Browsing Tag: hawaii


    Stumbling onto the LOST beach in Hawaii

    December 11, 2021

    We were on a day trip to Oahu last month. The purpose behind the trip was to learn more about Oahu, scout some neighborhoods, and see more of the island than Honolulu proper.

    We were up on the north shore, driving around, getting out of the car here and there, all really casual and such. Lunchtime came and we decided to stop at a burger place in a little town called Haleiwa.

    As we waited for the food, I fired up my Swarm app to do a check-in. I’m looking through the list of suggested places and one of them says something like “LOST place crash beach.” I was like … WTF!?!? I had no idea we might be close to that beach!!

    LOST was always one of Cari’s and my favorite shows. We watched it religiously every week from beginning to end. So I told her what the app was saying and she got as excited as me.

    Did a little more research as we scarfed down our burgers and sure enough, the beach where the plane crashes in the pilot episode is only like 10 minutes away!!! We had a bunch of places we were supposed to go, but this quickly became priority No. 1!

    Sure enough, just as advertised, we found the LOST beach. There were only a couple other people walking in the area and I didn’t see any signs or anything else to indicate that this was where the plane crashed.

    But you couldn’t miss it.

    The mountain ranges were a dead giveaway. The shapes and curves of the beach and ocean. The vegetation in the area. It was exactly what you’d expect it to look like 15+ years after that first episode. Here are a few comparison pics, then and now with the TV show and what we saw.

    I’m not in the exact right spot for either photo, but you can tell it’s the same place. And it was soooo freaking cool to be there and walk on the beach. I still can’t believe we accidentally stumbled onto the LOST beach.

    I’ve been talking about rewatching the entire series for the past 4-5 years, but I keep not doing it. Maybe this will spur me to dive back into it one of these days!


    My Top 10 Snorkeling Tips

    November 27, 2021

    Let’s get the obvious out of the way: I’m not the world’s best snorkeler. (Does such a title/honor even exist?)

    So why read my snorkeling tips? I get it. I hear you.

    Look, I’m just a guy who loves snorkeling, has done it a few dozen times, and has a knack for finding turtles, rays, squid, octopi, and other assorted sea creatures when I snorkel. I don’t think I’m better than anyone else, but I do some things in the water that seem to help me have a good, safe time while seeing as many creatures as possible.

    So while I was in Hawaii a couple weeks ago, I thought … why not share some of this with others?

    To have a really fun and successful time snorkeling, you should do more than just stick your head down, swim in a straight line, and look as far down as you can see. But every time I go snorkeling, I see other folks doing exactly that.

    So let me share a few tips that might help you develop a knack for seeing more fish and having more fun next time you go snorkeling! These first few are obvious, so I’m not gonna spend much time on them.

    The Obvious 4

    1.) Know the local rules and follow any and all safety requirements wherever you’re snorkeling.

    2.) Have the right gear and know how to use it. If you can, be sure to spray defogger on your mask so you can clearly see the beauty of the water.

    3.) Don’t be an ass to other snorkelers. Don’t bully your way through a crowd to see a turtle. You’re not Aquaman and you don’t rule the seas.

    4.) Coral reefs are great place to snorkel. A lot of fish, turtles, etc., eat along coral reefs.

    The Less Obvious 6

    5.) Be careful about kicking.

    When I’m in active/alert mode — i.e., looking for sea creatures — I try to kick/swim as lightly as possible. When you kick hard, you a) might scare a fish away, and b) create a lot of bubbles in the water that make it harder to see. It can also be rude or even dangerous to people behind you that may not be aware of.

    Kick lightly when you’re in “find fish” mode. The only time I ever kick at full strength is when I’m alone and actively swimming to a specific spot.

    6.) Look up.

    Don’t just look down when you’re snorkeling. A lot of creatures swim closer to the surface, including turtles. Also, wow, up near the surface can be really beautiful with the water bending the sun’s light.

    7.) Look around.

    Don’t just go forward. Turn around every 30-60 seconds or so. Do a complete 360-degree turn. Turtles can come toward you from behind. Some of my best/favorite turtle encounters began with one of them coming towards me from behind.

    8.) Look at and listen to other snorkelers.

    I know you’re trying to spot cool fish, turtles, or whatever, but sometimes the best way to do that is to keep your eyes and ears peeled on the people around you. If there are turtles nearby, there’s probably a group surrounding them. Go join them.

    And listen as you snorkel. When someone spots a turtle, they almost always yell “turtle!” to the rest of their group — that’s your signal to go join them. But remember rule #3 above.

    Watching and listening to others around you is also a good safety tip. Speaking of which…

    9.) Never be the furthest person out.

    Kaanapali Point is one of my favorite spots to snorkel. There’s a shallow area right off the beach that often has fish and even a turtle or two. You can also snorkel further out toward Black Rock, where the water is a lot deeper. That’s where you’ll see turtles, rays, and various other fish.

    But that far out, not gonna lie … it gets a little nerve-racking. When I’m out that far from the beach, I always make sure there’s someone else further out. If I can’t, then I’ll swim back closer to shore. I think it’s smart to always keep someone else between you and a hungry fish.

    10.) Keep an eye on the depths.

    As long as I’m talking about self-preservation, keep an eye on the depths further away from you. Don’t just look for happy, harmless creatures right in your line of sight. If there’s a hungry fish 20-30 yards away, you want to know as soon as possible.

    Your Turn

    I have a feeling some of my friends who are also experienced snorkelers might see this at some point, and I hope they’ll add their own tips and advice to mine above. What about you? If you have something to add, drop it in the comments below!


    Where to watch NFL games on Hawaii’s Big Island

    November 12, 2018

    We found our tribe of Seahawks fans (12s!) at a neat sports bar in Kailua-Kona!

    If you’re a big football fan who’s traveling to Hawaii during NFL season, you might reach a point during your trip planning where you wonder … Where am I gonna watch the football game on Sunday?

    My wife and I have been to different Hawaiian islands probably 2-3 times during NFL season, and each time we’ve managed to find some good places that open up early Sunday for tourists to catch their favorite team’s game. Our most recent trip was last month when we visited the Big Island (Hawaii) with friends. But we were the only ones who wanted to find a place to watch NFL games — preferably with other Seattle Seahawks fans! — so the planning was all on our own.

    Good news: There are three sports bars nestled closely together in Kailua-Kona and each one opens early on Sunday mornings for NFL fans!

    My wife and I ended up at Oceans Sports Bar, which is just off Ali’i Road, the street that runs along the coast. As we were walking there, we passed by two other sports bars that were also open early and had TVs on for people to watch the games — Bongo Ben’s and Laverne’s. There are a few other bar/restaurant-type places in that same area that may have also been open, but we didn’t walk to them.

    (By the way … we’re talking 7:00 AM in Hawaii. That’s when the early games kickoff, at least before the mainland changes its clocks. If it’s after the clock change, kickoff will be at 8:00 AM Hawaiian time.)

    Oceans has a pretty big bar area with a bunch of TVs above showing the games, and then several more TVs placed throughout the dining areas.

    My wife and I arrived just as the game began and picked a table in the first dining area, where about 10-15 Seahawks fans had already gathered. It’s always fun to watch a game with other 12s, and this was no exception.

    The crowd grew as the game went along, and there were eventually about 25-30 Seahawks fans spread across two dining areas. There were also some Broncos fans, Chiefs fans and a few other teams represented … but Oceans Sports Bar seems to be the place for Seahawks fans to gather.

    Service was excellent. Our waitress was quick to bring my wife a mimosa and kept me filled with various tropical juices all morning. For breakfast, they offer a buffet that runs $14 per person, as I recall, which is pretty much a bargain for Hawaii. It was fairly standard stuff — scrambled eggs, bacon, home fried potatoes (to die for! OMG), biscuits and gravy, fried rice and some fresh fruit options. I think they had the fixins for a loco moco, too. As part of the buffet, you can also order a Belgian waffle — it looked delicious, but we were too full to try it.

    All in all, we had a great morning. The food was good. The service was good. The atmosphere was really fun. And we got to watch the Seahawks beat Detroit alongside a big group of fellow football fans. If you’re an NFL fan looking to watch the games on Hawaii’s Big Island, you can’t go wrong with Oceans Sports Bar — especially if you’re a Seahawks fan!


    Dublin, Driving, Hawaii and … Dread?

    January 26, 2016

    The sunset, as we saw it after driving up Haleakala Mountain in Maui.
    The sunset, as we saw it after driving up Haleakala Mountain in Maui.

    I flew to Dublin back in November for U2 concerts and had a great time. But in the days leading up to the trip, I began to dread the thought of flying over the Atlantic Ocean. Weird, because I’ve flown to Ireland a couple times in the past and flown to Hawaii a handful of times just in the past five years … and never did I worry or think about any dangers/risks of flying over the ocean.

    In December, while making plans for a trip to Hawaii, I decided not join my wife and four friends on a snorkeling trip that involved riding out on the ocean on a sailing canoe. On the surface, I made the decision because it was way too expensive. But I later figured out there was a subconscious decision that was really guiding my decision — I was afraid to get on the little sailing canoe and head out into the Pacific.

    When we made the trip earlier this month to Hawaii, the same fear of transoceanic flight hit me.

    And then, when we were in Hawaii, everyone drove up to the top of Haleakala Mountain for a combo sunset viewing/astronomy tour. It was wonderful, but I hated the drive. The road was thin and dangerous with what seemed like a couple dozen switchbacks. There were cows grazing along the side of the road and sometimes standing in the middle of it — dangerous to any vehicle coming around a blind turn. I vowed afterward to never drive up Haleakala again.

    A year ago, or five years ago, I would’ve never been afraid of the drive up the mountain. I would’ve never been afraid of getting on the sailing canoe. I’ve never been afraid to fly over the ocean.

    What’s going on??

    While the rest of the group was out on the sailing canoe, I had about three hours alone and time to think about that question. The answer I came up with is that it’s because my dad died last year and I’ve been subconsciously fearing and/or avoiding risky things that could involve death. Now that I’m without my dad, I don’t want to die and leave my son without his dad.

    Sure, walking outside or just getting the car and driving to the store could involve death, but those are common things that I do regularly. The stuff above isn’t.

    It was something of a relief to have come up with a reason for my sudden fear of certain activities. But now I’m asking myself new questions: What else will I suddenly dread or try to avoid? Is this a temporary thing that I’ll get over someday? If so … when?


    Great Italian Food in Maui? Try Antonio’s (in a strip mall, even)

    January 24, 2016

    Antonio's Italian Kitchen, as seen on Google Street View
    Antonio’s Italian Kitchen, as seen on Google Street View

    Let’s talk first about the 800-lb. elephant in the room: It’s in a strip mall anchored by a Long’s Drugs. That’s it in the corner of the Google Street View screenshot above. But don’t let that discourage you as you drive up to Antonio’s Italian Kitchen, which may very well have the best Italian food in Maui.

    Maui has a ton of fantastic restaurants but, in my experience (been to Maui four times in the past five years), they mostly pay lip service to Italian food. Seafood reigns on Maui, with steak joints or Asian food probably the next most popular restaurant options. At most of these places, you can find a seafood/pasta combo dish (or several) and maybe some basic Italian dishes like different takes on Pasta Primavera and such.

    But if you’re looking for a great Italian-focused restaurant that offers several kinds of homemade pasta and multiple sauce options, your choices will be pretty limited.

    Enter Antonio’s. In a strip mall. In Kihei.

    Our party of four ate there on a Thursday night in mid-January and we all loved it. We read about it the well-known Maui Revealed guide book and found their review to be spot on. It’s small — maybe 10 tables altogether. It’s very clean. Service was super friendly. The food was wonderful.

    I had the Fettucine Alfredo dish with chicken. I loved the homemade pasta and the sauce, which I assume was also homemade, was fantastic. My wife loved the Ravioli, and our guests loved the Chicken Parmesan (with Spaghetti) and Italian Sausage dinners.

    Entrees were in the $15 range, plus or minus. Appetizers were in the $8 range, plus or minus. The ones we ordered (Bruschetta and Garlic Bread) were good, but not as rave-worthy as the entrees. Desserts were solid (cheesecake for me, a chocolate mousse cake for my wife). With an alcoholic beverage or two thrown in, our whole meal was in the $60/couple range, which is really affordable for Maui.

    Reservations were suggested, so we made one. But there were a couple empty tables when we arrived so a walk-in would’ve worked, too.

    Huge props to Antonio’s on Maui for what very well could be the best Italian dinner on the island. Give it a shot, and don’t let the strip mall location discourage you.


    Maui Days 6-7: Turtles, Dinner Plans, and Home

    May 20, 2011


    Sigh. Our last full day on Maui. I’d tell you that we woke up sad, and that would be true. But the full story is that we started getting sad about leaving three days ago! Today, the end of an amazing vacation was just staring us in the face.

    The highlight of today’s schedule was to be a sunset dinner cruise along the Maui coast; figured that would be the most relaxing way to wrap up our anniversary celebration. But first, we had some more snorkeling on the agenda. And breakfast. And both came highly recommended by one of Cari’s friends. Continue Reading…