Our spot on Ala Moana at Waikiki

The holiday is almost over and we are spending a few days mingling with the tourists at Waikiki. We have a great room at the Ilikai Hotel at Ala Moana on the 22nd floor. Our balcony is massive and has spectacular ocean views with the usual Hawaiian sunsets. Hired an umbrella and chairs and spent the entire day on the beach. The water was great for a swim and the people watching was very entertaining.

Tomorrow is our last day and I’m going on a tour of the factory belonging to the oldest ukulele manufacturer in the world (almost 100 years old). Kamaka ukes are quite famous and each one is hand made from the indigenous koa wood.

This has been a fabulous holiday and we leave with many great memories.


Hana tour

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Coastline on the road to Hana

We had a change of routine today and went on a bus (12 seater) tour on the famous Hana Highway. Kev and Kerrie were with us as we spent around 10 hours circumnavigating the base of the local volcano … Haleakala. The road to Hana had over 600 hairpin bends and 59 one lane bridges so we decided against driving ourselves. Our driver/guide, Charlie gave an entertaining commentary as we  wound our way around this breathtaking coastline.

We saw the lush green rainforests of the wet side of the island and this was contrasted by the red dirt and lava rock formations of the dry side. The sheer cliffs  beside the road were spectacular and a little scary.

This is rated as one of the worlds best road trips and it really lived up to this reputation.

Maui days

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How good is this? Sunset with cocktails on our balcony every day.

Daily Maui routine (we could really become accustomed to this) :

  • fresh coffee and breakfast on the balcony
  • short drive to our favourite beach park where I have a couple of surfs and Cathy relaxes reading a book
  • find a nice local cafe for lunch – maybe enjoy the first cocktail of the day
  • do a bit of a tourist drive to check out the local scenery
  • home for a beer and a nap then a swim in our pool
  • make and drink our cocktails (mai tais are a specialty)
  • take in the sun setting behind Molokai from our balcony lounge
  • a bit of ukulele playing on the new Kamaka solid Koa alto uke (will be a great partner for my larger tenor uke at home)
  • dinner and wine on the balcony.


Maui — we love it here

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Sunset from our lanai in Maui. Mai Tais made with local rum and fresh pineapple juice.

We have now settled in to our stay in Maui. This is our third visit here and everything feels really familiar. Had some fun waves near Lahaina for the last couple of days with virtually no crowds to contend with. We had lunch in Lahaina yesterday at a restaurant perched on the edge of the ocean. Guys were surfing right past the large open windows of the restaurant.

Kev Germon and I went to the Naish international dealer’s meeting at a beach near Kahului. There was lots of new gear on display and it was very interesting listening to Robby Naish and his design team talk about current trends in SUP production. I suppose this means I can now claim this trip as a tax deduction.

Farewell Kauai

I think we now have the Aloha spirit

I think we now have the Aloha spirit

On our final day in Kauai we travelled south to Poipu beach. The road into Poipu was covered in a tree canopy for a couple of kilometres. There were lots of great resorts and beaches around the area and we saw plenty of people surfing as the swell was a bit bigger than on the north shore. We went into the historic plantation town of Koloa for lunch.

That night we went to a restaurant in the town of Kapaa. Most of the other diners appeared to be locals and the food was tasty and cheap. The only problem was the size of the meals … typical USA size (HUGE). We both struggled to get through half of our meals.

It was sad lo leave this fantastic island but we have lots of great memories.

We are now in Maui and settled into our apartment at Kahana beach on the west coast. It is fully self-contained so we hit Safeways on the way here and stocked up on food and alcohol. The view from our 4th floor lanai (balcony) is spectacular … the ocean is virtually lapping at the base of the building. The islands of Molokai and Lanai are off to the west. I’ll post photos of sunsets in future blogs.

Kauai magic

Cathy on Haena Beach ... Kauai north shore

Cathy on Haena Beach … Kauai north shore

Lots of feral chooks around here. Apparently a hurricane smashed a few poultry farms and there are no predators here to take care of the free roaming chooks.

We had a great night out at Dukes Restaurant (named after Duke Kahanamoku … the guy who made surfing popular) at Nawiliwili Bay last night. Our table overlooked the bay and we were there for a very romantic sunset. The fresh local seafood was amazing and we loved the location of this original Dukes restaurant.

Went on another road trip adventure up north today and found a fantastic place called Haena Beach. There was a massive cave behind the beach and the surrounding landscape was (as usual) just stunning. Spent the day swimming in crystal clear, warm water and sitting on the beach taking in the breathtaking surroundings.

Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay, Kauai — our favourite beach in Hawaii.

Hanalei Bay, Kauai — our favourite beach in Hawaii.

We have now settled in to the Island lifestyle and have really started to relax. The last two days we have driven north to our favourite location in the whole of Hawaii — Hanalei Bay. The scenery here is simply stunning with 3000 foot high mountains plunging into the clear blue ocean. Many waterfalls cascade down the mountain and the red soil contrasts the lush green forests. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the surroundings as you paddle out for a surf.

We hired 2 SUPs and Cathy is feeling pretty good about surfing a couple of waves. The locals are friendly and there is a real aloha spirit out in the surf. The waves are quite small at the moment but perfect for having a play.

This is the location for some scenes in the movie “The Descendants” and we have started dreaming of living in one of the beachfront mansions featured in the movie. This would be a perfect place to chill out and forget about the stresses of life.

Great to be back

Sunset at the beach in front of our resort.

Sunset at the beach in front of our resort.

After negotiating the tiresome airport queues and relaxing on a couple of smooth Hawaiian Airlines flights, we are now here in the familiar surroundings of Kauai. We were upgraded to a 2015 Nissan Pathfinder as our transport for the week and are still getting the hang of driving on the wrong side of the road.

Last night we had a great meal and several cocktails at the bar of our resort. A local guy provided cool Hawaiian music, playing guitar and ukulele.

Today we had a bit of a sleep-in to recover from the trip and went on our first road trip down south. Went to Kalapaki beach which had some pretty good waves for surfing. Cathy found the most amazing resort pool we have ever seen at the Marriott Resort. It was massive with large marble animal statues spurting water into the pool. If we win lotto we will definitely stay here next time.