Snorkeling Cruise Hawaii

Yesterday I booked the boys & I a last minute Snorkeling Cruise with Diamond Head Cruises of Hawaii.

Our Boat Capt & Snorkel Guide

I had sent Diamond Head Cruises an email over the weekend, after we arrived into Hawaii. I wanted to see if the boys were old enough to do a snorkeling cruise with them and when would be a best time to book. They were running a special on their cruises so I defiantly wanted to take advantage of their great sale!

We had just gotten to my favorite lunch spot, Nico’s on Pier 38., when Jerry called me. They had a last minute cancelation and he wanted to see if we were interested. I loved that they called me back vs just responding by email. He let me know it was a small group going out and their was another child in the other party so it would be a perfect fit for us. We quickly finished our lunch and ran back to the house for our suits, sunscreen and towels!

Ahi Furikake plate lunch

We arrived at the pier and were welcomed aboard the Maori Warrior II by Our Boat Capt Lance & Snorkeling Guide Augustina. After a brief safety briefing and information on where we were going we headed out.

It was beautiful and sunny when we left but that cloud was chasing us! You defiantly can NOT bet the views of Waikiki and Diamond Head on the way out to the reef! The boys were so excited that they could see the bottom of the ocean and were impressed how deep it was! (at least 30ft)

They loved the big lounging sofa, and ate a ton of pineapple that Augustina had set out for us to snack on.

Keanu switched seats to get a sneak peak ahead to see where we were driving to. He liked getting splashed every so often too!

Once we got to the spot and anchored we got ready to get in the water. I could tell the current was strong and the wind had picked up as that cloud had finally started to pass over us. Living in Hawaii for over 10 years I got used to reading the wind and waves pretty good. Augustina had told  us all the current was very strong and what areas we needed to stay in.

My boys a pretty strong swimmers but ocean swimming is a whole different ball game when it comes to current. I was planning on letting them jump in and taking some photos as they swam but I decided I needed to be in the water with them incase it was too much for them. Safety first! Needless to say there are no photos of them in snorkel gear, but they sure were cute!

Of course they were the first ones in the water! They were just too excited! The boys were doing great, especially Kai but Keanu is a bit smaller and was having trouble with his snorkel at first. I then noticed he was trying to dive down under the water! So a quick explanation of floating on top and just looking in the water and telling him to hold the snorkel up a bit helped since the waves were getting a bit bigger and splashing in his snorkel.

“SHARK! SHARK! MOM I SEEEE A SHARK!”

I started laughing as all the people in the water from the other boats gasped! Hawaii has lots of small sand and reef sharks around, which are harmless, but when you yell SHARK people only think of JAWS! I told Kai not to yell next time, and he laughed! Although he popped out of the water about 15mins latter yelling “Mom I see a SNAKE!” Laughing I told him it was an eel. Latter he asked if I was sure it was an eel “because there ARE water snakes” he said. This became the perfect time for a science discussion!  He had only seen a big green eel at the aquarium so this one was smaller and more brown making him think it was a snake. I love these real life experiences they get to have, learning about nature that is right in front of you is so much different then studying it in a book!

The current got a bit stronger and I was so grateful for Augustina, she had eyes on the kid that wasn’t with me and really helped them enjoy their time in the water helping them find turtles!

I wish I got better photos but with the current I didn’t let the little guy in the water by himself!

Once we were all done we enjoyed chatting about all the cool stuff we saw in the water and eating some sandwiches and drinks they provided.

Diamond Head Cruises has a few different types of cruises, they boys think we need to go on the Friday Night Fireworks cruise next!

Diamond Head Cruises

Kaka’ako Marina

Honolulu, HI

808-351-2335

Flying Space A

Flying Space A through the Military

The Military has an amazing opportunity to fly for Free on select missions around the world when extra seats are available. This is called flying Space-A.

There are many rules to using this privilege, it’s not a guaranteed seat, flights get canceled at the last minute or  you  can easily get bumped. But if you have time and are completely flexible in your travels it can be a great way to explore!

The best way to find out how to fly Space A is to use this great website. It explains the different categories or how they prioritize passengers, how to get signed up to fly and info on destinations and how to look for flights.

I have flown a few times Space A when we lived in Hawaii. It was a great way to leave the island when my husband was deployed and be able to go see the grandparents!

I decided last minute to try a get a flight out to Hawaii to visit my best friend from college who still lives out there. A flight had popped up leaving San Diego 7am the next day. I quickly contacted a friend to see if she knew someone who could take Kona. Thankfully she had the perfect person and by 5pm I was dropping him off with Mr. P at his vet tech school. Kona was going to be able to attend class too! How amazing is that?!

The students were practicing wrapping bandages. Kona is so chill I think he was the perfect dog to help out!

Now my next obstacle was what to do with the RV! Since I have it listed for sale I decided to put it on the base used car lot. I went down and they had space available, I filled out the paperwork and paid my fee. Latter that night, after traffic died down and I finally got all packed and took a  shower I drove the RV over to the lot to park it.

The next morning we arrived at the terminal very early to mark ourselves present for the flight. Once roll call came we had been accepted for the flight and had our bags weighted. We were excited & ready! Unfortunately right before we were going to be called to board the plane, the flight was canceled! We were so bummed but that’s how Space A works, you have got to be flexible!

We were told there were not going to be any more flights to Hawaii through the end of the month. So I decided to check for last minute commercial flight deals, but the cheapest flights were over $2k! yikes! That is not in the travel budget! I then looked at the next closet terminal to fly out of, which was Travis AFB and an 8 hr drive north.

They had quite a few flights with many seats going out the next 4 days so I figured that was my best option! And if we didn’t get a flight out sight seeing San Francisco, Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park are all on my list of places to visit.

Since we had all of our luggage in the car we just hopped right on the highway and drove north! We arrive at Travis shortly after dinner and was able to get the LAST room available at the base lodging. It was a huge 2 bedroom apartment too. After living in an RV for a year that felt like a palace!

Unfortunately the fight that was scheduled for the next morning was canceled so we took the opportunity to drive into San Francisco to do some sight seeing!

I was able to check off 2 bucket list items too!

Drive over Golden Gate Bridge, it was way smaller then I expected!

Drive down Lombard St, aka the windiest road. It was so steep! Actually all the streets in San Fran were very steep and I was not expecting that!

We explored Fisherman’s Warf, had an amazing lunch & found a really cool antique coin operated game museum that you could actually play!

There was so much more we could of done or seen but with no plans and tired kids I called it a day!

Saturday 5/18 there was a Patriot Express Flight scheduled with 36 seats available. I figured that was our best shot at getting a flight. We arrived at the terminal very early because we had to check out of our hotel. After a quick trip to Walmart and the BX we decided just hanging out there was the best option. We marked ourselves present and waited for roll call. Once the list of people who had marked themselves present was posted I saw we were the only ones in Cat 4 and there were only 15 people in the higher categories so I knew were would get seats! Of course I didn’t let myself get too excited until we were taking off! lol!

 

These two guys had a long few days but man are they were troopers! 👊🏼

They were so excited to get on the plane. ✈️

Kai was telling people in the terminal he was going back to his “Homeland” 🤣

Keanu was a bit nervous & asked if we could hold hands on the plane ❤️

Once we got on the plane he was looking around asking 100 questions. 🤓

Then it hit me.🤦🏼‍♀️

This is only his 2 flight ever & he was a baby the first time we left Hawaii, so he obviously doesn’t remember that plane ride.

Fun fact: Keanu has only flown on military space A flights!

He was praying as we took off & got really scared when the fasten seatbelt sign came on during dinner and we got a bit of turbulence. I explained it was completely normal, kind of like going down a road with too many potholes and needing to keep seatbelts on so you stay safe. Kai was so sweet and grabbed his hand and told him it was ok.

He was very interested in what the buttons were, how the tray table worked and how the oxygen mask came down.

The bathroom was another cool thing to checkout too! Like 20 times durning our flight. I was glad we were right next to the bathrooms!

The boys also had their first (and last 🤣) soda because that’s all they had. #beggerscantbechoosers

Our meal included an old school hostess cupcake… they were not fans. 🤣 Its amazing that as a kid those were one of the best things ever! But I even took a bite and it was gross! 🤢 How did we eat that crap?! 🤦🏼‍♀️

As we were about to land Keanu exclaimed “I see a volcano!” Really loud. There was a bit of laughter from the other passengers.  I explained there was no active volcano on Oahu 🌋

We arrive in Hawaii after 9pm, collect our bags and went out to get the base bus that runs to the Navy Exchange so my best friend could pick us up. Unfortunately that bus was not running anymore since the store was closed! I swear when I called and asked about the bus they told me last bus leaves at 10:15pm. I was bout to order a Uber when another couple offered us a ride. I was very grateful since the Uber was a 45 minute wait and $30 to go 2 miles! yikes!

Here to a start of an amazing adventure!

The next morning after breakfast with my best friend and her room mate we headed down to Hickam Beach which is located on Hickam AFB. When the boys saw the colors of the water they were so excited!

Stay tuned for more Hawaii adventures!

Cross Country Crunch

Well we were FINALLY able to make plans once all the RV repairs were done! If you ever need RV service or parts and you are in PA, I highly recommend John’s RV & Trailer Center in Jacobus, PA.

Leaving was a bit hard. The only times I’ve seen my dad cry is when I leave and oh man it breaks my heart, but it was even harder because he enjoyed the boys so much! I am so grateful for our time in PA and although it was RV issues that kept us there for so long, I know God had his hand in the mix and knew we all needed the time together!

I decided to leave on a Thursday night after my dad got off work and we had dinner together. I figured it would be easier to say bye at night & I could beat the morning traffic, thankfully I did that because it snowed overnight!  Not a lot but enough to of made me nervous driving in the snow.  My husband flew into BWI and I found a Crackle Barrel to park at overnight right outside of the airport. He landed at 6am &  took an UBER to the RV.  We went right back to sleep and the boys didn’t even wake up!

3/1

After a hardy breakfast to “pay” back our over night stay we hit the road to  Virginia Beach to visit some old Navy friends.  It was a quick overnight stop, but we had a great meal,

snuck in a quick ER trip before breakfast and had some yummy pancakes before we left in the morning.

I was REALLY bad about taking photos, we were just too busy chatting it up!

3/2/19

The next day we headed out towards Charleston, SC! We were all so excited to go back to our old hood and visit all of our friends! I think we all feel like Charleston is our home, especially our kids because they remember it the more then Hawaii but it’s truly because of our amazing friend in our old neighborhood!

The drive was SOOOOO long! We all just wanted to get there! We were a few hours latter then we had anticipated pulling in about 9pm at night. We were staving so we had to stop for food. We were craving wings from Voodoo Tiki Bar. I had pulled over so my husband could jump out and go pick up our togo order. I told him I would pull through the neighborhood behind the bar and pick him up on the other side. Well I turned a bit too soon and ended going through the back ally of the parking lot. It was a tight fit but thankfully the RV handles like a boss!  We were planing on just sleeping in the RV outside of our friends house, but ended up staying inside, who can turn down a big bed you don’t have to pull out! lol

3/3

The next day was filled with hanging out, walks around the park, potluck with friends, kids having a blast together again, RV tours, being reminded how bad the bugs suck , lots of drinks and laughs late into the night.

3/4

We had a great visit in Charleston, it defiantly wasn’t long enough but we are on a time line to get my husband back to the ship! We decided to drive straight to San Antonio, TX so we could have a day to sight see, so that meant 2 very long days of driving! The first day was good and we pulled off before Biloxi, MS at a rest stop for the night.

3/5

Longest day ever!

We left at 7:30 am
Hit traffic at 5pm so pulled over for few hours to eat, take a shower & relax.
8pm back on road but after 2 hrs I was DONE driving! It took me 3 rest stops to finally find a spot to pull over at for the night. We didn’t quite make it, but we only have 133 miles left to go!

3/6

San Antonio TX !! I booked us at a KOA. We stayed 1 night, and its a very nice RV park!  We had an upgraded camp sight with patio, table, fire pit and grill. Every camp sight should have those amenities! The boys enjoyed the playground, playing hockey with dad and diner and S’mores over the fire pit!

After we checked in we took an UBER to the Riverwalk, found a TexMex restaurant… where I could enjoy a margarita of course!

We walked around and went to the Alamo. It was the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo which I had not been aware of when I planned our trip.  I wish they had some sort of Jr Ranger booklet like the National Parks do but I didn’t see anything.

We decided to do the Riverboat cruise which was great & very informative! We defiantly learned more on the cruise then we did walking around the Alamo!

3/7

Long Drive day with a over night stop at a rest area. I am so grateful I chose a Class A RV to travel in. It makes traveling so much more comfortable and easy to just pull over and stop. If we had a trailer or 5th wheel it’s still doable but a bit harder, especially if you have slides or are not set up to boon-dock!

3/8

White Sands National Monument, NM

Bucket list items!!!

Way cooler then I expected! Loved we could drive the RV right in and hang out! They had these great little picnic tables with shelter over them, which would be perfect for hot days! Since we got there in time to enjoy lunch we took full advantage of them! We got some sledding in before the winds made us run back to RV! That sand hurts!

The boys worked on their Jr Ranger booklets in the RV and we went to the visitors center to finish them up, They then turned them in & received their Jr Ranger Badges!

3/9

We decided to skip our next stop after I realized it would be a few hour round trip off the highway and just drive straight into San Diego. We were doing good on the mountain climbs but I made the mistake of pulling off for gas before a BIG climb, like literally right at the base of the hill. Once I started to pull onto the highway I knew it was going to be hard to get up to speed with such a climb!

Before that it was easy sailing at 70mph but I was only pulling 55 up the hill, Big Betsy was doing pretty good. Unfortunately I was watching the heat gauge creep up when I found out I actually have a heat alarm! Devils pass on I8 into CA almost got us, but thankfully they have places to pull over for overheating vehicles. We only needed 5 mins of cooling off the engine. It was 40 degrees outside so that helped!  I had pulled over almost at the top so restarting wasn’t to bad! Then it was back to normal speeds for us!

We pulled into our RV spot just after the office closed so the night host showed us to our spot. We got all set up and the next morning we woke up to water views! I am defiantly going to enjoy this beach front living!

 

The Maryland Science Center

The Maryland Science Center in Baltimore

We have been to the The Maryland Science Center  a few times, once a few years ago when we visited the area and shortly after we got to PA at the end of 2018.

Since my daughter was in town for winter break the boys asked if we could take her. Last time we went we didn’t do all the areas because it was a busy field trip day for the center. We got there early so we could beat the school groups and be done by lunch.

The kids had a great time exploring the different hands on exhibits.

The workshop was the most fun for them and where we spent the most amount of time. They created a few buildings out of cardboard for a group project of building a city. They decided to build a Hydro electrical plant since there was a river running through the city.

 

The Maryland Science Center in Baltimore is located right on the water at the Inner Harbor. Its the perfect spot to walk around and grab some lunch near by.

Pops Wood Shop

My dad taught me everything I know about being handy. When I was younger he would set me up with a board and nails to pound while he was working in his shop. I used to be able to drive a nail in one whack in Kindergarten! 

Don’t worry I am not that cool any more!

But neither are my kids! ha! They are trying, despite whacking their thumbs more then not!

The boys have been spending a lot of time in the wood shop with my dad, more Kai as he is at the perfect age for it, but both are getting some experiences which I love!

Kai’s first project was a sword! My dad showed him how to draw it out on paper and then transfer that to the wood to cut out. He learned how to use the band saw to cut it out and the sander to smooth it out. He painted it and was quite happy with his creation!

Kai’s next project was a bandsaw box and he designed a pistol that will hold a clock.

I love that my sons are learning so much from my dad. I had even started a project earlier in the day as Kai was helping me I realized he knew how to work most of the machines! Tonight my dad jumped in and helped us. Kai learned how to join & glue a board.