The Story of Us: 2013 Part 7 Cruise

The Pride of America docked in Nawiliwili Harbor, on the island’s southeast coast, near the town of Lihue.

We hopped on the Harbor Trolley to the beaches of Kalapaki Bay. We enjoyed the refreshing water, the sandy beach and watching boats coming and going.

We stopped in at Kalapaki Joe’s for drinks.

After a morning in Nawiliwili Kauai, we headed back to the ship for a relaxing afternoon. The ship was hosting a sail away barbecue pool party, as we sailed out of Kauai, we went poolside and enjoyed the live music from the ships band “The Wave.” After awhile we moved from a table to the lounge chairs and the pool. We had a great waitress, who keep our drinks full, even when we were in the pool. No need to get out and go to the bar, she was right there checking on us, calling us by our names. Like I said she was REALLY GOOD! The guys gave her a huge tip for her hard work. After “The Wave” finished Toby Beau took the stage to do a tribute to Jimmy Buffet. It was a great relaxing afternoon of drinks, music and a “Cheeseburger in Paradise”  in “Margaritaville.”

2013 11 08 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Jimmy Buffett Pool Party Toby Beau Rennetta Dennett Silva (2)
2013 11 08 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Jimmy Buffett Pool Party Rennetta Dennett Silva
2013 11 08 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Jimmy Buffett Pool Party Toby Beau Rennetta Dennett Silva (3)

Later as we sailed along we came upon a storm. We stood on our balcony and watched as the rain moved in and as we passed it a rainbow appeared.

The Napali Coast nourishes the soul. Kauai’s famous coastline is truly majestic, featuring emerald-green pinnacles towering along the shoreline for 17-miles. Located on the North Shore of Kauai, the Napali Coast features panoramic views of the vast Pacific Ocean, velvet green cliffs and cascading waterfalls plummeting into deep, narrow valleys. The rugged terrain appears much as it did centuries ago. As we sailed along the Napali Coast, the ship had a local resident onboard to give commentary on the history and current day facts about this amazing part of Kauai.  The ship actually sailed the coast going both directions so that guests could participate from their stateroom balcony or other parts of the ship and not have everyone crowding one side of the ship.

We celebrated birthdays on this cruise. Lupe’s on the 1st, Fred’s on the 8th and Steve’s on the 27th. The ships do cakes for birthdays and anniversaries.

Our last night on board, a wine toast, cheesecake and Coconut soufflé for dessert.

The Story of Us: 2013 Part 6 Cruise

Kauas origins are volcanic, the island having been formed at approximately six million years ago, is the oldest of the main islands. One of the wettest spots on earth, with an annual average rainfall of 460 inches, is located on the east side of Mount Waiʻaleʻale. The high annual rainfall has eroded deep valleys in the central mountains, carving out canyons with many scenic waterfalls. Outside of the port, there were lots of buses to take hundreds of people off to their adventures for the day.

Oral traditions tell of the sacred births of Kaua`inui and Wailuanuiho`ano and the establishment of this area as a birthing site reserved for royalty. These ancient stones were synonymous with both birth and death in ancient times. Pregnant women carrying Kauai’s unborn royalty were led here to give birth. The location was also used to sacrifice enemy warriors and others unfortunate people to the local gods. It is still considered as one of Hawaii’s most sacred sites. Kaua’s king, Kaumuali`i was the last chief to be born here.

The basket maker was sitting by the waterfalls on Wailua Heritage Trail making palm baskets.

ʻŌpaekaʻa Falls is a waterfall located on the ʻŌpaekaʻa Stream in Wailua River State Park on the eastern side of the Hawaiian island of Kauai.of Kauai. It is a 151 foot waterfall that flows over basalt from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago.

Hawaii’s official State bird is the Hawaiian goose, or Nene, but on Kauai, everyone jokes that the “official” birds of the Garden Island are feral chickens, especially the wild roasters. The “mua” or red jungle fowl were brought to Kauai by the Polynesians as a source of food, thriving on an island where they have no real predators.

Along with the roasters there were lots of cats at this location.

Ninini Point Lighthouse, standing at 86 feet, is a snow-white tower marks the northern entrance to Nawiliwili Bay.

On Kauai’s east side between Wailua and Kapaa, is the Nounou Mountain range, more famously known as Sleeping Giant. Stare at the ridge from afar and with a little imagination you can make out what looks like a human figure lying on his back. Hawaiian legends say this giant was tricked by villagers into eating a vast amount of rocks hidden in fish and poi. Sleepy from the meal, the giant took a nap and hasn’t woken since.

Our next stop was a slow relaxing ride up the Wailus River to the Fern Grotto was about two miles. Along the way we passed lush jungles, cascading waterfalls and people paddle boarding and canoeing. The musicians on board played native songs and the captain shared stories of ancient Hawaii.

The world-famous Kauai Fern Grotto (Ma’ama’akualono) is a natural lava-rock grotto with long Boston Sword ferns growing upside down from the roof and cooled by misting waterfalls.

Once a royal gathering place, this area was dedicated to the major god, Lono. Its natural amphitheater acoustics made it a perfect place for serenading musicians and a Hula demonstration.

Native Hawaiian plants and colorful exotic tropical plants provide a rain-forest atmosphere.

On our returned trip on the Wailus River the young hula dancers entertained us and provided a lesson inviting everyone to join them in a final dance.

The evening arrived and it was time for us to attend a Luau. We listen to traditional Hawaiian music as we shopped the local vendors stalls and drank Mai Tais and Blue Hawaiians.

We were greeted at Kilohana, a restored plantation estate, with fresh-flower leis for the girls and shell leis for the guys.

For the luau, we were having shredded kalua pork cooked in an imu. This is an underground oven that uses a combination of hot coals, stones and layers of leaves and cloth or mats to steam the food. To build an imu dig into the earth about 2 feet to 4 feet deep with sloping sides. Put heated stones in the bottom, then a layer of green vegetation, food, covering material, and dirt. A large whole pig, in a good hot imu, may take from 6 to 8 hours of steaming time.

The pavilion was setup for the dinner and the nights entertainment.

We visited the various artisan shops located around the grounds before going over to the house for dinner. We took a ride on the Kauai Plantation Railway, winding through the plantation’s working farms and orchards.

2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku Plantation Train Ride (1)
2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku Plantation Train Ride (11)
2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku Plantation Train Ride (9)
2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku Plantation Train Ride (12)
2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku Plantation Train Ride (6)

As we rode along we came upon the pig pens, the engineer threw bread out to the pigs. They all started running along side of the train, in hopes of getting one of the slices of bread.

2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku Plantation Train Ride (3)
2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku Plantation Train Ride (2)
2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku Plantation Train Ride (7)

The Pu, a Hawaiian conch shell, was blown to let us know that it was time for dinner.

We had signed up for the VIP package so we walked over to the mansion, Kilohana, on the manicured green lawn. The 16,000 square-foot Tudor mansion was home to one of the island’s most prominent families. The picturesque venue is used now to host tours, gatherings and the theatrical luau. There were shops upstairs and downstairs in the home.

We were seated around an open-air courtyard with views of the plantation grounds and Mt. Waialeale in the distance.

As we sipped our Champagne and sparkling cider, we watched a hula dancer, who told beautiful stories of Hawaiian with her elegant and graceful movements.

Our starter was a chicken wontons with pineapple sweet and sour sauce. The salad course was smoked fish and lomiloni tomato salad with an aged red wine vinaigrette.

The entree was Imu roasted pork and roast garlic rubbed fresh fish wrapped and steamed in ti leaves with lemon grass sauce and Asian ratatouille. There was also Molaa purple sweet potato and stir fry vegetables served family style. Dessert was a cheesecake served at the house. After arriving at the pavilion, we continued with more desserts from the buffet.

When it was time for us to join the rest of the attendees, we were guided from the house to the pavilion by torch carrying guides. Upon our arrival we were seated in the front row around the stage. The people behind us was not happy. They had thought there would be no one in front of them.

The production told the story of one family’s voyage from Tahiti to Kauai, told through vivid storytelling & dance in an enchanting setting. In the opening scene a father remembering a time of struggle, recalls a decision, a journey and their prayers to Akua (God).

2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku The Story (26)

Orama, the daughter, scolds heaven for taking both her father and her love Ari on this foolish journey.

2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku The Story (17)

The father asks God to watch over his only child, to protect her and show her the future.

Before the departure there was flirtatious fun with seductive dances to ensure a safe return. Orama, left behind, finds hope in a vision of the future. She will see her lover Ari again and they will have a child.

2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku The Story (18)

The Blue Wind calls as the men journey towards uncharted waters. Hula Kahiko, adorned with ferns of the upland sing praise of this land.

The men prepare mentally for a grueling journey into the unknown with a dance of determination.

2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku The Story (19)

Planting Taro, pounding bark cloth, spear fishing and wrestling, life in the new land begins again.

2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku The Story (14)

It is time “Send for my dauther!” Legends and tales abound in the new land of Pele the Goddess of Fire, her long sleep, her lover Lohiau, her sister Hiiaka and the Mo’o or Dragon Women of Haena…Ari sees them in his dreams.

2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku The Story (3)

Orama’s vision becomes a reality with a family’s reunion, a wedding and a child born in the new land. Kalamaku…the Flamed Torch lives on.

2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku The Story Wedding
2013 11 07 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 6 Kauai Luau Kalamaku The Story (4)

After the show we got on the bus for our return to the ship. It had been a very full day and we were ready for bed.

The Story of Us: 2013 Part 5 Cruise

We watched as the crew as they lowered the life boats down to tender us to the shore. We picked up tender tickets and was off to Kailua-Kona was the first royal capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

There were historical landmarks within walking distance of the pier including a Heiau (temple), the first Christian church in Hawaii and a summer palace. A painter was doing a landscape of these in the distance.

The water was so clear you could see the bottom with many rocks. Back from Hattie’s we stopped in at Splashers Grill for drinks and apps, before heading back to the tenders.

Out in the bay the Atlantis Submarine, a 48 passenger submarine, was docked. The sub was featured in National Geographic television specials.

We hopped on a shuttle to Hilo Hattie’s, the store of Hawaii. They carry a wide selection of Hawaii attire. We wore are purchases to dinner that night.

There was an island out in the bay and we never did find out it’s function.

2013 11 06 Hawaii NCL Pride of America oh what a night gourp 3 (6)

We really enjoyed the “Oh What a Night” show, a foursome that did two tribute shows based on Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The four guys who impersonated Frankie Valli’s group were superb, singing many memorable songs from this classic pop group. The range of the voices of two of their singers was incredible, from lows to Frankie’s falsetto highs. Not only were their voices outstanding but they all the dance moves down to a perfection. We had seen “Jersey Boys,” the Broadway play, in New York and thought the performance on the ship almost met the quality of the Broadway show. This first picture is from the Oh What a Night website describing the show. Often we remember the group but can’t remember the songs, this picture helps as a reminding of the great songs The Four Seasons recorded.

2013 11 06 Hawaii NCL Pride of America oh what a night gourp 3 (5)
2013 11 06 Hawaii NCL Pride of America oh what a night gourp 3 (1)
2013 11 06 Hawaii NCL Pride of America oh what a night gourp 3 (3)
2013 11 06 Hawaii NCL Pride of America oh what a night gourp 3 (4)

The Story of Us: 2013 Part 4 Cruise

At the Big Island Candy Factory we were met at the door by a super friendly staff member, who immediately offered fresh sweets and coffee! The facility is clean and modern with large windows through which we observed staff creating a variety of hand-made chocolate treats.

The Thomas A. Jaggar Museum is a museum on volcanology with displays of equipment used by scientists in the past to study the volcano, working seismographs, and an exhibit of clothing and gear from scientists who got a bit too close to lava. The overlook, outside the building, offers an incredible view of the main crater, Halema’uma’u. Along the rim there were interpretive displays about Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. We were hoping to see the lava but they keep you a safe distance from it.

In May 2018 the facility was closed and the property evacuated due to collapse explosions at Halema’uma’u Crater and earthquakes related to the 2018 lower Puna eruption that also led to the closure of the Kīlauea unit of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Nahuku also known as the Thurston Lava Tube, an easily accessible lava tube, was discovered in 1913 by Lorrin Thurston. We left the bus and walked the short distance to the entrance.

2013 11 05 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 4 Hilo Thurston Lava Tube
2013 11 05 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 4 Hilo Thurston Lava Tube (1)

It was hard to think that we were walking where red lava once flowed. We also were told that lava currently travels from Pu’u O’o, flowing to the ocean in a labyrinth of lava tubes much like the tube we were walking through. We had to watch our heads in the tube – there are some areas where the ceiling was low. At one time it was discovered the roof of the tube was covered with lava stalactites, but those soon disappeared to souvenir collectors.

2013 11 05 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 4 Hilo Thurston Lava Tube (5)
2013 11 05 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 4 Hilo Thurston Lava Tube (6)

It was very dark in the tube with just a few lights so you could see without falling.

2013 11 05 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 4 Hilo Thurston Lava Tube 1

Along Crater Rim Drive we came to Klauea Iki Overlook. We got off the bus and walked the 1/2 mile section of the Crater Rim Trail to the Overlook. The crater looked fairly tranquil but, in 1959 it was a seething lava lake, with lava fountains up to 1,900 feet. From the rim it is difficult to comprehend the scale of Klauea Iki. The crater is a mile long, 3,000 feet across, and the floor is 400 feet below the overlook.

On this photo, we zoomed in so we could see the hikers in the crater.

We drove along Chain of Craters Road in Volcanoes Nations Park. It was a 19-mile winding paved road through the East Rift and coastal area of the island. The original road, built-in 1928, connected Crater Rim Drive to Makaopuhi Crater. The road has had parts covered by lava several times due to eruptions of the Kilauea volcano.

As we drove along we saw collapse craters. The collapsed crater was form primarily when lava drains out of chambers beneath the surface, causing the surface to collapse-in to fill the void. These craters are characterized by deep pits with no air fall debris on the rims, indicating a lack of eruptive or explosive events in their formation.

We stopped at Lua Manu, which was interesting in particular because it was partially filled by a small lava stream that flowed into it during the 1974 Kilauea eruption.

We boarded an air-conditioned van at the pier and listen to our local guide as we took a scenic and narrated tour through Hilo’s bay front and the lush Hamakua Coast in route to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. The 40-acre valley is a natural greenhouse, protected from buffeting trade winds and blessed with fertile volcanic soil. At the entrance gate to the Garden, we were greeted by the Garden’s gate-keeper who answered questions and then sent us off into the tropical jungle. A 500 foot long elevated boardwalk winds down the steep walled ravine of Kahalii Stream that is now dry because of a 1949 landslide.

The Garden’s collection of tropical plants is international in scope. Over 2,000 species, representing more than 125 families and 750 genera, are found in this one-of-a-kind garden. At a time when rainforest plants are disappearing at an alarming rate, the Garden is working to preserve as many species as possible for the benefit of future generations.

Throughout this garden valley, nature trails meander through a true tropical rainforest, crossing bubbling streams, passing several beautiful waterfalls and the exciting ocean vistas along the rugged Pacific coast. The Garden is also home to a Statue of Ku, the Hawaiian God of War, carved from a Monkeypod Tree that once stood in the Garden. Macaws live inside the Founders’ birdhouses and there is also a wishing well.

After a day in Hilo sightseeing, it was time to relax with the show of the evening “Never Too Old To Rock N’ Roll” with Toby Beau. Toby is a RCA recording artists, who skyrocketed to the top of the Billboards with their pop ballad #1 hit, “My Angel Baby”  in the 70s. They, he and his wife Rennetta, have toured with major artists and bands such as Bob Seger, the Steve Miller Band, and the Doobie Brothers. In other words, they had a one hit wonder. Their hit didn’t ring a bell with me until I heard it. It was a great show with The Wave, the ships musicians that played for the different shows. They were very talented. A very talented couple and put on a great show forcing on 70s rock.

2013 11 05 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Never Too Old to Rock N' Roll Toby Beau Rennetta Dennett Silva

The Story of Us: 2013 Part 3 Cruise

The 318-foot-long Olowalu Tunnel on the Honoapiilani Highway along Maui’s southwest coast west of Maalaea Harbor was built in 1951. It is the oldest highway tunnel in Hawaii. On the mauka (inland) side of each portal is wire netting to keep rocks from falling onto the roadway.

Mai’Poin’a ‘oe Ia’u Beach Park is a quiet beach located in North Kihei, on South Central Maui. The narrow beach runs a mile and is an extension of Maalaea Beach and Sugar Beach. Water is typically calm in the mornings making it excellent for swimming. In the afternoons, it can get quite windy making Mai’Poin’a a popular spot for wind surfing.

Ukumehame Beach Park is located near the 12 mile marker along the Honoapiilani Highway. The park takes its name from the huge valley which can be seen directly behind it which carves a spectacular “V” in the West Maui Mountains. These dangerous valley ridges eventually lead to the pass that that was taken by King Kamehmeha’s army of Spartan like warriors who successfully attacked Maui’s warriors from behind in the decisive battle of the Iao Valley.

A couple and their dog was enjoying a day at the beach playing. The dog worked hard at finding the ball and sticks his owner sent flying into the air. After a while the dog came in for a water break and to roll in the sand. He was having a good day.

The drift wood along the beach was very interest looking.

The Refuge, located on Maui’s south-central coastline, is the scenic wetland area encompasses about 700 acres. It is the site of habitat restoration projects as well as local environmental education, bird watching, photography, and other wildlife-oriented activities. The Reserve was established in 1992 and is a natural basin for the 56-mile watershed in the West Maui Mountains.

A boardwalk over the pounded areas gave us an close-up viewing of native Hawaiian water bird species as well as migratory water birds who come from as far away as Asia, Canada, and Alaska. We enjoyed wandering down the wooden path.

We stopped in at Beach Bums BBQ & Grill for lunch. It opened in February of 2007 and is Maui’s most popular oceanfront barbecue restaurant. Beach Bum’s features an all wood rotisserie smoker, (custom-built in Mesquite Texas) using only local woods: Kiawe, a mild mesquite & Guava, an exotic fruit tree, adding a unique island flavor to all their smoked meats. The food was great, the view was outstanding and signs posted were entertaining.

Located on the North shore, Paia started as a plantation town with the opening of Paia store in 1896 to serve the needs of the multi-cultural plantation workers of Paia Sugar Mill.

One of the sugar mills along the highway. It was interesting seeing all the sugar cane growing on the plantations.

The wooden buildings of this quaint little town are still reminiscent of the plantation era but now house some of the best shopping and dining on the island.

Paia town’s main drag is also just a stone’s throw away from one of the best windsurfing spots in the world, Hookipa, and the surf lifestyle has definitely had an influence.

We had two wonderful days on the island of Maui but it was time to turn in the car and return to the ship for an evening of entertainment. Since Pride of America is such a small ship we did not expect the entertainment to be very much. We were surprised on several nights.

2013 11 04 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 3 Lights Camera Music 2

The Lights, Camera, Music was an elegant tribute to the greatest moments of the Hollywood Musical. The costumes were wonderful as were the sets and production of the songs. We saw cinematic classics come to life from the romantic glamour of the 1940s, “Singing in the Rain” to the high-kicking can-can of the “Moulin Rouge. These are just a few of the songs represented on this wonderful show night.

2013 11 04 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 3 Lights Camera Music 3
2013 11 04 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 3 Lights Camera Music 4
2013 11 04 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 3 Lights Camera Music Airplane
2013 11 04 Hawaii NCL Pride of America Day 3 Lights Camera Music Singing in the Rain