Anniversary Getaway to the Big Island of Hawai’i

On September 5 Brandon and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary. We took a little anniversary getaway to the island of Hawai’i — the Big Island.


These are some shots we got of the Big Island from the plane.lava lava2aerialThe reason we were able to get these close up aerial views is because we were flying in a 9-seater turboprop plane, a Cessna 208EX Grand Caravan.cessnaI was slightly anxious about taking this flight, but the airline had really good reviews and it was cheaper than taking Hawaiian Airlines, so we decided to go for it.

Instead of going to the main terminal, you check in at the commuter terminal. Then you step on the scale with your carry on to get weighed.weigh

There is no TSA to go through, someone just comes out and calls your name and tells you what row to sit in, then takes you out onto the tarmac. Then you climb the stairs and duck your head to get into the tiny plane.

It was quite an experience, but a much better one than I expected. It was nice not to have much waiting time. They recommend you check in 45 minutes before the flight, but we found out you probably only need to be there 15 or 20 minutes before your flight. And once you’re on the plane the pilot and co-pilot turn around in their seats and give a short safety briefing, then they turn on the plane and you’re off!pilots

Since they fly lower than most other flights you have an awesome, close up view of the islands. It was fun to see Maui from this perspective as we took off for the Big Island.

We flew over one of our favorite beaches in Spreckelsville.spreck

And we got to see Maui’s awesome beauty from above.

maui2 gorge

Looking into Haleakala crater through Kaupo Gap.


A waterfall in the dense forest.waterfallBefore we knew it, we were back on the ground and on the island of Hawai’i.planeThe Big Island has some of the clearest, most beautiful water, and the most gorgeous white sand beaches. I actually felt a bit envious when we arrived at our favorite Big Island beach, Manini’owali beach, or Kua Bay.manini

We had a blast playing in the ocean.b aBrandon took me to Brown’s Beach House at the Fairmont Orchid for our anniversary dinner.fairmont

It was romantic and delicious.anniversarypieabThe highlight of our getaway was our day trip to South Point and Papakōlea Beach, or Green Sand Beach.south

South Point is the southernmost point of the United States. It is likely the area where Polynesians first came to land on the Hawaiian Islands.south2

Because of the immediate drop in depth in the ocean along this coastline it is teeming with large pelagic fish that would normally only be caught from a boat offshore. Therefore, this area is very popular with fishermen.fishBefore we left for our trip I had read that some adventurous people like to jump off the tip of South Point into the ocean 30 feet below. The author of the article I was reading advised that this was very dangerous as the currents in this area don’t stop until they take you all the way to Antarctica. Brandon took his chances.

The start of the trail to the green sand beach was near South Point. After a short drive we parked and were immediately offered a roundtrip ride for $30/person by one of the locals waiting there with their 4WD vehicles. It’s 3 miles each way to get there and back and we decided to hike it.bra

It was hot, but the terrain was interesting and the coastline was nice.dirtwater

It seemed to take forever (probably because I was hungry and we only had one Nutri-Grain bar to split between us), but once we arrived at Papakōlea we knew it was all worth

I couldn’t believe the color of the water, or that I was actually seeing green sand.


It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been

Papakōlea is one of only 4 green sand beaches in the world, the others being in Guam, the Galapagos Islands and Norway. The reason the sand is green is because of olivine crystals. They are one of the first minerals to form when the magma cools after lava flow. The ocean waves erode the cinder cone, and since the olivine is more dense than the other ash fragments, it stays on the beach longer and makes it green.ab

After we spent some time on the beach we were able to catch a ride back to our car. It was my first time 4-wheeling and it was a crazy, bumpy ride. We saw some tourists in a Jeep attempting to navigate the extremely uneven terrain. There are so many different little routes and paths made by the locals that it would be difficult to know the best way to go without potentially tipping your vehicle over. We were glad we hadn’t tried it ourselves.


We were finally able to refuel at Punalu’u Bakery with our most favorite liliko’i (passion fruit) malasadas.malThank you Brandon for a perfect anniversary trip–happy 5 years!




Exploring the Pacific Northwest

We planned a little vacation around our SeaWheeze weekend. After flying into Seattle, we explored downtown a bit, then drove into Canada and on to Vancouver for our half marathon. After that, we drove back into Washington and to Anacortes to catch the ferry to San Juan Island.

We met my parents in Seattle.

parentsashwheelAnd walked through Pike Place Market.


And got all stocked up on Chukar Cherries.


I got a little grossed out at the gum wall…


Then up to Canada we went. At the border we stopped at the Peace Arch.

motherWe had a great time participating in the SeaWheeze Half Marathon as shown in Yoga. Run. Party.


Then it was back to Washington and on to Anacortes.


We got in line to catch the ferry to San Juan Island.


I hadn’t realized how many islands there were in the area. It was a fascinating view.


After we docked in Friday Harbor, our first destination was Lime Kiln Point.



This area is known to be one of the best places in the world to watch orcas from land. Unfortunately we didn’t spot any.



It was a bit difficult hiking the day after our half marathon, but the sights were beautiful and well worth the discomfort.


Starting in 1860 lime was produced in this area for 60 years. Lime kilns such as this one were used to fire the limestone to produce lime.


It was time for lunch so we headed over to Roche Harbor.


Apparently their donuts are world famous so of course we had to try them out.


Our accommodations were definitely a highlight of the trip.


It was difficult to find a place to stay on the island, but this place happened to have availability and turned out to be awesome.


Three peaceful lakes surrounded Lakedale Resort.


We stayed in Cabin 1.


Brandon practiced fishing on the shore just behind our cabin.



It was the perfect place for some recovery and relaxation.

bfishingafishingreflectAnd for some dancing in the firelight.

firefire2 fire3Some of the other sights we saw on the island were English Camp and American Camp.

englishIn 1859 the US and Great Britain nearly went to war over a pig that was shot by an American farmer. There was already tension building between the two countries over possession of the San Juan Islands, and so the Pig War crisis began. Both sides agreed to a joint military occupation of the island until ownership of the islands was determined. American soldiers and British Royal Marines remained on the island for 12 years until it was ultimately decided that the islands would be US territory.

americanWe also hiked to a beach near American camp.

beachfamIt was a super fun and memorable trip.