Hawaii Trip 2008

 

Diary Entry For August 17, 2008

The Shortarmguy Family took the adventure of a lifetime this week by flying to the Big Island of Hawaii!  At the Minneapolis airport, Avery made us all giggle when he pointed out this plane to us and exclaimed, "Dad, I didn't know that airplanes have butt-holes!"

The reason we went to Hawaii was to fulfill Miss Sheri's dream of making a visit to see her college roommate, Robin Bauman.  A secondary reason for visiting was I've always had a dream of challenging myself to visit a whole bunch of waterfalls without peeing my pants.  I almost made it.

We also had the joy of seeing Robin's sister, Deanna, and her husband, Rodney.  Not sure if they had joy in seeing us, though!

The main reason we're questioning their joy in seeing us was Luke and Avery's behavior whenever they were around their children.  I'm not sure if it was because we were on a tropical island or not, but our boys turned into squealing monkeys every time they came near them.

Our main strategy to keep the boys attitudes in check was to force them to hike through all sorts of hazardous terrain.  We took them through a wide variety of hills and valleys, visiting all sorts of weird plants and animals.  We figured if we kept them tired out, they'd be forced to behave.   

We even made them walk on recently cooled lava fields.  There were all sorts of warning signs before visiting the lava viewing area explaining how unpredictable the volcano could be and that the ground could contain all sorts of hidden perils.  Yet we pressed on regardless of the risks.  We were on an adventure!

I did get pretty freaked out at this volcano viewing platform.  It's hard to tell from this picture, but just beyond the railing is a 200 foot drop off and the only thing keeping the kids back is two iron railings separated by way too much open air.  I expressed my concerns to the park ranger, but he just looked at me like I was paranoid.  Needless to say, Luke and Avery had to hold our hands for the rest of their viewings at this station!

The black sand beach was very cool.  Avery had fun digging a big hole in the fine black sand created from years of the ocean tides smashing into the volcanic rock.

Luke loved seeing the many sea turtles we encountered.  He was worried about this little guy who appeared to be stuck in the rocks and unable to escape back to the open ocean.  I tried to help him deal with his concerns by telling him that eventually this part of the water would heat up from the volcano and that was how God made Turtle Soup, but for some reason this didn't make him any happier.

We did get to visit an actual animal sacrifice when we attended the luau at the Royal Kona Resort.  They actually cooked this pig by burying him in the dirt and letting the island's hot rocks roast him all day.  What a tasty way to create a pork sandwich!  We weren't big fans of the POI however.

The food was good.  The entertainment was better.

This was a platform we could see from the balcony of our hotel room.  Avery and I insisted we were going to jump off of it before we left.  We walked down to it and met this gentleman who told me he dived from the platform every Saturday and Sunday.  I asked him if ever saw any sharks in the area and he told me eagerly that he often saw a tiger shark swimming around.  He also said that there was an underwater cave below the platform and that a nurse shark lived there and was down there as we spoke.  Needless to say, Avery and I never jumped off the platform. 

Probably my favorite experience was going on the submarine ride in Kona! 

We went down 110 feet below the surface of the ocean and visited all sorts of coral reefs and saw a bunch of fish, sea urchins, and even some eels!  No sharks, though.  That guy jumping off the platform is a fricking liar!

We did go near a couple of shipwrecks, though.  I thought seeing them was very neat, until I started thinking about the fact that we still had a couple of boat rides on the ocean scheduled.  I was guessing that the people who took these two ships out initially had no clue they were going to end up as sunken shipwrecks that some day we'd by driving by in a submarine and thinking how cool they looked.  I have a real tendency to ruin good times by worrying about unlikely possibilities.

That afternoon we went snorkeling by Captain Cook's Monument!  A perfect activity for a guy thinking about shark attacks for two days straight!  I sucked up my fears though and the five of us had a blast floating around the surface of the water staring at the fish and corral reefs 40 feet below us.  When Avery insisted that we swim to the drop off area which led to another 100 feet or so depths of the ocean, I explained to him that I always liked to swim on the inside area of the other snorkelers.  My thoughts being that when the sharks come in for the kill, they'd get those people first and hopefully their screams would alert us that it might be a good idea to get out of the water.  But my son talked me into it and we visited the drop off.  It sure was spooky seeing all that blue water without any shark guards in front of us.  We didn't stay there for long because the music from Jaws just started playing too loud in my head.

After we spent an hour snorkeling, I thought it would be fun to jump off the side of the boat for awhile.  Suddenly my fears were gone because I knew there ain't no way a shark was gonna want my fat butt landing on his head. 

We survived all the time spent swimming in the ocean and had a fantastic ride back.  I actually could finally start to relax and really enjoy myself because I knew we weren't getting in the water again.  Then I started noticing those black clouds off in the distance...

On our last day in Hawaii, Robin surprised us with a helicopter ride over the volcanoes and waterfalls! 

It was so cool hovering over the lava floes....they looked just like streams of water that could burn a hole through pretty much anything.  It kind of made me feel like swimming again.

It was amazing watching the area where the Lava dumped into the ocean.  We actually saw various water spouts spinning away which looked like mini tornadoes.  I thought it would be fun to fly the helicopter directly through those, but the pilot said no.

 

We took more than 800 pictures and videos during our week long stay in Hawaii.  I put together this video to showcase some of my favorites:

 

 

 

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