I have had grand intentions of writing this blog post since Christmas 2017. (It’s May 2019). Oops! Better late than never, though, so here we go!
As a way of celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, my in-laws invited the whole family (their three kids and their spouses and all seven grandchildren) to spend Christmas in Hawaii, where they had spent time training for the Peace Corps and as a young family. It was a special gift and a lot of fun for everyone!
We started our trip on Oahu at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. This is a sprawling beachfront resort (think pink drinks with umbrellas, paddle-boarding in the lagoon, pool after pool, etc.). It was a great place to unwind for a couple of days after a tough semester and served as home base for our Honolulu adventures: Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center.
After a couple of days in Oahu, it was time for the Big Island. All 15 of us flew from Oahu to Kona, where we piled into minivans and arrived at a house about 20 minutes from Kona. The house fit all of us and was right across a quiet residential lane from a set of secluded lava-rock beaches where we swam, looked for sea creatures, and enjoyed watching the sea turtles bask in the sun.
Our days on the Big Island were full! We went out on a snorkeling trip, where we saw dolphins and flying fish (amazing) and enjoyed paddling around the water. (Neither of the girls liked the snorkeling equipment and neither did I, if we are being honest, but we all loved splashing around and seeing the fish!) We also drove over to the other side of the island to enjoy a day at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, where we had the chance to explore Kīlauea just a few days before it erupted.
Other highlights of our full week: C co-piloted a flight over the island and went out on a fishing expedition. The girls enjoyed swimming at the beach and house pool and playing with their cousins. I enjoyed yoga, a local farmer’s market and exploring the island’s different climates. My favorite activity, though: surfing lessons with an instructor named Surfer Bear and his fantastic team. These guys made our first time surfing fun and relaxing and I would keep going back to surf with them any day!
Our time in Hawaii was undoubtedly special – a time to celebrate ohana and the unique adventures of the islands.