Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kaua’i Day 2

The last day of our adventure in Hawai’i. The ship was due to leave at 1.30 so instead of heading out on our own we decided to do a shore excursion. We had heard that the Waimea Canyon was referred to as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific” so we decide to join that excursion. It was the first one we had done on a large tour bus. It is a very different experience from the smaller buses. We travelled along the south coast, visiting a blowhole called the “Spouting Horn”.



We then headed up into the canyon. It was certainly spectacular, with beautiful colours.



We returned to the ship in time for departure. Peter didn’t get a chance to play golf, but it was probably a good thing. Though he does say that he would have enjoyed it!


We were disappointed that we hadn’t seen the Na Pali coast, but we were in for a surprise. The reason the ship left early was to give it time to sail past the Na Pali coast. It was incredible. It was a little hazy so the photos don’t do it justice.


Peter has nicknamed this one “The Three Dwarves”.


To give you some idea of the scale, there is a boat on the sand in this next photo.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kaua’i Day 1

We arrived at Nawiliwili Harbour on Kaua’i to be greeted by spectacular scenery. Claire has again said that she will never cruise without a balcony.


We had 2 days on Kaua’i but hadn’t booked any excursions so we decide to explore on our own the first day. At most ports there were free shuttles to the various shopping centres, however these tended to be away from any other areas of interest. Someone told us that the free shuttle to Kmart connected with the local bus service so we headed off there. We were going to catch a bus to Kapa’a to see if we could take a boat up the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto. When the bus arrived we found that it travelled a lot further than Kapa’a. We ended up at Hanalei on the north coast of the island. A beautiful spot with a backdrop of mountains and a lovely beach.



We had been told that the most spectacular part of the island is the Na Pali coast. The only way to see it is by boat or helicopter. We found a couple of places in Hanalei Bay that offered trips to the coast, but they weren’t operating or we had missed the last boat.

We decided to head back to Kapa’a to see if we could catch the river cruise. Again our timing was out but we bought some sandwiches and found a lovely secluded beach with the most amazing piece of driftwood.



Claire got plenty of exercise running backwards and forwards setting up the camera for this shot.

Pride of America Towel Art

Each day when we returned to our cabin we were greeted by an interesting way of presenting our towels.









Our cabin



Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Big Island - Kona

We didn’t have an excursion planned for our visit to Kona but our guide from the volcano bike ride had told us that we could hire snorkelling gear very easily. Lots of multi-coloured fish and although we didn’t see any turtles in the water, there was one on the rocks.


After snorkelling for about an hour we headed back into Kona. We were a bit peckish so we thought we would have a bit to eat. Peter wanted Mexican and we found “Pancho and Leftys”.


Peter’s light lunch! Before.



Didn’t have a meal that night, too full.

There are beautiful, big banyan trees all over the islands.


Kona is the only port where the ship doesn’t tie up. So we had a chance to get a photo from the shore.


There are an incredible number of Aussies on the cruise, they’re everywhere, almost rivalling those from the US. There is a couple from Palmerston in Canberra. The strong Aussie dollar is  having an affect.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Big Island – Hilo

Our second shore excursion was an 8 mile bike ride around the rim of the Kilauea crater. Mark and Alan, our guides, were great, making sure everyone was confident on their bikes, and not making Claire feel bad about walking up the last bit of a very long hill. Al makes the best banana bread in Hawai’i. Apart from the hill the ride was on flat paths and sometimes on the road. We rode around the Kilauea caldera, then the Kilauea Iki crater. The ride then stopped at the Thurston Lava tube which we walked through and finally at the Lua Manu crater where we walked on the lava from a 1974 eruption. From a distance all the rock looked black, but up close there were so many beautiful colours. Blues, gold and pinks just to mention a few. Legend has it that it is bad luck to take lava from the island. Each year the local post office receives about 60 pounds of lava being returned by people who have removed it and suffered the consequences.

Halema’uma’u CraterDSC_0006


Kilauea Caldera


Inside a lava tube


Kilauea Iki Crater


Standing on a cooled lava flow.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Our first shore excursion was “The Road to Hana”, a 9 hour trip along the coast and through the centre of Maui. We boarded the 20 seater bus driven by our tour guide Larry. We have discovered the importance of a good tour guide before and we hit the jackpot with Larry. He first came to Maui at age 15 and fell in love with the island, returning many times to finally settle there. He is passionate and very knowledgeable about the flora, fauna and history of the island. The long trip was lightened by his sense of humour, though a couple of the puns drew groans.

The area around Hana is an idyllic location that has been spared by the effort of its residents, the development that spoils many places. Among its residents are many celebrities. Larry named about twenty on the tour including Willy Nelson, Oprah, Pat Benatar, Kris Kristofferson, Weird Al Yankovich, and Woody Harrelson.

Early residents imported a diverse range of plants to improve the ecoculture so that with every turn into a new valley or gorge there would be a different species of plant.

The contrast between the windward, wet side of the island and the leeward side is staggering with a change from the lushest rainforest to semi-desert as you will see from the photos below.

The trip was made more enjoyable by chatting to fellow passengers.


Rainbow Gum


South Wailua Falls




Banyan Tree


Haleakala National Park




One of the 7 Oheo Gulch pools


Leeward side of Maui

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


This post will be short as we are having trouble with internet access.

The trip from Canberra to Sydney and then onto Honolulu went fairly smoothly but was the beginning of a 40 hour day. We arrived early in the morning of the same day we left. Claire had a couple of snoozes on the long flight Peter didn’t sleep at all.

Check through immigration and customs went better than expected. We managed to keep our shoes on.

We couldn’t check into our hotel until 3pm although we could drop off our bags. So we had to explore Waikiki for 6 hours.


The shops and the beach took up some time however we got tired of  walking around. A local told us about a public bus No 14 that was a great way to travel up to some scenic views. It was a perfect way to spend an hour and a half. We even had a good chat along the way with the bus driver who was a Hawaiian native.

Four hours sleep later we were off into town again.

On Paul’s recommendation we went to The Cheesecake factory for dinner. Oh my God. When the waitress my burrito I wanted to know where the other person was who was going to help me eat it. Claire’s salad luau salad  was three levels high and came with two wontons separating the various levels. These people have a serious eating problem.

The next day we visited Pearl Harbour for most of the day. It is an amazing place. The USS Arizona Memorial is very moving, as you are standing above the resting place of over 1100 men.


Peter found a new small toy.



Claire on the USS Missouri with the USS Arizona Memorial in the background.

Cher was not straddling the cannon on the Missouri but at her age maybe that’s a good thing.


Claire and Peter on board the “Pride of America”.

and no its not a photo shopped picture , it just came out that way.

Bye for now.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Peter’s First Oil Painting

Titled -  “Take us out of here Ensign Crusher. The Doctors got this one covered.”

By  Peter Batum

Peter's painting