Thursday, June 21, 2007

Frugal Bastard's Hawaii Trip 2007 - 24/5/07

Four forty five am. Mad panic. Alarm went off, wake up call, second alarm. I didn't want to sleep in and miss the boat trip. Luckily we didn't rely on the alarm clock as there was a power outage during the night.

Checked our baggage with reception at 5:10 and drove down to Port Allen to join Holo Holo Charters for our cruise/snorkelling tour. Had 10 minutes to spare for our 6am check-in. Cost was $135/adult and $95 for the kid plus taxes. Only 27 people turned up out of the 37 expected so there will be a few disappointed people who've blown a lot of money. They did receive a phone call from a group of four who became lost on the drive to town and they didn't make it. Too bad if they turned up late as they still had to pay up. Glad I scoped it out a few days ago.

Miky didn't feel too well early on although she'd taken a seasickness tablet. Our crew was Jeff the captain, Jeff (cousin of Andy Irons), Felia and David (both native Hawaiians).

Motored out to the Na Pali coast. Saw spinner dolphins but they weren't very excited. Not half as excited as the people on board were to see them. Next came a larger pod of dolphins and a group of honu (turtles). Had a close-up look as some arches and sea caves with wild goats and waterfalls to see also. Then we took off from the coast to do some sailing and got up a fair rate of knots.

It's not often the boy gets Coke for breakfast


More dolphins

Natural arch on Na Pali coast

Waterfall on Na Pali coast

Ancient burial ground on secluded beach on Na Pali coast

Jagged coastline

Contrasting beach and cliffs on Na Pali coast

Ahoy there cap'n

Picture postcard Na Pali

Back down the coast a bit and we pulled up for snorkelling. In the water was a man-of-war and sea lice and little creatures that stung us. Yu-Jin hopped in and had to get out to put his flippers on. As soon as he got in he wanted to get out again because he had been stung. Miky isn't a strong swimmer so she required a noodle.

Hammy snorkelling with Jeff Irons in the background

There wasn't a lot of fish or colourful coral to see. I took a dive and after coming up I noticed that there were only three of us left in the water. I was wondering if something dangerous had been spotted but it was most likely to have been due to the stingers. Bunch of wusses.

Before all of this we had a continental breakfast - bread and fruit - although Captain Jeff had warned us that eating fruit was not good for our stomachs. Later I noticed that Captain Jeff was tucking into lots of fruit and challenged him that there was nothing wrong with eating the fruit and it was just that he wanted it all for himself. He motioned "shh" to me. Man, the Americans on board were wasting. They would grab heaps of food and end up throwing half of it away. Pretty disgusting really. The other Jeff sarcastically thanked everybody for leaving so much food because they had a Japanese man who cleaned the bins and fed the leftovers to his dog who would be very happy.

The water was a little more choppy on the return leg but Yu-Jin stayed at the top at the front for the whole journey, getting wet in the process. The coastline was fabulous and deckhand Jeff had lots of great stories. The dolphins were a little more active on the way back. Lunch was a fabulous array of meats, cheeses and fruit.

As we pulled into the harbour Jeff told us that he gave a prize to the best passenger, a handmade basket, and that Yu-Jin would be the recipient. I was concerned that we wouldn't get it past quarantine in Australia but was grateful to accept it. We arrived back just after 12. Certainly worth the early start to the day.

Jeff Irons

Holo Holo Charters' Leila - our boat

Bit of window shopping before going through the McDonalds drive-thru for a $1.34 coffee. Drove back to Lydgate Park so that Yu-Jin could play on the big playground. We were all a bit pooped by then. Picked up our luggage from the resort and drove into town to fill up the car with fuel before returning it.

Filling up the car was an exercise in itself. There was a choice of self- or full-service bowsers. Once I was able to park next to a bowser I couldn't find the petrol cap release. Fumbled around for about a minute and then got out of the car, popped the cap manually and found that there was no locking mechanism. Strange for a new car I thought. Also, you couldn't open the back door when the petrol cap was open. Nice idea that. Put my credit card into the bowser and then it asked me to lift the nozzle and then the lever. I lifted the nozzle but didn't know what lever it was talking about. Finally worked out that the lever was situated underneath where the nozzle sits. Even then I had to try twice to get the petrol pumping. Must have looked like a right twit. We did 220 miles on 12.1 US gallons. Petrol was US$3.591/US gallon.

Back to the car rental at the airport and the guy read the mileage via an electronic device. Cool. Didn't have to pay anything extra for all of the dirt that we had deposited in the back. Our rental car was an 8-seater Dodge Grand Caravan with four-on-the-tree. In and out of the car rental within two minutes and then a courtesy bus just for us to go to the terminal.

Had to go through airport security again and Miky hadn't brought a clear ziplock bag for toiletries in carry-on luggage. And the security people weren't overly helpful. In Australia they had these bags available. Such a hassle. It sucks to be a woman.

Our flight was delayed by some 36 minutes due to it arriving late and then having a computer fault which required the computer to be rebooted. Missed our original flight to Hilo and left Honolulu after we should have arrived in Hilo (had an interconnecting flight to make). We sat apart even though a woman behind us wanted to change seats so that Yu-Jin could sit with me. Call me a bad parent but I was happy for him to sit away from me as he has to behave himself and he can talk his head off to the person sitting next to him.

Originally we were to be sitting apart on the Hilo flight but our rescheduled flight had us sitting right at the rear of the plane together. Yu-Jin had the window seat but no window. We were unable to put the seats back either.

After arriving at the airport over an hour late we walked to the car rental. Little bit of trouble issuing the correct insurance and then when we went to load up the car because I couldn't locate the boot release. It turns out that the boot release, as there is also no key lock on the boot, is a double-click of the unlock button.

Found Uncle Billy's Hilo Bay Hotel ok but there is only street parking available. It's a very busy place. The time was 8:30 before we headed down for tea at Uncle Billy's Steakhouse and they had some guy playing a ukulele and singing. He was almost as bad as a runner-up to William Hung. The meal was a nice size, the water service was excellent and it was nice when the entertainment stopped so I paid a 10% tip.

Note to self - don't let wife do holiday shopping before you check into a hotel for a third floor room which has no elevator access.

1 comment:

Gabriel said...

Wow they let Jeff get a license and drive a boat and at Holo Holo. Wow the whole boating industry has gone down hill over there I remember when the Boating industry on Kauai had standards.