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Hawaii 2008
Oahu Big Island Maui

Sunday, 2 Mar.: Flight to Kauai, Hanapepe
Total miles: 47
Weather: a.m. cloudy, p.m. sunny, 26 °C

We could take it easy this morning as we had an afternoon flight, scheduled for 2 p.m. The plane arrived just 20 minutes before the scheduled departure, but we took off as planned. We were able to see Honolulu from above. Flight time was 40 minutes. From the Alamo choice line we selected a Saturn Vue.

We had booked a condo between Lawai and Kalaheo: "Hale Kua" ($120 plus tax). This had a lovely jungle setting but we also had to beware of mosquitoes. There was an outdoors gas grill which we used a few times. At dawn and sunset you could listen to bird song, but in the early mornings you were greeted by Hawaii's jungle fowl.

In the late afternoon we drove to historic Hanapepe and walked across its swinging bridge before we did some shopping for food.

Monday, 3 Mar.: Waimea Canyon, Koke'e State Park, Na Pali Coast, Pihea Trail and Alakai Swamp Trail
Total miles: 97
Weather: a.m. sunny, p.m. partly cloudy, 26 °C

We started off early again. In Waimea we had a look at the swinging bridge, similar to the one in Hanapepe. Then we took the road to Waimea Canyon State Park, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Kauai is chicken's paradise. We saw lots of wild jungle fowl, mostly on the parking lots and beaches!  

Continuing on the same road we entered Koke'e State Park and the awesome Kalalau Lookout with a view of the Na Pali Coast. From Puu o Kila Lookout we started our hike on the Pihea Trail. It was 10:15 a.m. At the end of Alakai Swamp Trail is Kilohana Lookout. With bad luck you see nothing here when everything is covered in clouds. It's not far from here to Mount Wai'ale'ale, the "wettest spot on earth". It was hazy but we had a good view of Hanalei Bay. The trail was 9.6 miles, it took us 4 hours 45 minutes.

Back in Waimea we continued on the road that ends at Polihale State Park. The last part was on a dirt road. The beach is large and empty. Here the Na Pali Coast begins. We stopped in Hanapepe to buy steaks for dinner that we cooked on the gas grill next to our condo.

Tuesday, 4 Mar.: Na Pali Coast:
Kalalau Trail, Snorkelling at Ke'e Beach

Total miles: 99
Weather: sunny, late p.m. cloudy, 28 °C

Today we drove to the other end of the island. The parking lot at Ke'e Beach at the end of the road fills early. It took us 2 hours to get there. We only stopped twice in Hanalei at the Scenic Point with a view of the taro fields and to buy a sandwich at Subway for our hike on the famous Kalalau Trail. We only planned to do the first two of this 11 miles overnight trip.

After 1 hour and 15 minutes we reached Hanakapi'ai Beach where we had a short rest before we turned back. We decided to spend the rest of the afternoon snorkelling at Ke'e Beach. For the first time we saw a Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, Hawaii's unofficial state fish!

At 3:30 p.m. we drove back to our condo.

Wednesday, 5 Mar.: Helicopter flight, snorkelling
at Salt Pond Beach Park and Lawai Beach, Spouting Horn, Shipwreck Beach, Koloa

Total miles: 41
Weather: a.m. sunny, p.m. partly cloudy, 28 °C

This was the big day of our helicopter flight. I have never flown with a helicopter before, as it's not cheap, but this is the place where it has to be done! It's the only way to really see the spectacular Na Pali Coast, except for taking a boat cruise perhaps. We had booked online with Inter-Island Helicopters at Port Allen. To be able to take photos without reflections from the windows we went on a flight without doors! The helicopter accommodates 4 passengers plus the pilot. It was 9:35 a.m. when we took off. An hour later would have been even better for the light but we didn't want to go too late in the day. On most days clouds appear around midday. With the wind it can be cold up there, so dress warm! I had the middle seat next to the pilot, Volker sat next to the abyss!

The flight was 55 minutes. It was fantastic! We flew into Waimea Canyon, then along the Na Pali Coast, into the Nualolo Valley and over Kalalau Beach where the Kalalau Trail ends. We even saw a whale from above. Then we flew into the mountains in the interior of the island with many waterfalls and into the wettest spot on earth, Mount Wai'ale'ale, that is  covered in cloud on most days.

After the flight we went to Salt Pond Beach for some snorkelling, had lunch at the Kalaheo Coffee Co. & Café, which was good, then we drove to the Spouting Horn at Poipu and did some more snorkelling at Lawai (or Beach House) Beach.

At Shipwreck Beach we watched the surfers before we drove into Historic Koloa Town for an ice-cream at Lappert's, expensive but good.


Thursday, 6 Mar.: Kokee State Park: Nualolo Trail,
Nualolo Cliff Trail and
Awaawapuhi Trail
Total miles: 61
Weather: cloudy, late p.m. sunny, 18 °C

After all the hikes we did so far, we decided that we should be in good shape  to try the combination of Nualolo Trail, Nualolo Cliff Trail and Awaawapuhi Trail resulting in a loop of 11 miles with an elevation change in both directions of 465m.

We drove to Kokee State Park and started on the trail at 9:30 a.m. We descended on a clay path to the Lolo Vista viewpoint overlooking the Nualolo Valley and with a view of the Na Pali Coast.

Then we continued along the valley rim to another viewpoint into the next valley before we ascended again on the other side. At 4 p.m. we were back at the Kokee Lodge.

We drove back to Waimea, stopped at the Captain Cook Monument there and went to buy steaks for dinner at the supermarket in Hanapepe.

Friday, 7 Mar.: Wailua Falls, Opaekaa Falls, Kilauea Lighthouse & Wildlife Refuge, Snorkelling at Anini Beach and Poipu Beach
Total miles: 115
Weather: partly cloudy, 27 °C

We drove north-east again. Passing by Lihue we visited Wailua Falls and Opaekaa Falls. Just before Princeville we turned off towards Kilauea Lighthouse & Wildlife Refuge ($5.50 per person or National Parks Pass). Here we saw many bird species such as laysan albatrosses, red-footed boobies, red-tailed tropicbirds, great frigate birds as well as nene (the Hawaiian goose), whales, even a monk seal and dolphins from a distance.

Next we drove to Anini Beach which is supposed to be an excellent snorkelling spot, but I found it a bit disappointing. Nevertheless I saw several Humuhumunukunukuapua'a.

It was 2 p.m. when we drove back south. We went snorkelling at Poipu Beach which was good. We had dinner here at Brennecke's Beach Broiler with fresh fish (Mahimahi and Opah/moonfish), not cheap but good and with a view of the beach. We finished off the day with a beautiful sunset at Poipu Beach.


Saturday, 8 Mar.: Snorkelling at Poipu Beach, Flight to Honolulu
Total Miles: 38
Weather: partly cloudy, 27 °C

Check-out was 12 p.m. Our flight was scheduled for 4:35 p.m. We spent the morning snorkelling once again at Poipu Beach before we left for Lihue. There we spent some time at Macy's  and Wal-Mart and checked out the Menehue Fishpond Overlook before returning our car at Alamo and checking in at Aloha.

Our plane arrived shortly before 4 p.m. Boarding was at 4:15 p.m. We were ready to go 10 minutes before the scheduled departure time. After a 20 minutes flight we landed in Honolulu. We called the shuttle from the Ohana Honolulu Airport Hotel ($139 plus tax). Our room was large and equipped with coffee machine, microwave and minifridge. Dinner that night was offered at the partner hotel Best Western but we went to a Chinese take-away around the corner.

In the newspaper we read that the lava flow on Big Island had reached the sea again three days ago and that there is a new viewing area at Kalapana. The lava flow was interrupted since June 2007. At least we were lucky with flying Aloha as the airline discontinued all flights at the end of March. They were unable to keep up with the new airline go!'s pricing policy. Aloha serviced the Hawaiian islands for 61 years.

Sunday, 9 Mar./Monday, 10 Mar: Flight Honolulu - Los Angeles - Munich - Düsseldorf
Total kilometres flown: 14.225
Weather: partly cloudy

The alarm went off at 4 a.m. Our flight was scheduled for 7 a.m. We had window seats on the United flight to LA. After boarding we saw the sun rising over the mountains behind Honolulu. Flight time was 5 hours.

Seeing LA from the air you get an impression of the vast dimensions of the city. We were able to see LA Downtown and Hollywood. The plane touched down at 3:20 p.m. and we had to change terminals. Here we boarded a Lufthansa aircraft to take us back to Germany. The flight to Munich departed at 5:30 p.m. Service was good and we even had in-seat entertainment which was cool. You can choose between a number of recent movies and I watched a total of 5 movies in a row: "Bourne Ultimatum", "Atonement", "Michael Clayton", "National Treasure: The Book of Secrets" and "Enchanted". Beer or wine was still free of charge when served with meals and we had a free Baileys after dinner.

The next day we landed at 12:50 p.m. (0:50 a.m. Hawaiian time). Our connection to Düsseldorf was due at 1:25 p.m., however, while the weather was good in Munich, there were storms in Brussels where the plane came from resulting in a 1.5 hours delay. When trying to land in Düsseldorf, the plane was swaying from side to side quite a bit! We touched down at 4 p.m. (6 a.m. Hawaiian time). And it took another hour to get back home.

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