Continued from Hawaii – Aloha!
On Friday morning, we renewed our wedding vows on the beach outside our hotel, as I previously posted, before striking out on our next adventure.
After changing out or our festive Hawaiian clothes, we headed off for one of the other main activities we wanted to do while in Hawaii—snorkeling.
We chose to drive to one of the best spots on Oahu, Hanauma Bay.
What is unique about this spot is that it is an ancient volcano, one side of which was eroded by the ocean and filled with water. Near the beach, a natural coral exists (dark spots in photo below) which makes for a perfect home for a multitude of colorful fish and an extremely calm and clear water for viewing them.
My wife wisely purchased a waterproof holder for her phone so she could take underwater photos.
We saw some absolutely beautiful fish, …
…not all of which were captured on my wife’s phone, but it was an absolutely exhilarating experience floating around and seeing so many fish.
Afterwards, we laid out basking in the gloriously warm sun watching the beautiful clouds morphing into various shapes above us. Not the sort of activity we would normally do in December.
On our last full day in Hawaii, our plan had been to hike up to the top of Diamond Head, the volcano we had softly heard whispering to us daily to come explore.
Only Mother Nature had other plans as it began to rain while we were sitting outside eating our breakfast. And this was not one of those brief showers we had occasionally encountered over the week, but rather the all-day kind of rain.
Our plan B was to go to the Honolulu Museum of Art, the largest on the island that boasted works from many well-known artists. Only once we managed to find a place to park (the museum did not have their own garage) and walk up to the entrance, we learned the museum was closed for a private event. So, plan C was to visit the Iolani Palace, the royal residence for the last royal family.
To enter the museum, we had to don shoe covers to protect the floor and rugs throughout the palace.
While the royal dining room was immense, it was set for an intimate grouping for just eight guests and the king.
The throne room was where many quests would be formally received and displayed several gowns and royal regalia.
The upstairs, a much more private area, housed the royal bedrooms.
King Kalakaua was well read and very knowledgeable and after meeting with Thomas Edison in New York, the king, at his own expense, had the royal palace wired for electric lights becoming the first royal residence in the world to be so equipped.
It was a most enjoyable and informative tour thanks to the self-guided audio headsets.
That night, our last in Hawaii, I convinced my wife to have dinner at Yard House. Even though it is a chain, it boasts 140 beers on draft. Throughout the trip, I had been trying numerous different Hawaiian beers but had just not found one that struck my fancy. Here, I had one of my well-known favorites.
Returning from dinner, we captured our last beautiful sunset.
It was a bit sad to wake up the next morning and realize that our too brief stay in Hawaii was ending that day. Since our flight was not until late afternoon, we were able to comfortably lounge in our room while slowly packing our things all the while reminiscing about what a great trip it had been. Looking out our balcony, I couldn’t resist one more shot from our room.
As I drove away from the hotel, I felt like I had mastered driving such a big vehicle, much larger than what I normally drive. It had taken us safely everywhere on our adventures.
Hawaii truly is an island paradise. With its near perfect weather year-round, it offers unlimited activities from which to choose. This is only the second island we have visited, and I know the other islands offer more opportunities for exploration, ones we might be able to take in in the future. Having been twice now, I firmly believe that everyone should go in their lifetime. So, don’t miss out on a spectacular place to visit!