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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hawaii Trip: Cruise and Peal Harbor event November 26, to December 9, 2010

Norwegian Cruise Line Pride of America.  Passenger Capacity: 2,138 (double occupancy),  Gross Register Tonnage: 80,439 lbs.,  Overall Length: 921 feet,  Max Beam: 105 feet Draft: 26 feet Engines: Diesel Electric Cruise Speed: 22 knots, with a crew of 946.  I was on a destroyer in the Navy, a dingy compared to this massive ship the largest cruise ship that cruises in American waters.  
The cruise started in Honolulu on the island of Oahu leaving port at 7pm November 27, 2010 we traveled that first night to Kahului on the island of Maui arriving 8am November 28 and were in port  two full days leaving at 6pm on November 29.  We cruised the 3rd night of the trip to Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii arriving at 8am November 30 , spending one day there and leaving at 6pm we cruised for Kona on the western side of the Big Island arriving at 7am December 1.  In port there for 1 day and departed that evening at  6pm.  Crusing through the night we arrived  Naeiliwili on the island of Kauai at 8am on December 2, spending a full day, evening and part of the next day there leaving at 2 pm December 3 arriving Honolulu at 7am on Saturday morning December 4th 2010 .                                                                                           
 Our Hawaii trip had  been in the works for about 9 months as Susie and I were invited to join my sister and brother in law Sharon and Danny along with 8 of Danny's family, their son and our nephew Brian, Danny's uncle Clarence, his cousins, Carol and her husband Benny, Beverly and her husband Danny, Frank and his wife Helen.  The trip started upon arrival in Honolulu on November 26, 2010 and then we all boarded the  Norwegian Pride of America Cruise ship for a 7 day Cruise around the Hawaiian islands.  We then returned back to Honolulu for participation in the Pearl Harbor Survivor Convention scheduled in Honolulu to coincide with the dedication of a new visitor center at the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Honolulu.  Danny's uncle Clarence is a member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors as he was a Marine stationed in Honolulu on the actual day of the incident December 7, 1941, 69 years ago.  The trip was a huge success, Hawaii is as pretty as I thought it would be and having the opportunity to spend time with Clarence and experience all of the Pearl Harbor activities was one of the most enjoyable events I have had the opportunity to experience.

First Day Friday, November 26, 2010 Houston to Honolulu, Island of Oahu,  Hawaii
Susie and I arrived in Honolulu in the early afternoon and grabbed a shuttle from the airport to the Maile Sky Court Hotel in the Waikiki area..  The below 3 pictures were taken from our hotel room.  The others arrived around 6pm and we all met up and walked around Waikiki looking for a place to eat dinner. 

This picture and the next four were taken from our hotel window in Honolulu Waikiki Beach.

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii
Waikiki Beach and the edge of downtown, Honolulu, Hawaii
  Second Day Saturday, November 27, 2010 Honolulu, Hawaii
We all met for breakfast on Saturday morning and then Susie and I had found a dentist to assist her as a result of a dental problem while eating dinner the night before.  We were very lucky to find a dentist so quickly and one that willingly fit her into his schedule.  Once the dental work was completed we headed back to the hotel to meet up with everyone and caught a shuttle to the Docks where the cruise ship was located.  We started the check in process around 1pm and was on board in a little over an hour.  We waited a little while before our rooms were ready. We unpacked and then spent the next couple of hours touring the ship, ate dinner and then went to the main deck as we pulled away from port.

This picture and the next of Honolulu, Hawaii skyline was taken from the cruise ship as we set sail for our Hawaiian Island cruise.

On the cruise ship, Left to Right Sitting, Clarence, Carol, Benny, Beverly, Danny, Frank.  Standing: Left to Right: Rob, Danny, Brian, Helen, Sharon and Susan.
 Our cabin was very comfortable, had plenty of storage, queen size bed, sofa bed and a nice size bathroom with a shower.  The outside balcony was very spacious and provided privacy on both sides.  Our balcony was the last balcony on the 7th deck,  providing  a clear view to the end of the ship.

Third Day Sunday, November 28, 2010 Kahuhui, Maui, Hawaii:
On Sunday morning we arrived Kahului, Island of Maui, Hawaii.

 Arriving, Kahului, Island of Maui, Hawaii
Arriving,  Kahului, Island of Maui, Hawaii

Haleakala Crater Visitor Center Silver sword plant. 
This picture was taken from the bus going up the volcano Haleakala.  The views were spectacular,  however, the higher we got the fog rolled in blocking the views from the summit.  Along the way we drove by the Hawaii estate owned by Tom Selleck the star of the old TV show Magnum PI which was filmed in Hawaii.
We spent about a half hour at the summit and headed back down the volcano toward the cruise ship.  Our driver took a side trip on the way back through some sugar cane fields and small towns on the Island. One of the towns we went through was PaiaPaia means "noisy" in Hawaiian, which definitely describes the early days in Paia. Today most of the houses are small souvenir shops, art galleries, restaurants, and windsurfing stores. We drove by  Charley's sports bar and restaurant, said to be owned and frequented by country singer Willie Nelson.  We saw an old abandoned sugar mill and one of the oldest churches on the island as we drove toward Hookipa Beach Park. This was a very pretty park with a number of surfers taking advantage of the wave activity.  We left the park and went back to the cruise ship.  We spent the rest of the day napping, relaxing, eating, then ending the day attending a comedy act on board the ship.

Surfing off of Hookipa Beach
Hookipa Beach Park

 Fourth Day Monday, November 29, 2010 Maui, Hawaii:
We were up early to go on an excursion called the Best of Maui, a 6 hour trip to the Iao Valley, Maui Tropical Plantation and the Maui Ocean Center. Our first stop was a beautiful park on the way to the Iao Valley.  We then spent about 40 minutes visiting  the most well-known and beautiful gorge on the ‘Valley Isle,’ the Iao Valley. Here, we saw one of Maui's most striking sights, the Iao Needle, a 2,250-foot cinder cone pinnacle that pierces through the clouds and dominates its lush surroundings. There is a hiking trail of about 135 steps up the mountain side that provided a direct view of the Iao Needle and panoramic views of the valley itself.  We then drove to the Maui Tropical Plantation, where we rode on a fully narrated 40-minute tram tour through macadamia nut orchards, agricultural villages, sugar cane fields and flower gardens, followed by a nice lunch.  The excursion ended with a visit to the Maui Ocean Center, an up-close look at some of the beautiful creatures only found in Hawaii's waters. One of the highlights for me at this aquarium was two tiger sharks, normally not seen in captivity.  After returning to the ship we rested a little, had a nice dinner and then attended a magic show on board the ship prior to retiring for the day.

The next 6 pictures were taken in the park on the way to the Iao Valley.  The park was full of beautiful  tropical plants, ponds, streams, birds galore and a great view of the Valley in the distance. 


 The below pictures were taken of the Iao Valley and Iao Needle, it was a beautiful morning, the plants all on the hill sides were plush and vibrant.  This is a very peaceful place that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Iao Needle

Iao Valley

Maui Plantation above and a number of flowers and plants growing on the plantation are below. 

Lunch at the Maui Tropical Garden and Plantation.  Left side: Danny waving and Susan.  Right side Left to Right: Clarence, Sharon, Carol, Benny, not pictured: Danny and Beverly getting their lunch and me, Rob taking the picture.  

View from the Maui Ocean Center
Tiger Shark

I took this picture upon our return from our excursion the first day on Maui.  Pride of America docked in port on Maui Island, Hawaii November 30, 2010.  Our balcony is on the deck just above the the most forward life boat.
Fifth Day Tuesday, November 30, 2010 Hilo, The Big Island, Hawaii:
Like all other days our excursion for this day left early in the morning headed to visit Big Island Candies where we sampled candy and Hawaiian coffee and to explore Volcanoes National Park and learn about Hawaii's Goddess of Fire, Madame Pele. We drove to the Hawaii Volcano Observatory and Jaggar Museum where we spent time looking at the steam coming from the active volcano. We were told we were standing at just over 4,000 feet, Kilauea is not the tallest volcano on the Big Island, but it's certainly the most active. We passed the Halemaumau Fire Pit and the Kilauea Iki Crater where we stopped at the Thurston Lava Tube.  This tube was like a man made tunnel large enough to stand up and walk through and was situated right in the middle of a rain forest.. At the final part of the tour we drove to some lava beds and were able to explore and walk on the lava.
           Above and below picture, early hours of the morning arriving Hilo, The Big Island, Hawaii

Our cruise ship in port Hilo, The Big Island, Hawaii
A Banyon Tree in downtown Hilo, Hawaii. This tree is a native of India and is of the Mulberry family. We saw a number of these large trees all over the islands of Hawaii.
Our excursion in Hilo Hawaii included a Candy Store where we enjoyed samples of candy and coffee.  The two flower pictures below were taken on the grounds of the Candy Store.

Active volcano in Volcanoes National Park, Big island, Hawaii.  Highly toxic gas and steam boiled out of the volcano as we watched.  We were cautioned that if the wind changed we needed to leave so as not to breath in the vapor. 
Volcanoes National  Park, very desolate and rugged. 
Lava fields were all over, we walked on the lava and it was extremely difficult to keep your balance.
Susie making a Hawaiian Orchid Lei on board the ship. 
Susie wearing the lei she made in a class she attended aboard ship while in port at Hilo, Hawaii..
We ended the day with a nice dinner in one of the formal dining rooms on board ship.  Most of our evening meals were reserved in the Liberty restaurant, This provided for a more formal meal, we had a table for 12 each evening, the food was good and service was excellent.

6th day Wednesday December 1, 2010, Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii: 
Arriving in the early morning hours we anchored out in the bay about a mile from shore as Kona does not have an appropriate docking/pier for the size of the cruise ship.  Kona by land and sea excursion was a very enjoyable tour. We started on board a motor coach and enjoyed the scenic western coastline of the Big Island, stopping at a local coffee house to taste the famed Kona coffee. The views from the bus of  Kealakekua Bay, the flowers and plants a long the roadside was very pretty. This tour took us to the  St. Benedict's historic Painted Church, Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park and stopped at a Kona coffee shop where we were able to sample fresh Kona coffee.  Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park a  place of refuge has served as a political and religious sanctuary since ancient times and is home to the sacred Halo Keawe Heiau, a temple that once housed the bones of deceased chiefs.
After the bus tour we boarded a powered catamaran for a once in a lifetime cruise of Kona's history. The spokesman on the catamaran was very informative, sharing historical information when ancient kings ruled the islands to the arrival of Captain Cook in Kealakekua Bay. We saw the Hawaiian temples known as Heiau, the Holua slide, battlefields and the birth place of King Kamehameha. We saw a number of caves that were described as burial places for a number of the Islands Rulers. Entertainment was especially good with live music and song by LT Shine a Grammy award winner singer and song writer. We had a full buffet sandwich bar including tropical fruits, Maui chips, sodas and island juices.

Picture was taken out of the life boat that we rode over to shore for our excursion,

 The above picture was taken from the dock as we boarded the catamaran, our cruise ship anchored in the background.

The next few pictures are of the Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. The historical park preserves the site where, up until the early 19th century, Hawaiians who broke a kapu (one of the ancient laws) could avoid certain death by fleeing to this place of refuge or puʻuhonua. The offender would be absolved by a priest and freed to leave. Defeated warriors and non-combatants could also find refuge here during times of battle. The grounds just outside the Great Wall that encloses the puʻuhonua were home to several generations of powerful chiefs.  The park setting was so peaceful and serene.  What a beautiful place to take refuge.


 The St Benedict Painted Church below along with pictures of many beautiful plants in the cemetery and around the grounds. St. Benedict's Painted Church is located in the famous Kona coffee growing region, it is the jewel of South Kona, at a place called Honaunau. While it is an important historical site, it is still a vibrant parish, with outreach programs to take care of those in need and to provide medical services for the local community.


 As mentioned earlier we returned from our land portion of the day arriving Keauhou Bay around 1:00 pm to start the sea portion of the day boarding a large catamaran.  We got under way and lunch was provided immediately.  While we ate, a local Hawaiian provided a historical narrative describing certain points of interest. The pictures below are of some of the historical interests that he covered:  the holua at Keauhou, Kuamo`o battlefield, Kealakekua Bay and the Captain Cook monument, the battle of Mokuohai at Ke`ei, and Pu`uhonua o Honaunau.

Memorial to Captain Cook, early explorer.

Susie and Rob on board the Catamaran with Captain Cook memorial in the background.

Along the seashore with Kona, Hawaii in the back ground
  The day ended with dinner at the Liberty Restaurant and attending a show featuring 4 outstanding singers that was an off take of the Jersey Boys.  We cruised over night arriving Naeiliwili by 7am the next morning.

7th day Thursday December 3, 2010  Naeiliwili on the island of Kauai, Hawaii: 
The Waimea Canyon, Wailua river ride and Fern Grotto tour lasted about 8 hours.  It was a full day, one of the best days that all of us enjoyed.  Kauai is known as the Garden Isle and turned out to be my favorite island that we toured.
We started the tour going directly to a spectacular water fall., we then drove to catch a river boat for a tour up the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto, from there we rode down to the shore visiting a beautiful beach and blow hole, we had a fantastic lunch at a local restaurant and then ended the day by going to Waimea Canyon known as Hawaii's Grand Canyon.

The above and below picture were taken as we arrived Naeiliwili on the island of Kauai, Hawaii

Beautiful water fall on the Island of Kona

Wailua River, we road a river boat to the Fern Grotto
We were entertained by Hawaiian music, singing and hula dancing while riding the river boat.
Susan and Rob at the Fern Grotto, a traditional Hawaiian wedding song was played while we were at the Fern Grotto
 Left to Right Below Picture:  Susan, Brian, Sharon, Clarence, Carol, Benny, Helen, Frank, Beverly, Danny, Kneeling: Rob, Danny at the Fern Grotto on the Island of Kona, Hawaii

Above picture is that of a blow hole, as the waves moved in, they are forced through a hole in the lava rock resulting in a loud blowing noise and a huge gush of water.

The next 3 pictures are of Waimea Canyon, we barely made it to the top of the Canyon before the fog moved in.  I took these pictures immediately after we got to the overlook and within 5 minutes the whole Canyon was fogged in and it started to mist rain very heavily.  What I saw was very beautiful with reds, greens, blues and brown colors.

After the Waimea Canyon we visited a Hawaiian gift shop and then headed back to the ship. 

8th day Friday December 3, 2010 Island of Kona and starting our cruise back to Honolulu, Hawaii.
 Since this was the second day on Kona and we had a full day the day before we decided not to go on an excursion.  We did catch a trolley into town and did a little shopping.  We enjoyed the rest of the day on board the ship, played cards and just rested.  The ship left Kona around 2 pm headed for Honolulu, Hawaii.  On the way we were told to go top side for a view of the Napali Coast Line.  Kauai’s famous coastline is truly majestic, featuring emerald green pinnacles towering along the shoreline for 17-miles. Located on the North Shore of Kauai, the Napali Coast features panoramic views of the vast Pacific Ocean, velvet green cliffs and cascading waterfalls plummeting into deep, narrow valleys. The rugged terrain appears much as it did centuries ago when Hawaiian settlements flourished in these valleys existing only on the food they could grow and the fish they could catch.  The views were spectacular, the pictures aren't as vivid as I would have liked due to the misting rain and fog. 
This picture has extremely poor exposure but I had to show it.  As I was taking this picture the person describing this coast line over the ships loud speaker was talking about the natives living on the island many years ago and about the beliefs of God's and spirits.  Low and behold the face appeared on the side of the mountain.   

Sundown, the last evening of our cruise
That evening we all went to the Liberty Restaurant for dinner and celebration of birthdays.  While that day was Beverly's birthday, we also celebrated all the month of December birthdays, which included Sharon, Brian, Carol and Helen.  Of our 12 member group 5 were born in December.  A delicious birthday cake was provided for all of us to enjoy.  We then went to a final show which featured, the comedian, musician and the Jersey Boys act.  Our last evening at sea was spent heading back to Honolulu, Hawaii.
9th day Saturday December 4, 2010 Honolulu, Hawaii:
We packed our bags and were able to exit the ship around 9:30 am, catching a shuttle to our next destination, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel on Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Island of Oahu, Hawaii.  The cruise was so much fun and enjoyable.  The accommodations were excellent, the employees/crew was extremely friendly, the entertainment was outstanding and it was great sharing the trip with Clarence and his nieces and nephews

Susie and Rob in the main lobby of the cruise ship just prior to departing the ship after our cruise.
After checking into the hotel we went to the Reception area for the Pearl Harbor Survivors and Registered for the upcoming activities to take place over the next few days.

The next four pictures were taken from our balcony at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  The views were all along Waikiki Beach.  I sat out on the balcony as often as I could, the views were outstanding and the weather was refreshing with warm tropical winds blowing.  The next two pictures are of the entrance and grounds of the hotel and the last picture is of Susie and I in front of the Christmas tree on the 2nd floor convention area of the hotel.

10th day Sunday December 5, 2010 Honolulu, Hawaii:
The Pearl Harbor Survivors had set up a tour of the Island of Oahu, Hawaii.  We had signed up for this tour many weeks in advance. We met the bus at 5:45am to start our tour, the driver explained we would cover about 160 miles.  The areas that we visited were Diamond Head, Nuuanu Pali Lookout, North Shore surfing beaches, Exclusive Kahala Estates, Waimea Bay, Hanauma Bay, Pineapple fields (Dole Plantation), Chinaman's Hat, Mormon Temple, Halona "Blow Hole" lookout, Kualoa Ranch Buffet for lunch, a Macadamia nut farm for sampling, Pali Lookout and Punch Bowl Cemetery.
Clarence and Danny with Hanauma Bay in the background

The below and above picture is of Hanauma Bay and Beach, the last morning of the trip, Danny, Brian, Danny and I went snorkeling.  I really just enjoyed the scenery as I couldn't handle the snorkel

Above and below pictures of Halona "Blow Hole" look out

Island named Chinaman Hat

The above picture and next two pictures were taken at a Kualoa Ranch where we ate lunch.

Brian, Benny, Carol,  Clarence, Danny and Beverly 

Susan, Helen, Frank, Danny and Sharon
We went to the Dole Plantation gift shop where we had a Dole Pineapple Whip Cone, mmmmm. 
The next 4 pictures were taken form the Nuuanu Pali Lookout ("Cool Height Cliff")overlooking the 985 foot cliffs of the Koolau Mountain Range, is one of the best views on O'ahu. It was here in 1795 that King Kamehameha and his warriors defeated the O'ahu armies by sending them over these steep, forested cliffs and claiming his victory and uniting the Hawaiian Islands. It was a little hazy that day, you could still see for miles. 

The Punch Bowl Military Cemetery, very beautiful and somber.  The cemetery sits high on a hill overlooking Honolulu.
The next two pictures of  downtown Honolulu and Waikiki were taken from the Punch Bowl Cemetery.

11th Day Monday December 6, 2010 Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Island of Oahu, Hawaii
As part of the Pearl Harbor Survivor events, we had an opportunity to spend the day on Pearl Harbor visiting the grounds, the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Battleship Missouri Tour. The Park service and various military personnel, mostly Navy went out of there way to make the Survivors and their guests very comfortable.  The Survivors were treated with the highest of respect, salutes, kind words and words of appreciation from everyone.  We boarded the USS Arizona Memorial with a number of Survivors and their families.  The media was there and a number of the Survivors provided stories of that horrible day.  69 years later each of them were living that day all over, creating a very emotional  environment.  A number of the Survivors talked of their shipmates and fellow soldiers that were friends, dieing next to them.  They reflected on their opportunity to live through that day, the whole war,  as well as 69 years later and being able to talk about the events.  I have had a strong appreciation for those who died and those who fought and continue to fight for our freedoms.  This day has heightened that appreciation beyond any describable words.  Having been in the Navy one of my desires was to visit Pearl Harbor.  Having the opportunity to share  this day with Clarence, other Survivors and  others who served in the military made this day one of the most memorable experiences of my life.  The following days events,  December 7, 2010 the 69th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and dedication of the new Museum was yet to come.

Picture of other Battleship Memorials with Ford Island in the background 

Arriving the USS Arizona Memorial assisted by Military personnel

The wall of memory of those who died aboard the USS Arizona

On board the USS Arizona Memorial, Clarence: Pearl Harbor Survivor center back row with Nephews Frank on he left and Danny on the right.  His nieces left to right: Carol and Beverly and his great nephew Brian.

The USS Arizona Memorial as we headed back to shore.

Battleship USS Missouri picture taken from the water shuttle going to the USS Arizona Memorial

16 inch guns on the USS Missouri

Actual spot where documents were signed ending World War II 

Guns, bow of the USS Missouri with the USS Arizona Memorial in the distance
Copy of the signed document on board the USS Missouri ending World War II

Picture of the USS Arizona Memorial taken from the Bridge of the USS Battleship Missouri
Flags lined up to the entrance of the USS Battleship Missouri

As we left Pearl Harbor and headed back to the hotel, we drove through the Punch Bowl Military Cemetery again.
 The day ended with a Luau on the grounds of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel next to Waikiki Beach.  It was a well attended event.  We were met by local Hawaiians dressed in their native costumes. We watched the uncovering of a pig that was being cooked in the traditional Hawaiian style.    The menu included roasted pig, baked chicken, Poi, vegetables and cake for desert.  While the meal was not that good, the entertainment and setting made up for it.  We observed a beautiful sundown that evening and enjoyed seeing all of the Hawaiian activities, dances and costumes.

Susie and I as we arrived at the Luau
Sharon and Clarence at the Luau

Making a Hawaiian Lei the traditional way
                Five pictures captured at Sundown during the Luau

Making head bands and  leggings from Palm Tree leaves
           The next four photos shows a pig being readied for serving

Entertainment included Hawaiian dance
12th day Tuesday December 7, 2010 Pearl Harbor, Island of Oahu, Hawaii
The day started very early again as the ceremony was to coincide with the actual timeline that Pearl Harbor was attacked.  The ceremony was conducted by the National Park Service and the US Navy as Pearl Harbor is both a National Park and the current Naval Headquarters and Base for the United States Pacific Fleet and Military Operations.. Many high ranking National Parks officials were in attendance along with the Senior Officers of the Naval Base along with about 100 Pearl Harbor Survivors.  The Governor of Hawaii spoke along with, National Parks officials and Military Officers.  There was a missing man fly over, the USS  Chafee arrived in the Harbor and the Dedication of the new multi million dollar Museum and Visitor center was conducted.,

Clarence Pearl Harbor Survivor and his Nephew Danny just prior to the start of the 69th Pearl Harbor ceremony and the Dedication ceremony for the new Pearl Harbor Museum and Visitors Center

Opening Ceremonies with the USS Pearl Harbor in the background
 The next two pictures shows a missing man fly over at the start of   the Dedication and Ceremony

 The next two pictures  reflects the  Presentation of the Colors

Arrival of the USS Chafee DDG 90 with her crew manning the rail during the ceremony
That evening the Pearl Harbor Survivor Association Banquet was held in the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel.  There was an estimated 100 Survivors with over 500 guests and family in attendance.  The Hawaiian Boys Choir sang, speeches were made by the previous Governor of Hawaii, the Mayor of Honolulu, Admiral of Pacific Operations based at Pearl Harbor, awards and presentations were made and the new officers were announced and sworn in.  At each of their meetings they have a station call, they call out the names of all of the ships, bases and air fields that were impacted by the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941.  As the station name was called, any one in attendance that was assigned to that station on that day were to identify themselves.  There were cheers, waiving of napkins, whistling and clapping by those survivors. A very touching moment and a good way to end the Banquet.

Sharon, Danny and Brian

Left to Right Sitting: Beverly, Clarence, Carol Standing: Frank and Danny

Beverly and Danny

Benny and Carol

Frank and Helen

Sharon and Danny

Clarence:  Thank you for your service to our country and thank you for including Susan and I in all of the Pearl Harbor Survivor Association activites and events.  We had a blast.
13th day Wednesday December 8, 2010 Honolulu, Hawaii
10 of the 12 of us was flying home on this day.  Susan and I stayed over one more night  and flew home the next day.  Their flight was scheduled for the late afternoon, Danny, Brian, Danny and I took a shuttle to Hanauma Bay to snorkel.  The park and beach was one of the prettiest we had seen on the whole trip.  I had never snorkeled before and ended up having a difficult time with the mask.  I ended up sitting on the beach, enjoying just doing nothing as it was the first time to do nothing for almost two weeks.  The other 3 had a great time and said they saw a number of beautiful fish.  We headed back to the hotel and met the others for lunch.  After lunch we all went back to Susan and my room the last couple of hours visiting and saying good bye.  After everyone headed to the airport, Susie and I went out to walk Waikiki Beach and watch the sun go down.  We then went to Bubba Gump Shrimp Company for dinner and went shopping in the mall.  We purchased Susan a beautiful necklace made of Pink Turquoise and carved  Koa wood.  On the way to our room we walked through the grounds of the hotel and took a few pictures. We then walked to our room, packed our bags and called it an evening. 

When we walked out on the Waikiki Beach this hula dancer was peforming a sundown dance
Susan on Waikiki Beach, Hawaii at sundown our last evening in Hawaii December 8, 2010
Diamond Head in the background looking down Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

Rob on Waikiki Beach Hawaii at Sundown on December 8, 2010

The next few pictures are sundown on Waikiki Beach, Hawaii December 8, 2010

Susan and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Honolulu, Hawaii
The last few pictures were taken the last night in Hawaii  on the grounds of the Hilton Hawaiian Village

14th day Thursday December 9, 2010 Honolulu, Hawaii to Houston, Texas
We left the hotel for the airport at 4:30 am.  When we arrived we learned that our flight had been cancelled.  We were rerouted through San Francisco then to Houston leaving an hour later than our original flight.  We arrived back into to Houston at midnight only losing the original hour from the beginning of our return home.

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