HAWAII TRIP

As I write this post, I am sitting at the Honolulu airport during a 4 hour layover from Maui. I have been traveling across Oahu and Maui in Hawaii for the last 12 days. This was my third time in Hawaii, and I have to say it never ceases to amaze me! Baltimore, to me, is and always will be my home, but I could easily stay here for an extended period of time.

In this post, I will break down what I did over the last week and a half. We left from Dulles Airport on March 17 at around 4 or 5am. Our first flight was to LAX in Los Angeles, California. That flight took roughly 6 hours. So yeah…it was a LONG flight! And here is the part of the trip that always makes me go “dammit”. Thats only HALF the flight! From LAX it is another 6-7 hours to Oahu! But we made it! And of course, seeing as it was still Saint Patricks Day when we landed, I had two drinks. In Hawaii, the time change messes with you if you are not prepared for it. We are six hours behind the East Coast. So as I write this, it is 5:30pm in Hawaii and 11:30pm in Baltimore. From the airport, we hailed a cab to our hotel, the Royal Hawaiian.

Before I go any further, I just wanna say something about the elevators at the Royal Hawaiian. These elevators were FANTASTIC! Like, seriously. These were the FASTEST elevators I have ever seen! Within 5 seconds, if that!, of pressing the button, the elevator was there and already taking you to your floor.

The next day, my parents, Uncle and I went to a breakfast place called Eggs N Things. I got Hawaiian French Toast. This was hands-down, bar-none the BEST French Toast I have ever had! This particular breakfast had pineapple, coconut, whipped cream, macadamia nuts, and all natural syrup. If you ever find yourself in Honolulu, GET YOUR ASS TO EGGS N THINGS AND GET THIS FRENCH TOAST! One thing I noticed in Oahu is that it did rain quite a bit. But it wasnt like torrential downpours. It would rain for 5 minutes then stop and be sunny for the rest of the day. After breakfast, my family went to Waikiki Beach. I am not really a beach kind of person, so I decided to take a walk to the Honolulu Zoo. The Zoo, while fun, I felt kinda “meh” about. On the walk back, I spotted a little hut selling drinks. I was DYING from the heat, so I got a virgin pina colada with pineapple. This drink had natural coconut milk and whatever else is in a pina colada.

I know I just said I am not much of a beach guy, I do enjoy snorkeling in clear water. And MAN IS THE WATER IN HAWAII CLEAR! Maui moreso, but I will get to that later. On March 19, we drove to Haleiwa to go explore. We went to a natural park. While there, we saw a giant centipede. We found out later these long, red, 100 legged insects are a big no-no to touch. They bite, and they bite HARD! The only way to get them to let go is to beat them to death. So yeah…pretty scary. Keep in mind I was in kind of a pissy mood that day. I was supposed to go shark diving on Oahus North Shore but due to weather, it got cancelled. But regardless, we had a fun day.

The next day, March 21 was another beach day. With one exception. I took a catamaran out on the ocean to snorkel with sealife. However due to windy conditions when we went out, our Captain said it was unlikely we would see anything. We did see a turtle from the boat, but again, the water was cloudy so we could not see anything under the water. This was another “Are you kidding me?” moment. However, we were able to jump off the side of the boat and swim freely in the ocean to our hearts desire. What started off as a snorkel tour quickly turned into somewhat of a booze cruise. Alcohol was included when you paid for a trip on the boat. There was *supposed* to be a three-drink maximum but you could tell the guys on the boat DID NOT CARE. Example: I had two Coronas and two mai tais…GOOD mai tais, too!

This was also kind of a downer trip on the boat. See, I was so excited to get in the water, I forgot to take my prescription transition glasses off. So when I went under, the glasses sank. I didnt even realize this until we got back to shore. I have to give one of the boathands credit though. A woman on our boat dropped her phone from her breast pocket into the water. This guy LAUNCHED himself off the boat–30 feet down–and found the phone! AND it still worked!

The next day we shopped around a little before catching our next flight to Maui. Although this flight was FAR shorter than the flight from LAX to Honolulu. My dad timed the entire flight from take-off to landing at roughly 25 minutes. We arrived in Maui, grabbed our luggage and rental van, and basically just hung out.

I will say, I like Oahu and Honolulu, dont get me wrong. But having been to Oahu AND Maui, I definitely prefer Maui. Honolulu is kind of the New York City of Hawaii. It is a tourist destination just like, say, Las Vegas or Times Square in New York. It is just too civililized, if that is the right word. Maui is much more lush and tropical. Yes, there are cities there, but NOTHING like Honolulu.

Anyway, the next day, we decided to do the infamous Road to Hana. This is probably the one thing people know of in Maui. It is narrow, windy, and a lot of times, one lane. And here is the crazy thing about it…we saw road work vehicles driving on this thing. NO guardrails or anything, and these crazy SOBs were driving trailers up there. If you do this, here is my advice. I learned this from locals and watching videos on YouTube. If you do Road to Hana, start at the end and work your way backwards. That way you are heading in the right direction back to civilization. Oh, and did I mention this thing is TERRIFYING to drive at night? Pitch black and ZERO guardrails, street lights, or traffic signals. Road to Hana is also called Divorce Highway because of how many arguments it causes between spouses.

We downloaded an app to help us pick specific spots to see. However, this app guide was only slightly helpful. Sure, it pointed out points of interest, but 9 times out of 10, he suggested we skip it. And this is a trip where you want to make frequent stops to see waterfalls and scenery unlike anything you have ever seen before. If you want an example, look no further than the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees. The bark on these trees is multicolored and stunning!

This day is when my mood started to skyrocket, in a good way. There is a spot called the Venus Pool. Venus Pool is a little interesting to get to. It is on private property. So in a way, you have to trespass to get there. There were a decent amount of locals there. The cool thing about this is if you didnt know Venus Pool was there, you would easily miss it. We drove right past it before realizing we had to turn around, and that was when we were actually looking for it.

So now you are at Venus Pool. What is there, you ask? Well I am glad you asked. Venus Pool is a great spot for cliff jumping. Not just one spot, either. No way. At Venus Pool, there are smooth rocks that get progressively higher and higher. When you are looking at it, it looks fairly high. But standing up there with the wind blowing you forward, and you are looking down into crystal clear water…its freaky. And once you get to the edge, there is no turning back. This was EPIC! A total freefall into probably 20 feet of water with rocks on either side of you. Talk about an adrenaline rush!

On the way back, I went into the Hana Lava Tube. A Lava Tube is essentially the remnants of a dormant volcano underground with dried lava flows. This was amazing to see! If you do it with a group, they give you an LED flashlight. Since I did it solo, the guy there gave me TWO flashlights…in case one died. It is a self-guided tour and let me tell you…thank God for those flashlight because it is PITCH BLACK in there! If you thought it gets dark where you are, take that darkness and pretty much double it. I could not see my hand 2 inches from my face. Still it was amazing to see this.

So after safely getting back into Kaanapali where we were staying, we checked into our hotel. Actually, we had checked in the night before, but the hotel messed up our room so we had to wait until the next day to get the room we ordered. I think God was screwing with us in this hotel room. We were on the top floor–the 6th. Guess what number our room was? 666. And no I am NOT kidding when I say that.

The next day was probably my favorite day of the trip. I had booked a morning whale watch with a company called Captain Steve’s. This did not get cancelled and guys…I was on Cloud Nine! We were in a little raft 3 miles offshore in Lahaina. I have been cage diving with sharks before and that was cool! I dont want to say this beat that, but seeing humpback whales jump freely and playing in open water with nothing between you and them was surreal. As an added bonus, we had Captain Steve himself at the wheel. We were probably at most 200 feet from the whales. It is illegal to get too close to the whales, but the whales can come as close to the boat as they want. Hell, we had one swim RIGHT UNDER our raft! Another one had its tail out of the water probably 50 feet or so from us. It was just amazing seeing these majestic animals in the wild and not in an aquarium.

That day I decided to jump off Black Rock. Black Rock is a sheer rock face that people jump off for a thrill. I had my GoPro on a wrist strap when I jumped. However the GoPro did not stay on my wrist. The impact of the water hitting sent to GoPro flying underwater. Thank God my dad dove down 20 feet and rescued it. So props to my dad for that.

That night, we went to Lahaina Historic District. This is the downtown area. We shopped around and ate dinner there. I bought a shirt from Fleetwood‘s on Front Street. This is a restaurant and bar owned by Mick Fleetwood from Fleetwood Mac.

The next day, Thursday, we drove around Lahaina. We stopped at a blowhole and saw it blow. That was pretty neat. Here is where I had kind of a rough experience. While hiking closer to the blowhole, I tripped and messed up my knee. There were rocks and dirt, so that added to injury. Not to mention it was bleeding pretty good. There is one other thing I had to get a picture of right on the trail to the blowhole. There is a wooden sign saying, “WARNING! STAY CLEAR OF BLOWHOLE. YOU CAN BE SUCKED IN AND KILLED! IT IS NOT A WATER PARK!” So that was interesting.

After seeing the blowhole, we drove to a place called Turtle Town. And what a trip it was to get there! Picture what I said about Road to Hana and put it on a steep one-way incline, again with no traffic lights. This was scary! I do not get freaked out easily, but this was pretty damn close!

Friday we stayed by the pool until dinnertime. And WHAT A DINNER THIS WAS! My mom booked a sunset dinner cruise in Lahaina. I loved everything about this! The drinks were good, the shrimp I had was FANTASTIC, and as an added bonus…WE SAW WHALES! Not just any whales, but a mom and baby whale splashing around near the boat. We probably saw 8-10 whales that night. It was supposed to be a scenic sunset, but we were paying WAY more attention to the free entertainment. Having said that, we did get pictures of the sunset and it was glorious!

Saturday I was supposed to snorkel at the Molokini Crater, but my mom said no. She did not want me doing it on my own. As a compromise, the owner told us of a spot where he and his wife go snorkeling. This beach was rocky but the water was glass smooth and crystal clear! My kind of snorkel conditions! AND as an added bonus, the beach had a pathway that led to a famous person’s house. Not just any famous person but Steven Tyler from Aerosmith. NOW you can only go to a certain point before you are turned around and you are not allowed to snorkel on that part of the beach. Either way, I saw Steven Tyler’s house so that is pretty cool!

We spent a few hours on the beach. My dad looked like a kid in a candy store in the waves. He was having the time of his life riding those waves in! It did rain while we were there, but again, it stopped after 10 minutes.

From there we went back to Kaanapali Beach. I decided I wanted to snorkel closer to Black Rock a little ways down from where we set up. And am I glad I did that! There were two MASSIVE turtles swimming around there. You can get as close to the turtles as possible but it is illegal to touch them. So I did the next best thing. I swam DIRECTLY BESIDE this gigantic turtle. It was like it was just me and the turtle in the water. The turtle did not care, either. He was just swimming along, doing his thing. Thankfully I had the GoPro to get that on film.

That night, my parents and Aunt and Uncle went to dinner. I opted to stay back due to being tired. However I did get a shirt from Crazy Shirts that is dyed with volcanic ash. So after getting a bite to eat from a food truck, I headed back to our hotel to turn in for the night.

Yesterday, Sunday, we had lunch and headed to the Maui airport for our long journey home. I have to say, as I am sitting here at LAX about to board my plane back to Dulles, drinking a coffee, it seemed longer coming back than it did going. It might be because our flight was overnight or because I am anxious to get home to my animls and my own bed. But I think I prefer early morning flights to ones later.

I know at the beginning of this post I said I was in Honolulu. I was in the middle of writing and had to board the plane so I am finishing up in Los Angeles, California.

I had a great 2 weeks–well 12 days–in Hawaii traveling and sightseeing, but I am excited to go home. I know I will probably be back on Maui someday so I know it is not a permanent goodbye to this tropical paradise. So that was my time in Hawaii. I loved every minute of it–even the parts I said were so-so–but now it is time to go back to my beloved home in Baltimore. Thanks for reading!

-Tom

Author: AuTom Spectrum Blog

I have Autism and am a self-advocate and public speaker. On the side I do stand-up comedy. I live in Baltimore County and have an AMAZING girlfriend

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