Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Aloha, Hawaii

Our last two days in Hawaii were busy, busy!  The boys got up early and went surfing off the rocky coast of the Big Island on Thursday. I was completely amazed at how quickly they were able to stand up on the boards and ride the waves. They had a blast! In fact, JD said this was his favorite activity of the entire week. Tyler's favorite was biking Haleakala and Rob and Scott said their favorite was snorkeling with manta rays (more about that later) and for me it was the Old Lahaina Luau.

Scott and I managed to squeeze in one last shave ice. This time we went to the Anuenue Shave Ice Shop in the Kawaihae Shopping Center in Waimea. It was good, it satisfied our craving, but honestly, it wasn't Breakwall!  The ice wasn't quite as fine as the ice at Breakwall and the flavors weren't the same as the ones we had grown to love at Breakwall.  Also, there was no tiger's blood for Scott.  He was a bit bummed about that.  I did like the coconut ice cream, though. It had bits of coconut in it which gave it some texture. Don't get me wrong. If we had a Anuenue in Scottsboro I would totally be their best customer. Breakwall was just special.

Later that night we all went on a nighttime snorkel with the manta rays. This was an amazing experience and we all highly recommend it for anyone traveling to the Big Island. A boat took us out to the snorkeling site. As soon as the sun was completely down, we were all given wet suits, taken off the boat and holding onto a raft pulled by our guide, we were all maneuvered into our position just off the Kona Coast. There along with hundreds of other snorkelers and continuing to hold onto our raft, we waited for the mantas to show up. The guides all carried bright lights which not only enabled us to see the mantas, but are the reason the mantas show up at all.  The lights attract the tiny plankton on which the mantas like to feed. When the mantas finally did show up, we were all astounded. First, they are huge! Second, they performed their graceful ballet inches away from our noses. Seriously, I was pretty sure they were going to bump right into my face on several occasions. It was an experience of a lifetime.

The next morning, we had to get packed up for our trip back home. Before we left the Waikoloa Hilton, the boys were signed up to swim with dolphins. They had a great time with the gentle creatures.

After the dolphin adventure, we headed for a bit of exploring on the rainy side of the island. Scott wanted to find the Captain Cook monument. Cook was the first European to discover the Hawaiian Islands, which he named the Sandwich Islands.  He was killed by native Hawaiians when he attempted to take the King of Hawaii hostage.  

We drove through real Hawaiian neighborhoods in our attempt to find the Cook monument.  Far from the resort areas, we got a feel for what it is like to live and work in Hawaii. We were amazed at how much the climate changes from one side of the island to the other. The resorts sit in the western part of the island that is always sunny and dry. As we drove south, the weather became cloudy and rainy. We drove along winding, twisty uphill roads through neighborhoods and small towns. We found that we couldn't reach the Cook monument except by boat, but we did find Hikiau Heiau, an ancient Hawaiian luakini temple associated with funeral rites.

Heading back to the Kona airport to catch our plane, we had a hard time deciding where to stop for dinner.  Scott, Rob and Tyler ended up grabbing something from McDonald's.  I think the main reason is they were really wanting one of the Haupia pies, which are Hawaii's coconut version of the standard apple pie on the mainland.  

JD ended up at the #1 Yelp rated restaurant in the entire country...Da Poke Shack.  That boy could not get his fill of fresh raw fish! I couldn't tell you exactly what kind of poke he got, but it came with potato salad, crab salad and rice.  He enjoyed it, but he said he bet it would have been better earlier in the day. 

 So, by now you have figured out that everybody had eaten but me.  I wasn't feeling like McDonald's or poke, so we stopped by a little shack of a place near the airport where we could all sit and enjoy the view while I found a bite to eat.  It was called Bite Me Fish Market.  When we walked in, we were greeted by the host who wanted to know where we were from.  We told him and he told us he was from Destin! Small world! He seated us outside on the back patio overlooking the marina.

I know you will be SHOCKED when I tell you what I ate!  Ok, maybe not!  I had one of the best fish tacos I have ever eaten.  The fish was very fresh and perfectly grilled. There were two tacos
topped with shredded cabbage and a creamy Baja-type sauce. The tacos were accompanied by a fresh green salad, chips, salsa and guacamole made with local avocados.  I could only eat one of the tacos, so JD finished off the other one, plus the salad and about half of the chips and guacamole.  Yes, he had already eaten that huge poke plate, but that didn't slow him down!

By the time we were ready to head back home, the skies were clouding up and, you guessed it, the flood gates opened up just about the time we got to the airport. We were drenched! The rain didn't change the fact that it had been a wonderful week, however. Mahalo, Hawaii. We will miss you!

Three Friends and a Fork give Da Poke Shack, Anuenue Shave Ice and Bite Me Fish Market 
3 Hawaiian Yums UP!
Three Friends and a Fork
Three Friends and a Fork

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