Bye-bye, Lanai

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I woke up miraculously not-hungover. Given this sight in the kitchen, (on top of a running dishwasher) I was more than a little surprised:

AftermathI was a little sad that our time in paradise was at an end, but I tried to soak up the last bits of awesomeness. First stop, the Four Seasons pool. As we were leaving the house, I saw this cardinal making a lot of commotion on top of the cool palm tree and had to take a picture:

CirclePalmCardinalAs expected, the pool was glorious:

PoolFinale

We indulged in an over-priced cocktail, alternated between laying in the sunshine and dips in the beautiful water. It was heaven. Eventually, it was time to head back to the house to pack, but first we had to sit in these awesome chairs that I saw on the first day:

AdirondacksSo relaxing…

AdirondackDFsBut then, it was really time to head back and start packing up. I couldn’t resist taking melancholy photos and posting on Instagram. I know.

Good-bye, beautiful living room with your crazy ocean view:

LivingRoomWindowsGood-bye, awesome lawn where we’d watch whales in the morning, drinking coffee in the sunshine:

BackyardViewI tried not to be sad that we were leaving and appreciate that we’d had such an amazing vacation.

Getting on the ferry was a much simpler experience this time. Bye, tiny harbor:

HarborLanaiGood-bye, Sweetheart Rock:

ByeLanaiWe had one logistical challenge when we got off the ferry, where to keep our bags for the six hours we had to kill before our red-eye flight home. I’d thought that the Best Western across the street from the ferry would let us buy some storage space, but they shut that notion down firmly. The ferry “terminal” was a tiny shed which didn’t look they could fit our bags and the lady inside. But we figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask, so T went over to talk to the lady. To my surprise, he waved me over.

The ferry lady’s solution was to call a cab company she knew and have them hold our bags for us before taking us to the airport. Had this been proposed to me in my normal life, I would have LAUGHED and then asked the person if they thought I was an idiot. But somehow, in Hawaii, it didn’t seem that crazy. Plus, if you’re going to scam tourists, you probably shouldn’t work for the ferry company and have a really distinctive name (Letha.) And so it was, that we had a tiny Hawaiian lady named Kimmy pick us up in her giant Lincoln Navigator. She took us to Star Noodle for dinner (Yay!!!)

SNBaconEggsThen picked us up to go down to do some shopping in Lahaina for a few hours. Then came back to take us to the airport for our very late flight. And ended up charging us for the middle of the range we’d been told to expect for just a straight cab ride to the airport. It was fantastic.

Not fantastic was the crowded flight home. We had gambled on the aisle/window seat booking and actually won the coveted middle seat. (I think it was the only empty seat on the plane.) Thanks to the after midnight departure time and the Ambien Erin had given me, I actually slept on the plane. Unfortunately, the flight was only four hours, so I was pretty much a zombie when we landed. So. Tired.

We’d flown into Portland, so we could pick the dogs up from Susan’s house. We had a lovely breakfast with Susan before hitting the road for many hours of this:

DriveHomeNon-stop, torrential rain. With traces of fog. YAY! It took forever because we kept trading driving duties, since both of us were pretty pooped. We basically got home, threw our luggage into the dining room, returned the rental car and then collapsed on the couch and ordered a pizza for dinner. I was so tired that I went to bed at 7:45.

To add a touch of insult to injury, Daylight Savings Time started which just added to the jet lag. We tried to add little touches of Hawaii to our day. T’s souvenir:

CoffeeBagsThis pretty tree blooming next to the driveway:

PopColorWe bought a pineapple and some macadamia nuts at the supermarket. But what really helped ease the post-vacation blues was snuggling from Austin:

HelloSnugglesAnd hanging out with M, J and Rowan at Pies & Pints. It was such a great vacation, but home has it’s charms.

The big send-off…

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Our days in Hawaii were drawing to a close. It was time to savor every moment and make sure anything that we did any last things we wanted to do. Today, my mission was the poke market and going snorkeling one last time. The beach was supposed to have excellent snorkeling, but it had a little more surf than I like (read: any). The really good spot was these lava rocks that waves crashed into, so I was particularly nervous about that part.

We got our spots set up and headed out as a group. T stuck with me as I got started. (I really don’t like the snorkeling from shore. Getting in with the fins and the waves is not my favorite.) But once we got going, it was pretty nice. Jenn was out on the stand-up paddleboard, so I had someplace to hold on to if I got nervous. I never worked up the nerve to get to the “good part” but there was plenty to see in an area that was calmer. It wasn’t quite as clear as the other spots, but it was still pretty amazing. There was more colorful coral and a ton of fish, so I was really glad I went out.

Then it was a little beach loafing time while the others finished snorkeling, etc. This view never gets old:

UmbrellaViewBut we couldn’t lounge all day, there was poke to acquire. This time we got to the market an hour and a half earlier than yesterday and they were almost out of everything except for the spicy tuna. I cleared out the other two kinds that were left and T got some amazing smoked marlin. Super delicious. We headed back to the beach. Beach poke!

BeachPoke TbeachPokeWe spent the rest of the day at the beach. Reading, napping, snorkeling for some. It was heaven. At one point, a baby humpback whale breached over and over, right in front of us. But eventually, all good things come to an end and the clouds started rolling in:

CloudsRollinWe’d done pretty well on our Costco food, but there was still quite a bit of alcohol left. This sounds like a job for Cards Against Humanity!

CAHtable

CAH1David hadn’t played before, but he caught on pretty quickly:

CAH2aAs usual, the game was inappropriate, but so hilarious!

CAH-erin2 CAH2After many, many adult beverages, there was dinner and lots of laughter. After that, things are a little fuzzy… The only thing sadder than the fact it was our last night in Lanai was the fact that Bryan and Jenn had an early flight in the morning. Poor things…

Shipwreck beach adventure

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Bear with me because this is going to be a long post. But the good news is that there are many pretty pictures! Erin & David had another dive trip planned, so the rest of us were going to rent a Jeep and go see the other side of the island. Unfortunately, the folks that rented the Jeeps had other ideas and told us the roads were still too muddy/underwater. We’d been told not to drive the PT Cruiser on those roads, but David thought we’d be able to drive partway and hike the rest, so we decided to chance it.

We fueled up with coffee in Lanai City and headed out for Shipwreck Beach. I still can’t wrap my head around how remote this island is:

LanaiRoads LanaiRoads2We reached the dirt road and it looked pretty passable, so we decided to take a chance. There was another couple who had managed to rent a Jeep, so we followed them:

FollowingJeepWe went through a scary section, but finally called it when we saw this:

NoGoRoadWe walked to the beach and then realized we were way far away from the part that we’d come to see. (Shipwreck beach is named for the WWII destroyer that is about a mile offshore.) We did see some cool trees, but we were on a mission:

CoolTreesOn the way back out, we had Jenn tackle the scary gap minus the rest of our weight and cheered victoriously when she made it:

HuckingGapsWe parked in an area that was clearly intended for the non-four-wheel drive vehicles and headed out on foot, this time in the correct direction:

ShipwreckBeachSignThe walk was muddy in places, hot in others, but otherwise pretty pleasant:

HikingWe arrived on a completely empty, gorgeous beach and walked in the direction we believed the wreck to be. Before long we spotted it in the distance:

Shipwreck1

iPhone zoomed in version:Shipwreck2As we walked, we saw (and heard) some whales breaching on the horizon. There was a mom and baby, breaching and then slapping their pectoral fins on the water. It was like they were waving at us. But even more amazing was having this beautiful beach all to ourselves:

WalkingBackWe were all getting hungry, so we headed back to Lanai City for some lunch. The view from the road was so lovely, I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos from the car. We could see both Maui and Molokai across the water (I believe Maui is visible here):

ViewFromAboveEventually we could see the colorful corrugated metal houses of Lanai City:

LanaiCityIt’s hard to quantify how small this town is. It’s basically a city park bordered by some small shops that are… quirky. Case in point, the Dis n Dat store:

CuteNashI’d hoped to get some poke at the Poke Market that I’d heard was good, but alas it was closed. But we had a good sandwich on the porch of another place and chilled out for a bit. Then we headed back to the house to hear about Erin & David’s dive adventure (they were the only ones on the boat and saw dolphins swimming up close.) Then we sampled a different beach umbrella view down by the Four Seasons pool:

PoolUmbrellaThen it was time to get cleaned up for dinner. We decided to go out to the restaurant at the Hotel Lanai, so everyone could get dressed up in their tropical best. While we were waiting for others to finish getting ready, T danced a cocktail over to me, resulting in the greatest photo I have ever put on Instagram:

DancingTSeriously, the best picture EVER! Erin lent Jenn & I fun necklaces and then we took photos on the lawn. Look how colorful everyone is:

ColorfulGirlsEven the boys got gussied up:

DressyMens(I like how T is rocking the basic black.) We took the Four Seasons shuttle to Hotel Lanai (and confirmed that we are NOT Four Seasons material… ) but it was nice not having to squish into the PT Cruiser. The Hotel Lanai is very charming and down to earth. We started with a little bubbly. Cheers!

CheersThe food was delicious and it was a great time. There was a couple making out at the corner table that was grossing Bryan out (who unfortunately was facing their direction.) I couldn’t resist using M’s sneaky “fake selfie” trick to get a picture:

MakeoutCoupleThankfully, they’d mellowed out a little bit, or this blog might have lost it’s PG-13 rating, ha ha! All of the food was delicious and we indulged in some epic deserts, most impressive was T’s chocolate chip cookie that came in a tiny cast iron skillet!

GiantCookieWhile waiting for the shuttle, we couldn’t resist talking about the make-out couple. Erin & David couldn’t resist a little re-enactment for our amusement:

ErinDavidMakeoutWe had a merry shuttle ride home. (Probably more merry than the other passengers would have liked, but TFB!) David got the driver to drop us off at the top of the hill and we walked back to our house in the dark, starry night. We saw a little bullfrog and Jenn wanted to get a photo. David had a headlamp with him, so he helped with the lighting:

FrogPhotoShe did get a beautiful picture of the frog though:

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 9.45.01 PMWhile it was probably our busiest day on Lanai, it was so much fun.

Balancing act

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The sun came out and we decided to hit the beach. The house had a stand-up paddleboard and a surfboard. We couldn’t find any bungee cords, so we took them down to the beach, Hawaiian-style:

PTcruiserYet another crappy day at the crowded beach:

FSbeach1The Four Seasons does a very sweet set-up:

BeachSetupI spent quite a lovely amount of time looking at this view.

UmbrellaViewEvery now and then, a Four Seasons employee would come by with ice water or little hors d’oeuvres to snack on. It was sublime. After a few hours, we headed back to the house for a little lunch. I was feeling like a little exercise after all of the lounging, but not ambitious enough for a run, so I talked T into a very mellow hike up to Sweetheart Rock, which was the muddy trail we’d started on during our run.

SHhikeOverviewT kept an eye out for whales and dolphins:

ThikingSomeone had added some romance to the trail:

HikingLoveThe views kept getting better and better:

SHhikeView1 SHhikeView2 SHhikeView3

Sweetheart rock:
SweetheartRockCool geological marker:

GeologicalMarkerI really like when you can hike in sandals:

HikingAttireThe view went on forever:

SHhikeView4When we got back, we hung out for a little while. Erin and David had gone on an outing into Lanai City, so the rest of us decided to go see if we could get a better view of the sunset. There was a big golf course between us and a west-ward facing view, so we took a little shortcut. We didn’t see anyone else, but it still felt very rebellious to walk on the green:

SunsetChasingThere was a great view of our earlier hike:

HikeViewWe never got a clear view of the sunset itself, but just to the left was pretty nice:

Sunset2I looked over to see this. The sunset is well-represented on social media:

DocumentingJenn & Bryan made a magnificent steak dinner with grilled asparagus and some more of the purple sweet potatoes. I think we’re starting to get the hang of this whole vacation thing.

 

 

 

 

First class chillaxin’

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Now that the full group was in place, it was time to do some serious relaxing. The weather still wasn’t amazing, so we spent the day lounging around the extremely nice house. There was this weird chair that T decided to try out:

TStirrupChairIt looked like a Polynesian gynecologist chair.

GroupHang1As you can see, we’re experts in the art of lounging. And the surroundings were very nice.

GroupHang2A few folks ventured out for a walk while others opted for naps. It was glorious. In the afternoon, we decided to go over to the Four Seasons for a cocktail. I really loved the design of their big open lounge area:

FourSeasonsThe outdoor lawn area was also quite nice:

FSViewWe chose to lounge on one of the couches (!!) It was quite luxe:

GroupCocktailsWe saw a newly married young couple getting photos taken down on the beach. Since Erin had a Flat Stanley that she’d been taking pictures of throughout our trip, we dared her to ask the couple to pose with him when they came up. (Since T had seen the groom berating his cab driver at the ferry dock, I wasn’t sure how that was going to go… ) But when they came up, Erin ran up to ask them and they said yes! So cute…

WeddingCoupleFSSince Bryan escaped my earlier photo, here he is in his Hawaiian glory:

HawaiianBryanThe sunset was beautiful:

SunsetDayOneWe made another delicious dinner and ate outside. Even on a lazy day, this vacation is ridiculously awesome.

 

 

 

 

Rainy day, Lanai-style

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We woke up to pouring rain again, but this time it seemed to be sticking around. We had a nice breakfast and lazed around for a bit. I took a picture of the lanai and made a rainy lanai in Lanai joke on Instagram:

RainyLanaiAfter a while, T and I decided to go out for a run/walk to explore our surroundings. After Maui, Lanai is a whole new level of remote:

LanaiTrafficThis is the closest thing we saw to traffic:

LanaiTraffic2The rain had tapered off, but it was really humid. So, we ran downhill and on flat and walked anything with an upward direction. We went to look at the beach, I appreciated the one intrepid soul that was determined to enjoy their beach time:

RainyBeachThere was a trail along one side that we walked on for a little while, until it got too muddy. There were lots of lava rock and a nice view of the island:

BeachViewI don’t know what T was actually doing in this picture, but it looks like he’s giving a speech to the ocean:

ToddOrationOur house was right next to the Four Seasons resort (it’s actually a part of their property), so we took a short-cut back through the resort. As expected, it was beautiful and fancy. I saw a Hawaiian red-crested cardinal, which I have a photo of from my first trip to Hawaii at the age of 16. Then we saw a regular cardinal and I managed to get this great photo of it:

FScardinalLater that afternoon, we decided to check out Lanai City. On the drive there, the main road was lined with these oddly placed pine trees:

LanaiMainRoadTo call it a city is a massive overstatement, but Lanai City is a cute little town. Because it was Sunday, most shops were closed. Thankfully, the grocery store was open and we could get some tortillas to make fish tacos for dinner. (And reinforce our snack supply.) There was a whimsical sign outside one of the restaurants:

LCsignJenn & Bryan were arriving that evening, and we were getting text updates about the delayed/questionable nature of their flight. We made another lovely dinner and fired up the Oscars:

OscarsNightDavid was the least interested in the Oscars, so he got picked to go to the airport. Jenn & Bryan did make it and got to enjoy the tail end of our Oscar night, then we all headed to bed with the hopes of better weather in the morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A farewell to Maui

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We woke up to a rainy morning, which was still beautiful:

RainyMaui(Thirty seconds after looking out here, I saw a turtle swim by. Followed by a whale on the horizon. Hawaii is ridiculous with it’s wildlife… )

The only problematic aspect of the rain was that we had to transport a lot of food and luggage onto a passenger ferry. We decided to bump up our departure time to an earlier slot. While looking up the number for the ferry, I noticed that there was a limit to two bags plus one carry-on per person before extra fees applied. Since that was pretty much what we had before the huge shopping trip to Costco, this could get ugly. We decided to consolidate all of our stuff down as much as we could, and actually did pretty well. The rented Ford Explorer was still comically full of stuff. And best of all, it stopped raining.

There was a location to return the rental car near the ferry dock, so the plan was to drop off the boys and all the stuff, then Erin & I would haul ass to return the car and get back to help load our crap. It was a bit stressful, to say the least. Thankfully, there was a free shuttle from the car rental place to the dock, so it was pretty quick and painless. (We also got to chat with a free diver, which was pretty interesting.) We got back with a few minutes to spare and watch the entertaining spectacle of people getting on the ferry. (Let’s just say, there was a wide range of folks heading to Lanai… )

Before long, we had everything loaded and were on our way. Bye bye, Maui:

FerryLeavingMauiWe saw tons of whales on the ride over, including one that kept breaching (jumping out of the water) multiple times. It was insanely awesome. Before we knew it, Lanai was in sight. You see the island for quite some time before you see any signs of human habitation, but eventually we saw this:

FerryArrivalLanaiThe folks who owned the house we were staying in had left the car for us, so I dashed up to get it while everyone else unloaded the stuff. Unfortunately, a PT Cruiser doesn’t fit as much as the Ford Explorer, so we had to make two trips. Erin & I chilled out with the rest of the stuff while the boys headed to the house:

ErinFerryWhen T came back to get us, he hinted at the house’s fanciness. This sign was the first clue, (Okay, the house’s location is the first clue… )

TerracesSignErin was kind enough to pose for me:

ErinHouseIt was quite the place. There was a ridiculous view of the ocean, with a giant stone/marble table and a strip of lawn to view it from.

LanaiBackyardIt was a very civilized place to have a cocktail:

LanaiCocktailOr maybe more than one… (j/k)

PartyTAfter all of the stresses of getting there, it was so nice to be able to kick back, relax and take in the beautiful surroundings. We made a delicious dinner with a fantastic grilled ahi, asparagus and these dark purple Hawaiian sweet potatoes, all courtesy of Costco. So far, part two of the vacation was pretty awesome.