Thursday, March 30, 2017

Giant family vacation to Hawaii - Day 1

Every year we like to do at least one big family vacation with Theresa's family. Normally this would be a trip to Walt Disney World out in Florida. This year though we'd intended to do something a little bigger. Korea! Being the queen of travel deals, Theresa had her entire family plus some of my family working to get airline and hotel miles so we could all fly out there and stay for free! In the end, Korea didn't happen, but here everyone was with a ton of airline miles just waiting to be spent. Cue Hawaii!

A couple days before we left, I pulled out the Hawaiian Shaved Ice machine to get everyone in the mood. Knowing how much everyone would enjoy it, I packed the machine plus 16 bottles of syrup for the trip.

The day before we were supposed to leave, my parents flew out to California. They're joining us too!

The rest of Theresa's family from Michigan caught a flight a little bit earlier today. For us, our flight doesn't leave until 7pm. The cars were loaded with a ridiculous amount of luggage and we took off to the airport.

There's the queen of travel deals. All 7 of us (plus Alli as a lap baby) are flying First Class! Not just that, but the other 8 family members who left a little earlier also flew for free!

Man. That three year old sure is spoiled. Look at all that room he has.

Enjoying a nice dinner, that even included ice cream!

We're here! On the plane, the kids both got changed into jammies and were able to get in a nap. It was a 5.5 hour flight, but with the time change it's only 9:30pm here in Oahu. Way past the kids bedtime, but they're still in good spirits.

Alli was all smiles! Maybe it's because...

She's finally caught up with Ian with all the states she's visited!

After picking up our rental cars, everyone drove to the house we're renting for the next 10 days. It's starting to push closer to 11pm and it's definitely the kid's bedtime. Everyone who had arrived earlier was fast asleep. Coming from Michigan that's a 6 hour time difference. For us coming from California, it's only 3 hours.

The next morning, everyone from Michigan was awake early. They decided to head to the east shore and watch the sun rise. Ian was awake, so he joined them too!

Beautiful sunrise.

They enjoyed the sunrise from the Wawamalu Beach Park...

While the rest of us enjoyed the sunrise from the porch of our fantastic rental house.

Everyone is awake now and is getting some breakfast.

And Alli is enjoying some 1:1 time with Pop Pop since Ian is off with everyone else watching the sunrise.

Since everyone was occupied and the house is still in good shape, it's the perfect time to take some photos. Here's the amazing view from our deck. There's three different decks on this house, all overlooking the ocean.

You can also see Diamond Head just off in the distance.

Looking the other direction, towards the east. There's a beautiful unobstructed view of the ocean. There's a soccer field and a golf course between us and the water. There's also this fantastic pool that we're certain to be using daily.

Looking at one of the living rooms.

The formal dining room. Most of us would end up taking our food out to the porch and eating while enjoying the view.

The other living room with the TV and lots of DVDs.

A view from the pool deck.

There's even a garden.
Theresa did a great job finding this house.

During this trip, there's plenty of food places that have been recommended. The crew that went to watch the sunrise would stop at one of those places on their way back home.

It's Leonard's malasadas. A deep fried hawaiian donut, this is the place that was recommended to us most.

Ian's back!

Excited to try them.

There were three different boxes of these that came back to the house. I felt it was my duty to try each flavor. A few had filling, custard, chocolate, or coconut. These I thought were just okay. Neither the custard or the coconut was as sweet as I would have liked. The chocolate filling tasted like pudding. The real winners here were the original (regular sugar coated), and the best one cinnamon sugar. That cinnamon sugar malasada was better than the best churro I've ever had.


Alli liked hers too.

We've got a few things planned for our time in Hawaii, but for our first day here everyone was free to relax however they wanted. Time to start enjoying that pool!

Five of the guys all decided to head out snorkeling. The open air Jeep was a fantastic choice of vehicle. Our first choice was the very popular Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. It's so popular that there are attendants who monitor the parking lots and close it entirely when there aren't any spaces. We'd circle the area for about half an hour, before deciding to leave.

Ty asked the attendant a good place to go snorkeling. He recommended Makapu'u Beach about 10 minutes down the road.

After parking and walking out to the sand, a life guard started walking on a diagonal intercept path to us. He asked us our plans for the day and we told him snorkeling. He strongly recommended that this wasn't a good place to do it. Looking at it on google maps, I see it's know for big waves and strong rip currents. Yeah, definitely not a good place to snorkel.

I wonder how he knew we weren't locals? Could have been that Austin walked from the car to the beach in his ninja snorkel mask.

That lifeguard recommended that instead we try 3 Mile Beach.

Waves are a little rough here too.

In the end, the water was super murky and it was impossible to see anything. about 30 yards from shore I decided to dive down to touch the bottom and see if it was more clear. Turns out that the water was only 6 feet deep and I couldn't see the bottom at all. After 30 minutes or so we gave up and all headed home.

All of us made it back home for lunch, and then I made the first of many many shaved ices.

Later the same 5 of us would make it back over to Hanauma Bay when it was less crowded. We arrived at 4pm and each paid our $7.50. Shortly after that we learned that snorkeling would end at 5pm. Bummer. Well let's enjoy this.

There's the bay.

About this time my underwater camera started showing signs of moisture and would quit all together a short time later. The snorkeling was pretty good, but it's still a bit murky. We'll have to try again later.

It was a great first day in Hawaii. Really looking forward to the rest of the vacation!

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