Saturday, December 5, 2015

Saturday States: Hawaii


State Nickname: The Aloha State

Year of Family Trip: 2010

Cities Visited: Honolulu, The Big Island

Can't Miss Tourist Attractions:
Dole Plantation, North Shore, Diamond Head, USS Arizona Memorial, Luau, Snorkeling, Swimming with the Dolphins, Black Sand Beaches

We flew from near and far to gather for our Hawaiian vacation in January 2010. Initially, it was just Mom, Dad, McKinley, and me.  We spent the day at Dole Plantation and drove around the North Beach area before Jordan and Jen joined us.  After that, it was one adventure after another.  We hiked to the top of Diamond Head for a spectacular view, danced the night away at a luau, paid our respects when visiting the USS Arizona Memorial, and even hopped over to The Big Island for a day of volcano watching and black sand beach walking.  McKinley and I were the only ones to experience swimming with the dolphins - certainly a lifetime top ten moment for me!  And snorkeling turned out to quite an adventure for the Heflin crew.

Pineapple Maze

I had pretty low expectations for the Dole Plantation, but it turned out to be SO much fun!  We had the most fun in the Pineapple Maze! We searched high and low for each station...eventually finding them all!  A pineapple ice cream float was a fantastic reward for a long day of walking through the garden maze!

North Shore Shrimp and Shaved Ice

North Shore was full of more than just massive waves and hang ten surfers - it had shrimp trucks and shaved ice!!  Shrimp has grown on me over the years, but at this point in time it was not something I particularly enjoyed.  Mom selected a couple types from the extensive Shrimp Shack menu...and I was hooked!!  The coconut fried shrimp was absolutely phenomenal!  We also managed to locate Matsumoto's famous shaved ice stand.  This shaved ice packs a punch.  A punch full of ice cream!!  They load the bottom of the cone with soft serve before topping it with your choice of flavored shaved ice - YUM!!  Just be careful to listen closely and avoid the additional black beans option!

Hopping over to The Big Island

We didn't manage to visit all the stunning islands of Hawaii, but we did venture over to The Big Island for a fun day trip.  It was actually our first (and far!) flight together.  It was short and took place in an extremely small plane, but we made it!  We spent the day roaming around sites with active volcanoes - fortunately, we never saw one erupt.  We did see lots of lava remains cooling in the distance on our black sand beaches walk though.

Zippy - the Flying Dolphin!

McKinley and I decided we wanted to play with dolphins on this trip so Mom signed us up for an amazing dolphin adventure.  There was lots of instruction and a life jacket requirement that left me wondered what exactly I had signed up for at Sea Life Park.  We participated in a number of warm-up activities with the two dolphins - received and gave kisses, danced with them, pet their stomach and back, and even had them wave at our family and friends watching us.  We were also able to participate in two tricks with them - a dorsal pull and a nose push.  I was nervous about missing the dorsal fins on the pull so I didn't fully enjoy it as much as the nose push.  My only concern with the nose push was that my dolphin would sneeze or something and open his mouth leaving me one leg shy of a pair, but thankfully everything went as planned.  And I easily had one of my most memorable life experiences!  We were so sad when the session ended!!  I have such a huge respect for the intelligence of these amazing creatures!

Man Overboard (AKA Snorkeling)

Next up for the Heflin bunch was a day at sea for some fun snorkeling time.  This was an utter disaster!  The day started like any other.  However, as we drifted further and further from the shore, the water became more and more choppy.  Our captain pointed out some wild dolphins nearby - a pleasant distraction for a bit.  Then, we began receiving instruction for the snorkeling excursion - masks and brief breathing techniques, fins, life jackets.  No "HELP NEEDED" code or signal...after all, each person was required to answer affirmative when asked if they knew how to swim.  Well, it didn't take long for half of our bunch to realize they were in over their head with this whole adventure.  Mom and Dad were completely out of their element.  Dad was certain he would be scattered into a million pieces by the boat's blade as he drifted closer and closer to it.  Eventually, they rescued Dad and threw Mom a life buoy.  I'm not exactly sure if they had ever seen a crew like ours before.  I managed to hang in there, but I swallowed enough water to make me sick - literally!  And I lost my fins on my trek back to the boat.  Jordan saved me from drowning without them, but it was no easy effort.  Jordan and Jen (they had initially proposed the idea) decided they would rather snorkel without us in the future!

Luau Memories

Attending a luau in Hawaii is an definite must do activity!  We spent a night having a blast at Paradise Cove.  There were tons of activities - tattoo artistry, canoe rowing, traditional games, dancing, arts and crafts, and more - to experience while waiting for the food to be ready.  We were also able to watch the unveiling of the roasted pig and try poi.  Jordan was brave enough to give it a shot.  I don't think he'd recommend it though!  Once the food was finished, we enjoyed it along with a show full of dancers and great music!

A Hike to Remember 

We decided to hike Diamond Head one day. It seemed like a good plan until I realized halfway up that I was wearing flip flops - not ideal!  The climb was steep and seemed to be never ending, but I'm glad we did it.  There were several landings along the way for photo opportunities which is nice for those that don't want to put in the effort to go all the way to the top! 

An Infamous Place

We visited the USS Arizona Memorial on our last day in Hawaii.  They give out free tickets, but the number is limited and given out first come, first serve so we went there early that morning to make sure we got ours. The memorial is very impressive.  When you enter, you are given a card with the name of an individual and some background information about them on it.  This was a great way to feel a part of the whole experience.  I definitely recommend checking out the memorial if you visit Honolulu.

Have you ever visited the beautiful islands of Hawaii?

Andrea :)

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing trip! Sounds like you really packed a lot into the experience. I've never been to Hawaii, but it's sure on my bucket list!