A year ago after Dani and I got married, we decided to wait to take our honeymoon until this fall.  We talked about a few different options... Europe, Mexico, maybe Costa Rica. I really wanted to visit Hawaii.  So I searched online and eventually found a travel package that we could afford. We spent an amazing week on the island of Oahu at the Aston, Waikiki. Before I get into the details of the trip, I have a confession to make. I fell completely in love with Hawaii.  Everything about the place really resonated with me.  It's beautiful. The weather is fantastic. The people are friendly.  The Hawaiian culture is awesome.  I love the "hang loose" attitude so many people there enjoy.  There doesn't seem to be the rush and hustle there. I loved how they hang on to so much of the customs and language of the native islanders.  It's just so much fun.  I want to go back.  I would love to live there at some point.  I'm using it as motivation for my businesses. I want to be successful so I can create the opportunities for my family to experience Hawaii in the future.  And I am going to incorporate as much of the island culture into my everyday life as possible - starting with my business.

Waikiki Beach - Click to view more photos

Waikiki Beach - Click to view more photos

Anywhoose, lets get back to the trip shall we...

We spent six full days on the island, so we were able to do quite a bit. The first couple days we did a lot of relaxing. We spend some time at the beach, explored the Waikiki area, and treated ourselves to a lomi lomi massage.  The following three days we had arranged for some excursions through an activities desk in the hotel.  Monday morning was our first trip. We boarded a tour bus and were taken over to Pearl Harbor to view the USS Arizona memorial and tour the Battleship Missouri which is moored in that harbor.  We also got a special treat as we saw the USS Makin Island LDH-8 come into port while we were there. I've heard time and time again how humbling an experience visiting the USS Arizona memorial is.  It was so much more powerful than I expected. Both Dani and I were happy that we were able to visit and better understand that incredible bit of history.

Pearl Harbor - Click to view more photos

Pearl Harbor - Click to view more photos

The next day, our second excursion took us to an "authentic" Hawaiian luau.  There are a few different large luau productions on the island.  After going over them, we settled on what many considered one of the best, Germaine's Luau.  It's kind of like a big dinner slash picnic slash show. They had a large buffet of traditional and more modern hawaiian foods.  The food was absolutely ono (Hawaiian word for delicious). The show was a lot of fun too. They show cased dancing styles from a variety of different islands including Hawaii, Tahiti, and others.  There's a video of some of the dancing following the pictures.

Germaine's Luau - Click to view more photos

Germaine's Luau - Click to view more photos

Our final big excursion was probably my favorite experience of the trip. We signed up for a morning dolphin cruise and snorkeling adventure.  Neither Dani nor I had ever gone snorkeling before, so we were both very excited to try it out.  The trip wound up being more than either one of us expected.  After setting sail, we traveled out of the harbor where we saw the Black Pearl ship from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie sitting in dry dock. After about 15 minutes or so, we found a pod of about 30 bottle nose dolphins swimming by. We followed them for about 30 minutes watching them swim around and one of them even jumped out of the water.  Soon after we found a stop to moor the boat about half a mile out.  They set us up with gear, a bit of instruction and we got in the water. Wow, it was like swimming in a giant salt water aquarium.  Right away we were surrounded by beautiful tropical fish swimming through the reefs, and four beautiful green sea turtles just hanging out.  One of them came up for air directly in front of me, it was just unbelievable! After what seemed like the quickest hour ever, we were back on the boat for a nice lunch and a couple mai tais.  We had a photographer there with us to capture everything, so I will share those photos here.

Snorkeling - Click to view more photos

Snorkeling - Click to view more photos

The rest of the time on the island we did some exploring. We drove up to the north shore - which I can honestly say is the most beautiful place I've ever been. There is a beach up there where Hawaiian green sea turtles always come to. So we stopped there for a bit.  We also took a hike to the top of the diamond head crater, which provided ridiculous views of the island.  Driving up the eastern coast of the island the scenery was beautiful. We even spotted a location we recognized from the tv show Lost.  And finally, I was able to do something I had always wanted to do... attempt to surf.  I took a lesson down on Waikiki beach. Thanks to the super calm conditions I even rode a few waves in. So much fun.

Turtle Beach - Click to view more photos

Turtle Beach - Click to view more photos


Honolulu from Diamond Head - Click to view more photos

Honolulu from Diamond Head - Click to view more photos

Well that was our trip in a nutshell.  Like I said, I really fell in love with the place and can't wait to go back. Well time to get back to work and get some practice time in on my new ukulele! Aloha and Mahalo for reading this!