Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hawaii - Underwater - by Brad

I finally got around to editing a few of the underwater pictures from Aaron's camera. So here are a few pictures and a little video (at the end) from snorkeling in Maui...

White Spotted Puffer...

Stareye Parrotfish



Moorish Idol

Green Sea Turtles

Me with a sea turtle!

Selected video clips of swimming under an arch, sea turtle, spotted eagle ray, and dolphins...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hawaii... aww yeah (part 3) - by Brad

Blame it on the three hour time change (or the fact we didn't have any obligations), but we woke up around 6:00 almost every morning... even when we wanted to sleep in. We envisioned our vacationing as staying up late and sleeping in, but it was exactly the opposite.

We had been going pretty much non-stop for the first five days, so the day after Hana we took it easy. We went to a little seafood cafe for lunch. There really wasn't anything too eventful about it, but I took what I think is a cute picture of Lindsey... with a pirate.

That evening we were treated to the most colorful sunset of the week... right from our own patio... err, "lanai" - I guess is what I was supposed to call it when in Hawaii.

At this point, I should interject a little bit about the sea life we saw. Between scuba diving and snorkeling, we saw tons of colorful fish, several creepy looking eels, and many other small interesting creatures. We saw many, MANY large sea turtles, and of course there were the spinner dolphins (previous post).

Earlier in the week when Aaron and I went diving at Molokini the dive guides asked us what we were hoping to see. I told them I would like to see a shark, and they obliged. The first thing they led us to was a white tip reef shark. It was resting in a small cave created by the coral reef. We swam right up to it and got within 10 feet of it. It was pretty neat to look at, but it honestly wasn't as exciting as it might have been if we had seen it swimming. They also took us to a field of garden eels. As we approached them, the dive guides told us to lay down in the sand and crawl slowly toward them so they don't duck into their holes.

While snorkeling, Aaron and I also saw a spotted eagle ray. It swam below us for about 10 minutes and we followed it around. It is amazing how smooth they glide. We did get some video and pictures with Aaron's camera while we snorkeled, so hopefully they turned out and I can get some of those posted.

For our last full day we got up early and took a snorkel tour out to Molokini. Snorkeling Molokini wasn't as exciting since we had snorkeled the shoreline and seen so much already, but the boat ride out was pretty neat...

After the snorkel tour we spent the rest of the morning and afternoon at Poolenalena beach. There were a few coves on this beach, but we tried to stay away from the far end of the beach as there were a couple old naked guys sunbathing... at least it made for a lot of bad jokes. Despite the unwanted entertainment, one of the strangest snorkeling memories was made. Lindsey and I were snorkeling and she dove down to find a neat little sea shell. She looked at it, and seeing there was no snail or hermit crab living in it, she handed it to me and I put it in the pocket of my shorts. When we got back on the beach I reached into my pocket to grab the shell and I felt something squishy in there. I pulled out the shell to find a baby octopus! We looked at it for a couple minutes as it squirmed on top of the shell, and then we let it go back in the ocean. I wish we had our regular camera for this picture, but it was just my blurry phone...

This was by far the biggest trip Lindsey and I had taken since our Australia/Papua New Guinea trip nine years ago. Hopefully it's not another nine years before we get around to it again. This was great for our anniversary vacation since it reaffirmed to us how much we enjoy spending time with each other. When we got back home we had to jump right back into our busy lives, which was a shock to our systems after getting to spend so much time together. Of course we missed our kids and we look forward to making the same sort of trip with them... when they are a little older.

To wrap it up, here are a couple miscellaneous flower pictures that Lindsey took. I didn't really have any other good place to post them...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hawaii... aww yeah (part 2) - by Brad

Early Monday morning Aaron and I headed out to La Perouse Bay for a chance to see some dolphins. We geared up in our dive equipment and swam out, and out, and out. We probably ended up swimming out a quarter mile. We paused to rest for a few minutes and all that was below us was water and sand. We started to think we might have expended large amounts of energy for nothing. After a short rest we snorkeled out a little further when all of a sudden both Aaron and I stopped and poked our heads out of the water. We looked at each other and said, "Did you hear that squeeking?" We looked back down and a few dolphins darted by below us. We immediately let the air out of our BCDs and decended just 40 feet down to the sandy bottom. Aaron got out his dive knife and tapped on his tank to make a little noise. Pretty soon we had at least 17 spinner dolphins gliding around us. They typically kept their distance about 30 feet away, but on occasion they came within five feet of us. We enjoyed the serene experience for about 15 minutes before they got bored and left us. When we got out, we couldn't help our big dopey grins!

Road to Hana

Lindsey and I heard mixed reviews about attempting the road to Hana journey. It is a long windy (and sometimes one lane) road that wraps through some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. We got up early to beat the rush and headed out around 6:30. Even before we got the road to Hana, we were treated to a lovely rainbow. This delayed us a few mintues...

This was a sign of things to come - both in beauty and weather. Dark rain clouds with small sun breaks was what the weather had in store for us. We were blasted by a heavy downpour as we started down the curvy road. The rain slowed as we pulled off at our first unmarked pullout. We had to duck under a barbed wire fence and walk down a slippery trail along a very steep cliff, but the view was that of a 200 foot waterfall!

At our second stop, there was supposedly a neat little waterfall with a pool to cool off in. The rain started pounding again, but regardless, we decided to check it out. It probably wasn't worth getting drenched, but we had fun on our little adventure. I posted this blurry picture of the pool just to show the rain pounding on the water.

Next, we pulled off to the side of the road to get a few scenic pictures of the ocean and of our(drenched)selves.

There were many neat little one-lane bridges that we got to drive over. This one had a really neat waterfall that could be seen right from the bridge. There was very limited parking for this waterfall, so we had to walk a little ways to get back to the bridge. Of course it wasn't raining when we got out of the car, but the downpour hit us a few mintues after we got to the triple falls...

The next stop took us about 20 minutes off the road to Hana on Nahiku road. The guide book we were reading told of its beauty... we questioned the value of this side road until we got to the end of the road...

Check out the 360 degree view at (sorry it's a little washed out).

Kahanu Tropical Gardens - now that place sounds cool right? Especially if you have to pay $10 per person to enter. Well, we were wrong. Not worth the $20 we paid. As soon as we got out into an open field, you guessed it... down pour!

I can't say the $20 was all a loss. They did have a restroom. The highlight was a spider, seeing coconuts actually fall from a tree, and an ocean view that wasn't too bad. Oh, there was also some huge temple thing made of stacked volcanic rock... but since you couldn't explore or climb on it, I was bored with it.

We finished all this sight seeing by 12:30 and we were getting hungry now, so on to Waianapanapa State Park! This is a pretty neat park that has all kinds of neat volcanic rock formations, lava tubes, and caves.

There was a cave that had clear (cold) fresh water in it, so we decided to take a dip!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hawaii... aww yeah. (part 1) - by Brad

To celebrate our 10th anniversary, Lindsey and I spent 9 nights in Maui. My oldest sister volunteered to watch our kids at our house the whole week! We are extremely thankful for her and the craziness she endured.

The discussion started eight months ago with our friends Aaron and Kathy who had been to Maui a couple times before. Lindsey and I had been contemplating where we wanted to go for our 10th anniversary. We heard many great reviews about Hawaii, so I joked to Aaron that if they would go to Hawaii with us, I would get my scuba certification so he would have someone to dive with there. I was pleasantly surprised a couple weeks later when Aaron asked if I was serious. That began our Hawaii planning… and my new scuba hobby.

The first night there we were eating dinner and got suckered into buying a lei. Maybe not suckered, but what else can you do when you are on a dinner date and a lady walks up selling flowers?

View from the condo. The grounds were immaculately kept.
We visited many different beaches where we spent our time relaxing, snorkeling, diving, and eating. Spending a large portion of my childhood living on an island in the pacific northwest, I've clocked a lot of time at the beach, but I don't really have any memories of swimming in the ocean because it was so stinkin' cold. This was the first time I had ever been able to just go out swimming in the ocean (the water temp was around 75 degrees). I thought people were stretching the truth about the ability to float so much easier in salt water, but they were right. As long as we were laying face down with mask and snorkel, we were able to float for hours (which we did on several occasions). Aaron had an underwater camera that we used during snorkeling, I hope to get some of those pictures and videos posted later.
My first dive in Hawaii at the Makena Black Sands beach...

About ready to head down...

We hit a Luau, like any good tourist would. It was entertaining and the buffet food was decent. The food...

Just to prevent any confusion, the man below is not me, it's the fire dancer guy... he was pretty impressive. We have video of the whole fire routine, but not really blog worthy.

And some random scenery photos from the first couple days...

(Makena Black Sands Beach) 

(Maalaea Bay)

(Next to Maalaea Bay)

(Beach on Maalaea Bay)

(Along South Kihea Road)

(La Perouse Bay)