Hawaiian Vacation: October 2013

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Add to our list another great vacation! This go-around we chose Hawaii for our "big trip" and were awed by God's creation. It was another action packed trip with almost non-stop activities each day.

What's vacation without a little drama? Well, the main reason we wanted to go to the Big Island was to see Volcanoes National Park. Unfortunately, due to the government shutdown, all national parks were closed, so we missed out. However, we got to see many other fantastic things anyway.

Below is some helpful info if you're planning to make a trip to the islands yourself. If you want to skip all that, just click on the link for Day 1 located above.

Things you should know before you go:

  • Guidebook: We strongly recommend you get a guide book, whether this is your first time to the island or your hundredth time, and we even more strongly recommend the Hawaii Revealed series by Andrew Doughty of Wizard Publications. There is a book for each island and we got the ones for both the Big Island and Oahu. They also offer apps for a reasonable price which don't require an internet connection and give GPS turn by turn directions to all the sites mentioned in the physical book.
  • Rental Car Key: Many beaches do not have any locked or monitored storage facilities, so we bought a small waterproof pouch from Academy Sports store to keep our rental car key. While several beaches have lifeguards and you can feasibly leave your bag o'stuff near a lifeguard stand, we preferred to be quick about doing anything showing our stuff in the trunk and used the dry bag for the key alone.
  • Costs: The cost of anything and everything is very high. Gas was over $4 a gallon, a loaf of bread runs you about $7, and in fact, run-o-the-mill apples sometimes ran $1.79 each.
  • Cash Flow: There are a great many places of interest which charge parking fees so it's best to have a wad of cash on you for such occurrences. Parking fees at sites ranged from $3 to $5 and after a few stops, the fees can really add up. Also, a few places we went to eat only took cash.
  • Parking: Hotel parking is actually not a guaranteed amenity and is at a premium anywhere on the islands. If you plan to rent a car, be sure to see what the parking situation is like at your hotel. At our first hotel parking was $12 per night, and at the second, it was $18, and neither hotel was truly obligated to provide a spot for guests.
  • Cameras: We had fantastic results with our GoPro Hero3 underwater capable camera. We were able to take some ultra-cool roadway and snorkeling videos with it, too. It does give a fish-eye view of things so it's not really something you want as your only camera if you're an avid picture taker but it's our first choice in underwater cameras.
  • Zippy Bags: If you like to picnic instead of always buying meals singly, we recommend you take zippy bags, lots of them. You can also use some gallon sized ones for wet clothing as, being so humid naturally there, things don't tend to dry completely even over 2 days.
  • Anti-Fog Spray: If you plan to snorkel or scuba, we recommend you pick up some anti-fog spray or gel for your masks. We used M Essentials Sea Quick Anti-Fog Spray and it worked great. Ginger purchased it at We B Divin in Hurst. Having it or a similar substance will really make a difference in what you see and how well you can see underwater, believe us, we know.
  • Daylight Savings: Hawaii does not observe Daylight Savings Time. When we were there, it got light about 6:30am and dark about 6pm. We are night owls so it didn't affect us too much. If you're an early to bed, early to rise person though you'll likely find adjusting more difficult.

Onward to the trip...