Lucas goes to year round school, which means we get a two week Fall Break = Awesome! Not only is it awesome to be off school for two weeks, but it's super-awesome that it's during a great time of year for travel!
My sister, Lisa, is living in Hawaii for a year, so we took advantage of our break by heading to The Big Island to visit. Lisa got the week off of work, and my mom was able to fly standby on USAir so we had just enough people for an awesome adventure.
Our main goals on the trip were to a)survive the flight, b) build sandcastles, c) see sea turtles, d) see volcanos.
Lucas was a perfect gentleman on the plane and Evan wasn't as bad as he could have been. Fire didn't expel from his mouth, his head never spun in circles, and he didn't poop!
We got into Kona at 2:00pm (7pm Austin time). The airport was all outside. It was so weird, but the benefit was that we got to feel the warm Hawaiian breeze and look at beautiful flowers while we waited for our luggage.
That night we were pretty chill. We headed to Lisa's for nap time, since it was the kid's real bed time, and then we had a very special dinner of Costco pizza (in the tour books it says Costco is the place to eat because it's so much cheaper than anywhere else... silly? yes. Delicious? yes.) and then we played at a beach for a few minutes. We were in normal clothes and of course both boys were soaked by the time we left.
DAY 1, Monday: Lucas woke up at 3:45am. I was also having a hard time sleeping so I got up with him and made him a bean burrito for breakfast (totally normal). I didn't know where Lisa had the cereal and he loves burritos, so it was a win. Evan woke up at 5:00. The boys cuddled on the couch and watched Word World on my phone. Eventually we took them to a park.
For breakfast we headed to a great little restaurant with the best view ever. The food was really good, too. Then we went to Place of Refuge. This is a sacred place to Hawaiians, so you're not allowed to swim there. Both boys were devastated that they could only look at the water, especially Evan. He would swim in stagnant, mosquito-infested water if you would let him. We walked around for 30 minutes or so, found a bazillion noni trees (and took a couple samples), and Lucas obtained his first Hawaiian souvenir coloring book, thanks to Lisa.
After lunch and a nap we headed to Kahalu'u Beach, which is one of the best snorkeling beaches on the island. Right off the bat we saw a couple few sea turtles in the water. Lucas was a little freaked out at first, but eventually got close to them. We also swam around with goggles and saw some pretty fish by the rocks. Lucas and Lisa also built a sand castle. The sand was really course salt and pepper sand. Oh, and then my swimsuit coverup got stolen and we saw an amazing sunset.
After that we headed to dinner. Kona kind of shuts down at about 8:00, so we were the only ones in a Mexican restaurant. Mexican food in Hawaii? Yes. And it was pretty good. And there was a parrot who talked to us. And I had to wear a towel since my coverup got stolen.
That afternoon we headed 20 miles up the coast to a really pretty beach. Evan threw rocks in the water and Lucas built sand castles. I sat holding Evan for a long time and my bum was killing that night from the rough sand. Good times, though :). For dinner we went to a strip mall by the resorts and had a pretty disgusting meal. My mom got nachos and and put what we assumed was pico de gallo on them. Instead it was the lomi lomi salmon that came with Ben's traditional Hawaiian meal (which was pretty not good). We learned a valuable lesson that you should eat in a well lit area, and you should also ask questions when they give you 5 different toppings for 3 different meals. And also that you shouldn't order the "lunch plate," which is designed to give surfers enough carbs and meat to last the day surfing. Ugh.
over the island to Hilo to see the waterfalls. Hilo is on the wet side of the island, Kona is the "dry" side. We saw Rainbow Falls first. It was beautiful and we got to hike around the jungle a little. There were great Banyan trees... and Evan and I got eaten alive by mosquitoes.
Next we went to Boiling Pots and Pe'e Pe'e Falls. Ben, Lucas and I took a little hike to get a good view of the waterfall. And the Pots were not boiling that day, but it was still pretty.
We took a little drive through town and stopped at a pretty park, then headed to Volcano National Park.
It was cold up there! Lucas was very interested in the park rangers presentation and listened intently. We got to see some steam vents, a the huge crater, a lava tube in the rain forest and then once it got dark we went to the museum where you have the best view of the crater and you can actually see it glowing red! So cool. What was not cool was that Evan got sick and threw up twice while we were there. Poor baby.
For our drive home we went around the island back to Kona. It took three hours and we were exhausted. Ben drove 90% of the way. And Evan threw up again. Fun times!
I think he may have had an allergic reaction to all the bug bites at the waterfalls, but who knows. So, now we just had to deal with coughing and screaming. Lisa and I headed out at about 5:30 to see if we could get into her office so she could look at his ears to see if he had an ear infection. It wasn't unlocked yet, so we went to a drug store and bought some medicine and then to the Farmers Market for a couple papayas.
Later we all went back to the Farmers Market for lots of papaya, mangoes, lychee (which weren't good ones at all), bananas, and dragon fruit. YUM. We could get 8 papayas for $2. Mangoes were 2/$1. Apparently the papaya season is year-round, so the price is low. We went back every day to replenish our papaya account.
Hapuna Beach is consistently rated one of the best beaches in the world! We got there in the morning before it got too hot. I was immediately taken by the amazing view. The water was a beautiful crystal-clear blue and the white sand was powder soft. Lucas had a blast playing in the sand. We threw on our goggles again and headed to some rocks to see the fish. It was so cool! We saw so many different kinds of fish and didn't even get attacked by a shark.
When we got back to the dock, Lucas wanted to jump off into the clear water, just like the local kids. He did it a few times and loved it.
All in all we had a pretty freakin fantastic Fall Break! Thanks Lisa for hosting. It was awesome. And thanks to Ben's parents for all the rides to/from the airport, and I'd like to give a shout out to my Dad who had to stay home with the dog, and to my mom for making the trek with us. Until our next adventure....
You can see the rest of the pictures here.