One of the sites I'd been told by lots of people to visit was Hanauma Bay, a volcanic crater with world class snorkeling. It is a protected national park, and the others had all been and recommended it as well, so I thought I really needed to check it out too. Mom had been a few years ago, but is always up for snorkeling, and Erin hadn't been since they lived in Hawaii years ago, so they both wanted to join me. The others decided to skip it and get some shopping in. So, Mom, Erin, Mallory and I loaded down the car and headed out. Mallory was all dressed in her swim suit and cover up and ready to go!
We didn't leave super early (although we did have a "let's leave early" plan) but thought we would still be fine. We drove around the island to Hanauma (through the rain and clouds- not really the best beach weather, but we had to go today to fit it in), and as we got there...it was...FULL and CLOSED! We couldn't believe it. On the way up the hill, you pass the "blowhole" and several gorgeous views, so we decided to go back and check those out and see if maybe we could wait it out a few minutes. So we stopped and took some pics from a look out point:
Mallory balances on the rail for a picture (haha).
The Marvin/Cochran girls and the beautiful Hawaiian shore.
After taking some pictures, we thought we would drive by Hanauma again and see if it was open. We didn't want to spend all day trying to get in, and had said if it was still closed, we'd just have to skip it. But as fate would have it...it was open again! Yay! I think they limit the number of people/parking places so it doesn't get too overcrowded, which is a good thing. Anyway, in we went, and it is beautiful and worth going to. See the clear water and the reef right up by the shore?
After watching the required movie about not littering, walking on the coral and taking care of the environment, we found a spot on the beach and parked ourselves and stuff.
And then Mallory was off to build sandcastles.
We took turns staying with M and snorkeling. The water/undertow was actually a bit strong/rough today, and the sun had come out and was quite hot, but we got to see lots of beautiful fish. I think they were closer to you here than at North Shore, although I think we saw a greater variety up at North Shore than here. It was really fun and I enjoyed snorkeling with my mom quite a bit (and knowing M was in great hands with Erin). We did see the state fish of Hawaii:
When we had all decided we had had our fill of the salt, sand and sun, we packed up and took the tram up the hill. That might have been the best $2 I spent the whole trip- ha! You can tell from the other picture that you park at the top of the crater, and it is basically a "hole" you have to walk down to, and up from. But there is a tram you can pay I think it was $1 down and $2 up. We decided to do it both ways (with all your beach gear and a baby...) and it was a WISE decision! After packing up and heading back to the house, we passed a Shave Ice stand and decided we NEEDED one! So Mom treated us to shave ice and it was delicious once again!
After that we made it home and unpacked, showered and spent some time enjoying the yard. I took some pictures of Mallory with a true Hawaiian lei and background, as I knew we were going to give her a Hawaiian Luau for her 1st birthday and I wanted to use the pictures on her birthday invitation. Here are a few of the cute ones:
While outside, Mom decided to give her a "mini party" as her birthday was coming up and Nana had brought some gifts for her- a few books and clothes, a sippy cup and plate, a neat puzzle with her name and a few other goodies. Although she didn't know "why" she enjoyed playing with the new items and spending time with Mommy and Nana.
It was a great day with family and friends, fun and sun and the only bad thing was that the end of the vacation was coming wayyyy to fast!