The Kuraoka Family in Hawaii

The Kuraoka family in Hawaii, 03 July 2007
Us, July 3 2007: John, Ondine, Leo (nearly 5, in flaming volcano cap), Roy (7)

Three Generations, One Trip
30 June 2007 to 07 July 2007

It was the week so full it took two months to contain it! This page is our photo log page. Click on any image to view it full-size. To see the photos and read the full stories that go with them, see our Weekly Journals:
Monday, July 2 2007: Arrival to Monday
Friday, July 6 2007: Volcanoes, Waimea Bay Beach, and Haleiwa
Monday, July 9 2007: Final day, return to San Diego

In brief, this trip was caused and largely funded by our Mom (Grammy to the kids), who decided that it was more important to leave memories than money. It was originally planned for 2006, but Patty’s husband, Mike, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died early that year. That event postponed the trip to 2007, but gave an added sense of urgency for everyone to participate. John’s eldest sister Elaine did almost all the organizing, from booking the house and flights and cars, to assigning chores at the house.

We had 13 people sharing a flight, a house, and cars:
The Matriarch (yeah, right): Mom/Grammy.
The Barnhart Family: John’s sister Elaine, Rod, Amanda, Andrew, Eric, and Breanna.
The Machkowsky Family: John’s sister Patty and Daryl.
The Kuraoka Family: John, Ondine, Roy, and Leo.

Here’s our airplane at LAX! Roy and Leo, in the boarding area, look excited!

John, Roy, and Leo were seated together, with Ondine four rows back. She settled in and promptly fell asleep. Ahhh! John, meanwhile, kept the snacks flowing to Roy and Leo as they gazed out the window at the clouds going past below.

Our “home” in Hawaii, a glowing, lantern-like two-story house right on the beach in the North Shore. Here is a video showing the view from the balcony shortly after we arrived (MPEG format, 5.19 MB): balcony view. Next up are two views showing the back of the house house from the beach – the way we saw it the most. We spent a lot of time enjoying that spacious balcony! The boys settled in quickly first claiming a hammock then a sheltered digging area by the side of the house. Later, Ondine claimed the hammock for a nap. Continuing the napping theme, the last shot shows a local cat who adopted us.

At dinner, we raised a glass to Grammy for making this trip possible – a real trip-of-a-lifetime with three generations in full attendance.

Sunday morning the boys emerged, chipper and ready for breakfast. After breakfast, John took them on a walk to search for treasure along the shore. The magic part is that whenever you look for treasure you find it. All it takes is the ability to identify treasure when it’s found. Sea glass, coral, shells, stones, all polished by tumbling in the sand and surf – treasure! The boys returned to the house laden with booty. We found a crab, and Leo decided to become one. Meanwhile, Rod got away to do some surf fishing.

Monday our group split with our immediate family heading off with Grammy to the Big Island, for our trip to Volcanoes National Park and Kilauea, an active volcano! This was Roy and Leo’s special time with Grammy.

A short inter-island flight on Aloha Air put us in Hilo, where we picked up our rental car. About a half-hour drive later, we were at Volcanoes National Park. And here was the first overlook we came to.

The big thing here was a big crack left from a fissure eruption in 1973. The bottom, where once the very earth boiled red and hot, was now covered in vegetation, green and moist.

Here’s Roy atop one of the huge undulating flows, and a close-up of the ground. The colors are made by various deposits and oxides in the eruption.

We checked into Volcano House, the only hotel within the actual park proper. Here’s the view from the back of Volcano House, and a view of us.

The walk down to Thurston Lava Tube wound through a lush Hawaiian rain forest. The tube itself is spacious and dark, a real adventure for the boys.

The next day we enjoyed the breakfast buffet at Volcano House. The second photo shows Roy and Leo with Grammy and incidentally the view out the buffet room windows. The third shows the front of the Volcano House, and next up is us in front of the Ohi’a Wing, a separate outbuilding. The last shot shows Grammy with Roy and Leo in front of the Volcano House sign.

Lava no longer flows to the sea, a change caused just 12 days prior to our trip, by “Event 56.” Event 56 was a series of earthquakes caused by magma forcing its way into new areas. Among its effects was to shut off the flow of lava down the lava tube that emptied near the ocean. In fact, there was no surface lava anywhere in the park, a pretty rare event in itself. Among the recent changes, though, was this steam vent right on the hotel grounds. The boys were delighted with their discovery! 

Here we are at Halema’uma’u crater. See the steam vents? They’re everywhere. Next is Leo.

Here’s a short video showing the steam vents (MPEG format, 3.85 MB): Halema'uma'u steam vents.

This is a three-photo panorama of the crater:

And, a short video of the crater (MPEG format, 4.14 MB): Halemu'uma'u Crater.

Here’s a look back toward Crater Rim Drive and the parking area.

A short pause at the jam-packed Jagger Museum convinced John that it was no place for small kids. A lot of reading material on the walls, with nice diagrams, but not really readable from a three-foot height. On his dash back to the car, he snapped this view of the crater:

Sulphur Banks featured in a Magic School Bus story. The kids were thrilled to discover for themselves just how stinky it would be. The trail goes by several steam vents.

Sulphur Banks was not very stinky, at least when we were there. The bright yellow areas are sulphur deposits. When sulphur mixes with water from the steam vent, it forms beautiful crystals.

Here is a short video of Sulphur Banks steaming away (MPEG, 3.91 MB): Sulphur Banks.

Ondine joined us, and we walked back to Grammy.

The Fourth of July is better known, in this family, as John’s sister Patty’s birthday. Here we see Grammy, Andrew, and the boys enjoying a bit of low-tide time.

Waimea Bay Beach. First, Roy with his Boogie Board. Then, Eric with Leo and Roy.

So this is why they call it Sunset Beach.

Fireworks & Birthday Cake! Eric bought a box of fireworks – legal in Hawaii and a rare treat for us Californians – and he and Andrew put on a spectacular show for us! Then, Patty celebrated her birthday with a “Dreamcake.” Here’s a fairly long fireworks video (MPEG format, 9.69 MB) - the voice you hear is mostly Patty’s.

Leo Lei. Leo is pretty serious about this whole lei business.

Matsumoto’s Shave Ice. Times two! The boys scored two shaved ices. The first you see with Grammy and Ondine. And their second ice of the day was a special treat from their cousin Eric.

Our morning view. Right out the back balcony. Ahhh!

A morning walk along the beach. You never know what treasure is out there, waiting to be discovered. Some treasure you find ...

... some treasure you make ...

... and some treasure comes from brief moments of quiet contemplation.

Speaking of treasures, here’s are a couple short videos. The first shows us and the waves (MPEG format, 4.03 MB): Two waves.
The second shows Ondine doing the Hula-Hoop on Hawai’i (MPEG format, 6.40 MB): Hawai'i Hula.

Later we returned to Waimea Bay Beach for a little more body surfing, Boogie Boarding, swimming, and sand-castle-building. Here’s Leo, getting pushed and swooshed by the waves.

This is what the trip was all about. The whole clan, spending time together. Here we all are, then there’s Grammy with all her grandkids.

Grammy with Amanda ...

... and Grammy with Breanna.

Ondine, John, and the both of us. Aloha! Yes, we bought the shirt and dress here.

Patty and Daryl. Hey, Daryl’s smiling!

A preview of our Christmas card. The Kuraoka family, on the beach!

Goodbye to our Hawai’i home! Here’s one final sunrise on the beach from the balcony (MPEG format, 4.40 MB): sunrise surf. And, one last shot of the house looking at the street entrance, as we get the wagons packed.

Arrival at LAX. Roy is zonked out; Leo looks determined behind his luggage fort. Then, the limo ride home in a stretched Ford Expedition, a much more-economical (and fun) way to go than shuttle buses for 13 people and their luggage including a wheelchair.

Home Sweet Home. No matter where we go, San Diego is always so nice to come home to!

It was the trip of a lifetime. There are so many more changes ahead for all of us, especially the grandkids, so this precious time together right now was a monument to the way things are.

What are we up to now? Check out our Weekly Family Journal!
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