Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer

Hawaii Vacation, Days 4, 5, and 6

Lookout from a cliff near the Makapu’u Lighthouse trail

On day 4 of our vacation we began with a short drive to the Makapu’u Lighthouse trailhead.  The trail was about 1.5 miles mostly uphill to the point of land overlooking the lighthouse.  The lighthouse was built to prevent ships running aground while traversing the water between Oahu and Molokai.

The Makapu’u Lighthouse

Sam was decidedly unimpressed with this “dumpy little lighthouse” and didn’t think it was worth the uphill climb to get there.   The views from up on the point were very nice.

Sam and Tom at the lookout.

Buck and Candy

We then drove to the north shore to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Fancy hotdogs with lots of stuff on them from a truck outside the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Since the last time we visited the PCC, they have added a lot of shopping and food outside the center.  We bought some fancy hotdogs from a truck outside the gates (apparently food trucks are a big tradition in Hawaii).  Then we had to try some malasadas, which are like filled doughnuts.  We bought one of each flavor to share:  guava strawberry, chocolate, and coconut cream.

Sam devours a malasada.

The entrance to the PCC.

The Polynesian Cultural Center has six distinct areas for the various Polynesian islands.  Each area has traditionally constructed buildings, traditional crafts, and entertainment.  After our truck-lunch we entered the PCC just in time for the show on the water that runs through the center of the park.

One of the rafts of dancers that traverse the waterfront “theater” during the show.

More entertainers on boats.

A sample of the entertainment at the PCC in the Cook Islands area.

Some of the entertainment by the Maori of New Zealand.

Candy and Sam in front of a waterfall

Throwing spears in Tahiti.

Sam and Tom at the Luau.

After a day of walking around the PCC, we attended the Luau dinner show.  The food was good, but we were disappointed the the kalua pig didn’t have much taste.  As that was what we were most looking forward to, we though the luau was “okay.”

Some of the entertainment during dinner.

More of the entertainment.

A woman who juggled fire during the luau show.

The highlight of the day was the Ha, Breath of Life live show featuring a huge cast of dancers and (the highlight for us) fire jugglers.  The storyline was impossible to follow, as a Polynesian family transits from one island to another.  The storyline wasn’t that important however, as it was really about the various acts.

You aren’t allowed to take pictures during the show, so these are ones I found online.

We were in the second row, so we had a great view of the entire show.

The next day we got up early to head to Hunauma Bay for some snorkeling.  We were worried that the crowds would be heavy on a Saturday morning, but we really didn’t feel crowded.  We rented snorkeling gear and had a really good time seeing the sea life up close and personal.

Panoramic view of Hunauma Bay

Candidates for Jaques Custeau’s next television special

Hunauma Bay is a wildlife preserve, and it is full of sea life.  We even got to see a seal that was sunning himself on the beach.

A seal on the beach

Looking at descriptions of the different fish in the bay so we could identify what we saw.

All of us at Hunauma Bay

You enter Hunauma Bay from up top and then walk down tot he beach.  From this view you can see how the bay was once the caldera of a volcano, but part of it has eroded away.

The bay from up top

After snorkeling we went back to the Hale Koa to rest and then got two hours of surfing lessons on Waikiki.

Surfing lessons with Trevor

Surfer girl Sammy

Tom, Sam, and Trevor

We didn’t get any pictures of any of us up on the board.  We were at least a quarter mile out (quite a swim!!), and they wanted $50 per person to provide a photographer.

Sam and Tom after surfing.

After a tiring day, we went back to the hotel and cleaned up for dinner.  We went to a local place, called The Goofy Cafe, for Mahi Mahi.  The food was great.  After dinner we walked to a local ice cream parlor and had ridiculously large ice cream desserts.

The next day we got up early to check out of the Hale Koa and head to Honolulu airport for a flight to the big island.

Last panoramic view of Waikiki from our hotel balcony

Arriving at the big island of Hawaii

After getting our rental car a the Hilo airport we drove to a farmer’s market outside town where we hand a nice lunch and picked up a bunch of fresh, local produce.  This was to make salad with our dinner in our cabin.  We then drove to Volcano National Park, took in the victor’s center, and checked into our cabin at the Kilauea Military Camp, inside the national park.


On the way from Hilo to our cabin we stopped at a grocery store to buy stuff for dinner, breakfast, and lunch. We had to stop and take a picture of the spam aisle.

The entrance to Volcano National Park

A view of the Kilaueau Military Camp

Our cabin has a nice back porch.

This is a military camp, so it has a theater, PX, several places to eat, a recreation center, and a six-lane bowling alley.  We made quesadillas with two different flavors of spam (jalapeño and garlic) and then went to bowl.

After two games of bowling, Sam and Tom played pool in the recreation center.  We capped off the evening with some fresh watermelon and mango from the farmer’s market and a couple of mai tais.

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