Fifty-fourth Lighthouse Expedition
 September 29 - October 12, 2011 -- Hawaii with U.S. Lighthouse Society
 September 29, 2011, Thursday
8:55 am (EDST)
- Our daughter Andrea picked us up and drove us to Detroit Metro Airport.
- Arrived at the airport. Since we had used our Skymiles and upgraded to first class, we were able to use the Priority Lanes and we got through security rather quickly at 10:00.
- We boarded the plane. It left the gate at 12:20 pm and lift off was at 12:40 pm. It was a cloudy day but there was some visibility of the ground as we crossed the country. We could see mountain ranges, rivers and then Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helen's and Mt. Hood just before landing for our stop-over in Seattle.
2:00 pm (PDST)
- Touch down in Seattle, WA. We were at the gate just 10 minutes later. We had some lunch while we waited for our next flight.
- We boarded the plane and we were off the ground at 5:55.
8:50 pm (HST - Hawaii Standard Time)
- We landed in Hawaii and were greeted with beautiful leis. We had our baggage and were on the shuttle at 9:25.
- We arrived at the beautiful Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel in Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
This has been a long day. When we arrived at our hotel, it was 4:00 am the next day back home.
 September 30, 2011, Friday
- We were up early as our inner time clocks still think we're in Michigan! We could see beautiful Waikiki Beach as the sun was coming up. What a fantastic view! We enjoyed a continental breakfast by the pool at 6:30. We were welcomed to Hawaii with a beautiful rainbow!
- We walked to the beach with our neighbors Jim & Linda Moehlman, This is their first trip with the US Lighthouse Society. After the beach, we walked along Kalakaua Ave. to see the shops, beautiful hotels and beautiful Waikiki Beach. Palm trees, banyan trees, statues and flowers along the beachfront make this a popular spot for tourists. Don, Jim & Linda returned to the hotel. Diana took a 2 1/2 mile walk thru the parks and along the beach towards Diamond Head Crater. Don also did some walking and photographed some of the flowers and trees.
- The four of us had lunch at Lulu's near the hotel. After lunch Diana & Linda did some shopping and lots of window shopping and returned to the hotel at 3:00 pm. Lots to see along the beach, too. There were surfers out in the water and lots of people enjoying the beach and sunshine.
- We went to "Cheeseburger in Paradise" restaurant and joined the other people on the USLHS tour. It was fun to see many of the people we have traveled with on previous tours. As we walked back to the hotel the sun was setting over Waikiki Beach.
- While it is still early in the evening, we were very tired. The sun had set by this time and we enjoyed the fireworks over Waikiki which we found out occurs every Friday evening.
 October 1, 2011, Saturday
- Up at sunrise again! Each day we could look out our hotel window and see the incredible view of Waikiki Beach as the sun came up! We could also see the ship, Pride of America, coming into port. We will be traveling around the islands for seven days on this same ship. We were at the pool about 6:30 for breakfast.
- We took our leis to place them on the statue of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, considered the Prince of Surfing in Hawaii and an Olympic champion. His statue is loaded with leis by visitors and tourists. We met Jim & Linda as they were heading to the statue and took pictures as they tossed the leis towards his outstretched arms. We went back to the pool area and then went back to our room on the 11th floor to finish our packing.
- We joined the others on the tour in the hotel lobby with our luggage and waited for the busses to pick us up. We left the hotel at 10:50.
- We arrived at the Aloha Tower, our first lighthouse of the trip, although technically it is considered a minor light. A station was established here in 1869 and the present tower constructed in 1926. It is now a 12 story building with an elevator! We took the elevator to the observation deck on the 10th floor and enjoyed the view of Honolulu. We could see the Pride of America from here as well.
- The bus left the Aloha Tower and we arrived at the Pride of America dock at 12:55. It took over an hour to check in our luggage, go through security and to check in to get our room key before boarding the ship. Diana received another lei and Don a puka shell necklace. We also had our picture taken with two native Hawaiians. We were fortunate our room was ready and we dropped off our carry on luggage. We met Jim & Linda in the Key West Cafe near the pool for lunch. We returned to our room before exploring more of the ship. The room, 9th deck, room 9168, is an outside state room with a balcony. While not large, it was certainly adequate and there was lots of storage space. We were glad our suitcases fit under the bed after we unpacked.
- We met the rest of those on the lighthouse tour in the Mardi Gras Cabaret Lounge and Night Club for hors d'oeuvres, drinks and introductions.
- The group enjoyed the first dinner aboard ship together in the Skyline Main Dining room.
- The Pride of America left the dock for our first night at sea. We walked around and explored more of the ship before returning to our room at 9:00 pm.
- Those traveling with us on this tour are: Helene Agnew - PA, Truman & Elizabeth Bassett - CT, Phil & Mary Borkowski - MI, Rich & Linda Buckner - GA, Pat Carbone - IL, Esther Carr - MD, Marjorie Czop - IL, Jim & Helen Dains - IA, Vickie Fedock - CA, Jeff Gales - WA, Toni Gales - WA, Gene & Ann Grime - OH, Joanne Haen - KS, David & Phyllis Idell - MA, Fran & Ellen Jehrio - PA, Sandy Karnes - WI, Al King - FL, Ray & Susan Knight - SC, Allan & Portia Loomis - MD, James & Terrie Rae McMullen - FL, Stan & Betty Meyer - IN, Linda & Jim Moehlman - MI, Ron Morris - OR, Milt & Shirley Nelson - OR, Bill & Judy Newbloom - CO, Ken & Gay Nichols - CA, Tony & Alma Pasek - VA, Carol Ann & John Priolo - HI, Dot & John Scott - IN, Kay Seiler & Marisa Babjak - CO, Dot Shepherd - WA, Skip & Mary Lee Sherwood - WA, Tom & Jackie Skowron - VA, Jeff & Marge Stearns - WI, Jen & Art Sullivan - MA, Howard & Joyce Sykes - NC, Tom & Phyllis Tag - IL, Johanna Trowbridge - NJ, Bill & Peggy Wainscott - IL, Jerry Waters & Marie Vincent - WA, Darla Williams - CA.
- Of the 66 other people on the tour, we have traveled with 33 of them on previous trips.
 October 2, 2011 - Sunday
- Diana was up and walked the Promenade Deck - six times around is two miles. What a beautiful way to enjoy the sunrise as the ship prepared to dock in Kahului, Maui.
- Don and Diana enjoyed breakfast in the Aloha Cafe Buffet dining room. Oh, my goodness. There was just so much wonderful food to choose from and enjoy! And we did!
- We left the ship and met our transportation to the airport. We received lots of instructions about our ride in the helicopter! This would be the only way we could see Kalaupapa Lighthouse on Molokai and the first helicopter ride for both of us. Those from our group who wanted to do the helicopter ride, were divided into 6 groups of 6 and flew at different times during the morning.
- Lift off with our pilot, Kirk. The tour was wonderful if you were Diana, and tolerable if you were Don. We were flown over both the islands of Maui and Molokai. The canyons, waterfalls, sea and coral in the water below were all magnificent from this vantage point. Molokai has the world's highest and most spectacular cliffs. We flew through a canyon to view Hawaii's tallest waterfall, Kahiwa Falls, at 2,165 feet.
- We got our first good view of the Molokai (Kalaupapa) Lighthouse, built in 1906 and 138 feet tall. This lighthouse is the tallest and has the brightest light in the Pacific. The US Lighthouse Society was able to get special permission to fly close to the lighthouse and we were able to get many good pictures. It was on this same peninsula where the lighthouse is located, that Father Damien ministered to those afflicted with leprosy.
- Touchdown! Don was so happy to be back on the ground and Diana would have taken the next flight in a heartbeat! We returned to the ship.
- We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the Aloha Cafe and then sat by the pool.
- We met the rest of the group out on the dock and were taken by bus for a tour of the island of Maui. Our driver was Bjorn. As we traveled along, he gave us the history of the islands. Our first stop was the Ioa Valley State Park. We climbed many stairs and the view at the top was beautiful. We had a good view of the "Needle."
- We arrived in the town of Lahani on the western side of the island. The oldest lighthouse and the biggest banyan tree (with 150 trunks) are located in this town. We were limited on time as we had other stops to make.
- Lahaina Lighthouse was established in 1840 and is 39 feet tall. This is the site of the oldest light on the US Pacific Coast. It is located right in town next to the marina and across from the historic Pioneer Inn. We weren't able to climb this tower.
- We left the town of Lanaina. There was a craft show going on under the Banyan tree and some of us would have loved to have spent some time here! This Banyan Tree was first planted in April, 1873, and marked the 50th Anniversary of Christian missionary work in Lahaina. When the tree was imported from India, it was only 8 feet tall. It now stands over 60 feet high, has 12 major trunks in addition to a huge core. It stretches over a 200-foot area and shades 2/3 of an acre.
- We arrived at the minor light at McGregor Point near Ma'alaea Bay, built in 1906 and 22 feet tall. There is no lantern room. This light remains an active aid to navigation. Due to its location, the large bus was not able to enter the property and there was not an area to pull off next to the highway. The smaller vehicle transported people back and forth between the light and the Marine Center just down the road.
- Everyone had seen McGregor Point and we left the Marine Center to returned to the ship.
- Since our group returned late to the ship, we did not eat as one group in the Skyline dining room. However, we were able to get a table there with Jim & Linda.
- We returned to our room. Obviously we are not adapting to the time change and we are up early and retiring early as well!
 October 3, 2011, Monday
- Diana walked the two miles around deck 6 again. The ship stayed in the port of Kahului, Maui overnight.
- Breakfast in the Aloha Cafe. This cafe has everything you can imagine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So many choices and so much wonderful food!
- The US Lighthouse Society planned group excursions from the ship every other day leaving the opposite days free for people to sign up for other excursions available through the ship. We choose to stay on board this day. We enjoyed playing cards, ping pong, and having time to relax around the pool. We did lots of walking around the ship and enjoyed our time exploring.
- We had lunch in the Cadillac Diner, a 50's style small restaurant which is open 24 hours. Along with our hamburgers, we enjoyed the famous brownie sundae which many other people had recommended. With the free-style dining, we could choose which ever dining room we wanted for our meals. Specialty dining rooms were available for an extra fee.
- We met the rest of the Lighthouse group prior to dinner in the John Adams Coffee Bar and heard some of the adventures they had enjoyed during the day.
- The group gathered in the Skyline Dining room for dinner as the ship was leaving Kahului, Maui. The Skyline Dining room has many entrees from which to choose. Some items are on the menu every day and other choices change daily. So many wonderful choices and so much wonderful food!
- We were invited to join other tour members to play a trivia game in the Diamond Head Auditorium on the 13th deck. While our team did well, we were not the winners. Were some people cheating? Ummmm!
- We went to the Hollywood Theater and enjoyed the Rock-A-Hula show. It was a wonderful hour of singing and dancing and good entertainment.
- Back to our room. At least we were able to stay up another hour this evening!
 October 4, 2011, Tuesday
- Diana walked 3 miles this morning. Another beautiful sunrise as the ship approached Hilo, on the big island of Hawaii.
- Don took pictures of the minor Coconut Point Light as the ship was approaching Hilo.
- We had breakfast in the Aloha Cafe while the ship was docking.
- We left the ship and waited for our coaches. There was a mix up and we had to walk quite a distance to get to them. Today we were divided up between 3 small busses. Our driver this day was Kamaki and our tour guide was Nathan. Both of them gave us Hawaii history lessons throughout our travels this day.
- Our first stop was the Hawaii Volcano National Park, rainforest and Crater lookout. The main islands of Hawaii are actually 5 volcanoes. Some have been inactive for many years with the last major eruption in 1974 which lasted 3 years. Located at the park is the Jaggar Museum named for Dr. Thomas Augustus Jaggar (1871-1953), founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. He paved the way for modern geological monitoring. We left at 11:05.
- We stopped briefly at one of the steam vents. We could see them all over the park.
- We had lunch on the Kilauea Military Base. This base is now used for R& R and the barracks can be rented by active and retired military personnel. We were surprised by the beautiful stained glass windows in the barracks! We left about a half an hour later after enjoying a wonderful buffet.
- We had a 10 minute stop to view the crater Kilauea Wiki. We could see people walking far below on the crater. Kīlauea is the youngest and southeastern most volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. The summit of Kīlauea lies on a curving line of volcanoes that includes Mauna Kea and Kohala. The eruption of Kīlauea Volcano that began in 1983 continues at the cinder-and-spatter cone of Pu`u `Ō `ō (high point on skyline). Lava erupting from the cone flows through a tube system down Pulama pali about 11 km to the sea. Kīlauea is the home of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess. Hawaiian chants and oral traditions tell in veiled form of many eruptions fomented by an angry Pele before the first European, the missionary Rev. William Ellis, saw the summit in 1823. The caldera was the site of nearly continuous activity during the 19th century and the early part of this century. Since 1952 there have been 34 eruptions, and since January 1983 eruptive activity has been continuous along the east rift zone. All told, Kīlauea ranks among the world's most active volcanoes and may even top the list.
- Our next stop was the Thurston Lava Tube, a 500-year old lava cave located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Lava caves like this are formed when a river of lava gradually builds solid walls and a ceiling. When the lava flow stops and the last of it passes downhill, a cave is formed. These caves can be a few feet high and only yards long, or they can stretch for miles with high ceilings. The Thurston Lava Tube is a fantastic example of a massive lava cave. We were able to walk along the path and then enter the lava tunnel. The lush greenery, birds and flowers all made for a wonderful experience. We left about 1:30. As we traveled toward our next lighthouse, Kumukahi, Nathan explained that during the eruption of the Kilauea Volcano in 1960, the town of Kapoho was completely destroyed. As the lava flowed toward the ocean, it divided once it got near the lighthouse and Kumukahi was left standing. The road out to the point, the eastern most point of Hawaii, was very bumpy and we bounced around inside the van. All we could see on either side of the road was hardened black lava. This had once been sugar cane fields and the keeper, Joe Pestrella, had planted lemon, mango and tangerine trees on the site when he came to the station in 1938. All were destroyed by the lava.
- We finally reached the Cape Kumukahi Lighthouse. This station was established in 1929 and the existing 125 foot tower was erected in 1933/34. We were able to walk near the lighthouse in the area which was not covered by the lava. However, some of those who were more adventurous walked out toward the sea on the lava rock. It was interesting to see some plant growth returning to this area. We left here about 3:15.
- We stopped at Big Island Candies for a few minutes for those who wanted to shop for gifts (or treats for themselves.) The bus driver showed us some coffee bean trees growing near the parking lot. They were still green and not ready for picking. We left here at 4:25.
- We arrived back at the ship. It was a long but very interesting day on the Big Island.
- We met Jim and Linda and decided to dine in the Liberty dining room this evening. Very similar menu, just different atmosphere. As we were dining, the ship left the port of Hilo.
- Don and Diana attended the magic show by magician, John Shyrock. He was excellent and we were thoroughly entertained.
- Back to our room. Each night we left the sliding glass door open in our state room and enjoyed the sounds of the sea and the ocean breezes as we traveled from port to port.
 October 5, 2011, Wednesday
- Breakfast in the Aloha Cafe.
- We went to the meeting place for our excursion. It was necessary to take the tender into Kona as there is no place for the ship to dock there. Just another interesting experience.
- The tender left the ship with many on board! We arrived at the dock in Kona at 8:15.
- We were met by Captain Mike and another driver and taken by van to the Marina. We boarded the Kamanu catamaran for a 3 1/2 hour tour. However, unlike Gilligan we did return! We were taken to Pawai Bay for snorkeling. Don was delighted when he found out they had prescription snorkel masks so he could actually see something under the water. We were given inner tubes so we could concentrate on our snorkeling and not have to worry about staying afloat. "Shoddy, " the mate on board, gave us our masks, flippers and some instructions before Captain Mike "dropped" us into the water. This was truly a wonderful experience. The fish and coral were beautiful. Diana gave up counting after 15 species of fish. We were in the water for about an hour. After everyone was back on board, we sailed for another 1 1/2 hours. It was a beautiful sunny day and we so enjoyed this adventure. We were given lunch and fruit drinks as we sailed on the bay.
- We were back to the dock and back in Kona at 12:15. The crowds were gathering in Kona for the Ironman race to be held there on Saturday the 8th. About 1,600 athletes will participate and 12,000 tourists are expected in town. Many of the athletes were swimming in Kona Bay and we saw many on bicycles. A big Ironman sales ten was set up in town and we purchased a couple of items for our son-in-law, Duffy, and grandson, Hayden as they are both runners. We also purchased some Kona coffee for Duffy from the Country Samurai Coffee Company. Captain Mike had given us some good advice as to what coffee to look for as he worked on a plantation when first coming to the islands. We walked around Kona for a little while longer and then took the tender back to the ship.
- We arrived back on the ship.
- We had a light lunch in the Aloha Cafe. We were a little hungry as our refreshments on the catamaran were several hours ago.
- We were able to take pictures of the minor Kailua Light from the ship. This is considered a minor light and is currently an active aid to navigation.
- We enjoyed some time by the pool before dinner.
- We had dinner with the tour group in the Skyline Dining room. The ship left the port of Kona about this time.
- This was another evening planned by the US Lighthouse Society team as a game evening. We gathered in the Diamond Head Auditorium once again. We were given a list of items to find on board for a scavenger hunt. Our team of six divided up the list and we all headed in different directions. There was a little mix up and some of us brought back duplicates. The cooks in the Aloha Cafe boiled eggs for us and ping pong balls were another hot item with some teams not finding any. Our team once again did not finish on top, - was there also some "cheating" going on here as well????? Our team was very proud of Linda for getting the signature of the Cruise Director, Sarah. However, she did wind up in the crews quarters and was asked to leave! Don found her on the elevator with just moments to spare and got Linda to the finish line so the items she brought could be added to our pile! It was a fun evening. I tried to get the Magician, John Shyrock to "produce" some items for us, but he just laughed!
- We returned to our stateroom.
 October 6, 2011, Thursday
- Diana walked two miles on the promenade deck.
- Don was able to photograph the Nawiliwili Harbor Lighthouse and the minor Kuki'i Point Light as we came into the harbor on Kauai.
- We had breakfast in the Aloha Cafe.
- The ship docked at Nawiliwili, Kauai.
- The tour group met on the dock and waited for the busses.
- We got on the busses. Sonny was our driver and tour guide today. Once again we were given lots of information and history about the island as we headed toward our destination. We saw lots of wild chickens! A hurricane 20 years ago destroyed their coops and the chickens escaped. Since there are no predators on the island, they have been multiplying and enjoying their freedom.
- We met in a parking lot near a school to meet up with a member of the Coast Guard who then led us to the lighthouse.
- We entered the Kauai Lagoons Golf Course, parked our buses and then walked the 1/2 mile on the dirt road between the golf course and airport to get to the lighthouse.
- We arrived at the Nawiliwili Harbor Lighthouse. This original tower was built in 1897 and rebuilt in 1923. We were able to climb the 107 steps in the tower. From the top of the light we had a beautiful view of the rocky shore and the port where the ship was docked.
- We returned to the bus. We saw several Nana Geese on the golf course, the Hawaii state bird. The Nene evolved from the Canadian Goose which most likely migrated to the Hawaiian islands 500,000 years ago, shortly after the island of Hawaii was formed.
- We arrive at 'Opaeka'a Falls for a short rest stop and pictures. Across the road we could see the Wailua River far below.
- We left and passed the Coco Palms Hotel which was used in the movie Blue Hawaii with Elvis Presley in
1961. Several Hollywood stars stayed at this hotel and this location was used in several other movies. The resort has been closed since being hit by Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Currently there are no plans to reopen the hotel. It just stands in ruins. The "blue lagoon" is visible behind the structure. 12:30 pm
- We stopped at the Lighthouse Bistro in Kilauea for wonderful BBQ chicken sandwiches.
- We were taken in smaller vans to the Kilauea Point Lighthouse. We were dropped off at the entrance to the park and walked the short distance to the lighthouse.
- We were disappointed to learn that the Kilauea Lighthouse was undergoing renovation at this time. We are happy they are doing the renovations but very disappointed they were being done while we were there. This station was established in 1912/13. The tower is 53 feet tall with a 2nd order clam shell Fresnel lens. This station originally had three keepers dwellings. A crane was right in front of the tower and the lens room was wrapped in bubble and tape. However, the location of this lighthouse is just beautiful - high on a cliff on a point jutting out on the rocky shore. We still took photographs. Our daughter and family were here in 2008 and they shared their pictures without the renovation obstruction! Don went to the overlook and also took pictures from there. They have a wonderful gift shop at this location.
- After everyone had had a chance to take the smaller vans to see the lighthouse and returned to the bigger busses, we left. The driver shared lots more information about the island of Kauai.
- We returned to the ship.
- We enjoyed another wonderful dinner in the Skyline dining room with the tour group.
- We attended the "Never Too Old to Rock n' Roll" show by Toby Beau in the Hollywood theater along with Jim & Linda. The groups best known recording was "My Angel Baby." This was a wonderful hour long performance with lots of old songs bringing back lots of memories. Loud, did I mention loud!
- We returned to our room.
 October 7, 2011, Friday
- Diana walked two miles this morning and enjoyed another beautiful sunrise in the Nawiliwili Harbor.
- We enjoyed breakfast in the Aloha Cafe.
- We went to the dock and joined the large group of people for the shore excursion.
- We boarded the busses and left about 10 minutes later. Our bus driver was Damien. As with all the drivers, he gave a commentary as we drove through the island.
- We arrived at the original harbor in Nawiliwili. The old dock and original lighthouse were in ruins.
- We arrived at the dock for our boat trip on the Wailua River to visit the Fern Grotto. The large flat bottom boats could accommodate three bus loads of passengers.
- We left the dock and our captain told us lots about the river and the surrounding area. This area has also been the location of many movies: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean and the TV show, Gilligan's Island. Several of the old classics were also mentioned like From Here to Eternity. This is also one of the wettest spots in the world with a record 683" of rain recorded in 1982. The Wailua is one of seven freshwater rivers on the island.
- We reached the dock, disembarked and walked the path to the Fern Grotto. This is a beautiful spot with lots of beautiful flowers, trees and plants. The Grotto has been the site of many weddings since Lola Albright's in 1962. We were entertained with the Hawaiian Wedding Song, made popular by Elvis Presley. At the end of the song we were encouraged to kiss our spouse or significant other. Lots of smooching was going on!
- We boarded the boats and were entertained by dancers doing traditional Hawaiian dances. There were a couple of really cute little girls about 6 years of age dancing with their mothers. Everyone on the boat was encouraged to stand and we were given hula lessons. We were told that the original Hula dances were done by men only!
- We learned the Hula dance to:
The Hukilau Song - by Jack Owens © 1948
Oh we're going to a Hukilau
A huki huki huki huki Hukilau
Everybody loves the Hukilau
Where the laulau is the kaukau at the lû`au
We throw our nets out into the sea
And all the `ama`ama come a-swimming to me
Oh, we're going to a Hukilau
A huki huki huki Hukilau
What a beautiful day for fishing
That old Hawaiian way
Where the Hukilau nets are swishing
Down in old Lâ`ie bay
- The boat docked and we got back on the busses.
- We passed the spot called "The Birthing Stone", part of the Wailua River State Park. In early Hawaiian history, it was important that the babies of royalty born here be left alone overnight. If they were still alive in the morning, they were considered to have the powers necessary to lead their people.
- We arrived at the 'Opaeka'a Falls, the same spot we had seen the day before with the Lighthouse tour group. There were lots of the wild chickens roaming around. We were told these falls were filmed for the TV show, Fantasy Island.
- We arrived back at the dock and boarded the ship about 15 minutes later.
- We enjoyed another wonderful lunch at the Aloha Cafe with Jim & Linda.
- The ship left the dock and we viewed the Nawiliwili Harbor Light again from the water. We sat on the promenade deck and enjoyed the beautiful view of Kauai's shoreline.
- We passed the Kilauea Lighthouse. We were quite a distance offshore, but the lighthouse could still be seen.
- The ship had traveled to the Nā Pali Coast. This beautiful area of Kauai is best viewed from the water or helicopter. The Nā Pali Coast State Park encompasses 6,175 acres of land and is located in the center of the rugged 16 miles along the northwest side of Kauai, the oldest inhabited Hawaiian island. The pali (cliffs) rise as high as 4,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean. No automobiles are allowed in the park but there are 11 miles of hiking trails through five major valleys. The cliffs were amazing and beautiful. As the sun was setting, a beautiful rainbow appeared above a valley. What a glorious conclusion to a wonderful day.
- We had dinner in the Skyline dining room with the tour group. Following dinner we walked around the ship with Jim & Linda and took some pictures.
- We returned to our room to pack. Our luggage needed to be outside our door by midnight.
 October 8, 2011, Saturday
- As the sun was coming up and the ship was pulling into port, we could see Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach and Honolulu.
- Breakfast in the Aloha Cafe.
- The US Lighthouse Society group met in the Mardi Gras Lounge so we could depart the ship together.
- We were off the ship, had our luggage and were on the bus. Everything went very smoothly with debarkation as our luggage had been grouped together in the terminal. Our week on the Pride of America was such a wonderful experience. It was hard to leave!
- Both busses were now outside the gate and we left. Our driver this day was Robert.
- We arrived at the Pearl Harbor & Arizona Memorial. This was truly a very moving and emotional experience. At the Visitor Center we viewed the 23 minute film on the history of the Pearl Harbor attack. After viewing the film, we boarded a Navy operated launch for the Memorial. The Memorial is built over the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona, the final resting place for many of the 1,177 crewmen killed on December 7, 1941 when their ship was bombed by Japanese Naval Forces. This loss of life represents over half of the Americans killed during the worst naval disaster in American history. In the area outside the Visitors Center are many monuments to those who's lives were lost on the other ships bombed along with the Arizona. The USS Arizona Memorial is part of the recently dedicated WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument and The USS Arizona Memorial is managed by the National Park Service.
- We left Pearl Harbor and went to the nearby Schooners restaurant for lunch. We all enjoyed the wonderful buffet. We left about 12:45 pm
- Our driver, Robert, gave us more information about the history of Hawaii and the island of Oahu. We were driven through the National Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as "The Punchbowl" where 52,000 fallen heroes are buried. The lawns keepers were in the process of replacing the sod around the flat headstones. This area is beautifully maintained and very impressive. At the opposite end of the entrance to the cemetery sits a beautiful chapel.
- The busses dropped us off in the downtown area to view many of the historical buildings in Honolulu.
- Iolani Palace and Guardhouse - the official residence of Kin Kalakaua and Queen Lili'uokalani
- Judiciary History Center
- The statue of Thomas Ridgeway Gould, King Kamehameha (1758-1819), the ruler who unified the Hawaiian Islands.
- Old Federal Building
- Mission Houses Museums - includes the oldest frame house and the first printing office in the islands.
- Kawaiaha'o Church - the first Christian church in Hawai'i, built between 1836 and 1842. King Lunalilo, the first elected monarch of Hawai'i, is entombed on the church grounds. Many of the founding missionaries and their descendants are interred at the Mission Cemetery, first consecrated in 1823.
- Kawaiaha'o Fountain - Located along the left side of the sanctuary - The High Chiefess Ha‘o frequented the freshwater spring located in this location, and thus the Church bears her name: Ka Wai a Ha‘o - the water of Ha‘o. An original rock that was found next to the spring has been incorporated into the existing foundation that commemorates the spring.
- The Adobe Schoolhouse - erected in 1835. This is a monument to the work of the Christian Missionaries and the Hawaiian people.
- We met at the side street near the King Kamehameha statue to board our busses.
- We arrived back at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel. We had a room on the 25th floor this time. Same beautiful view of Waikiki Beach! We unpacked, changed for dinner and did some shopping.
- The tour group met at Lulu's for a buffet dinner. Afterwards Don and I walked many blocks from the Hotel to the Hard Rock Cafe to purchase T-shirts for our son David and daughter Andrea. It was a long walk but we enjoyed the busy streets and sidewalk entertainment along the way - men painted in gold and silver posing as statues, guitar and ukulele players as well as a drummer using 5 gallon plastic pails with pie tins on top. (He was very good!) Saturday night in Waikiki is a humming place!
- We returned to our room.
 October 9, 2011, Sunday
- We enjoyed a continental breakfast at pool side.
- We boarded the busses and left about 10 minutes later.
- We arrived at the Diamond Head Lighthouse. There has been a station here since 1899. The current tower was built in 1918, is 55 feet tall and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The former keeper's house has been the home of the 14th District Coast Guard Commander since 1945 which includes all of the South Pacific. Commander Charlie Ray, and his wife have been here one year and he is the 28th Commander to serve here. We received a warm welcome including refreshments on the lawn. It took quite a while for the entire group to climb the 69 steps in the tower, but we were able to enjoy the beautiful lawn with many varieties of trees, plants and flowers. The view of the ocean, the rocky shore from their lawn and of course the view from the tower was spectacular. The group picture was also taken here. Thanks Borkowskis! The Diamond Head Lighthouse is not open to the public, however, thanks to the USLHS and Commander Ray, we were able to enjoy this wonderful experience.
- We boarded the busses and left.
- We arrived at Diamond Head State Monument. Not everyone wanted to make the climb and those who did not were taken back to the hotel. The trail was built in 1908 as part of the U. S. Army coastal Artillery defense system. From the trailhead to the summit of Diamond Head Crater is .8 miles one way and 560 feet from the crater floor. The winding trail is uneven, steep and involves steep stairways and tunnels. However, once at the summit the difficult climb was all worth the effort. The 360 degree view was spectacular. We could see the Diamond Head Lighthouse far below, full view of the crater, Waikiki Beach, Honolulu and far out into the ocean. This popular tourist destination was very busy on this Sunday morning! Certainly one of the highlights of the trip!
- We got back to the trailhead and enjoyed a shaved ice while waiting for the bus to pick us up.
- The busses left. Just two block from our hotel, one of our tour members was having difficulty and we stopped at the fire station which was just around the corner. The EMS came on board the bus, gave a quick assessment, took him to the ambulance and further checked him out. The busses took the rest of us to the hotel and we arrived at 1:30 pm. Fortunately he was OK and released but spent the rest of the afternoon and evening resting at the hotel.
- We stopped at the Subway right near the hotel and had lunch. We returned to our room shortly afterwards.
- The busses left for our drive through Honolulu to Barbers Point, about 28 miles away.
- We arrived at the Barbers Point Lighthouse. Some very eager lighthouse enthusiasts were impatient to get on the lighthouse property but were called back by our leader! Two Coast Guard Members, Calderon & Oakes arrived shortly after and unlocked the gate. A station was first established on Barbers Point in 1888 and the current 72 foot tower was built in 1933. We took lots of pictures and enjoyed the beautiful rocky shore. Out in the water we could see several freighters making their way into Honolulu. Several people climbed the tower. However, there were no windows and the only view was from an air vent.
- Literally right next to the lighthouse property was Germaine's Luau. We all enjoyed this traditional Hawaiian experience at the oceans edge. The "Spirit of Old Hawaii" which included entertainment along with the wonderful food, gave us a chance to enjoy the rich cultural heritage of the Pacific Islands. Those who wished to view the lifting of the roasted pig out of the ground were invited to do so. This is done with great ceremony! There was lots of singing and dancing by cast members in various Pacific Island costumes on the stage. Several times people in the audience were invited to join the natives on stage to learn some of the various dances. It was a great and fun evening.
- The busses departed for the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel and we arrived about 10:00 pm.
 October 10, 2011, Monday
- We picked up our breakfast, (in our cute bright orange carry cooler bags provided by the hotel) to take with us to eat on the bus.
- The busses left. Today we had a large bus and a smaller coach. We were on the smaller coach with Ua as our driver.
- Our first stop was at Hanauma Bay State Nature Preserve and Beach. This curved bay was declared a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park in 1967. This is a protected cove, great for scuba diving and snorkeling with a great variety of marine life and a large, rich coral reef. The bay floor is actually the crater of an ancient volcano that flooded when the exterior wall collapsed and the ocean rushed in. There is a large sandy beach for sunbathing, relaxing and picnicking. Several hiking trails extend along the coastline and along the ridge overlooking the bay providing breathtaking lookouts. Unfortunately we only had time for pictures of this beautiful spot, a short drive from Waikiki. Our driver told us about one of the trees growing in the beautiful park, the Pandana Tree, - the female tree grows the fruit and the male tree grows the flowers! We saw lots of wild chickens and some mongoose!
- As we drove to the southeastern shore of Oahu, our driver provided us with a great commentary of island history.
- One of our stops was at a blow hole. As the waves come ashore, the water breaks thru holes in the rocks on shore exploding thru the opening. After leaving about 8:30, we saw many sandy beaches, which are good for body surfing and fishing, and the beautiful Oahu countryside as we drove along.
- We arrived at the parking area for our hike up to the Makapu'u Lighthouse. The steep Makapu‘u Point trail offers outstanding views of Oahu’s southeastern coastline, including Koko Head and Koko Crater. At the trail's end at Makapu‘u Head, with magnificent views of the windward coast and offshore islets, is the historic red-roofed Makapu‘u Lighthouse. On a clear day, you may even see the islands of Molokai and Lanai. This trail is an excellent place to view migrating humpback whales in season (November-May). Unfortunately there were no whales to be seen this day. It was quite windy on the trail and for a short time we had a brief rain shower. Diana had quite a time getting her poncho on in the wind and after much struggling she thought she had accomplished the task only to find it was on backwards and the hood covered her face! Turning it around in the wind was another struggle! Shortly after this was accomplished, it stopped raining!
- A member of the Coast Guard, James Killeen, arrived to unlock the gate and we walked the short trail to the Makapu'u Point Lighthouse. This lighthouse was built in 1909. While the tower is only 46 feet tall, its position high on the cliff allows a focal plane of 420 feet. The lens at this lighthouse is the only hyper-radial lens in the U.S and is also the largest at 12 feet. We were able to climb the tower and get inside the lens room. This lighthouse is off limits to the public and once again the USLHS was able to obtain access to one the most spectacular lights in the country. This location and the light itself were one of the highlights of this trip. After everyone was able to get into the tower, we began the walk back down to the busses. The round trip is two miles and the elevation gain is 500 feet. Walking down was MUCH easier than the climb up!
- We arrived back at the bus and we left about 15 minutes later.
- We had a short rest stop at the Aloha Sea Life Park.
- Our smaller bus was able to make several stops for photos as we drove along the shore. One of those was at the beach at the base of Makapu'u Point. This beach is one of the popular surfing areas on this shoreline. The lighthouse high on the cliff was a impressive site from this view point. Some other points of interest as we drove along were: Tuft Cone Crater, Big Rabbit Island, the dock used in the TV show, Magnum PI, Waimanalo Beach (popular for surfing), the town of Kailua, and the Kahalu'u Mountain range. Once again we were told of the island's many locations for movies such as Karate Kid II & Jurassic Park.
- We stopped at the Kualoa Ranch for our lunch buffet. Established in 1850, Kualoa is a 4,000-acre working cattle ranch located on the northeastern side of Oahu. The ranch terrain varies from dense rainforest to broad open valleys and from beautiful white sand beaches to cliff faces. They offer many varieties of tour packages ranging from a day to a week for those wishing to experience this area of Oahu. We went around the back of the Lodge and saw some of their guests receiving horseback riding lessons. From the Ranch we had a good view of Mokolii island, also known among locals as "Chinaman’s Hat" because of its shape.
- We left the Kualoa Ranch and five minutes later we were at the Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Factory and Farm Outlet. They had free samples of coffee and many varieties of macadamia nuts to sample. Their large store is a popular stop for tour busses. As we drove along, our driver, Ua, continued his commentary about the island and various mountain shapes which the locals give names, such as "sleeping boy." This area, as well as many areas in Hawaii, have a rich and sacred history for the Hawaiian people.
- We had a brief rain shower but fortunately it stopped before we reached Laie Point Wayside Park on the Northeastern shore of Oahu. The main attraction is the natural sea arch. This place is steeped in Hawaiian legend. One of the legends, Laniloa mo‘o, can be read on a sign on a boulder in the beach park. The park offers a beautiful view of not only the arch but of the five offshore sandstone islands of Kihewamoku, Mokuauia, Pulemoku, Kukuihoolua and Mokualai mentioned in the legend. The peninsula is also frequented by fishermen, who primarily fish for trevally, or ulua.
- We left the park and a short drive down the road was the impressive white pillared Laie Mormon Temple, the first Mormon temple built in the Pacific in 1919. At 11,000 square feet, it is also the smallest built by the Mormons. The temple was built on a small hill visible from the entrance gate, with a beautiful cascading water fountain. All the lawns are neatly trimmed and watered, and the grounds are pristine. There are beautiful flowering plants and trees everywhere. A large percentage of the people in Laie are Mormon. Nearby Brigham Young University of Hawai'i, a four-year institution with over 2,400 undergraduates, provides higher education for students in the community. The bus driver drove us as close to the temple as we could get on the boulevard for pictures and we left just a few minutes later. We passed the popular Turtle Bay Resort with two golf courses designed by Arnold Palmer.
- We made a short stop at Kahuka Land Farms roadside market and enjoyed a fried banana and apple bananas which are very small and sweet. While we saw many banana trees throughout the islands, this is one fruit which Hawaii does not export.
- We stopped briefly at Sunset Beach, one of the popular beaches for surfing. Sometimes the waves here reach 30 feet. This beach is one of those used in the triple crown of surfing along with Haleiwa Beach & Banzai Pipeline.
- We were very fortunate when we stopped at Laniakea Beach to meet "Olivia Dawn" age 35! As well as being known as a surfing spot on Oahu's North Shore, the best thing are the green sea turtles who come close into shore to feed on the seaweed growing on the rocks. The green sea turtle is a reptile that can live up to 80 years of age. Like other reptiles, the green sea turtle is cold-blooded, so they sometimes haul themselves up on the beach to bask in the warm Hawaiian sun. They will allow people to swim and snorkel in the water with them. Just don't get too close as they may nip at you! We also spotted "Epo" out in the water. Conservationists are on the beach and place a red rope around the turtles to keep onlookers several feet away. They are also there to answer questions. For more information you can go to Care for the Turtles (www.malamanahonu.org). We left at 4:15 pm.
- Our last stop before heading back to Waikiki Beach was the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Our driver, Ua, gave us some interesting information about growing pineapples: they are harvested all year long, the first harvest comes 20 months after planting with the 2nd and 3rd harvests each coming 16 months later. Also, pineapples don't need much water and there can be as many as 28,000 plants in one acre. We passed miles and miles of pineapple fields before reaching the Plantation. There is a large gift store here with everything you can imagine "pineapple." We even enjoyed pineapple ice cream before leaving at 5:05.
- We arrived back at the Aston Waikiki Beach hotel. This has been a long but very interesting and enjoyable day!
- The tour group gathered in the Coconut Room on the 21st floor of the hotel for our final dinner together. Everyone agreed the Society had done an outstanding job and made our Hawaiian Adventure very memorable.
- We walked down Kalakaua Avenue one last time with Jim & Linda and enjoyed the famous Hawaiian shaved ice and ice cream crepe's. We returned to the hotel about 10:00 to finish our packing.
 October 11, 2011, Tuesday
- We enjoyed our last breakfast by the hotel pool.
- We put our swim suits on and went to Waikiki Beach for a swim. Jim & Linda joined us. The water was great and refreshing. We couldn't leave Waikiki without taking a dip!
- We went back to the hotel, showered and finished our packing.
- We took our baggage to bell services at the hotel and checked out. We met Jim and Linda and did some last minute shopping and window shopping, mostly in the International Market.
- The four of us enjoyed lunch at Jimmy Buffett's at the Beachcomber Restaurant and shopped in their store.
- We sat at the beach for awhile and then Diana & Linda did some more shopping.
- We walked back to the hotel and claimed our luggage..
- Roberts transportation services picked us up to go to the airport.
- We got through security. Jim & Linda's plane left about 30 minutes before ours.
- We boarded the plane.
- Lift off! Our last view of the beautiful Hawaiian Islands!
 October 12, 2011, Wednesday
6:30 am (MDST)
- The plane landed in Salt Lake City, UT. (3,043 miles from Honolulu and 5 hrs. 25 min. flying time). As we approached SLC we could see the moon reflecting on the Great Salt Lake. As we waited in the airport, the sun rose behind the mountains and we could see snow on the mountain tops.
- We boarded the plane and it took off 45 minutes later.
2:10 pm (EDST)
- The plane landed at Detroit Metro Airport. (1,596 miles from Salt Lake City, 3 hrs. 8 minutes flying time.) When we left Honolulu it was 88 degrees. It was 60 degrees in Detroit.
- Picked up our luggage.
- Our daughter Andrea picked us up from the airport.
- We arrived home.
Our special thanks to Jeff Gales and Team Sherwood of the United States Lighthouse Society for a fantastic, amazing and wonderful trip to the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. Getting into the Diamond Head and Makapu'u Point Lighthouses was certainly icing on the cake! The cruise on "Pride of America" was a truly wonderful experience and one we would highly recommend. We enjoyed our time with other tour members about half of whom we have traveled with on previous trips. Thanks to Mary & Phil Borkowski for creating the tour patch, the wonderful tour journal and the group photo. It was fun to have our neighbors, Jim & Linda Moehlman, join us. All of our tour guides and bus drivers provided us with so much history and information about the islands and the gracious Hawaiian people. We are ready to go back!
Trip Totals: 8 Lighthouses (plus 5 minor lights), 9,278 miles by air, 14 days.
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- Conceived and Developed by David S. Carter
- Photographs by Donald W. Carter
- Text by Diana K. Carter, Donald W. Carter & David S. Carter
Copyright © 1995-2011 David S. Carter, Donald W. Carter, & Diana K. Carter. All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means, physical or electronic, in part or in full, without the express permission of the authors, is strictly prohibited.
This article was last modified on 4/22/2012.