Leaving Kona

This starts just after the end of our Circle Island Tour mentioned here part 1part 2

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On the way back to our room we checked out the pool area โ€“ though I never got to swim in it this area would be a great place to spend some time and the pool was quite warm for Hawaii. I usually find them way too cold.

We took some night shots from the pool area of the Celebrity Millenium leaving, and then some night shots of Kona and the other half showed me his โ€œmagic lanternโ€ software which is a hack for Canon cameras. You don’t have to touch the camera to take a night shot โ€“ you just wave your hand near the screen and it uses the face proximity sensor to take the shot once you have waved a certain amount. It also can switch the text on the screen to red for astronomy photography.

We headed to Quinns Almost by the Sea for dinner. I chose the deep fried Ono with pineapple slaw, and the other half chose.. a burger, I think. He loves a burger. The photos of this are among the who knows where they vanished to.. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Some more wandering about after dinner, dropping into a shop or few.. then back to the hotel to pack and then for a well earned sleep. Packing was difficult because we had packed very light to begin with but we had purchased some items and we had to make room for them. Plus, we had worn our boots, jeans, and heavy stuff for the flight over from Australia which meant there was not room for them in the luggage. So we left our outfits for tomorrow out which was going to be some quite warm wears for the very warm Kona.

That next morning we were to leave and for some reason I woke up around 4:45 and couldn’t get back to sleep so I took the laptop out onto the balcony for some typing time and wow it was gorgeous out there. The moon was up, then the sun rose, and the whole time the waves were crashing, it was just a lovely spot to be.

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We wandered down to our favourite coffee place to use the free wifi while caffeinating, then to Splashers grill again for another wonderful breakfast. The water glasses were a gorgeous shade of blue. The location is perfect for people watching and on the days a cruise ship is in, watching tenders arrive and offload the cruise people.

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If you are looking for good coffee, Splashers is not the place to find it if you want espresso – they do not offer this. If you are ok with filter coffee (we call it filtered sock coffee, not huge fans of it!) they do supply that for free.

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We found the coffee downstairs at Kona Farm Direct to be the coffee we were looking for and had our coffee downstairs before breakfast soaking up the sun and enjoying the free wifi KFD offers. We ordered juices and water at Splashers instead, plus the KFD wifi does work upstairs in Splashers.

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Both times I chose the Kona omelette with bacon cheese and topped with avocado but the second time I added mushroom, this may have been a step too far.

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On this last visit the other half chose the Ham and Cheese omelette with hash browns.

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On the previous visit he had the Pancake breakfast.

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The bill was extremely reasonable for us who are used to Aussie prices, and as the service was excellent we tipped appropriately.

I would recommend this place for breakfast and seeing some of the other reviews, I wish we had tried it for dinner as well.

Walking down to Splashers there was cloud cover but by the time we sat down the sun had come out and I knew it was going to be a warm walk back to the hotel. We SMS’d my parents and told them to go watch the Konaweb webcam so they could see us. A bit of lack of skill on their part with page loading caused some confusion at first but they did manage to spot us on the webcam and we waved hi.

On the way back we stopped in at a rock and mineral shop I had spotted because I was hoping they might have a piece of that lava rock encased in resin or something. No such luck but I did find some bluestone and an opalite dolphin which spoke to me.

More wandering, an ABC store browse then back to the hotel to check out. The wonderful Diane helped us once again and she remembered us and asked how our tour went. That is so lovely. ๐Ÿ™‚ Great work Diane!

We had booked the Roberts shuttle to pick us up and take us to the airport โ€“ the shuttle bus was early and we were the only ones on it. So basically we enjoyed a private ride to the airport on a 15 or so seater minibus. And this my friends is where the enjoyment abruptly ended.

First of all we could not use the check in kiosks โ€“ possibly because our booking was online from Australia, I was missing a code or barcode on the paperwork. So we had to check in manually, which we waited 20 minutes to do.

There were only two staff checking in, one was for general cattle class and one was for first class and once she was done with her check in we were not invited to be checked in by her, and by this time the other staff member checking in had discovered some sort of issue with something which required all three check in staff to go and gaze at her computer and totally ignore us for at least 10 minutes, until a different staff member came out and checked us in. Pretty poor service right there.

Then, having stood in an open air airport queue for over 20 minutes โ€“ having brought no water because you are not allowed to take it through security, we then waited over 40 minutes to proceed through said security. No water, nobody offering anyone any water considering there was a long wait, and no place I could see to get any water โ€“ I did not venture out of the queue because we did not want to lose our place.

This was pretty frustrating, I’ll be honest. And all the way along this queue, there were conflicting signs giving different information about what was allowed in and what was not, and what had to be removed and what did not have to be. A poor effort. The security people were nice enough once we got to them, and once past the first checkpoint the process was fairly quick. I have no idea why they needed to see our passports which I had put away as well as our drivers licenses for interisland travel but whatevs. Who knows the whys, it just is.

Once through security we could get some water at last which we demolished pretty quickly. Again Hawaiian showed their talent and skill and the organisation level for their whole operation is mind bogglingly amazing. We were there super early so sat around and no free wifi sadly, we got an SMS from Bigaln2 who was flying into HNL that day letting us know there had been a shooting at LAX and he was now in Salt Lake City and would be delayed, which he was, eventually arriving into HNL around 10pm rather than 5pm. This was probably the only real โ€œmishapโ€ of our trip โ€“ all our flights and tours were otherwise on time.

We tried to be the very last people on the plane, a difficult task I will admit when everyone is on Hawaiian time. Sadly we failed and a group of kids heading to camp got on behind us, and that was it. On board, take off, fly for I believe 15-20 minutes and get served some POG โ€“ the rest of the time is taxi-ing. Back to the Inter Island terminal, we arranged the Speedi Shuttle while waiting for the luggage to appear, then off to the Ilikai with a full bus load of people. We chatted to the people next to us who were fascinating (as I find most people travelling to or in HNL to be) and were the first drop off.

Next time – Our condo in detail, a surgical shopping strike.

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Seat Back Touch Screens On Hawaiian Air

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I have a nugget of information which could well be a gold nugget and save you a major annoyance in flight – and also save the people in front of you a major annoyance.

This applies mostly to the long flights into/from HNL as the short island hops do not tend to have any seat back entertainment. In particular to the Airbus A330-200 fleet which we flew on twice during this trip and which generally flies back and forth to and from Australia, Asia, and various other places.

You can see what kind of plane you are flying on before you get on it, by looking for a notation similar to the one you see in the photo below where it says Airbus A330-200 – on most planes this will be seen somewhere between the forward entry door and the front windows of the plane. If all else fails when you get on, check the safety card in the seat pocket in front of you. It will tell you what kind of plane you are flying on.

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If you want to be able to use the touch screens on the back of the seat in front of you, it will be useful to note – these are not capacitive touch screens like your iPad or tablet. Tapping your finger on them will be hit and miss. Sometimes it will work, mostly it will not.

Tapping continually, harder and harder, is not going to get you any better results. What it may result in is the person in the seat in front of you getting very annoyed!

These screens are known as a resistive touch screen. You will get the best results gently using your fingernail rather than your finger, or by bringing along your own stylus.

Capacitive VS Resistive Touchscreens – here is a decent post which explains how these screens work and the difference between them.

It is a great pity that the airline does not choose to take a moment to explain this to their plane full of people especially considering the annoyance this causes to passengers and especially considering they have games included in the entertainment available. They have a captive audience. A quick PA announcement would be easy and simple. Why not share with everyone the best way to use these screens?

I will be passing on this feedback to Hawaiian Airlines soonest, but in the meantime for those of you flying I thought you might find this useful info.

If the person behind you feels like they are deliberately kicking your seat like a toddler, it is possible they are actually trying to play a game on the seat back entertainment unit, at which time you could, if you chose, turn around and let them know the best way to get the screen to respond to their input.

Even better, if you happen to have a spare stylus, you could lend it to them for the rest of the trip. You will have a much better, more peaceful time. ๐Ÿ™‚

This may also apply to other airlines seat back screens, so you might want to try the above in particular using your fingernail if you have trouble getting your entertainment touch screen to respond to you.

Beedoo’s Number One Travel Tip

lifehack –ย A tool or technique that makes some aspect of one’s life easier or more efficient.

Beedoo747’s Wii Strap lifehack

When I bought my new Panasonic Lumix and unpacked it, I found a camera wrist strap was included. I looked at it, and I thought..

..wouldn’t my Wii remote strap be a better wrist strap, especially for things like snorkelling, water photography, and for security purposes?

It has a lock on there which is designed to stop your Wii remote leaving your hand and crashing into your teevee as a surprise, which happened a lot with the first version Wii remotes that did not come with a lock.

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Turns out the answer is yes, heck yes, absolutely yes, this was my best idea ever!

Top 5 reasons why this was awesome –

1. Stayed firmly on the wrist while snorkelling

2. Stayed firmly on the wrist while doing.. well.. absolutely everything

3. No digging in the handbag for the camera when a shot presented itself

4. Could let the camera hang safely from the wrist if you needed to use your hand(s) for shopping, eating, drinking, ย for various other purposes

5. Could easily hang the camera from the handbag hook on the back of the toilet door and lock it tightly in place if you were travelling light and not carrying a handbag – just make sure not to forget it!

Should Have Brought Extra

Bigaln2 was extremely jealous of my Wii Strap and we did look in many places for a Wii strap for him to use with his camera, unfortunately this is not as easy a task as it seems.

There was also an incident with Bigaln2’s iPhone and a waterproof carry case which we purchased – it ended up at the bottom of the Ilikai pool the first night we went swimming. This would not have happened with a Wii strap!

One Small Improvement

I would bring a second one if you are planning a lot of snorkelling and water activities, specifically for use in those situations. Sure, it does not take long for the strap to dry out in the warmth of Hawaii, but in case it gets wet and you want to switch it for a fresh one, this might be a good idea.

Who Thought Of It First?

Probably half way through the holiday I said to the other half, surely I cannot be the first person to have thought of this. Of course I am not – I cannot easily trace back to the person who had this idea first, but I am going to give the EPIC WIN title to this gentleman – Randy Lew who wrote back in 2011 about his amazing camera strap finding and included photos.

A closer view of the Wii Strap and my camera, sorry it is quite a long photo. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Welcome Home To Us..

Wow, what a trip. I’m not even sure where to begin telling y’all the story of it. I guess begin at the beginning and then work our way to the end.

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Heading home on Hawaiian Airlines just after takeoff from Oahu

Over the next few weeks here on the blog as well as on Tripadvisor and various review sites, myself and Bigaln2 will be sharing stories, photographs, thoughts, memories and experiences – and a heck of a lot of food reviews and food photos.

We talked about it plenty and to be honest none of us could name one thing we did not like or enjoy during our trip. There were some experiences which could have been better – most notably for me, a tour we did on the Big Island to the Mauna Kea summit. There were some shopping trips which felt like a failure to me because I did not find exactly what I was looking for, though I often found something else which made up for it.

There was one small sunburn to my feet after we went snorkelling on the Monday – it was the walk back to the hotel which got me. I was wearing the rash vest and leggings and I had put sunscreen on my feet when we first arrived but we were there for so long, plus being in the water, once I got out and washed the sand off my feet I put sunscreen on again but it didn’t seem to work. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

There were discoveries of new brands – most notably a brand called Fitflop which are some of the most comfortable “flip-flops” I have ever worn with the added benefit of being sparkly.

There were jewellery purchases of all kinds – in particular my favourite Mystic Topaz.

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There was a lot of photography – between the two of us the other half and I brought home 35 gig of photos. There were all kinds of photos taken, everything from toilets to turtles to rainbows to flowers to the insides of gift stores to sunsets and sunrises. I personally took 2,769 photos.

We did a great photography tour with Alex from Oahu Photography Tours who – in five short minutes – changed my photos forever just by showing me how to use my own camera more effectively. I cannot recommend this tour enough and I will be talking about it plenty and showing you some of the amazing pics from that tour.

I bought four books from Pearl Harbor and I will tell you all about those and review them once I have read them.

We loved our condo especially the very comfortable couches – here is a link to the one we stayed in – I will write up a post about that too. I would not recommend it to everyone, but it was perfect for us and our purposes.

We have a lot of great posts planned – now we just need the time to write them. ๐Ÿ™‚

So sit back, relax, settle in, enjoy our upcoming posts.

Leaving On A Jet Plane

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On our way back home.. Don’t know when we’ll be back again.. but we know it will be soon!

While we are flying, let me share a couple of my favourite airplane related sites.

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My meal on the my last flight in Starclass on Jetstar.

Airlinemeals.Net – want to know what they might serve you on the plane? This is where you can find out.

Airliners.net – my favourite source of airliner photos