Flight life: Our Christmas trip to Honolulu, Hawaii
Updated: Jan 10, 2020
It's been a while... sorry about that. But I'm back! and I'm so excited to share with you our adventures in Hawaii for Christmas time!
It kind of all started when I was meeting Decker at the airport for a day together before he headed back to work ( he only had a short layover so I drove up to meet him and spend a few hours with him.) He popped in the car, and I started to drive and he turned to me and said "You want to go to Hawaii for Christmas?" simple as that. then we jumped right in to planning our first official vacation using our flight benefits.
Skip ahead about 2 weeks, and we had chosen an airbnb and were feverishly searching the non rev list to see if we could make it to Hawai'i on the Monday that we had planned to head out. That morning we had our bags packed, and our little Weiner dog safely tucked away in grandma's arms, and we were off to the airport to try to catch the flight! By some miracle we got on the flight, and 8 hours in economy later I had come the farthest that I ever had before, and I looked out the airpot window at the beautiful Honolulu, Hawai'i.
I think it's important to note that we had absolutely no plans except Pear harbor. We just kind of thought, "let's have fun" and with that we were on our merry little way together walking down the shores of Waikiki, and finding little spots to eat and for decker to snap pictures.
The first full day that we were there it was perfect out side. We thought we would head over to Pear harbor, and get all of the touristy things done first, and then do all of the beach lounging, and other things the last two days. What we didn't anticipate was that we were going to buy the full pass of Pear harbor, and spend about 5 hours there exploring, and having the time of our lives.
We started with the USS Arizona memorial. You first go to a little theatre where they show a super informative film of the exact events of Pearl Harbor and why they happened. Decker and I loved that part, It really put us right in the history of it all, and it was a great way to start off the whole tour of the USS Arizona. What we didn't know was that the actual memorial is closed because of foundation issues. I think its scheduled to open soon, but for now they have a little ferry boat tour that takes you to the memorial, and tells the whole story of the USS Arizona as you float by. Its pretty amazing to go so close and look down into the water. Decker got some pretty awesome pictures too.
After they boat you back to the dock, we got off, and headed over to the USS Bowfin, which is a short walk from the dock. The Bowfin is an actual submarine. like... what? when I say that I had no idea what to expect out of Pearl Harbor, that is a HUGE understatement. the USS Bowfin is actually an audio tour, and you can follow along with numbers posted all over the submarine. It takes a while, but it was super fun to go, and now say that I've been on a real submarine!
If you are really into it, there is a little museum to the side of the actual Bowfin, that can tell you more interesting facts, and fun things about the navel forces, and the people that actually operated the submarines in WWII.
Next was time to head to the huge battleship the USS Missouri. (Decker was most excited for this.) Listen ya'll. I can't even tell you how huge this was. I swear for ever door we opened there were 134234 more behind it. Every floor was more exciting that the last. It felt really interactive, and so much fun to see how each sailor lived, where they slept, what they ate. (listen this place was like summer camp on crack. the had a room purely for making fresh donuts in the morning.) It was honestly AMAZING. To top it off there was a cute statue of the nurse and the sailor kissing on Times Square in front of the ship. If you can go to one thing in all of Pear Harbor, I would try and come here. They even have guides that will take you around the entire ship and tell you awesome facts (I assume) or you can opt out and take yourself around. Thats what we decided to do.
Other than the Battleship, there is an aviation museum, and a hangar filled with a ton of old WWII airplanes and it was fun to go look around. Also, they do have a few little places to eat around, like in the aviation museum, and outside of the USS Bowfin.
So the Arizona, Missouri, Bowfin, and Aviation museum were all amazing, and we really enjoyed our time not only exploring historical sites, and enjoying diving into history, but really the whole Harbor is stunning. There are so many places to sit and enjoy looking into the waters and feeling the breeze on our faces. We decided next time we were back, we wanted to do it all again. We seriously loved it.
After Pear harbor, we really took it easy. That was our main attraction the whole time we were there.
So after exploring Pearl Harbor the majority of our day, we decided to go get something to eat, and take the scenic drive up to Laie, and get something to eat at the 7 brothers Burger shop. I kid you not. Best burgers we have had in a LONG time. I had the teriyaki burger, and I was in awe. We straight up scarfed those puppies down.
After we were super full and back in the car, we headed over to the Laie Temple. We were both super excited to go and check out the beautiful building, even just to walk on the grounds was a special sight for Decker and I. We headed into the visitor's center next to the temple, and talked with some sweet sister missionaries who shared a simple message about the love our God has for each of us. If you have a chance to stop by, you really should. You don't have to be a member of The church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints to go in the visitors center, or to just walk around the beautiful grounds. It's a must see in Hawaii.
We went back to our hotel and got some sleep for the next day.
So when we woke up it was our last full day in Hawaii! We wanted to hit up the beaches around the north shore. But the big thing that we did was go snorkeling! I had never done anything related to snorkeling before, so to say I was nervous is a huge understatement. Decker has been trying to get me scuba certified for a while, but I can't put through my head how I can actually survive underwater while having to do math. The math alone will kill me. Literally. But instead we decided to take it easy, and Deck assured me that nothing would happen that would put my life at risk.
We headed down to the Beautiful Hanauma, Bay. Some guy at a pizza place on Waikiki told us that Hanauma bay was the best place on Honolulu to go snorkeling. So we suited up, and headed down about 30 min from Waikiki.
So things that you should know about the bay, when you get to the park there are some beautiful views just walking in. There is a 7 dollar fee per person to get in, and a short video that you have to watch to inform each visitor about the bay, and how to keep it alive. At the end of the video you can sign a piece of paper if you plan on gong back again within the year that you sign it so you can opt out of watching the video next time you go!
After the video they give you a stamp on your arm and you are free to either take a shuttle (I think its like 4 bucks a person each ride?) or walk down a pretty steep hill. At the bottom of the hill there is a shack where you can rent snorkeling gear for pretty cheap if you didn't bring your own. We had everything except flippers, They make you rent a Locker too for a few dollars or so if you want to keep valuables in there, which is what we did. We thought it would be smart since we wanted to snorkel together instead of having someone else there to watch all of our stuff like normal families.
So Let me tell you. The views alone are worth the 7 dollars. But when you actually get onto the beach and go in the water to snorkel, It's filled with all sorts of beautiful marine life, and coral. We had so much fun swimming together and exploring. Decker was sweet enough to hold my hand as we swam side by side, and even pointed out a tiny baby octopus in the coral reef.
There are all sorts of parrot fish of all different colors, and if you are lucky enough, like I was, you might even get pushed over by a wave and go face first into the water and put your entire hand on a nasty squish sea cucumber, and proceed to scream through a snorkel mask and tube. We got out of the water after that. I was traumatized both that I killed the creature and that I was going to contract some scary infection. Plus how squishy it was was really upsetting. It gave me the shivers.
Other than that, we enjoyed going to the bay so much that we still talk about how that was our favorite part of the trip! It was well worth the 7 dollar entry. I would recommend going there to anyone. (also important to note that we left all of our valuables in the car so we only got a couple pictures and videos overlooking the Bay. I still regret this.)
After the bay we headed back to our hotel and enjoyed the sunset over Waikiki, and then we walked around to the shops and enjoyed taking a ton of pictures together.
The next day was our last day in Hawaii! We were so sad to leave, but before we did I insisted that we try and go to the Dole Pineapple plantation. I'm seriously so glad that I did. It was absolutely stunning. There is an entry fee for each activity, and they also have package deals if you want to do more than one thing. Decker and I decided to do the Pineapple Express train tour, and the garden walk. There is also a maze ( the world's largest) that you can go on too. I think we paid 12 dollars a person to get on the train, and into the garden, and that was just perfect for us. It's also free to get into the little store, and Grille area. There are tons of little ladies with carts to pick out your own pearl, and Decker was sweet and let me pick one out. The train tour was so much longer than we thought. I think it was around 30 min, and it went through the whole plantation. It was fun to enjoy the view, and smell pineapples everywhere. It was also gorgeous, and covered from the light rain that fell as we were on the tracks, and within a few minutes the rain had stopped and we were in the main building buying a dole whip.
When people say that the Pineapple in Hawaii is the best pineapple, they are not talking it up enough. That was the sweetest pineapple I've ever ate. we contemplated going back for more on our way to the airport after we had had lunch.
After the pineapple plantation, that's about all the time we had before getting to the airport to try and catch a flight back home. ( That non rev life.)
We really had the best time in Hawaii. although it was a short trip, we loved every minute of our time together. It was fun to just relax, and explore together. It was the best time that we have had in a long time.
If you want to see more about our trip, We made a little travel log on my Youtube Channel (My Backstage life, or Krista Galke) It's my first video ever, and i'm super proud of it, even though its not the best. Every blog I post about us traveling will have a vlog on my youtube, so go check it out!
But until the next time we travel, or the next blog that I post, Blue Skies and a Tail wind! I hope y'all who are headed to Hawaii found this helpful, and those who just are here to read this found it fun to follow along.