The answer is yes, but we came close!
All good things must come to an end, even trips that were over three years in the making. Getting off the ship was uneventful, and Kirk was there to pick us up for our last day of sightseeing before heading to the airport.
I thought touring the last day was a good way to handle our late flight. We knew there was plenty we hadn’t seen, and doing it this way allowed our luggage to stay with us. The other option would have been a day use room at one of the resorts, but we would rather be out exploring so off to the North Shore it was!
We saw so much the last day I’m not sure I remember all of it. Honestly, it was a bit much even for us. We had been going non-stop for 11 days and we were at the point where we really needed some down time. Nevertheless, we weren’t getting any down time until we got on the plane, so off we went!
Our first stop was at Wailua Coffee for — wait for it — coffee (and chocolate)! We had an interesting tour of the facility and saw how the coffee and cacao gets from plant to product. I got excited when Jim bought four bags of chocolate, then I found out they were for him to take into the office!🙄
Our next stop was at Turtle Bay Resort.
Believe it or not it was time to eat (again) so we went to Lei Lei’s on the golf course at the resort. The food was pretty good, but it was super hot and super expensive (for what it was).
After lunch, we were off to the beach, and we got lucky! Not only did we see our second Monk Seal of the trip, it was also the first day the waves were big enough for surfing!
We started slowly working our way back to Honolulu. One of the stops was at the rock arch at Laie Point. The coast here is beautiful, and is a popular spot for filmmakers. Sounds like most of Hawaii!
I have to admit by this time we were both getting tired. Kirk got us as close as we could get to Marine Corps Base Hawaii so I could snap a couple pictures. Remember my nephew the USNA Plebe who was one of the reasons we started planning this trip? He’s graduating and commissioning in May, and he will be a Marine Pilot!
From the Marine Corps base we stopped at Kailua Beach Park, but we didn’t stay long. One thing I saw posted at the beach entrance was this sign, which I thought was a great idea!
Our next stop was at the Byodo-In Buddhist Temple.
Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden
The road to Honolulu (H-3) and the airport was fantastic, especially in Kirk’s great car. The highway is cut through the mountains and a tunnel takes you from one climate to another (wet to dry). This isn’t my picture, but it gives you a great idea of what the road is like.
Before we knew it we were back in Honolulu at the airport.😢 It seemed hard to believe that after all the waiting and planning it was over in a flash!
We packed a lot into our time, and think we saw as much of Hawaii as it’s possible to see in the time we had. We were on the go almost every minute — just how we like it!
We were thankful for the United Club as a place to wait for the flight. It had comfortable seating, TVs showing college football, and most importantly, bathrooms big enough and clean enough to change our clothes and clean up before the long flight.
Fortunately we had an equipment change for the flight home. Ordinarily I would have been annoyed, but not this time! Hallelujah, we were put on an updated plane with pods! I moved us both to window pods which meant we weren’t sitting together but we really didn’t care. We don’t talk much on planes anyway, and our objective on the red-eye flight was to sleep!
We were about an hour late leaving, but had a nice clear view of Honolulu as we ascended.
The flight was uneventful, and after an unmemorable dinner of some kind of Panko crusted chicken I managed to sleep for about 3 hours. When I woke up people were already stirring getting ready for breakfast and our arrival in Houston.
We had a great trip…it was worth the wait! Almost everything went according to plan, and all but one excursion was everything we hoped for and more. It’s always nice when things you chose from reading reviews and looking at pictures end up meeting or exceeding expectations!
That said, I’m not sure we would go back. We saw almost everything we wanted to see, and (just my opinion) there are a lot of other places we want to go before we would return to Hawaii.
Next up? Commissioning Week in Annapolis with my whole family. Planning is underway and I can’t wait!