Winter Season – Oahu

December 18, 45th Anniversary!

Hello Friends and Family!

During this difficult and very scary time of “Stay at Home” conditions due to COVID-19, I took the opportunity to gather up some photos from our Winter season in Kailua, HI. If you need to waste some time, please enjoy photos from our visit with Katie, Mike and Roxy (our youngest daughter, her boyfriend and their energetic puppy).

Pipe Masters Scoreboard – World Competition North Shore Oahu

One of the first activities after helping out at the Honolulu Marathon, was to watch the Billabong Pipe Master World Surfing contest. On a day when the surfing was called off due to no waves, we stopped for coffee and sat with one of the competitors, Billy Kamper (placed in the competition and took home $10,500). We didn’t know he was a competitor until people starting stopping by to talk to him. We were just chatting with his cute little boys!

Three months on Oahu spending
time with Katie, Mike, and Roxy

Aren’t they an adorable little family!

Haunama State Park – part of Island Tour well known for snorkeling

We purchased Groupons for the Aloha Hawaii Tours for $57 per person and it was a really great trip. It was a half day tour and we visited Haloni Blowhhole, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve (above) the North Shore for a food truck lunch (delicious 😋) and shopping. And, this is very important to note, it is an absolute must to get a donut at Leonard’s in Honolulu. The bus tour guide brought hot donuts and gave them to us at our first stop. Restroom stops were available at several of the stops.

Tropical Farms Macadamia Nuts – part of Island tour – great free samples
What are you stopping for Roxy?
Katie and Kenny getting down to Roxy’s level to see what Roxy saw. Oahu walking path near Katie and Mike’s place – No idea what fascinated Roxy

Katie’s boss, Steve, offered us use of their lovely home on the Big Island. Katie, Kenny, Jane (Katie’s very good friend) and I flew to check it out. The house is located very close to the Volcanoes National Park which offers up spectacular hiking. The last eruption, which you probably remember, was 2018. Luckily their home was not affected.

Stunning beauties right across the street
Hilo Farmer’s Market – Big Island – so much fun! Something for everyone

Volcano Hike

We chose a hike that would be 4 – 5 miles but got misdirected and ended up having to hike 10 miles! The little dots on the trail are fellow hikers! We descended from the top into the crater, hiked across the crater, ascended the opposite side, then meandered along the rim back to our car. It rained a little bit and we were rewarded with a rainbow inside the crater.

Kenny and I descending from the rim
Pathway through crater – from rim it appears flat but it is rough,
uneven, crusted lava – no shade – lots of crevices
Taking a break from hike through crater – L to R me, Kenny, Katie, Jane
The appearance of a Rainbow was a sweet surprise!

Sunrise at the Steam vents – it was cold and the steam was very warm. I felt venerable being surrounded by steam vents in the entire area and the power beneath my feet. We didn’t stay long because it was a bit creepy. I am glad we checked it out though.

Sunrise at the Kilauea Caldera
“The Point“ – Cliffs high above the ocean

We traveled to Naalehu which is the southern most point of the United States on the Big Island. There is a 40 foot drop to the ocean which crazy people jump or dive off then climb back up on a ladder that comes straight up from the ocean. No one was doing any cliff diving that day. That was a quick stop then we headed to the Green Sand Beach walk. There are only two Green Sand beaches in the world so we had to visit it.

We hiked/walked to the beach (3 miles?) and took a $10.00 per person truck ride back to the parking lot. The truck ride was about 30 minutes of fear.

Jane and Katie on the Green Sand beach – the ocean was rough, the sand was blowing in our faces. We stayed there about 30 minutes! But we, of course, can now say we went there!

The transportation was run by a local family and they loaded as many people as possible into the old pickup truck. In the front, the driver, a Chinese woman (talking to me about the COVID-19 virus – first time I became concerned about the virus) with her eight year old, an me. Behind the front seat, two women with three children. In the bed of the truck Katie, Jane, Kenny, eight other adults and one little baby in the father’s arms! I could see the ground through the floor boards! This four wheel vehicle was climbing hills, rocks, and rolling through streams. I was so worried that those in the back were going to be thrown off the bed of the truck.

At one point there was a standoff between our driver and a tourist with a rental Jeep that couldn’t figure out how to back out of the our way. The tourist was not supposed to be on the private road. Our driver used some expletives that should not be said aloud, especially in front of children.

We all did arrive safely (thank God!) and were happy to get back on the ground. Our weekend visiting the Big Island was quick but we tried to do as much as we could with the time we had there. Thank you Steve for sharing your Big Island home with us!

A must-visit when on Oahu – National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
There are amazing mosaics done by extremely talented artists.

In particular, Kenny saw this one. His father had been on the Northampton or the “Nora” which it was called prior to when she was torpedoed and sank in the Pacific action. The Convoy couldn’t stop to help that ship. There were survivors but they were in the water quite a while prior to their rescue. His Dad had mentioned this to his Mom in his letters to her. Thank you, Mark, the historian in our family, for your confirmation of Kenny’s recollection.

Such a poignant memorial, very moving.

Another worthwhile experience was the WWII Red-Light District walking tour led by a young historian, Carter, who was entertaining and very informative. She is quite a storyteller! It is normally a small group tour, (15-20 but in our case a modest 3) so we could ask questions and it was easy to hear Carter’s stories and see her pictures from the past. We learned a lot about the brothels during WWII – fascinating!

WWII Red Light District Tour – Starts here! Significant cultural landscape since 1922
Kenny, me, Japanese woman who was visiting Oahu for son’s wedding ( lovely lady) and our GREAT historian Carter!!
One of the historic stops on tour

Some pics from our Pillbox hike that brought Katie, Roxy, Kenny and I to these dramatic views.

Katie and Roxy on the pillbox trail
We made the slippery trail to the top!
Standing on one of the pillboxes. There are several pillbox hikes on Oahu.
This picture doesn’t do justice to the views from here (it had just started raining) – Kaneohe Bay
We are a bit wet but Roxy couldn’t care less.
The way down was more challenging than the way up. Katie did some skiing. I considered going down on my butt but clung to vegetation instead.
We all arrived without falling. The only feet I recognize are Roxy’s.
Roxy uses Kenny’s shoulder as a chin rest – on the way to North Shore

We drove to the North Shore to visit Remy (Katie’s friend who has been part of our family forever) and Dan. Dan and Remy have recently become engaged!! They have also leased land and become avocado farmers – in addition to their other jobs.

Remy, Dan and Katie – Farm’s First Greenhouse Plants
We are so proud of Remy and Dan making their dreams come true!
We met up with Susan and Mike in Maui

Susan and Mike were vacationing on Maui and invited us to visit! Who doesn’t love getting together with great friends? Oh yeah, we were definitely in! We flew over for a few days and filled each day up with fun things!

Our naturalist told us his name was Maui, his colleagues called him different names so I have no clue what his name is. He was extremely respectful and knowledgeable about the gardens. You could tell how much he loved these sacred grounds.

We walked with a naturalist guide (picture above), in sacred areas of the Kings Garden. Kings Garden is little known rainforest which can only be entered with a guide and reminded me of the movie, Jurassic Park. Our guide taught us about making chocolate and we were afforded the opportunity to sample chocolates from around the world. It was a bright sun-filled day and we learned the history of the gardens and even heard funny stories about our guide’s parrot (who did make a surprise appearance while were there).

Walking through Helconia (sometimes called the lobster plant.)
Sealing-Wax Palm – one of my favorite palms
A Cacao Tree provides Chocolate – eventually
Debbie, Kenny, Susan and Mike as we arrived at the Falls (behind us) during our King’s Gardens visit
Random Pineapple photo opportunity on a walk along the beach

Next stop Haiku Sugar Mill tour

Susan and Mike – We didn’t get a picture of the four of us together there!
Now a historic site, it serves as an amazing wedding venue – Charming
Inside the former sugar mill

Kenny had read something about a distillery in the area, the Hawaii Sea Spirits Organic Farm and Distillery so, of course, we had to go. It’s a tiny little distillery and makes Ocean organic Vodka. Their bottle is distinctive being blue and tilted on the earth’s axis. At the end of the tour there is a tasting of their vodka, gin, and rum. I am not a fan of shots of anything but sometimes one must indulge. This distillery is a small family business that has grown tremendously. Their bottles are distinctive and their Vodka smooth (according to others in our group.)

Distillery Ocean
Their bottles are pretty enough for reuse as a flower pot or just a decoration. The story behind its design is impressive. Oh! Vodka is great as well.

Surfing Goat Diary was right down the street from the Ocean Distillery. Kenny, Katie, and I were there three years ago but we wanted Susan and Mike to see it as well.

We were hungry and lucky because they had added a tiny restaurant at the Surfing Goat Dairy since our last visit. We ordered a charcuterie platter and a “flight” of goat cheeses. Oh my goodness, so delicious! We ended buying several different varieties of goat cheese.

Giving the background of the establishment, I thought it important to take a picture – worth a read
Surf boards are everywhere – baby goat taking a rest on surf board
Before leaving Maui, we celebrated both couples 45th wedding anniversaries (different dates in 2019). We enjoyed a yummy dinner where we were treated to this striking sunset (one of many we enjoyed)

Thank you so much Susan and Mike for a fun filled visit in your beautiful condo!!

We had read that there were Volunteer opportunities at the Waimea Valley State Park and by volunteering for a few hours, you could tour the park for free. They have a waterfall area which you can swim in, paved walk paths, and botanical gardens. We signed up right away but it was a month before a slot for volunteering was available. Katie, Kenny and I volunteered!

We were assigned a specific area in the botanical gardens and after some instruction, we weeded, we cut plants back, we raked, and carried the fruits of our labor to form a monstrous pile which was hauled off by backhoes. I received my gardening “fix”. Anyone who knows me well, knows that this was a perfect day for me!!

Volunteer Day – Waimea Valley – the pile of weeding is behind the group. It was a huge amount and a backhoe had to gather it up. We are in the very back row. Good luck finding us. Where are the Petersons? Enlarge the photo.
Lipstick Tree

As part the tour group we joined after volunteering, the guide explained the products derived from the Lipstick tree. Katie and I tried out the natural “lipstick” from the tree.

Fishy face, Kissy face
Kenny and Kate on our walk to the waterfall.
Hey! I see you buddy!

I really dislike geckos, but this one was kind of cute looking up at Kenny as he took its picture. It is a Gold Dust Day gecko.

This guy put on quite a show for us strutting his stuff. He posed for about 15 minutes then went on his way. With his huge fan and bright eyespots, I’m certain that he is popular with the ladies.

We had a great time on Oahu but we started hearing more about the coming virus. Several of our friends mentioned that we should wear masks on our lengthy flight back to Boston from Honolulu. We weren’t really concerned but decided we’d look for masks. There were no masks to be found. All stores in Kailua were out of masks. First time I became seriously concerned of things to come.

We ended up going into an empty urgent care center in the center of Kailua (one which now has drive-in COVID-19 testing). The masks which had normally been kept at the entrance were unavailable. We spoke to a nurse and explained our upcoming travel and she went in the back and gave us two masks. Little did we know that 1.5 months after our return to the US, we would be under a Stay-at-Home order.

Here are some videos to potentially give you a laugh during this anxious time period.

Katie playing with Roxy. Roxy was so excited with Katie’s cheerleading!

Honestly embarrassed that I found this funny. He was hiding behind our outside mirror and we tried to save him. He hung on until we were doing 40 MPH. I do hope he landed safely off the road. 🤷‍♀️

Although it seems a lifetime for us, it was just 1.5 months ago that life was normal. Now we are under a Stay-at- Home order from the Governor Charlie Barker of Massachusetts.

Kenny and I accepted a Workkamper position at the Boston/Cape Cod KOA about six months ago. We did this in order to be near to our family and friends and grateful that although we can’t now see our family and friends we are at least near to most (Katie and Mike are in HI 🙁).

These are our grandchildren! Tristan, Logan, Dylan – we need them protected. As do you for your family.

Right now, we are concerned about our family and friends and actually everyone. We need to adapt, hang tough, none of us have ever experienced anything like this but we need to find ways to cope. If you can, help your children with their distance learning, play more with them one-on-one, play games (board, cards, puzzles) with your family, cook/bake anything that ends up yummy.

We need to follow all directives to ensure we can protect ourselves, friends and family but more importantly our future generations. It’s hard but please, please, comply with whatever guidelines are in place for your state to ensure that we can protect our future. This is a time to stay in place.

Walk together, run, bike, hike, kayak, canoe, fish, you can incorporate one or more in your life. It so important to incorporate some type of exercise into your daily routine. But indulge yourself! Read books that you haven’t had time to read. Binge watch episodes of whatever interests you. Give yourself permission.

Kenny and I are grateful that we are retired. We are grateful that we have been living in a confined place for the past four years so this isn’t new for us. We are fine but we worry about others, especially family and friends. Kenny relates this experience to his former work in the Nuclear field. You can’t see it, you can’t feel it, but it is there. Keep yourself and family as safe as you possibly can. Please, for all of us.

“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.Franklin D. Roosevelt

We pray that a vaccine is found soon to eliminate this horrible virus. We pray that essential workers are protected from COVID-19. We pray that our leaders are making the right decisions. We pray for everyone to be safe and be healthy. At this time, we just pray.