Hawaii holds a special place for us as we honeymooned there 9 years ago. Our first trip was mostly spent on the Big Island and Kauai Island, but we did have a layover in Honolulu where we drove and visited Pearl Harbour.
This trip to Honolulu was not always on our itinerary. We knew that we wanted to spend the month of November in Australia but we find ourselves in Bogota, Colombia (those locations are not close to each other). The flight path also wasn’t logical with all trips sending us north and involving at least one stop in the continental USA. The cheaper flight options involved two stops which would mean a 36+ hour journey.
Our favourite flight planning website flightlist.io found a crazy path that involved 3 flights with 3 airlines over 3 days (Bogota to LA to Honolulu to Sydney – Avianca, Hawaiian, Jetstar). This path was half the price so we jumped on it. We overnighted in LA but it is not even worth mentioning the bad hotel, bad meal and 12-hour pitstop there. Since the flight segments were all separate, we decided to add a few days in Hawaii under the pretense that we were helping the kids adjust to the time change. In reality, we could not pass up a few days in Hawaii. How could you land in Honolulu and just keep flying without a stop?
We decided to stay close to the airport on Waikiki beach for 3 nights and found a hotel that sort of stayed within budget. It was a couple of blocks from the beach but had free breakfast and afternoon snacks and a great lounge for homeschooling. The kids enjoyed the pool and being right near the beach strip was great. Staying in the city is not the way to truly experience Hawaii but it worked for this trip.
Unfortunately, the illness that sidelined Isabella in Bogota was now attacking Michael. He had a fever and was feeling pretty dreadful. Even the flu could not stop him from taking the girls to Waikiki beach when we first arrived. We could only take them one at a time into the ocean because it was really rough and we wanted to keep them close. The waves were so strong that one took Michael’s wedding ring right off his finger and washed it out to sea. It kind of seemed romantic to lose it on a beach where we had our honeymoon so many years ago so I was not too sad. The girls were properly frightened by the huge waves and were not inclined to return to Waikiki beach on subsequent days so we made use of the pool to cool off in the afternoons.
Day 2 involved mom and the girls hiking up the broad, saucer-shaped crater of Diamond Head – a Hawaiian state park with amazing views. We took a bus to the park and walked about 5 km to reach the summit and return. The girls proved again that they are great hikers. This hike was more entertaining as they were given a scavenger hunt to complete on the way. We all enjoyed the view from the top and I noticed how many more people stop us and say “good job” to hiking kids when there is only one parent with them (I guess that they always assume Mike can just carry one). Nevertheless, the encouragement was quite helpful as Julie loved hearing “I think that you’re the only 5-year-old doing it by yourself Julie!” We finished our Girls’ Day with a Japanese food lunch and some shopping in town.
Hoping Mike would be better for our last day, I booked a boat and snorkel trip. It was a bit premature in his recovery as he was still pretty sick when we boarded our boat and headed to the reef. Hawaii is an amazing place to snorkel and the kids have been waiting for a while to practice in a real ocean (instead of a pool or the bathtub). The visibility wasn’t great and Julie wore a mask which leaked but both girls were able to see sea turtles grazing and loads of fish. I swam with Isabella and could hear her squealing with glee through her snorkel as she saw the turtles. The smile when she surfaced made it all worthwhile. I think that we have some future scuba divers in the family! I love scuba diving (having done it since I was 14). Michael lovingly took all the certifications to join me but the poor guy always gets an ear infection every time we dive and I think that he’ll be happy when one or both of the girls wants to dive down with me instead. He’d be happier snorkelling and watching us from above!
Now we’re off to Australia for three weeks!
Where we stayed:
- Hotel La Croix: Location, location, location and snacks
By the numbers
- Number of people who fell asleep at our splurge dinner on the last night: 2 kids (and sick Mike was struggling to stay awake too). TIP: do not take your kids out for dinner after an afternoon snorkel
- Chicken fingers served as a single portion at the Cheesecake Factory: 9
- Sea Turtles Seen by Isabella: 4
- Rose-ringed Parakeet families Julie spotted: 2
- Shaved Ice Consumed: 0 – like we need another reason to come back to Hawaii