Hawai’i in July!

This has been a bit overdue, but I’ve finally gotten around to compiling my trip to Kaua’i and O’ahu, Hawai’i last month!

We started in Kaua’i for two days, and then were in Waimanolo, Hawai’i for the rest of the week. Dillon was a groomsman in his friend’s wedding.  Our trip to Kaua’i was an extra side trip that we planned with a couple of Dillon’s friends.  We all flew to O’ahu the next day on July 3rd to begin the wedding festivities.  The bride’s and groom’s families were so welcoming and so generous in hosting literally all 250 of us guests for the majority of the week!  They took us to various places along the southern side of the island.  This is my second visit to the Hawaiian islands, and I got to see so many more new things.

The first night in Kaua’i, we got in pretty late and chose to just go straight to the Airbnb on the northern shore of the island.  It was so dark along the drive, it almost felt spooky!  The highway didn’t have street lights along the way.  But I was pretty thankful once we got to our Airbnb that there weren’t bright lights outside, as I have a harder time sleeping if it’s not blackout dark.  It was VERY humid, but our Airbnb had a ceiling fan above the bed and a portable tower fan that generates cold air.

The next morning, we got up good and early to make the two hour drive to the southern shore of the island.  It was pouring rain, and we started to doubt how much fun we were planning to have.  Dillon set the windshield wipers on max speed, and it still seemed like it wasn’t doing enough.  The rain let up a little bit when we got to our destination, but it was still overcast with more looming rain clouds.
Dillon’s friends were given a big recommendation of this boat tour, so we scheduled a morning tour with Blue Water Adventures.  After about fifteen minutes or so of driving, the rain finally let up and we got some sunshine!  They drive speed boats that can hold up to fourteen people and tour the southern and western side of the island, called the Na Pali Coast.  The morning tour includes Hawaiian buffet style lunch, which was absolutely perfect after a long morning of hanging on to the speed boat for dear life, swimming, and snorkeling!

Part of the tour includes seeing dolphins!  I have never seen dolphins ever before, not even in zoos.  Apparently, they love swimming under the boat as we go along – see the video above!

The tour guide started playing the Moana soundtrack too, which was almost overwhelming for me (in the best way)!  I almost felt like I was in Disney film myself!

Dillon and I after the sun broke out!
According to Hawaii Guide, this “giant X about 400’ tall naturally formed by crossing vents in the lava which were filled by later eruptions with a more dense stone called blue stone.”
There are thick rope lines behind me, just out of the photo where my other hand is, and along the floor of the boat for us to loop our feet under.  All fourteen of us sit along the sides of the speed boat and were instructed to cling to the rope lines a certain way so as to not get launched out of the boat as we rode across the waves.
Waterfall in one of the caves!  The speed boats do speed up, so I recommend taking anti-motion sickness medication before the tour and sitting up front to help lessen the effects!  They have three chairs in the back of  the boat too, and I sat here for a bit because I was starting to feel drowsy from waking up early for the two hour drive!
We stopped at Wailua Beach Park on the eastern side of the island the morning before our flight to O’ahu.  This beach is not at all crowded and a really beautiful way to start a morning!

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Once we landed in O’ahu, Dillon and the best man had to go to Mens’ Wearhouse to pick up their groomsmen suit rentals.  They also wanted to be sure to try them on because one of the other groomsmen tried their suit on early and realized the fit was terribly loose.  Thankfully, these two’s suits fit perfectly but we were glad to have figured that out a few days in advance!  We packed their suits into the cramped Mustang rental and headed out to our next accommodation: the Waimanalo Beach Cottages!

View of vibrant Waimanalo Beach from the cottage courtyard.
The main cottage building, which consists of several units.  Our group consisted of Dillon’s friends from college in Boston (where he met the groom) and the plus ones!  We ended up reserving all the units at the cottage property except for one.  The plus one girlfriends and I all bonded over griping about the boys’ lack of details when it came to figuring out appropriate dress codes for the different events!
The cottages are one house away from the public pathway to the beach!  I absolutely love Waimanalo Beach – it’s not at all crowded like Waikiki Beach and the ocean takes on a beautiful turquoise in the sun.  The only downside is that some part of this beach and ocean have quite a bit of trash that others left behind.
A creature at the Waimanalo Beach Cottage!
I had to get a photo with the pink Mercedes I saw!
Fourth of July outfit!  The cottages also have a grill that we used for our celebrations.
A blue stop sign spotted on our way to Diamond Head on the southern part of the island of O’ahu.
Dillon and I had to stop at Duke’s on Waikiki Beach!  I recommend making a reservation in advance as this place has very high demand.  We had not, but we lucked out and managed to snag a table in the very crowded bar area.
View of Waikiki Beach from our table at Duke’s!
A rare photo of us from this trip at Duke’s!

Our visit to the Hawaiian islands was so much fun and a much needed vacation trip.  We definitely want to go back again very soon in the future and explore the other islands.
One of my favorite things about this island is the camaraderie among the native Hawaiians.  While I am not native Hawaiian, I am half Filipina and almost every Hawaiian I met could recognize the Pacific Islander features in my face.  Having grown up in predominately white communities like Sequim, Washington and Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, I rarely saw other Pacific Islanders or other people who had features similar to mine.  As a kid, I used to like standing out in this way and took pride in my Filipino heritage.  But once I got to high school, I was getting tired of the Asian jokes that often singled me out and set me apart from my peers, and I was getting tired of constantly being asked, “So what exactly are you?  Mexican?  Middle Eastern?  South American?” type of questions.  I know most of these instances were meant to be harmless, but I was often jealous that my white friends were not asked these types of questions about their appearance.
I was surprisingly comforted by being called “sis” and “sister” in Hawai’i.   I know white people do not greet even each other in this way hardly ever, haha, but I loved the feeling of belonging that I rarely sense.  I definitely want to visit these islands more often and for longer periods of time.   One day, I will visit the Philippines too!

xo,

Stephanie

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