Hawaii Journals

Conference and Vacation in Hawaii (Oahu, Big Island, and Maui)

A May 2002 trip to Hawaii by EthanB

Late night flight from Kona Photo, Hawaii, United States More Photos
Quote: I went to Hawaii to present a talk at a medical imaging conference in Honolulu. The conference lasted a week, but I made the most of the free airfare and went three days early and stayed a week afterwards. I spent time on Oahu, the Big Island, and Maui.

Conference and Vacation in Hawaii (Oahu, Big Island, and Maui)

Overview

Quote:
On Oahu: Hike to Diamond Head (the long way)

On the Big Island: Kilauea Crater, Thurston Lava Tube, lava flows, Rainbow Falls, Mauna Kea/Loa summit, Kealakekua Bay.

On Maui: Road to Hana (south side if you can), 'Iao Needles, bike down Haleakala, scuba diving/snorkeling at Black

Quick Tips:

If you're in Oahu for a conference and want to spend a day or two on another island at the end of your trip, check your business luggage at the airport (you can check it in up to 72 hours before departure) for your flight home before flying to another island.

Best Way To Get Around:

On Oahu, don't count on buses outside of Waikiki.

Road to Hana

Restaurant | "Smoothie Stand on the Road to Hana (Maui, HI)"

Road to Hana Photo, Maui, Hawaii
Quote:
This isn't really a traditional restaurant, but this stand makes the best smoothies I have ever had in my life. They chop and crush cane sugar while you watch, then grind up fruit (pineapple, banana, strawberry, or many others) and mix it up. It's absolutely the most wonderful-tasting drink. The woman who works there also gave me a handful of cane sugar sticks to munch on while I drove.

The stand is at the "Twin Falls" turnoff near the beginning of the "Road to Hana."

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Road to Hana
Hana Highway
Maui, Hawaii

Polli's Mexican Restaurant

Restaurant | "Polli's Mexican Restaurant in Makawao"

Quote:
Who would've thought that such a great Mexican restaurant would be found in Hawaii? I had went out to dinner with some Maui residents and they suggested we go to Polli's in Makawao. Excellent food, decent prices, and a great atmosphere.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Polli's Mexican Restaurant
1202 Makawao Ave.
Makawao, Hawaii 96768
(808) 572-7808

Leilani's on the Beach

Restaurant | "Leilani's on the Beach in Ka'anapali"

Leilani's on the Beach Photo, Maui, Hawaii
Quote:
Leilani's is fairly expensive, but the food is good and the view makes it worth it. Outside seating is only a few feet from the beach -- you can hear the waves as you eat. I went there for dinner after diving and managed to get a table just after sunset with only a 10-20 minute wait with no reservations.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Leilani's on the Beach
2435 Kaanapali Parkway
Maui, Hawaii 96761
(808) 661-4495

Big Island Circle Tour

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Big Island Circle Tour Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Quote:
I did a tour of the Big Island with Polynesian Adventure Tours. They do full-service guided bus tours -- they picked me up at my hotel and took me to the airport, where I flew to the Big Island, got on another bus for the tour, was dropped off at the airport, and arrived back in my hotel on Oahu by evening. The main reason for doing the tour was that it was free. My dad was traveling to Hawaii the following month and wanted to know if the tour was worthwhile, so he offered to pay for mine. I enjoyed the tour, but if I had to do it again, I'd fly to the Big Island and rent a car for the day instead (and that is what I suggested to him). Though the guide was extremely knowledgeable and had a lot ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 26, 2004

Big Island Circle Tour

Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii

Waikiki Diving Center

Attraction | "Boat Diving on Oahu with Waikiki Dive Center"

Quote:
In the morning, I went on a boat dive with the Waikiki Dive Center, a shop just a few blocks from my hotel. They took us on a two-tank trip to a bay called Hawaii Kai. We went to Turtle Canyon and Koko Crater. I saw fish, turtles, eels, and octopus. The boat was very crowded, but was well organized. It was kind of weird for me, as I'd never dived on a boat where you were expected to stick with the dive master for the whole dive. I didn't mind it too much, since he pointed out lots of good stuff. The two things I didn't like were that they had small tanks (AL60s, if I remember correctly) and they only had 3mm shorty wetsuits and I was cold.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 26, 2004

Waikiki Diving Center
424 Nahua STreet
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
(808) 922-2121

Ed Robinson's Diving Adventures

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Diving on Molokai with Ed Robinson"

Quote:
We met at the Kihie boat launch at 6:30am and got on Ed Robinson's Sea Diver II for the cruise over to Molokai. It took about two hours to get over there -- we stopped halfway (just off Lahaina) and had coffee and donuts (just so we could say we had breakfast in Lahaina). The trip out was fairly rough -- even though this was the first day in weeks calm enough to make it out there, we all still got a little wet. First, we did a drift dive on Kanaka, a small island just off the coast of Molokai. We circled the island, going down to about 85 feet. It's a spot where hammerheads are seen frequently, but I just saw one shark of in the distance -- I'm guessing it was a reef shark. There were so many ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 26, 2004

Ed Robinson's Diving Adventures
P.O. Box 61
Maui, Hawaii 96753
(800) 635-1273

Black Rock

Attraction | "Black Rocks Night Dive (Maui)"

Quote:
Anyway, we got all ready for the Black Rock dive. I managed to get the flag caught by fishermen right at the beginning, but they were cool about it. After that, we made it down to the wall and it was incredible. There were dozens of huge eels, some that were four feet long. There were hundreds of fish, too, including these giant blue ones with big sucker mouths. We found what Dan thought was either a cuttlefish or a squid and played with it for a while. Its whole body was translucent and we could shine our lights through it. It was red, except for the eyes, which were green. One of the eels swam into this little cave with a crab and they fought, and I saw another eel snap up a little orange and purple...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 26, 2004

Black Rock
Ka'anapali, Maui, Hawaii
Maui, Hawaii

The Road to Hana Photo, Hawaii, United States
Quote:
After staying up all night putting the final touches on my talk, I went home at 6am, packed, took a quick shower, and got a ride to the airport. My flight left at 9:05am Wisconsin time, and I remember very little of it. I woke up somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, a bit before our 2:30pm Hawaiian time arrival. I arranged the trip through a travel agency, Travel Hawaii (ask for Kapeka!). They managed to find me a ticket and three nights’ hotel for less than I could get a ticket direct from the airline. Of course, the university did not appreciate me trying to save them money, and insisted that I pay for two of the three nights myself, since I was arriving before the conference began. For the first...Read More

Thursday, May 16 (Big Island Tour)

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Late night flight from Kona Photo, Hawaii, United States
Quote:
Today I did a tour of the Big Island with Polynesian Adventure Tours. They do full-service guided bus tours - they picked me up at my hotel and took me to the airport, where I flew to the Big Island, got on another bus for the tour, then was dropped off at the airport and back in my hotel on Oahu by evening. The main reason for doing the tour was that it was free. My dad was traveling to Hawaii the following month and wanted to know if the tour was worthwhile, so he offered to pay for mine. I enjoyed the tour, but if I had to do it again, I'd fly to the Big Island and rent a car for the day instead (and that is what I suggested to him). Though the guide was extremely knowledgeable and had a lot...Read More

Friday, May 17 (diving and hiking)

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Lighthouse on Oahu Photo, Hawaii, United States
Quote:
Friday was my last day before the conference began. In the morning, I went on a boat dive with the Waikiki Dive Center, a shop just a few blocks from my hotel. They took us on a two-tank trip to a bay called Hawaii Kai. We went to "Turtle Canyon" and "Koko Crater." I saw fish, turtles, eels, and octopus. The boat was very crowded, but was well organized. It was kind of weird for me, as I'd never dived on a boat where you were expected to stick with the dive master for the whole dive. I didn't mind it too much, since he pointed out lots of good stuff. The two things I didn't like were that they had small tanks (AL60s, if I remember correctly) and they only had 3mm shorty wetsuits and I was cold. ...Read More
The Honolulu Convention Center Photo, Hawaii, United States
Quote:
The conference began on Saturday and lasted until Friday. The Honolulu Convention Center was amazing - to the left is a view out the front window. I made a panoramic photo of the entire convention center, viewed from across the Ali Wai Canal. I won't say too much here about the conference. I blew off Tuesday and went surfing on Waikiki Beach - my second time ever. I had done it previously in San Diego. My friend Renee was inspired by this and went surfing on her next vacation - in New Jersey. I also blew off an afternoon and went to Pearl Harbor and toured the Battleship Missouri and the Bowfin Submarine, though the line was too long to see the Arizona Memorial. But other than that, I spent most of th...Read More
Waikiki Beach Photo, Hawaii, United States
Quote:
The conference ended Friday at noon and I went to the airport to fly to Maui. I was staying with Jeane and Dan, a couple who invited me to stay in their house in Makawo. I had never met them before, but they were friends of a friend and had invited me to stay with them for the week. They were incredibly hospitable and treated me extremely well. They helped me find lots of fun stuff to do, and even lent me a car when they were too busy (even Hawaiians have to work!) to hang out. Jeane came to pick me up at the airport.
Shore Break Photo, Hawaii, United States
Quote:
I couldn't arrange any big trips today, so I just looked around the island a bit. Jeane and I went to Costco and got some food for dinner (it was food sample day, so I got free breakfast there), then she lent me her car and I drove around the island for the afternoon. I went over to 'Iao Valley State Park and hiked around a bit. It's all on paved trails, but there were some cool streams and cliffs and stuff to look at. After that, I went to Ho'okipa Beach Park and walked around on the rocks and watched people surfing, windsurfing (I gotta learn!), and kite boarding. Spent a while trying to get a picture of the perfect wave breaking over this cool rock, but I kept mistiming it and finally gave u...Read More
Cave Entrance Photo, Hawaii, United States
Quote:
Today I went lava tube caving with Rob, this guy I met through a San Francisco caver friend. He's a great guy who's a commercial photographer here. He is working on a book about the caves of the Big Island. He picked me up at 8ish in his '82 BMW 528 (nice caving car) and we drove around to the southeast side of the island. It's really amazing country there - a nice winding road (kind of like US Hwy 1 in CA) through lush green fields (though evidently they're brown 10 months out of the year), with canyons crossing the road every mile or so. Somehow, Rob recognized the right bush or rock or something by the side of the road and knew where to stop for the cave. We walked through the brush a bit an...Read More

Monday, May 27 (biking down a volcano)

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

View of Maui Photo, Hawaii, United States
Quote:
Today was kind of a slow day. I had a Haleakala bike tour planned for the morning with Upcountry Cycles, but nothing for the rest of the day. I got up at 3:20am and walked to the bike shop. Wayne already had the bikes loaded up on a 15-passenger van and we set out for the summit at 4. On the way up I saw this "Nene Crossing - Next 10 Miles" sign, which I became obsessed with and will mention later. We arrived at the summit about 40 minutes before sunrise. It was 30-40 (that's 0-5 degrees Celsius) and windy, but fortunately not raining. I sat down on a rock where I could look into the crater, but I got cold pretty quickly. Jeans and my jacket shell just weren't enough... So I went back to the va...Read More
Twin Falls Photo, Hawaii, United States
Quote:
This morning I slept until 10-something, which is the latest I slept since I've been in Hawaii. I hung out at the house talking to Jeane for a couple hours, then set out on the Hana Highway to go look at waterfalls. The Hana Highway is a 40-mile road to the east end of the island. It has several hundred curves, lots of single-lane bridges, and goes through some really beautiful terrain. It's also one of the most frustrating drives of my life (even more so than San Jose). There's no places to pass unless somebody pulls over to let you, so one stupid person can slow down a ton of people. It's a road you can easily drive 30-40, slowing down to 10-20 for the tighter corners. But a very few people i...Read More
Black Rock Photo, Hawaii, United States
Quote:
The weather turned out to be good, so the captain decided the trip to Molokai was on. I met at the Kihie boat launch at 6:30 this morning (after a divers' breakfast at McDonalds) and got on Ed Robinson's Sea Diver II for the cruise over to Molokai. It took about two hours to get over there - we stopped halfway (just off Lahaina) and had coffee and donuts (just so we could say we had breakfast in Lahaina). The trip out was fairly rough - even though this was the first day in weeks calm enough to make it out there, we all still got a little wet. On the way out, I took my camera out to take a picture of a valley in West Maui and the battery was dead. That'll teach me to pay attention to the "low bat...Read More
Yellow Fish Photo, Hawaii, United States
Quote:
I'm writing today's report a week after returning, so I've probably forgotten a lot of details, but I'll try to write it anyway for completeness' sake. Thursday was one of my best days in Maui. I got up kind of late (oops) and drove over to Lahaina to do some diving. Lahaina is the tourist side of the island and there's all sorts of hotels, resorts, and golf courses. I took Jeane and Dan's rental equipment back to the dive shop, picked up another tank for myself, and headed over to Black Rock to do some diving. Black Rock is an amazing dive - I already wrote about it a bit in the previous day's account. There's not as much to see during the day, but it's still a wonderful experience ...Read More
Lelani's Sunset Photo, Hawaii, United States
Quote:
Friday morning, Jeane dropped me off at the Maui airport and I headed back to Oahu. I had a 6-hour layover in Honolulu, so I checked my bags and took the bus into Pearl City. I went to the mall there and hung out for a while and got some lunch. Then I went back to the bus stop, only to find that I missed the first bus because the bus driver had given me incorrect directions about which stop to wait at, and then the second bus just drove by me (waiting at the correct stop this time) while I waved my arms. Evidently, many native Hawaiians hate tourists and it's pretty common for buses just to pass you by, once you're out of Waikiki proper. So I had to call a taxi to get back to the airport. My flight ...Read More