At home in the islands…

My previous post was from the first couple days of our six week sojourn in Hawaii. Here are more photos and sketches. Our first stop: the Big Island.

Hawai’i

We stayed on the Hilo side of the Island. One night, thunder boomed and the rain came down in buckets. Otherwise, we were blessed with fine weather.

I was determined to body board at Honoli’i but terrified at the same time. After a couple of days, I became more comfortable there and caught some sweet rides.

Sublime Honoli’i

The walk around Honoli’i
included waterfalls, bridges and some beautiful flowers.

We drove up to Volcanoes to see the latest lava flow. This included a short hike with chairs and a picnic at sunset. There was a bit of a crowd but it wasn’t hard to see the fountaining lava.

Lava fountain viewed from crater rim

I don’t know exactly how I managed it, but I lost a slipper/flip flop, fin sock and water shoe all within one 24 hour period.

It’s a talent, I know.

Suzanne hosted a holiday party and invited her hui of kids and parents from their school in Hilo.

Bananagrams were a big hit!

Our last Big Island day, we lolled around in the tide pools near South Point, waves pounding the rocky shore. We had such a nice time there, we stayed a bit too long and had to board our plane without the luxury of showering beforehand.

Plein air sketch of Mitch and Suzanne lounging in the tide pools of Kawa,

Oahu

View of Lanikai, the Mokuluas and Waimanalo from pillbox hike

We spent the next month in Kailua and Waikiki. I had thought that December and January would be cool and rainy. To my surprise and delight, this year it was neither (with the exception of a few days around New Year’s). We were more social than we’d been for the last two years; catching up with old friends, hiking, mostly enjoying meals together outdoors.

Lanikai pillbox hike with Pager and Grodens
Here we are on the Pillbox hike. Kailua and Koolaus in the background

I discovered a SWEET, flat walkway about a block from our Home Exchange. The Kawainui Marsh trail goes along the wetlands and provides an unobstructed view of the Koolaus, Olomana and the hills between Kailua and Kaneohe.

Kawainui Marsh and the mountains, from the marsh walkway

On a previous trip to Oahu, parked at a trailhead, our rental car was broken into, the window smashed and our gear in the trunk stolen. I didn’t want to risk that again so we parked in easier access/less obvious spots. I had no argument paying $10 to park at a golf course to get access to the Old Pali Road trail.

Between the raindrops near the Pali lookout

We spent New Year’s Eve in Wahiawa with our friends the Osorios. The pouring rain didn’t put a damper on the fireworks, which we watched from their covered lanai.

For the first time in years, we stayed up until midnight!

The Pu’uma’eli’eli hike isn’t difficult, it’s just a steep, gunky, muddy trail which made it hard after all.

The view at the top is worth it, though. We hit the peak on a glassy day.

Kaneohe Bay and Mokoli’i (Chinaman’s Hat)

Waikiki has changed radically in the last 20 years from an Asian flavored honky tonk city to a mini Rodeo Drive, with stores like Louis Vuitton and Harry Winston.

I prefer the Kapiolani Park side for its proximity to restaurants and markets on Kapahulu, the less crowded beaches, little waves at the wall and even some snorkeling. Mitch saw an octopus right there where everyone was walking all over the reef.

On one of the cloudier days
Diamond Head: majestic and golden in the late afternoon light from Kapiolani Park
View from the lanai of our condo

What to do after a day at the beach? sketch the scene from our condo. I loved our (obstructed) view of Diamond Head and Kaimuki, especially in the late afternoon sunlight.

But we kept going back to Waimanalo

The northwest end of Oahu is Ka’ena Point. You can get there by hiking from the West/Makaha side of the Island or from the North Shore.

As we drove up toward the coast, I could clearly see waves breaking from miles away–they were humongous that day. We met our friends Azeema and Kuhio at the northern trailhead. It was clear and we started out at 7:30 am to beat the heat. By the time we reached the tip, the sun had risen above the mountains and it was HOT. We had our lunches in the shade of some rocks. The hike out was kind of brutal but worth it!

That’s the pointed tip where north and west meet.

Kaua’i

Our last week was what we’d dubbed the “wild card” because we hadn’t made any reservations for that time. I had been hesitant to commit to Kaua’i because it’s always so wet in the winter.

But not this time.

We stayed with our friend Tracey in Wailua and enjoyed a week of sweet visits with good friends and spectacular weather!

At Waimea Canyon lookout. Mitch, Susan, Tracey and Louise

One day, we tripped up to Koke’e. I can’t remember the last time that I was there in the bright sunshine. Wow!

View of Kalalau from the Pihea Trail

When I lived on Kaua’i, I would hike to Kalalau whenever I had a three day weekend. I came to know the place and the trail well and I still love and dream of it (though I haven’t been down there for ~15 years). It was such a pleasure to hike the rim and get fantastic views of the valley.

The other side of Kalalau Valley

A quick stop at Anahola Granola headquarters in Hanapepe. This photo sent as an Aloha to the founder, our friend Becky who is healing from a badly broken leg.

Louise said that her halau’s weekly get-togethers kept her sane over the last two years of Covid. We were honored to join them for some songs. Mitch played along with his guitar. I sketched.

Our last day was also glorious. We snorkeled at Anini Beach with my old friend Robin, who runs Reef Guardians.

And we ended up at Hanalei Bay, which never ceases to astound me with its expansive glory.

This photo is just a shadow of the beauty of Hanalei. It was dark and the light wasn’t right. But you get the idea.

Aloha, Hawai’i. A hui hou!

2 thoughts on “At home in the islands…

  1. What a wonderful way to join you vicariously…glad we got to be part of the in-person too! That was a New Years Eve & Day we will never forget! Love your art so much as always!
    Kealoha-
    Mary & the Osorios

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