At the end of the year I had a lot of vacation to take, use it or lose it.  So for the first time in several years I went back to Hawaii.  I left the day after Thanksgiving and returned 2 days before Christmas.  I travelled first to Hilo on the Big Island.  I stayed at the Hilo Seaside Hotel which was basic accommodations, there isn’t a lot to choose from in Hilo.  It is a family run hotel that has been wiped away twice by tsunami and so they aren’t going to upgrade until the next one hits.  I took great comfort in that.  I took a couple days to visit and photograph waterfalls and flora at Akaka Falls and Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.  The drive around Kilauea volcano was closed due to air quality from volcanic gas emissions so I didn’t bother to go there.

I drove up Mauna Kea to the ranger station at 9,200ft.  Most people will take an off road vehicle from here to the top, at 13,803ft, but I decided to climb.  4,500 vertical feet up and down over 12 miles in a day is about what you would do on other major peaks.  It was a hard day but so worth the effort.

After the climb I drove down the other side of the Big Island to stay the rest of the week in Kona at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, a luxury resort that is twin to Mauna Kea Hotel on the famed Mauna Kea golf course.  I spent a lot of time reading on the beach and snorkeling. 

After a week on the Big Island, I took a small hopper flight on Mokulele Airlines to Maui.  On the flight over Molokini we could see the whales breaching below us.  After arriving I first acted like a local and headed straight to Walmart for supplies including a good supply of Fireball.  Then I took in a movie before having dinner with old friends of mine Fred and Loy.  After dinner I drove all the way around to Lahaina to check in to the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.  This is located on an excellent beach where snorkeling is good and you can go cliff diving.  Sunsets were spectacular.  I ate at a lot of restaurants in Lahaina but my favorite was Koa’s Seaside Grill, also where Fred and Loy’s daughter Ashley works.  Found Mick Fleetwood playing at his place one night.  Oh and the sunsets are spectacular.


November 29, 2013

The value of our life is not solely measured by its length, but also by the depth of our hearts.

And breadth of our experiences.  And indeed the heights that we achieve.