Saturday, April 8, 2017

Our 50th State

For some reason, Hawaii has never really been at the top of my list of places to visit.  I think it's simply because it's part of the US and when I go overseas I want something "exotic", something unfamiliar. Ignorant. That's what I was. What I learned on my recent visit to O'ahu and Maui is that Hawaii IS exotic and nothing like life on the mainland.  The people of Hawaii have such a uniqueness about them - a happy, relaxed, coolness.  They seem to be more in harmony with their environment than anyplace else I've visited.  And let me show you why (hopefully you love green grass, blue waters, and brilliant sunsets)!

Clouds hugging the mountain at Nu'uanu Pali State Wayside, Honolulu

Windward O'ahu

OMG!  Have you ever seen a banyan tree??  They are about the coolest damn things I've ever seen! They are a type of fig tree that grows roots from it's branches.  They start out looking like a vine, but then they root into the ground and start to look like an entirely separate tree.  Look!

This one was a couple blocks from our hotel.

And then we found the Moana Banyan Tree!

This is all ONE tree!

It looks like 3 or 4 or more - but this is all ONE!  Sorry - I was obsessed (until I found whales)!

Now, how about a progression of sunset shots:

Me and all my friends were watching the sunset

And, she's gone.
Honolulu after sunset

The following evening we walked down the beach for a catamaran sunset cruise.  Before we set sail we got to see a really large sea turtle!

Along our walk
Diamond Head volcanic tuff cone in the distance

Well hello, friend!

I swam with one later in the trip, but it was not nearly as big as this guy

About to set sail
Honolulu - Diamond Head

All the sailboats out to catch the sunset

And, she's gone.

The following day we got on a quick flight from O'ahu to Maui.  These photos were taken with my phone, but the water was so pretty to see from the sky!
Leaving Honolulu

Shades of blue

I was looking for sharks or whales!  LOL

Diamond Head

Love the layer of clouds that seemed to always hang over the island

It was an overcast and rainy day in Maui when we landed.  We decided to drive up to Haleakala Crater.  It is a 27 mile drive of winding switchbacks.  It was so cloudy all the way up that we didn't think we would even be able to see anything once we got to the summit.  However, we crested a hill and the sun was shining above the clouds.  We were on Mars!

"Science City", an astrophysical complex operated by the U.S. Department of Defense, University of Hawaii, Smithsonian Institution, Air Force, Federal Aviation Administration, and others.

Above the clouds

We wound our way back down the curvy Haleakala Highway and headed toward the hotel, making a pit-stop at the famous Surfing Goat Dairy.

We saw more of the cats then we did goats!

THE best goat cheese - wish I had some now!

We did (another) sunset whale-watching cruise.  We did see some whales but they were pretty far off in the distance so no whale photos on this outing.

Along the walk to the catamaran

Beautiful spot for a wedding!

On the boat

This was a very golden sunset

And, she's gone.
On Sunday we did an incredible snorkeling/whale watching trip with Trilogy.  We set out around 8 or 9 that morning and were out all day, having breakfast, lunch, and cocktails on the boat.  The snorkeling was good, but the whale watching was phenomenal!  I only got a couple of decent shots, but I'm on a mission now to do more whale photography!

Setting sail

Whale tail! 

Everyone gathered along the boat rails and "Oooohed" and "Ahhhhhed" in unison each time a whale breached.

The next afternoon we made our way to the airport and found this little stretch of beach nearby where people were kitesurfing and windsurfing.

Ho'okipa Beach - windsurfers in the distance

A board and a coconut

Last shot of the trip
I hope to visit again. I want to see many more whales. And I would love to go to the Big Island to see the lava-flow.  Until then...Aloha!

Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace. Paul Theroux
Read more at:
Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace. Paul Theroux
Read more at:
"Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace."  ~ Paul Theroux

" I can't even speak Hawaiian, but if you go there and listen to a Hawaiian song, you get captured because it's so beautiful, like the melody is just gorgeous and you know Bob Marley is on the radio every single day. It's very reggae-influenced down there. Basically, you haven't been to paradise if you haven't been to Hawaii."  ~ Bruno Mars

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