Big Island: Day 1

Oh boy, I have no idea how my droopy eyelids are still open. Today started out shortly before 4:30am, and it’s not like I awoke after a nice, long, restful sleep, what with a darling 3 month old and all.

But the H1 was so sparse by the time we hit the road at 5:30am to catch our early flight to the Big Island, that if that was the normal traffic around here I’d be tempted to stay on Oahu forever. Alas.

Anyway, we decided this year to go on a proper family vacation as our Christmas gift to one another. A whole lot of undivided togetherness. We may be rethinking the brilliance of this, ha. But we haven’t had a legitimate family vacation since I was pregnant with Sweet M, so it was time. Yes, we’ve travelled a ton, but it’s all been work-related or to visit loved ones – fun, of course, but not a family vacation.

Anyway, we chose the Big Island because J has been here and it’s super close and there is just so much to do and see. I’m going to need to be able to drink a lot more before ever traveling far with Sweet M again after flying to Oahu from the mainland. Kidding, just kidding. Maybe.

Anyway, it was a our first flight all together as a family of six, so that was cool. And the flight was short enough that no one lost their minds. B may or may not have been devastated that I didn’t allow him to bring any electronics on this trip. As I said, a whole lot of togetherness.

Our first line of business, after acquiring our rental vehicle, was acquiring breakfast. We went to a local joint we were pointed to, and out of kindness I won’t mention their name. The food was so-so but the service was awful. Fortunately I was hungry enough to let it go.

The kids were acting kind of cray-cray so J and I agreed to just enjoy the day doing and seeing the things we really wanted to do and they’d just have to pull it together. Not our normal kid show.

So we headed south in the direction of where we were staying and first hit up Captain Cook’s Monument. The kids weren’t terribly impressed but they at least indulged me by getting out of the car with me while J stayed with the sleeping babies.

Then we were off to Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, where the kids were given scavenger hunt sheets with various Hawaiian words and definitions, and snippets of photos to find and match with the words.

We ventured through the historic sites and enjoyed the beautiful coastline.

And sea turtles!

The kids were absolutely enthralled with the lava rock beach. Miss H caught a hermit crab and retreated to the sweet serene of herself being one with nature, while Sweet M explored the shallow puddles and Mr. B acted the ninja, jumping from rock to rock.

There was so much history and culture and richness to be explored here. If it weren’t for our rumbling tummies and being a bit hot (it was the desert side!), I could have spent a lot more time there.

We stopped for gas and snacks before heading further toward our destination.

J decided to detour to the southern most peak of the island, which is also the most southern point of the United States.

As we drove nearer to the water I saw what looked like a white wave in the distance. The water was fairly calm and I didn’t think it was a wave, but I also didn’t want to make assumptions only to be let down.

But oh my goodness was I right!

A whale!!!

I saw it surface and go back under. The second J parked I grabbed Bean and hightailed it to the whale, leaving the others behind.

I stood on the shore all alone, feeding my baby, watching two whales surface over and over again. And then I witnessed the famous whale tail from the water.

It will go down as one of the most peaceful, beautiful moments of my life. The feelings of being in the presence of one of the greatest creatures in the world, oh my goodness. It’s indescribable.

I cannot wait to go whale watching and be even closer. Such beauty. Such power. Such grace.

By this time we were starving, having missed lunch all together as it was now passed 5pm (the Big Island is, um, big). So we loaded up our crazies and finally stopped at a little restaurant on our way, still, to our lodging.

The food was fairly decent, the waitstaff friendly, and the weather beautiful.

By the time we finally made it to the Volcano where we are staying all the kiddos were out so J drove further down the road so I could get out and see the amazing lava and the red glow that fills the sky here.

It’s been a long, beautiful, eventful day. I am so, so thankful for this life I lead.

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