On February 12, 2005 – a little over 11 years ago – I married the love of my life. Crystal and I left the following day for an eight-day honeymoon in Hawaii. In the days following our return, I had written a day-by-day account of that trip. Today, after some searching through old backup discs, I was able to find that account, and I’m re-posting it here. Enjoy!
Our Hawaiian Honeymoon
Today was a long day of traveling. We crawled out of bed about 3:45 and took the shuttle bus to the airport. Our first flight left at 6:05. The plane ride was long and uneventful. After a layover in Phoenix, we left for Honolulu. Within a few seconds after takeoff, two explosion-type noises were heard, one on each side of the plane.
A stewardess came on the loudspeakers and said that the flight crew was aware of the noises and were searching for a cause. A short time later the captain informed us that the plane was being diverted to Los Angeles airport, where we would do a fly-by of the tower, allowing the people on the ground to alert the flight crew of any problems with the landing gear.
The fly-by didn’t show any problems, so our plane circled and landed. Dozens of emergency vehicles, including several ambulances and fire trucks, were near the runway awaiting our arrival. Applause broke out in the cabin when the wheels were on the ground. A fire police followed the plane as it taxied down the runway.
After hours of frustration and waiting in ticket lines, we took an American Airlines flight directly to Kona, HI from Los Angeles.
We arrived around midnight Hawaiian time, and finally went to bed about 1 pm – twenty-six hours after getting out of bed in the morning.
We slept in today, and then went shopping for a few essentials. Around lunchtime we traveled to the Pu’uhonua Honaunau State Park (also called Place of Refuge) and tried snorkeling at the nearby Honaunau Bay (also called Two-Step Beach). Once I got used to breathing through a plastic tube, I was hooked. Although the sheltered part of the bay I was in isn’t known for good snorkeling, I spotted dozens of fish and and a few large green sea turtles. Crystal didn’t fare so well. Her mask didn’t fit well, and water kept leaking in.
We left our apartment at about 9 am and headed south. We stopped at Kona Boys (the rental shop) to get a new mask for Crystal and a two-seat Kayak. We stopped at Honaunau Bay where Crystal tried out her mask. It wasn’t perfect, but worked much better than the old one. Then, we drove up a narrow one-lane road to Kealakekua Bay.
After a Hawaiian helped us launch our kayak, we paddled across the bay to the Captain Cook Monument. We spent several hours there eating our lunch, snorkeling, and just relaxing on the large boulders. The scenery under the water was amazing! There were colorful coral and fish everywhere. Schools of fish would swim by so close you could nearly reach out and touch them. Within an hour we had used up the film of our underwater camera.
In the afternoon we left the bay and returned our kayak. After we cleaned up and rested up at our apartment, we drove up to the visitor’s center on Mania Kea. We had hoped to travel to the snow-covered summit, but because I badly underestimated the travel time it was already dark when we arrived at the visitor’s center. We each had some hot chocolate and looked through the telescopes at various stars and planets. Then we headed back to our apartment.
Today we drove an hour or two up the coastline and visited Hapuna Beach. As usual, we had to fight a lot of traffic, and the drive seemed longer than it was. There we spent most of the afternoon sun bathing and walking on the beach. We also swam and played in the waves for a short time.
We waited until the sun went down to get some sunset pictures, and then returned to Kona. We ate at Denny’s before returning to our apartment.
Today we slept in and then visited the Volcanoes National Park. The drive was a bit tiresome, but it was worth it. We viewed the craters and steam vents near the top of the mounting before descending the Chain of Craters road to the sea. From the end of the road, we hiked about forty minutes to view some lava flows. The surface flows were interesting, but the more spectacular sight was where the lava flowed in the sea.
This morning we spent some time at the Kahalu’u Beach, just a mile south of our apartment. Crystal rested on the beach while I snorkeled. The coral in this area wasn’t spectacular, but there were plenty of fish and sea turtles.
After my snorkeling session, we traveled about ten miles north of Kona to a secluded beach at Kekaha Kai State Park. For much of the time we had the beach to ourselves, or at least the portion visible to us. I started to feel sick to the stomach after an hour or so in the sun, so I left Crystal to soak up my share of the sunshine and took a nap in the shade.
We had planned to hike to one or two other beaches that were within walking distance of the one we visited, but it was getting late by the time my nap was finished, so we headed back to Kona and ate some excellent food at Pancho Lefties.
We left at mid-morning and stopped at Wendy’s for brunch. Then we continued to Honaunau Bay and put our snorkel equipment to use one last time. The bay was a bit rough, especially getting in and out of the water. Crystal stayed in the more sheltered area. I ventured into the rough water for a few minutes, then returned and put on a life jacket for the remainder of the time. The fish weren’t as plentiful as in Kealakekua Bay, but the coral was beautiful.
After soaking up some sun, we again drove into Pu’uhonua Honaunau State Park and hiked the “1871 trail” before returning to Kona.
Today we cleaned up the vacation rental and checked out around 11 a.m. We visited White Sands Beach (the one without any sand) near our vacation rental, and then made various stops around town until our late-afternoon flight. One of the highlights was a stop at Jamba Juice, where we purchased some delicious smoothies. The picture to the right is Kona Airport.
Our tour guide
We owe our success in finding our way around the big island of Hawaii almost entirely to a book loaned to us by a family member. “Hawaii: The Big Island Revealed” was a big help, guiding us to the best beaches, snorkeling locations, and other places of interest. The information was accurate and useful. In one case, it warned of a rip tide at a snorkeling location, even correctly specifying the direction the current would carry me. The information is categorized by geographical region, letting you explore more while driving less.