but rather it is a collection of curves and twists, dips and hills, taking you further into isolation. We eventually made it about half way to Hana before we had to return. It truly was beautiful and we stopped several times to explore the trails leading off the road.

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On our drive back we visited Ho’okipa Beach Park, often regarded as the best windsurfing beach in the United States.
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Finally back to the airport, we checked in for our quick flight to Kauai on a tiny prop plane. Now as I have already revealed my fear of flying, I won’t go into detail about this flight. But I kid you not, I thought for sure if someone sneezed or even coughed, that plane was going to go down.

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We arrived in Kauai and it was as though someone had teleported us from Maui to New Zealand. The lush green and jagged mountains surrounded us on all sides. Houses were far and wide and chickens gathered in the roads causing traffic jams. Kauai felt untouched, rugged, and truly Hawaiian.

With four days to explore Kauai, we wasted not a moment. In the week to come, get ready for hiking, canyon crossing, and waterfall searching. Stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy this clip of Dan making a fool of himself . All I wanted was some Island music, but you'll see what I got instead!

Posted by Jennylynn 06:02 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Honor and Respect on Veteran's Day

In honor of Veteran's Day, I ask that you take a moment of silence in respect for those who fought for their country in a time of war and demonstrated courage, strength, and bravery.

For a history of Veteran's Day click here.

The Marine Corps - Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Virginia

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Korean War Veterans Memorial, Washington DC

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Arlington National Cemetary, Arlington, Virginia

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National World War II Memorial, Washington, DC

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Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, DC

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See more Washington DC photos here.

Posted by Jennylynn 05:49 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Snorkel, Surf, and Sunburns

sunny 80 °F

Our last full day in Maui was dedicated to the art of snorkel. A history of severe ear issues has left me unable to perform any serious water stunts without the use of ear plugs. In Maui I was determined to change that, but alas, one wave too many and my ears were feeling very angry. As the doctor put it, my ear canals look like a war zone filled with craters, scarring, and a giant hole in my ear drum from a surgery gone very wrong. It is very frustrating to observe others partaking in snorkel and scuba dives, boogie boarding and surfing, and just the act of letting the waves crash them over, while I am high and dry on the shore.
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Regardless, I still found ways to work around my limitations by using a pool float to keep my ears out of the water while I snorkeled to my heart’s content. Watching the silvery and colorful fish glide along beside me was like something out of a dream. I enjoyed myself so much that I eventually bought my own snorkel set to take with us to Kauai.
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Together with my sisters and Dan we snorkeled away the afternoon until the sun started to scorch their backs turning them a bright red. I, on the other hand, apply sunscreen like it’s going out of style, while Dan continues to this day to peel off his skin from one sunburn too many, I instead am still glowing with a nice bronze tan. Perhaps one day he will learn!

With Aloe Vera applied on everyone’s backs, Dan and I then took Leah and Brianna into Lahaina where we browsed the shops, sat beneath the Pacific’s largest Banyan Tree (It literally takes up an entire city block!), and topped off the evening with a sunset dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise.

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As our families were leaving early the next morning we spent the rest of the night at the condo with them. We spent the evening mixing drinks, gorging ourselves with all the remaining food in the house, and playing some giggle infused rounds of Apples to Apples – probably the world’s greatest game.

Although we were inside, eating, drinking, and playing games such as we could anywhere, something about the ease of the Hawaiian culture had gotten to us. Sure we were technically travelling, and yes I am a strong advocate for getting out there and experiencing the local culture and people, but that night there was no place I would have rather been than sitting around that table laughing away the evening with those I love most. We could have been anywhere, but with the doors of the lanai propped open to the sounds of the tropical birds and ocean waves with the sweet floral smell of the gardens below us, I truly felt I could identify with those who make Hawaii their home.

Posted by Jennylynn 12:58 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Just ReMauied

sunny 85 °F

The big day finally arrived. On Saturday, October 24th 2009, Dan and I renewed our wedding vows in Maui. I won’t bore you again with all the sappy details about how we met, became engaged, and married, but I thought a photo montage of the renewal festivities would be appropriate.

The day began like all others in Maui: a dip in the pool, a bit of snorkeling, and drinks on the lanai. Much to my horror and alarm however, just several hours before said vow renewal, I began to develop a rash all over my upper body. In a nutshell, panic ensued. Priority number one: eradicate rash. Priority two: replace dress with a new dress to cover rash. Priority three: calm down. Not knowing whether the rash was a result of a new sunscreen I tried, or just heat rash, I popped a few Benadryl, slathered it in cortisone and aloe, and hoped for the best. Finding a dress in under an hour was an impossible feat. I frantically searched the hotel and surrounding shops to no avail, and with just under an hour until show time I said screw it; I’ll flaunt the rash in all its flaming red glory. Fearing the sedating effect of the Benadryl, I slammed a few Red Bulls and went on my merry way. Crisis somewhat averted.

We booked it to Kahakili Beach Park and as our family and friends started to arrive, I slowly forgot all about my horrendous, itchy rash and let serenity take its place (or maybe that was just the Benadryl/Red Bull concoction taking over). Sure both our parents were late. My camera committed suicide and NONE of the photos turned out (hence these are a collection of photos from our dear family members). Yes, Dan’s friends threw him in the ocean after the toasting and cake were done. And most importantly, of course a nearly naked old man had to hang out in the background of all our photos during the ceremony. It was a perfect day.

The Venue: Kahakili Beach Park in Kaanapali, Maui
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The renewal started out splendid...and then this guy strolled in...
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Just look at our reaction...
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My Dad serenaded on the ukulele
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Some took to the water just as soon as the vows were sealed with a kiss
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We posed for some photos:
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And then Dan took an unexpected dip into the salty sea
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The sun set and before we knew it, the Parks Department was kicking us out
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So let us raise our glasses to imperfection, craziness, medical emergencies, and nearly naked old men – Ironically, all inevitable in the lifetime of a marriage I suppose. Here Here.

Posted by Jennylynn 06:26 Archived in USA Tagged events Comments (0)

Navigating Maui's Northwest Coast

Hawaaian Adventures: Day Three

sunny 85 °F

Rumor has it that Maui’s road to Hana is the drive of a lifetime. Having never actually taken part in the twisting and turning of this tedious route, I am not one to accurately report on this supposed assumption. I have heard that it is incredible. Yet I have also heard that the 600 turns in the road leave some with their head hung over a plastic bag or other vomit catching device for the day long duration of the drive. Either way I had intentions of completing the Road to Hana while in Maui, yet something about the closeness of the rugged Northwestern coastline left me wondering why Hana gets all the claim to fame rather than this shorter, more relaxed route (so I assumed). So, with curiosity driving us, Dan and I loaded up the car with picnic lunches and grand intentions of discovering the Northwestern coastline on our third day in Maui.

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The drive immediately proved stunning. Maui is one of many climates. There is the windy, rain drenched Northern coastline, the fertile moist farmland of the interior, and the desert like beaches of the West and South (cacti grow abundantly in some locations). The route we took would wind its way from the sunny beaches of Lahaina, around the rugged, mountainous coast, through a jungle like rain forest, and back again. The benefit of our chosen route over the rival Road to Hana is that ours would lead us full circle back to where we started. Whereas just as soon as you finish the roller coaster of the Road to Hana, the only way back is to turn around and drive it again.
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As we drove away from the overdeveloped, resort communities of the West, the landscape slowly changed. Rather than hotels stacked upon one another, the landscape stretched as far as the eye could see and contained only the small dot of a house somewhere in the rocky hills above.
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Our first stop was to visit the Nakalele Blowhole. Just a short five minute walk from the highway and suddenly we were faced with the craggy, black lava coast. Whereas Maui is known for miles of sandy beaches, suddenly the coastline was composed of hardened lava, weathered and beaten by the rough waves. The Nakalele Blowhole was just that: a giant hole which shot water up into the air with each crashing wave. Depending on the tide and surf, the blowhole can produce explosive jets of water or just a spittle of mist. Nakalele was in full force when we arrived, and the show was spectacular.
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Back in the car we continued up the coast into a moist cloud packed jungle. Looking down upon the forest canopy above was like looking upon a rolling ocean of leafy green. Nearing the jungle opening vines swung from trees like something out of Jurassic Park. Here the road switched from highway to a single lane narrow route. Various pull outs were scattered along the hour or so drive to allow cars to let oncoming traffic pass. We passed through Kahakuloa, a tiny community of perhaps 40 or so houses nestled throughout the hills. Here locals lived relatively untouched by tourism (with the exception of the adventurous few travelers who chose to drive this route). If it weren’t for a gathering of people outside a small church and a local café, Kahakuloa could have been little more than a passing ghost town.

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Finally atop Maui’s Central coast, we made it to Wailuku, home to the ‘Iao Valley. Here we drove into a narrow slit between the lush, green mountains to take a look at the well known ‘Iao Needle. The ‘Iao Needle is really nothing more than a knife-like ridge sticking out of the valley floor, but perhaps more significant this area is all that remains of the crater formed by the West Maui volcano. Sitting amongst the jungle interior of the valley, we enjoyed our picnic lunches while swatting away hungry mosquitoes. Over lunch we contemplated whether a drive down the Road to Hana would have been a better bet, but reflecting on the solitude and beauty we found along our route, I think it safe to say that we made the right choice. Rather than spend the day in bumper to bumper traffic with a bunch of other tourists, we enjoyed the relative untouched authentic Maui that I think most people miss out on. Authenticity and remoteness were definitely worth all the hair raising turns on our single lane route through the steep mountains.
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The day was growing late, so we quickly headed back to Lahaina where we donned our most tropical looking vacation wear for an evening at the Old Lahaina Luau. Being a vegetarian at a luau is somewhat difficult as the main stay of the meal includes a pig roasted in the ground. Luckily between our late lunch and the plethora of free alcohol, I don’t think we noticed that our dinner consisted primarily of salad and bread. After my whole speech about authenticity in travel, I would like to say that yes, Luaus are a cheesy affair, but at least once it is necessary to partake in such festivities. The Old Lahaina Luau in particular gave the most accurate demonstration of traditional dance and music found in Hawaiian culture that I have experienced so far. The show was professional and the quality top-notch.
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Our day ended with a stroll down Front Street in Lahaina. Congested and touristy, I find Lahaina a bit overwhelming, yet it is the only place in Maui with a “downtown” feel. Bars, restaurants, and an endless supply of souvenir t-shirt shops line the main drag, but the ambience is relaxed and subtle and the perfect way to end a busy travel day. Tomorrow would be full of festivities for our vow renewal, but in that moment, walking down the Lahaina boardwalk, the chaos of the day to come seemed miles away.
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  • Apology for the washed out quality of some of the pictures. My camera broke down on this trip and was experiencing difficulties setting the accurate exposure and is now being repaired. Hence I am trying to convince my husband that I require an additional camera for back up purposes... a Canon 50D would be nice...

Posted by Jennylynn 20:44 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (3)

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