Total Miles Traveled: 70,793
So, yes – we’re on our way home. Bummer. But, we’re going to do it in style, darn it! We’re using all the airline miles we’ve got left and flying home via a layover in Hawaii.
But first, a stupid travel mistake you shouldn’t make.
So, there’s a thing we all know as the international date line. Well, when you fly over it going east, depending on the time you leave, you may end up in, well, yesterday. So, we arrived in Honolulu thinking we needed to rush to our next flight to Kauai, but in fact, we’d gone back in time one day and were flying out the next day.
After a mild bout of panic, we used some of our points to stay at a Starwood hotel in Waikiki. We’d both been to Waikiki over 20 years ago and so we couldn’t remember much. It was a really beautiful spot with tons of shopping, but way way overcrowded. Know before you go! Here’s an example of what I’m talking about – look at all these people trying to surf. If I had a wider angle lens, you’d see even more people out there. That, and the pool loungers were spaced about an inch apart from your neighbor. Dude, this sucks!
But, we made it to Kauai the next day and settled in to our vacation rental condo on the south side of the island in Poipu. It’s a really great deal, by the way – check out VRBO.com or Homeaway.com the next time you head to Hawaii or any other vacation destination. There seem to be condo owners always willing to rent out their homes.
Our condo was pretty awesome. It was right on the water and there were always green turtles feeding just beyond the rocks.
On another day, we took a little drive around the small island. It’s only an hour and a half to the north side.
There were some big swells that day so some of the beaches were closed. You wouldn’t want to go near the surf anyway because you could see the sucking action just off shore.
Here’s Ke’e beach west of Princeville. Really nice spot. Dramatic cliffs, but nasty waves and wind at the time.
And of course we went scuba diving. You should know by now that we’ll dive pretty much anywhere there’s a dive shop. In Kauai though, we did some training – we became certified Rescue Divers! What does that mean? We’re trained to help search for and rescue divers in trouble and can provide emergency first response care. It was a lot of scenario based training – situations like what to do when someone freaks out and rips out your regulator or tries to climb on top of you to stay above water. Highly recommend the class for divers who want to feel more confident in the water (but you need to be advanced certified first).
We did take some time out for fun diving and we were impressed with the sea life we saw. While there weren’t many corals, the animals seemed to be bigger here than in other places we’ve dived. Huge lobsters…
There was also macro (little) stuff like nudibranch porn (mating sea slugs)..
These spiny things eat hard corals (I think).
Our requisite underwater pic:
Yes, Lisa’s eyes are really wide open. That’s because she kept blinking on previous photos. Here we are in the Sheraton Caverns which are blown out lava tubes.
We saw a lot of green sea turtles and they were really really big. This one we stumbled upon in the caverns, head tucked in to a little cave. They sleep in the caverns to protect themselves from the big sharks that can prey on them.
Finally, here’s a rare find – a dragon moray eel. Most eels we’ve ever seen are the green and spotted moray eels that look nasty and mean. This one is super rare and there are a few found at Koloa Landing in Poipu. They’ve got the antenna and whiskers that make them look like dragons and they’re super colorful despite this washed out photo.
And with that, we are on our way home to California!
For all of our photos, check out the slideshow below: