So most people know I spent the last 2ish months directing the Music Department onboard the Carnival Miracle, which means HAWAII! We did 2 Hawaiian Itineraries mixed in with some Mexican Riveira-Cabo San Lucas stuff (great rock climbing in Cabo, just the best!!) and I had an amazing time. Here’s some highlights!
Okay, Okay, it wasn’t a real honeymoon. I get it, I’m the only person I know who isn’t married, I’m also the only person I know who’s been to 20 countries this year. I’m over it. So Fake honeymoon. BUT I did spend 10 days in Hawaii, and I traveled a lot with my good friend Chris, who is an accomplished guitarist and songwriter. Hawaii is such a popular Honeymoon destination that everyone just assumed we were celebrating, and wished us congrats randomly and offered us free stuff and we just kind of rolled with it, at a certain point. it was a blast. Free stuff, super cool. I like being congratulated! So, fake honeymoon, 12/10, highly recommend.
In addition to being okay at guitar and super pro at embellishing stories, this Chris character is valuable because he has a US driver’s license!! So we rented a car for most days and he drove around and I fumbled around with maps, ran the radio and told the jokes. Now I’m an expert on all things Hawaii. So let’s get into it.
Road to Hana!!
First Maui day we drove the whole Road to Hana and visited Waiʻanapanapa State Park, the famous black sand beach. Honestly, It was on the top 5 most gorgeous places I’ve ever been. And I get around. It was hazy, sunny, misty and just the water was SO blue, the vegetation SO green, it looked like Jurassic park, and the sand is so amazing. It’s volcanic, so it’s pitch black and has a soothing texture. It’s extremely exfolllliating, they said, so there’s that. unfortunately I dropped my phone in a waterfall, so I have no pictures from this day. Google it, it’s great. Buy a plane ticket and go now.
If you do all the little stops on the Road to Hana, it’ll take you about 10 hours or ALL DAY which is time we DIDNT HAVE. We made a few quick educated stops, one at 3 bears waterfall, (RIP Iphone) one at a bamboo forest and one at a little cafe/outdoor craft market right before the black sand beach. When you’re working on a ship and you have limited port time, it’s always “OK GET BACK IN THE CAR, OK, you’re still taking pics, OKAY I GET IT, get back in the car” #haha but I got paid to explore Hawaii so who’s complaining? Not me. (I’m literally always complaining)
Second Maui Day, we didn’t have enough time to go back to the black sand beach (if you drive straight there without stopping it’s about 2 hours one way) so we went to Halakeala Crater! We became Junior Park Rangers (you can get a tiny badge! Delightful. ) and hiked up to 8800 feet. It was SO QUIET and COLD and lovely. I thought I was Moana for a second it was weird. On our way back, we dropped off the production cast and then headed to the tiny charming whaling/shopping town of Lahaina, where Mick Fleetwood owns a little bar with awesome live music. I had a Fleetwood Mac beer. I almost cried. I have a lot of feelings. I bought a shirt b/c I obviously have this perpetual need to give Fleetwood Mac MORE of my personal money. I got a hat that says “Aloha Beaches” which is now part of my daily uniform. What can I say.
First Honolulu day Chris and I got a tattoo! Well, he got a tattoo at the original Sailor Jerry tattoo parlor and I hung out and overpaid for a replacement iPhone at the very exciting AlaMoana Honolulu Apple Store! We drank beer on the beach and went to a Luau at Diamondhead (I FORGOT TO TAKE PICTURES) and then to the Maui Brewing company for CUSTOM beer flights where we proceeded to just chill out forever and lose track of time and ended up almost missing the ship. (jk, but we did walk on at 10:29pm when back on board time was 10:30Pm and I was losing my everything.)
Second Honolulu day, a group of the musicians/entertainment dept and I hiked up Diamondhead Crater! It was pretty touristy for me, and was more of a slow walk whilst you said “excuse me, sorry, excuse me” than a hike but you know. Whatever. Its a thing we can say we did, and it was nice at the top. We look cute in the pictures, so it was worth it. The guy at the top was hawking maps and certificates for $5 when you can buy them for $1.50 at the visitor center. #Protip
I spent the rest of that day relaxing by myself on the beach reading my book (PEACE AND QUIET YALL, TRY IT) and purchasing a birthday present for myself at the AlaMoana shopping center Victoria’s Secret.
MOVING ON to KAUAI!
Kauai was my favorite island, and the first day I spent exploring Kauai actually goes down as one of my top 10 favorite days ever. We hadn’t made any plans, it was hard to find information, and we were super adventure-hungover. We BOTH woke up late independently and got off the ship, both separately thinking we’d missed the day and we’d just get lunch and go to the gym or something. I messaged Chris when I got off and he was right around the corner in the port. We met up and walked by a tour guide, talked to him and he was renting cars. He gave us a map of the island and made a ton of notes on it for us, telling us “the day isn’t lost, its a small island!!” and he gave us a discount on car rental. So off we drove!
We hit up a local coffee shop and had the BEST coffee I had all week, (Ha Cafe, they were so friendly and KITTEN!) and then went to Manawaiopuna Falls, which is the waterfall used in Jurassic Park. No dinosaurs, just another waterfall, whatever.
We then just kind of, drove up the road the guy told us to go, and we found the tiny charming town of HanaPepe, which was the inspiration for Lilo&Stitch! It was a Saturday, and they happened to be having a Coffee&Chocolate outdoor festival. We paid for a “passport” for the full festival and got free samples from all the local companies, hung out, watched live local music, cultural drummers and dancers, everyone was SO friendly and really awesome to talk with. Someone was selling a bus that you could live in and I was REALLY SERIOUSLY tempted because y’all know I’m buying an RV THIS YEAR. I was like ITS FATE but it wasn’t, since I’m in an RV in Florida now typing this.
Afterwards, we drove up Waimea Canyon (the Grand Canyon of the South Pacific) and it was BREATHTAKINGLY gorgeous. I wasn’t expecting it to be that amazing, I’m always a little skeptical about touristy stuff but it was really beautiful. And we went for free! Last of the crew that day went on a $400 helicopter ride, which I heard was amazing, but. we saw the canyon for 100% less. AND I saw a ton of cute canyon mice, which you can’t see from helicopters.
On the way back, we stopped at a famous food truck called Porky’s, and if you’re ever in Kauai, DEFINITELY stop. It’s one of the most popular food trucks in the states, been featured on Food Network and such, and it’s only on this island. it was THE BOMB. Really great grilled cheese!
That was one of my best days. So unexpected and unplanned, spontaneous adventure is my favorite. Planning less and exploring more, relaxing and in such good company! and all those beautiful people we met at the festival who gave us free things because they thought we were on our honeymoon….that was swell. We just kind of rolled with it and then decided to play it up!! #heyitsfree #loveislove
Second Kauai Day, a few of the production folk and I hiked up the Sleeping Giant, which was a longer hike than we had time for but if you definitely want to get some nature I suggest tackling it. It’s closer to the port and is beautiful, challenging, and soooo quiet.
OKAY DEEP BREATHS this is a longer blog post than I realized!
Kona is a beautiful beach community on the side of the Big Island of Hawaii. Things to do include Sea Turtle Beach, Kona Brewery, Whaling tours (when in season) and more! Our first day in Kona, Chris and I went to the sea turtle beach. I wanted so desperately to see a turtle, and I didnt see any when we first got there. I was in the middle of a rant “This is lame, everyone said there were turtles, I don’t even see one…” and then the rock in front of me moved, and I lost my shit, and screamed and fell over, (normal day) and Chris has a horrible picture of me squatting on the ground, squealing, pointing at a turtle. Which he will never post. Good man Chris.
Therefore I suggest the Sea Turtle beach but WATCH WHERE YOU STEP. Afterwards we went to the Kona Brewery which was nearby, short ride on the Hoppa On Hoppa Off bus! we sampled local beers and had the best jalapeño popper pizza literally it was so good I have dreams about it. Why wouldn’t you put fried jalapeño poppers on pizza, it makes so much sense.
Oh, I almost forgot! There’s a ukulele store right outside the port, and I bought my first professional performer series Uke!! It’s got a little plug in and everything, so I did my evening sets on Uke instead. It was Hawaiian as. Took a few videos of the sea turtles, you can find them on my Instagram @savannahjaine 🙂
Second day in Kona, I was alone, so I took a 20 mile bike trip down the coast (roundtrip) you can rent bikes from place across from the coffee shop right by the port, $20 for the day. It was a lovely ride and I saw a ton more sea turtles!! It was nice to get out of the tourist area and see where people live. It was a Sunday morning, so church was in session, a few of them were outdoors on the beach and it was lovely to hear hymns as I rode along. Spoke to some friends I made last time at the little shops near the ship, just to catch up. Nothing much had happened since I saw them last. Hawaii moves slow, they said. I’m jealous, I replied.
Then I went back to the Kona Brewery because Jalapeño pizza and had lunch and a beer and someone covered my meal without me knowing, the waiter said they liked my music and paid my tab. I almost cried, it was a blessing.
WHOOO LAST PORT DAY! Hilo, Hawaii. The other side of the Big Island.
Hilo is mostly popular for its proximity to the Volcanoes!! Everybody wants to see lava and poke it with a stick. You should go there just to poke it with a stick, its fun. I went to the Volcano National Park both days, first with Chris and then once with the rest of the entertainment team. Second time was fun, I was the only one who had already been, so I felt like a sherpa of the volcanic crater because I knew everything about it and my way around and stuff. Hire me as a tour guide, I will gladly come. There’s a really great podcast called Ologies which interviews a badass volcanologist who works at this park, so I learned a lot from that episode as well, and definitely was a backseat driver talking about the sacred uses of lava tubes and the recent seismic activity.
We went into the (approved) lava tubes and hung out in Devastation Forest (good band name) I tried to bribe the guy to give me a junior park ranger badge, but it didn’t work. I said I had gotten one at Halakeala, he said “Well. We’re different here.” So that’s a thing, I suppose. #NoBadge
Chris and I also had lunch at the macadamia nut factory Mauna Loa, and I highly suggest you go there. The food was like, cold cut sandwiches but the ICE CREAM just eat that, skip the tuna. It smelled heavenly, and we stocked up on the unique flavors you could only buy in Hawaii and gained a ton of weight.
I guess that brings us to the end! My time in Hawaii was amazing, and I’m so happy I had people around me who had adventurous spirits and wanted to explore with me! Thanks to all for letting me hitch rides with you throughout the journey and special thanks to chris for fake-marrying me. I wish us all the luck in the world.
More this week about my plans for 2018!! will I hit 60 countries this year? WE WILL FIND OUT