at least for the foreseeable future.
George and Kimi moved their family to Utah (Mountain Green) in October when his time in the Air Force was done, so we wanted to get back to the islands one last time while we still had a free place to stay, so we made plans to go in early August. Ben came back from his mission there in June, and hoped to be able to come with us, but ended up getting a pretty good job with the Utah Athletics department and wasn't able to make it.
The reason we went when we did was so that we could be there for my niece Lucy's baptism, and that was one of the fun activities we did.
Let me go through my pictures and see if I can remember what all we did. (This is the problem with blogging about things 4.5 months after they happen.)
Wednesday around midday, Natalie, Mom, and I flew out of Salt Lake. We got there relatively uneventfully and spent the evening taking it easy and playing with the kids.
Austin and Cole playing with the bubble gun toy that mom brought
Cole riding on his plasma cycle
Thursday morning, per tradition, we got up early and headed out to Hanauma Bay for some early morning snorkeling. As usual, it was great! We quickly found several turtles, and as I was paddling around in the fairly shallow end with Natalie, we happened upon a very colorful eel AND two (yes two!) relatively large octopi, hanging out in the reef. We found George who came over and checked them out and did his best to try to retrieve one of them from its hiding place, but was unsuccessful.
I think that's me with a turtle
Natalie with a turtle
Here's the eel that was just a few feet away from the octopi
Best of our octopus pictures
Thursday afternoon, we picked dad up at the airport (he'd had some stuff to take care of in town), and went to a shave ice place in Honolulu, where George bought the biggest one they sell ("the Larry"), a significant portion of which ended up on the sidewalk eventually.
"The George with "The Larry"
Friday, we spent the day up north. We first hit the beach just past Shark's cove for some hang out on the beach and play in the water and do some snorkeling time.
Tripp family tradition: slathering on the sunscreen
Boogie boarding cousins
We doubled back to Kahuku for lunch at Kahuku Grill. Tasty! Plus there was lots of rusty abandoned sugar mill machinery for the kids to climb on. As best as I could tell no one got tetanus, but I'm sure that was just good luck. :)
Cool spot for pictures
At that point, we split up the group a bit and some of us went back north to the Dole plantation and to check out the beach up north where there are always turtle hanging out. I've often been stuck in slow traffic as people stop there to look or let others cross the street, but I'd never actually stopped to go check out the turtles. There were some big ones! and apparently an even bigger one out in the water. (I was hanging out with Cole on the beach). While we were there, we got to see one of the turtles on the beach turn around and head out into the ocean, so that was cool, too.
Cole's more interested in the water than he is in the turtle
Just the turtle
Saturday was the day of the Lucy's baptism, and my first real chance to experience a Hawaiian ward activity up close and personal. Kimi (and the rest of us, by extension) went all out. Chris got sent out down some dirt road to pick up the roast pig. I had to go babysit the printer who was making the programs and printing some photos (they'd missed seeing Kimi's email). Grandpa Ed took kiddos to a birthday party at the beach. Everyone else was busy working on fruit, and other baptism-themed goodies (donuts on sticks to make "8"s, etc). I didn't take any pictures, but Kimi's blog does a good job covering it all.
In the end it was quite the event. Lucy did a great job playing and singing a baptism song ("I like to look for rainbows") on her ukulele, and the whole program was very nice, and then the luau afterward was lots of fun and well attended. The ward members also brought lots of food to share, and lots of them stayed afterward to help us clean up.
Sunday I don't remember much. I imagine it was a fairly lazy day recovering from Saturday, plus one last time to church at the Kaneohe (2nd?) ward. It was my 6th time there, and people were genuinely sad to hear that we might not be back again. We also blessed George and Kimi's newest kiddo, Erik. Kimi posted some pictures from that day as well.
Monday most of us (Lucy & Elise had to go to school) went to the Botanical gardens for a picnic lunch and to get in some quality time with the fish and the birds.
Pretty good spot for a picnic
Natalie and Cole feeding the ducks and fish
With two of my nephews
Monday afternoon, quite a few of us went for a little hike up on a jungly trail (the Maunawili Trail) by the mountains. There were some cool streams trickling by and some nice views down to the valley and beaches below. I had fun hiking with Austin and Elise.
Austin the Explorer
Viewpoint on the trail
Some of the jungle view
Chinaman's hat in the distance
Elise at the end of our hike
After that we got pizza for dinner, and I found out that pizza in Hawaii is expensive. :) We had a 2-for-1 coupon, so we ordered 4 large pizzas. Went to pick them up and they said "that'll be $50, please", and I said "Oh, but we had a 2-for-1 coupon". "Yes, we got that." "Wait, so how much is the regular price?" "One large pizza is $25." "Oh."
Tuesday evening we were headed to spend the night at some cabin/apartments over at Bellows Air Force Base beach, and as best as I can remember we spent the day Tuesday working on getting ready for that. We headed over sometime in the afternoon, and had a nice night hanging out by the beach, watching crabs scurry around the rocks along the shore, then a nice dinner mostly done by the Coles, I think, followed by some late night chatting.
One of the numerous crabs
Kimi and Natalie leaving George behind
Moonlight on the ocean
Early Wednesday morning I was laying awake in bed, and thinking that I ought to go down to the beach and watch the sun come up, because I might not ever have a more convenient chance to do so. I eventually did get myself out of bed and go down to the beach. I watched ghost crabs pop in and out of the sand while I waited for the sun to come up. At some point George and Kimi came down as well. The sky was getting pretty bright and I was wondering if at some point we'd already missed sunrise, due to some clouds near the horizon, but luckily we hadn't. When the sun finally did come up, it was definitely a beautiful sight. Well worth getting out of bed for.
We spent some time that morning boogie boarding (I caught my first wave!), and I played Uno with Lucy until I was finally able to beat her once. We also worked on teaching her how to shuffle and how to bridge.
Kimi and Cole on the beach
Playing Uno with Lu
Eventually we got packed up and headed back to the house, and eventually got cleaned up and packed up at the house as well, and then it was one last time waving goodbye to everyone on the wall as we headed back to the airport.
More photos from this trip on my Flickr account
Definitely one of my favorite trips ever!