Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 20 Rainbow Trees and An Abrupt Stop

Our second morning at the Kauai Inn started after sunrise, which gave us a chance to see how beautiful the grounds and background was.

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As we left to go out for the day we found a new city have moved in down the street.

To quote a line from the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ – “I’m bettin’ he’s gonna swerve first”

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Our day had us headed to some waterfalls – first was Wailua Falls. I was expecting to drive into a park and go for a hike to the falls, but we ended up driving up and getting a glimpse of them from the overlook in the fog.

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Still the double falls was impressive.

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We then headed to the nearby Opaeka’a Falls. While more distance, you did get a better view – but still no hiking.

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The Wailua River Valley is historically a Native Hawaiian settlement area.

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We continued up the road as far as it could go until we got to the Keahua Arboretum.

Not a traditional arboretum, but more of a ‘woods’, it nonetheless has some amazing trees. These are known as Rainbow Eucalyptus trees.

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As Wikipedia states: “The unique multi-hued bark is the most distinctive feature of the tree. Patches of outer bark are shed annually at different times, showing a bright green inner bark. This then darkens and matures to give blue, purple, orange and then maroon tones. The previous season’s bark peels off in strips to reveal a brightly colored new bark below. The peeling process results in vertical streaks of red, orange, green, blue, and gray.”

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Easily some of the coolest trees I have ever seen.

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With that we headed back down the mountain, passing some houses with great views.

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We stopped by Poliahu Park.

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Where the remains of a Heiau (temple) remains from ancient Hawaiian times. People have left lei’s as an offering.

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Our plans were to continue north to a wildlife preserve and lighthouse when we ran into a bit of a problem – literally. An elderly man missed seeing us coming down the road and pulled directly in front of us – BAM.

Airbags are an exciting event – scared the #$%^ out of me.

Fortunately nobody was seriously hurt, and after getting a replacement car from Avis (who get’s a shout out about how well they handled this situation), we got checked out and were on our way.

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We decided to skip the lighthouse and instead went to the Spouting Horn Park, where we met some of the local sea birds.

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Spouting Horn was nice, but with the much smaller waves it wasn’t nearly as impressive as the ones in Maui.

With that our eventful day came to an end.

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 19 Kauai and the Grand Canyon of Hawaii

We flew from Maui through Honolulu to Kauai on a Tuesday evening. Using google maps we made our way to our hotel, which took us past the shipping docks to who knows where.

The following morning we were up and on our way before sunrise. After about an hour and a half, and a quick breakfast in Waimea, we made our way up to Waimea Canyon.

We were greeted by the official bird of Hawaii – the rooster.

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We made our way through the park until we reached the famed Kalalau Overlook. If it looks familiar, it should, it was used in Jurassic Park.

We are about 4000′ above the ocean at this point.

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Look closely you will see the helicopter well below in the valley.

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The other highlight of the area is Waimea Canyon.

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Waipo’o Falls cascades into the canyon.

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From a distance you can see why it has the nickname Grand Canyon of Hawaii.

It is immense, especially given how small the island is overall. This area of Kauai is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, and well worth the trip.

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We made our way back down to the coast, and found this dirt road that continued in the direction of the bluffs we had just been on.

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Eventually we reached the end of the road and found this amazing secluded beach with a view of Ni’Hau.

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The waves, while not as impressive as what was in Maui, still made a great ‘Hawaii Five O’ look.

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But it was the view of the cliffs that made the dusty ride worthwhile.

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On our return trip to Lihue we stopped by the site of a Russian Fort, which was near the town of Waimea. Just down the hill from this fort a river ran into the ocean making some great sand dunes.

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Further along the coast we found Salt Pond Park and Beach. Nearby pools produce the famed Hawaiian sea salt, but the beach was more picturesque.

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Our final stop of the day was at Kauai Coffee. Very touristy, but amusing.

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They claim to have 4 million coffee trees, and near the visitor center you can take a walk amongst them.

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They also had some displays on how the beans are dried. These are for show, as this is a large commercial processing facility (that does not offer real tours of the plant).

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Remember that drive in the dark – it was much better in the sun!

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An amazing view at the Menehune Fishpond, literally a mile from our little hotel. The moral of this view is don’t always trust first impressions, the hotel and the views were spectacular – you just have to go through the cargo shipping area when you come from the airport.

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 18 Art and History of Maui

Day 18 of the Hawaii trip is a travel day, so we stayed fairly close to the airport for our late afternoon flight. We found a number of interesting artistic and historic sites to visit.

 

First up was the Sacred Gardens. This location seemed to be part gardens, part religious, part cosmic and more.

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They did have a ‘Buddha Garden’, with some nice sculptures.

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Their claim to fame though is their labyrinths.

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Just down the road is the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center. Situated on the grounds of a former sugar plantation owner, there are a number of buildings for various uses including a tiny high school.

The grounds are immaculate.

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Makai Glassworks is located in another former sugar plantation. We were able to observe the artist at work.

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In the same area, but off the tourist path, is the Dingking surfboard shop.

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A true find, they make custom surfboards.

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In addition to the surfboards, they do other custom woodwork including this great canoe.

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But their specialty is surfboards.

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Our next stop was the Surfing Goat Dairy, and as our directions had us turn into the road we were amazed that a dairy would have such a fancy entrance – until we realized the entrance was for a neighborhood of multi million dollar houses, and the dairy was off to to the side.

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But they did have goats, and surfboards.

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While most of the employment in Maui now is tourism, they once had thriving businesses in agriculture, primarily the sugar plantations and pineapples. They even once had railroads to bring the goods to the port, as evidenced by this former railroad office.

In my 3 weeks in Hawaii I did not see 1 railroad track (although there are apparently a couple of historic railroads around).

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Sugar cane processing was once a big business, but it is all now gone. This was the last processing plant, and it closed a few years ago.

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The history is celebrated by a museum housed in the former superintendents home.

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The interior has a nice display of the people and lifestyles of the plantation life. Outside they have some of the equipment used in the processing.

This truck and trailer was used to bring in massive amounts of the sugar cane into the factory.

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While these large claws picked up the cane in the fields.

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A quick stop at Target – where they are ready for Christmas Hawaiian style.

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And a great Hawaiian pizza – and it was off for our flights to Kauai.

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 17 The Road To Hana (and Beyond)

The Road to Hana is a famed Maui attraction. Winding for 52 miles from Kahului, it passes over 46 one lane bridges, and has over 600 curves.

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It basically runs up and down the gulches throughout east Maui, with many of the gulches featuring waterfalls.

It was raining fairly hard as we made our way down this early morning, so some of the falls were more impressive than normal. The good news was our early start meant we missed most of the very slow tourist traffic on the way down.

Unfortunately unless you had a 4WD high clearance vehicle you had to come back the same way, which we did later that afternoon.

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Eventually we reached Hana, and continued on to the portion of Haleakala National Park that is on the ocean. As we passed into the park grounds we were met with another great waterfall.

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Our main destination for the day was the Pipiwai Trail.

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This trail takes you up the mountain past the Seven Sacred Pools.

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Through an amazing bamboo forest.

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After clearing the bamboo forest you are presented with the highlight – the 400′ high Waimoku Waterfalls.

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After returning back down the trail we started backtracking up Hana Highway. Just beyond Hana is the Wai’anapanapa State Park.

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The seas were angry that day, and the waves were high and frequent.

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The blowhole at the park was more impressive than any of the others we saw elsewhere.

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Even the birds seemed excited.

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As we continued our journey back to Kahului we passed an area where numerous cars were parked along the road. Following the others we made our way down to an overlook where everyone was checking out the waves.

They were reported to be 20-30′ high here, which brought out locals as well as the tourists.

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The only surfboards we saw that day were lining the parking lot of the shops.

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As we made our way back to the hotel for the night we passed this architecturally interesting temple. We were fortunate that despite quite a bit of rain we remained dry for our couple hours of hiking, as well as the visit to the state park.

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 16 From Maui to the Moon

Early on a Sunday morning we took off and headed up the tallest mountain on Maui.

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Up we went until we were at the same level as the clouds.

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And the road kept going – we could see Molokai in the distance, and we kept going.

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we were looking down on the 5000′ high West Maui Mountains and the clouds now. Where could we be going?

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The moon!

No not really, it is Haleakala Mountain (and National Park). The buildings are an observatory.

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But if you could visit the moon in shorts this is the place (to be fair it was in the upper 50s but it is Hawaii so I am wearing shorts).

Haleakala is a volcano, and the top is the crater with numerous cauldrons. They like to point out that while it is officially 10,023′ above sea level, there is another 19, 680′ below sea level, so it is taller than Everest (but shorter overall than nearby Mauna Kea).

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There are numerous cauldrons in the crater, which is a deceptive 2600′ deep.

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While barren of vegetation, the crater floor is full of color, as this series of photos will show. These are some of my favorite photos of all time, all from the same place!

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We went down the path into the cauldron for about 45 minutes – resulting in a 2 hour hike back up. For me this was one of the tougher hikes, it is 10,000′ in elevation, it is continuous, without shade (and I likely only went down 700-800 vertical feet)

It is an incredible place, and we were fortunate that it was a very sunny day the day we visited, as the clouds often obscure the mountain (at least parts), and later in the day and for the rest of our time in Maui, it was at least partially obscured.

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We returned to Maui (aka sea level) and went for a drive to Kahakuloa. While most people drive the famed road to Hana (we did – later), this road was far more impressive and challenging. It was mostly a lane and a half, often clinging to the cliffs to the ocean, with minimal guard rails.

It was great!

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Great unexpected views would just pop up without warning.

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The road passes through a couple of little towns.

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Eventually you make it back to a road with state highway maintenance (aka – two lanes), but the views continue.

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We stopped at the Nakalele Blowhole.

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Another north shore coastline (note the road running along the top of the hill).

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Maui’s north shore is known for the surfing. We watched a number of them catch waves before calling it a day.

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 15 – Best 30 Minute Flight in the World

We left the ship in the morning and spent a bit of time in the town of Kaunakakai at a farmers market, while we waiting for our flight’s scheduled time.

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Eventually it was time to go – in our 9 passenger Mokulele Airlines flight to Maui. As we boarded the plane I asked the pilot if we were taking the north route to Maui, and with a smile she said ‘yes’!

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We took off over the only flat land on Molokai.

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The north route takes you over the famed Sea Cliffs. Known as the highest sea cliffs in the world, some are over 4000′ high. Now you know why the pilot was smiling.

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A family owned airline, they are known for their island hopping routes.

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The best views in the world out the windows of our little 9 passenger plane on a regularly scheduled route..

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One of the saddest policies in Hawaiian history was the sequestering of leprosy patients. One of the most famous of these is on Molokai, where over a 100 year period over 8,000 people were sent to spend the rest of their lives in isolation.

Today it is a National Historic Park accessible only by mules down the 1,600′ high cliffs, or by plane.

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More of the steep valleys along Molokai’s north shore.

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There are numerous waterfalls coming off of the cliffs.

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Two of the 8 highest waterfalls in the world are along these cliffs. I ‘think’ we are looking at Olo’upena Falls and ‘Pu’uka’oku Falls, both nearly 3000’ high.

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Amazing cliffs and waterfalls.

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Our last view of Molokai was of the Halawa Valley, where we spent the day before with Pops and his family learning of Hawaiian culture.

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After crossing the 20 mile channel we were over Maui,

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While rugged, the mountains are not as abrupt as Molokai. They do however have a great little road running through them (more on that tomorrow).

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More canyons as we approach the airport.

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Maui is basically one massive mountain on east end, with other tall mountains on the west end, with a flat valley in the middle. All of a sudden it looks like Southern California!

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The water in the ocean just off shore had great color though.

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Making a couple of quick turns to land and we were in Maui. What a spectacular flight!

The traffic and congestion will quickly make you wish you were back in Molokai.

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We did make a quick trip up to Iao Valley before the sun set though.

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The ‘needle’, a 1200′ high (from the valley floor). It is really a ridge, as it continues beyond sight.

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As we walked to dinner along the coast we saw this great turtle hanging out in the lava rocks.

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 14 Molokai

Another great sunrise…

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Time to tie the ship to the dock…

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The high school rowing crew is out for their morning practice…

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We are in Molokai!

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We have a full day of traditional Hawaiian events planned. Our driver Hans has arrived to pick us up.

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Molokai is a beautiful island, very sparsely population.

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We took the main road (!) to the far east end of the island.

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Stopping at the overlook…

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We were at the Halawa Valley for a day of traditional Hawaiian culture.

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The valley features a beautiful cove and beach.

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The Solatorio family has lived in this valley for many generations. This valley is Hawaii’s oldest continuously inhabited community.

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Pilipo Solatorio was chosen at age 5 to be the cultural practitioner for his family. He has carried on his cultures traditions and practices, educating natives and visitors with his stories and songs.

One of the stories he told was surviving the 1946 tsunami.

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His son Greg is carrying on this tradition. Below he demonstrates how to make Poi out of Taro.

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The remains of the church in the woods is one of the few structures that survived the tsunami.

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Hey I left my car in the woods and now there are trees growing through it. In reality Hawaii has a real problem with people abandoning cars; these were less than 200 yard from the beautiful beach.

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After our day with the Hawaiian family we headed back to the docked ship to get ready for our evening event. But first, another sunset with the evening rower.

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Hans returned (with his van’s disco lights in full function) to take us to our evening event.

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We went to the Molokai History Center for a pa’ina (feast). The hostess explained the traditions of food and music for the pa’ina, then we enjoyed an amazing meal.

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Traditional Hawaiian dancers entertained us along with the beautiful guitar music. An amazing evening to end a fantastic week.

Once again, a thanks to Captain Gavin and the Uncruise crew. (and we must bring good karma to their cruises, as we didn’t have any rain in Hawaii either!).

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