Ellyn Goes Down on Diamond Head

Lauren and I finally hiked Diamond Head after being here for 3 months. It was a beautiful day! This picture was taken at a look out half way up the mountain. We had to walk up a lot of stairs. When I say we walked, I really mean I walked and Lauren ran up the stairs.
At the top of all the stairs was another set of stairs. Spiral this time. Lauren is hiding at the bottom. I already mentioned she likes to run the stairs.
The view was beautiful at the top. The water was amazing.
You can see Waikiki in this picture. In the foreground you can see an old military bunker. Diamond Head used to be a military lookout.
This is the view to the East and you can see the crater of Diamond Head to the left.
This is the water we play in all the time. I'm a pretty lucky girl! I can't wait to take a visitor up here.
We were having a great time and decided to be athletic and run back down the trail. My clumsy self fell running full speed downhill. I was holding a camera and a water bottle in my hands...so when I went down I fell into the rock wall and skidded down on my right side. Lauren would be happy to imitate the sound I made on the way down for anyone. I promptly went for antibiotic ointment and band-aids after the hike.


Turtle Beach, Shark's Cove, Sunset Beach & Turtle Bay

Lauren, Valerie and I took a little trip up to the North Shore. We first stopped at Turtle Beach. There aren't any pictures because the turtles were all in the water and hard to see and capture with photography. We saw several pop their heads out of the water and a few waved to us. Then we went to Shark's Cove. The picture above is of Lauren and Valerie in the tide pool at Shark's Cove.

Here's my first video posting. I took it at Shark's Cove. Sorry it's a little jerky.

The water was pretty clear. The day was overcast and we didn't feel like getting in the water. The cove where the snorkeling is really best was extremely rough with winter waves. We may have to wait until May to snorkel here. Next stop was Sunset Beach. We chilled on the beach and watched surfers catch the waves.
I wanted to see the famous Turtle Bay Resort. So we headed up the road. I was not that impressed...I was expecting something along the lines of the Grand Hyatt we saw in Kaua'i, which Turtle Bay was not.
In the lobby they had a surf board signed by the last 35 winners of the Triple Crown of surfing. I felt it was a perfect picture opportunity!
After a few cocktails at the pool bar. We took a few pictures by the water at the resort.
We found the hot tub...we'll be sneaking in there next time we're at the North Shore! The view behind me is the view from the hot tub. Finished the day with a little shopping and then headed back to Waikiki.


Kaua'i Day 3

After a yummy breakfast of French Toast and hot chocolate for me...we headed back to the snorkeling beach I mentioned in Day 2. Day 3 weather in Kaua'i was absolutely perfect. Meredith had been telling us about this odd fruit she had the last time she was on Kaua'i. We happened upon a road side stand selling this fruit called rambutan which stands for hairy lychee. Up close picture of a rambutan. This one has been opened. It looks and has the texture of a large peeled grape. You put the entire white fruit in your mouth and then munch around the seed (about the size of an almond). Me with a rambutan. The woman selling the fruit had to give us a lesson on how to open the tough hairy outer covering. Me demonstrating how to eat a rambutan. Sweet and a little tart. Very yummy!
Giant container filled with colorful rambutan. We bought a few to take with us to the beach.
Picture of a nice day at the beach. There was a tiny island just off shore surrounded by lava rock. I ventured out to the island with Niffer; not our most graceful moments of the day. Lots of coral reef on this beach which is why it's good for snorkeling. The reef was full of sea urchins and brightly colored fish. We were able to see a humpback whale off in the distance. He was swimming on his side holding his fin out of the water and then slapping it on the surface. Niffer had binoculars so we could get a good look. Very cool!!!
Just thought this was a nice picture of the beach. I think you may know the bathing beauty on the left if you look hard enough.
This beach was full of wildlife. I mentioned the chickens from the day before...they were still there roaming around between people's beach towels. There were also monk seals up on the beach. They are an endangered species and are only found in the Hawaiian islands. When they beach for sun and rest, the lifeguards put up a rope to keep people at a distance and there are signs posted like the ones above.
There was one seal on the beach when we arrived and a second one came ashore while we were there. I enjoyed seeing him move around on land and roll around in the sand on his own because I was thinking of throwing chex mix at the lazy one to get a rise out of him. Just kidding! I have a video of this seal too. You can find it when I post the waterfall video.
After an afternoon at the beach, we headed over to a different hotel/resort for lunch. There was a lot of lava rock on the beach near the hotel.
One last picturesque view of Lauren by the water. We enjoyed our trip and will surely be going back to Kaua'i before we leave Hawai'i. Special thanks goes out to Niffer and Meredith for being our tour guides and chauffeur.

Kaua'i Day 2

We got an early start the next day. We drove up to Waimea Canyon Lookout with hopes of seeing beautiful views and going on a short hike. But unfortunately we only saw clouds. We went up pretty high on the mountain and the temperature dropped to the 50s. Brrrrr!!! There was a huge storm system moving over the state that day. They actually closed school and the college on three islands in anticipation of 60mph wind, thinking that the power would go out. It just rained on and off all day. Too wet for a hike. When driving down from the canyon view it cleared up for a little bit. We were happy to see some views and get a few pictures. Every time the weather made a turn for the better Meredith would say "Hey guys, it looks like it's clearing up!". Then it would literally start raining 5 minutes later. We banned her from saying it after the 4th time. Make sure you click on the picture above, you will be able to see the background much better, please note how low the clouds are. Made a stop at a beach where it is good to snorkel, but no one wanted to change into a swim suit. I mean...do you see the palm trees in the background??? You can tell the wind picked up! Of course it started to down pour while we were at the beach and get windy (please note that 60mph winds are just short of hurricane strength). We stood under the picnic awning with the chickens. Side note: We have seen chickens on Oahu, but there are 10 times more chickens running around the entire island of Kaua'i. I've jokingly heard the rooster is the state bird of Hawaii!
I don't know the name of this waterfall, but it was pretty impressive. The water in the pool below is brown because of all the rain I've already mentioned, but all the rain also made the waterfall nice and full. Lauren kept looking for a barrel to ride down the falls in. Fortunately we talked her out of it. I actually took a video of the waterfall. I'll try and post that a later date. I haven't ventured into posting video yet, but look out it's coming soon!
A picture of me and the waterfall. You can see how close we were to it.
Even though I was cold from the weather, I decided I needed some Hawaiian shaved ice. I had strawberry and grape! The perfect afternoon treat before nap time.
We met back up later that night and had cocktails at a beautiful hotel on the beach, the Grand Hyatt. I'm not sure why Lauren didn't book our rooms here...maybe it had something to do with the "Grand" part of the hotel. We played pool, listened to some jazz, and did a little people watching.
Even though the weather was not optimal, it was a nice day. And we have already started a list of what we want to do on our next trip to Kaua'i. Day 3 coming soon!


Vacation to Kaua'i Day 1

The happy couple took a three day trip to the island of Kaua'i. Kaua'i is the island where the opening shots of Jurassic Park were filmed. It is laid back and none of the towns are very big. It's no urban metropolis like where we live in Honolulu. This is us excited and waiting for our plane. The two peas were off for an adventure! We met up with 2 nursing friends we know from Phoenix. They came to Kaua'i for vacation last year...so we had our own personal tour guides. Kaua'i is the Garden Island. We took pictures with the sign above and heard the peanut gallery at baggage claim comment,"We must have some first timers!". We promptly shared that we were currently residence of the Aloha State and then had them take our picture. I didn't post those pictures because they turned out too dark in my opinion. Niffer and Meredith quickly found out how much Lauren and I like to document our adventures by photograph.
Just picking up a few guides or twenty for activities on the island while we waited. Our friends were on a different flight about 30 minutes behind us.
While driving to our hotel we stopped to see a waterfall.
The waterfall is off to the left.
A few drinks at the pool bar with Niffer (short for Jennifer) and Meredith before heading to bed! Stay tuned for days 2 and 3!

Winnie Update

Quick note about Winnie...Some people already know, but for those who don't Winnie lost a driver's window this past week. The window fell off the brackets and into the door. Lauren had to drive her to work and I drove her around the next day with the window banging around in the door. Short story...I got her a quick fix and her window works great now! Was hoping to get the door handle fixed, but apparently Hyundai parts aren't just sitting around the shop. Maybe next time!

Dad's Quick Trip

Dad was here for a quick visit last week. Before spending some time at the beach, I took him to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific; also known as the Punchbowl Cemetery. Lots of steps to go up!
The little person to the lower right of the statue is my Dad.
At the cemetery they have maps of the complete war in the pacific. Here's a picture of Dad reading the maps. We had a nice little visit. So nice to see my Dad once a month since I've been here!


Happy New Year 2009!

Happy New Year!
Lauren and I had some bubbly to get the evening started. We had our own personal dance party while getting ready. One of my favorite parts of the night!
We started the evening with dinner at Mike's. I wore a full length bib so as not to spill anything on my bone colored dress. It was all function and no fashion, therefore no picture.We had around 15 people in our party. We all met at Mike's and then piled into cabs to head to the pier. We were on a catamaran with 800 of our closest friends. Just kidding! Of course Lauren and I rang in the New Year together. Aren't we cute! Here's a full length view of our new party dresses! Our friend Cora is on the right. She's also a nurse and will soon be working at Tripler in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit. Lauren introduced me to a new cocktail named the Springwater. I'm a fan! We had VIP tickets and our tables came with bottles of vodka...so we had to be creative with only vodka. The bonus to drinking Springwater is that it's a clear drink which is good for me because I'm the clumsy one! This picture had to be after a few Springwaters, but before I lost my phone! Hope everyone had as much fun as we did on New Year's!