When last we left our heroes, they were on a boat rounding the Big Island of Hawaii after departing from Hilo. Kona was our next stop, but knowing we would be back on this side of the Big Island soon for a whole week, we decided to stay within the town of Kona itself before relaxing on board. (Relaxing is very big with me.) We walked through town, checking out some jewelry shops, a Del Sol (where everything they sell changes colors in the sun), and the local Kona Market. The market was full of crafts and souvenirs but also extraordinarily hot. After a quick run-through, I introduced Barry and Ann to the local chocolate-and-macadamia chain, Donkey Balls, where I graciously bought us all some balls.
Since it was hot and we still had plenty of time before heading back to the ship, we all indulged in another local food item, shave ice (kinda like a snow cone). We had ours with a snow-cap which is condensed milk on top. Super delish! Afterwards Barry and Ann headed back to the ship, while Stephanie and I snorkeled just next to the pier. There were a surprising number of pretty fish for such a small, crowded cove.
We had a long afternoon onboard, so we went to a couple activities in and around our pool time. We made cheesy origami Humuhumunukunukuapua’as (Hawaiian State Fish), and later made Lauhala Ribbon Weave Leis in another class. They actually came out pretty cool, and we brought ours home. For a change in pace, the family tried the ship’s 50’s style diner for dinner.
Our ship cruised over to Kauai that night. The next morning we tried the free cardio boxing class on board, a first for me. I realized I could get into that. Then we drove to Waimea Canyon, which is considered a “mini Grand Canyon” of Hawaii. We climbed in our cars up Waimea Canyon Drive, and took in some of the best views with the whole gang. The edge of Waimea Canyon overlooks the back of the beautiful Na Pali coast. It can be a bit cloudy there, but the views are still fabulous.
The evening was dominated by one major event: Wendy and Linda’s wedding. They had had a civil union performed many years ago, but thanks in part to recent legislation, they were having an honest-to-goodness wedding. What better spot than a cozy nook on a beautiful Hawaiian beach, and who better to officiate than the Honorable Reverend Elliott Segelbaum of the Universal Life Church (courtesy of the Internet)? We ended up choosing Kalapaki beach close to the ship for easy sunset access. The view was so nice you would never know there was a giant Marriott only steps away. We found a little tent in which they give beachside massages during the day, and we managed to magically transform it into a wedding tent. The ceremony was short but sweet, and all the kids had a part, be it a reading or handling the unity candles or providing the music. Wendy and Linda even had matching outfits. Afterwards, we had a mini-dance reception in the tent, and that night at dinner on the ship, we had the wait staff bring a cake and sing to the “newlyweds.”
After such a busy day, we opted to spend our second day on Kauai relaxing while the New Jersey Contingent went touring. We slept in and then headed to morning trivia where I totally won one of those insulated can holder thingies that we will never use. Then it was back to Kalapaki beach for a swim. Stephanie and I got so into our conversation that we didn’t notice the current taking us waaaaay out. We swam the 47 miles back to shore against the current, after which I crawled onto the sand to rest while Stephanie actually swam some more. (The girl is part fish, I tell ya!)
Back on board, we spent the afternoon sailing around the Western side of Kauai – The Na Pali coast. This coast is touted as the most beautiful coast of all the Hawaiian Islands, and it lives up to its reputation. The sharp angles of the Na Pali Coast were carved by water eroding the volcanic island when it was newly formed. Stephanie and I had been here before on a Zodiac, but it was just as amazing when seen from deck 12 of the cruise ship.
And just like that, our cruise wrapped up. We had our last family dinner together and watched a few of the shows that night around packing. The next morning we ate breakfast and said farewell to the New Jersey Contingent, then enjoyed spending a surprise shipboard credit in the gift shop. We disembarked and set off for Week III of our Hawaiian adventure.