Tropical Tuesday

Tropical Tuesday Main PicBeach ShackCurious BirdFishing in the KeysFlying into the WaterHanalei PierHawaiian HoneyKauai LighthouseLove on a VW BusPaddle Surfing Hanalei BayTurquoise Beach Shack

1 :: Beach house (Pinterest)
2 :: A curious bird
3::  The hubs fishing in the keys
4 :: My daughter going “all in” into the ocean
5 :: Saying goodbye to Kauai; last walk down Hanalei Bay Pier
6 :: Hawaiian Honey (Pinterest)
7 :: Kauai lighthouse
8 :: Love on a VW bus (Pinterest)
9 :: My brother and son paddle surfing Hanalei Bay
10 :: Tiny turquoise beach shack (Pinterest)


Tropical Tuesday


Tropical Tuesday Main PicBeach House Florida SnowmanGirl on Board - Turtle Beneath Maui Sunset Paddleboarding in Poipu Paddleboarding Sunrise Queens Bath  Trey going Surfing Trey sitting on Beach with BoardSwinging at the Beach
1 :: Beach house (Pinterest)
2 :: A south Florida “snow” man
3::  Looking for sea turtles (Pinterest)
4 :: A Maui sunset
5 :: Paddleboarding in Poipu, Kauai
6 :: Florida paddleboarding sunrise
7 :: Queens Bath in Kauai
8 :: My son headed out to surf
9 :: My awesome surfer taking a much needed break
10 :: Swinging at sunset (Pinterest)

2013 Top 10 Highlights

When looking back and reflecting on everything that made up 2013, I have to say that it was one darn good year with milestones for the kids, for me and even two trips to Hawaii.  I am very thankful and very blessed for a wonderful year.  Check out my top 10 highlights.

1 :: My oldest turned sweet 16.
2 :: We went on our first trip to Hawaii visiting the island of Kauai thanks to my sweet parents.
3 :: Got a paddleboard racing sponsorship to become a team rider for a local surf board company.
4::  My youngest became a teenager.
5 :: My daughter went on her first mission trip to Haiti.
6 :: With the kids at my parents, the hubs and I enjoyed a motorcycle trip alone.
7 :: I was offered a promotion at work to lead the new technology team.
8 :: My daughter got her driver’s license and hit the streets for the first time by herself.
9 :: My husband and I started weekly date nights.
10 :: I met up with my parents on a trip to Maui.

1 - D is 16 2 & 3 Kauai & SUP Racing4 - Trey is a Teenager5 - D goes on first mssion Trip 6 & 7 Motorcycle trip & Promotion 8 & 9 D License & Date Nights 10 - Maui

Tropical Tuesday

I know, I know, it’s Wednesday. It’s been one of those weeks and I’m late on just about everything. So, you get Tropical Tuesday on a Wednesday. Enjoy!

Tropical Tuesday Main PicIsland View CofeeFeet on Black Sand Beach Hang Loose Lave Holes by Black Beach Let it All Hang Out Tropical Guitar Nells Miley Face Nell on Lava Rock Peak Nell Holding Big Bamboo Nell Gazing from Waterfall
1 :: A cup of coffee with an island view in Maui
2 :: From where I stood on black sand beach in Maui
3:: Hang loose (tumblr)
4 :: Tunnels near black sand beach in Maui
5 :: Let it all hang out (tumblr)
6 :: Ready for some beach music
7 :: Apparently I have a Miley face after surfing, Yikes!
8 :: I’m on top of the world; or lava rock in Hawaii
9 :: The bamboo is massive and everywhere in Maui
10 :: The waterfalls in Hawaii are simply amazing

Tropical Tuesday

Tropical Tuesday Main PicPaddleboaerding-Sunrise-080311-Enhanced-Twitter2Bike to the Beach Camper at the Beach Cliff Lunch View Maui Moon Nell Paddleboarding Nell Waiting on Surf No Snorkel Access Local Surf SpotSunset over hotel and mountain 2Camper Ocean View

1 :: Sunrise during a morning paddle board session, South Florida
2 :: Bike ride to the beach (pinterest)
3:: Beach camping (pinterest)
4 :: Scenery on road to Hana in Maui, HI
5 :: Maui moon
6 :: Paddle boarding a flat Atlantic Ocean
7 :: Patiently waiting on the clearing to paddle out
8 :: Local surf spot in Maui
9 :: Maui sunset
10 :: Early morning beach view (pinterest)

Maui Surfing :: Jesus & Earl Saved Me Today


Rainbow at Condo

Surfing under the Rainbow

I think I like the idea of surfing good size waves more than actually doing it. Plus, I haven’t surfed consistently for a long time. But, when you’re in Hawaii, it’s a must. And let’s just say that Florida waves don’t come even close to comparing to Hawaii waves. My brother is a big surfer and it was our last full day on Maui so I was all in. We picked a decent break that wasn’t a local spot. The challenge was that the small sandy entry was sandwiched between two large collections of sharp lava rock and the current pushed toward the rocks which meant that you had to constantly paddle north.

We got up early and headed straight out. Earl and I start paddling the long paddle out and I beat him out passed the breaks. I was feeling pretty good. Let’s just say, that didn’t last long. I was so excited and eager that I took the first wave. All that excitement ended as I nose dived and got sucked under water. I got up as quickly as I could and tried to catch another to only find the same outcome and then my board got away from me. From this point on, I was sucked under wave after wave without being able to catch my board. All this time being pushed by the current closer and closer into the sharp lava rocks. At this point, I’m trying to figure out how I can quickly grab my board and use it to brace myself against the lava rocks in order to not die.

Initially, my brother is thinking that I’m doing great, but after what seemed like 5 minutes of not seeing me anywhere, he started to panic. He paddled with the current toward the lava rocks and sees me floundering in the breaks. He yells toward me telling me that I need to get my board right away and that he will coach me out and back to shore.

This was no easy task for two reasons; one, I was already worn out and two, we had to paddle in a “U” shape pattern to avoid the breaks and the current. This literally meant a mile of straight paddling to get to the safe sandy shore. We were able to get successfully back out passed the breaks and all the way north passed the sandy shore. Now all that was necessary was to paddle diagonally toward the sandy shore without getting pummeled by the breaks. At this point I literally start praying over and over, “Jesus, please get me into shore without getting hit by a wave”. Suddenly, the the water flattened out; the sets were gone. Now only to make it to shore without another set coming in. I prayed and paddled, prayed and paddled, prayed and paddled and finally got into shore. It was a one mile paddle without falling off my board. I gladly set my feet on the shore and thanked my brother. I told him the story of the prayer and without even thinking, I said, “Jesus and Earl saved me today.” My brother said, “now that is a country song if I’ve ever heard one.”

Yes, Jesus and Earl did save me that day and when I turned back around to look out into the ocean, there was a double rainbow. All I can say is, WOW!

Tropical Tuesday

Tropical Tuesday Main PicBeach and Birds Beach Sunrise Paddle After Camping at the Beach Cliff View Far Away Earl Waiting for Waves Leave only footprints sign Live in the Dream Stand Sand Crab Tropical VW VanTree on Old 7 Mile Bridge
1 :: Surf sesh with the boys
2 :: My sunrise paddle
3:: Beach camping (pinterest)
4 :: Our Maui view in Nov. ’13
5 :: My little bro watching the waves
6 :: Trail sign – road to Hana, Maui
7 :: Coconut stand – road to Hana, Maui
8 :: Sand crab during our surf sesh
9 :: Tropical VW van (pinterest)
10 :: Tree growing out of old 7 mile bridge, Florida Keys

I’m on a Boat!

On the Maui Magic Boat TripRainbow before Leaving in MauiNana and Papa New Lava RockInside Molekini in MauiSnorkeling Molekini in MauiGot the wetsuit onFish behind the boatOn the Maui Magic boat Rainbow over MauiBack on Molekini in MauiThe Fam on the Maui Magic BoatSun Rays over the Mountains in Maui
The family and I took a boat ride on the Maui Magic to do some snorkeling and sight seeing .   And, man, was it ever magical! We saw dolphins, turtles, beautiful fish, the newest lava rock flow on the island, remote areas of the island, and a hump back whale (even though it was a bit early for whale watching season).  One of the coolest parts was snorkeling the Molokini crater.  The sunken volcanic crater of Molokini is located 3 miles from Maui. The water at the crater was the bluest and clearest I’d ever seen in my entire life; it almost looked fake. Molokini is world renowned for the water clarity with visibility up to 150 feet.  We also snorkeled coral gardens on the west side of Maui.  I have never seen coral blooms that large.  I felt like I was in a movie. After all the snorkeling, they grilled burgers on the back of the boat and we ate lunch. It was one amazing day!

A Maui Beach Day

Maui Crew Relaxing Mountain ViewRelaxing in a Hammock in MauiPaddleboarding in MauiWarning - Sharks may be presentMaui Beach Day Setup ViewPapa in the Hammock in MauiPaddling Up in MauiMaui SunsetPaddling Up to Beach in MauiMaui Sunset
Our Maui beach day was relaxing at its finest. After spending 12 hours the previous day on the road to Hana, we figured a lazy day at the beach would be perfect.

In Hawaii, you can typically drive your car right on the beach and straight to the ocean. How amazing! This concept is so foreign to me, being from Florida.  In Florida we have off-site parking that you have to pay for and tons of rules as to where you can go, when you can go and what you can bring. We backed the jeep onto the beach, unloaded our stuff and spent nearly 6 hours relaxing. We went paddleboarding and found out quickly that this particular beach was solid reef. It was probably the most beautiful paddle I’d ever done. Apparently, this beach was also known for shark bites. Yikes! We didn’t even notice the sign until after we’d been there a while. Oh, well. We totally ignored it and went snorkeling anyway. The reef was way too pretty not to. Other than that, it was a lot of hammock time, naps, a picnic lunch and, of course, a couple of Mai Tai’s (Hawaiian Mai Tai’s are my new favorite).

The beach is relaxing and Hawaii is relaxing, but the two together, whew! I don’t know that I’ve ever been more relaxed than I was on this day. I was truly living aloha!

Maui :: The Road to Hana

Tropical Road to Hana

Wave Splashing up on Lava Rock 3

Nell Walking up from Black Beach

Nell Taking Pic of Big Wave

Nell Taking Pic of Bamboo

Nell on Black Beach by Cave

On Big Lava Rock

Nell Leaning on Palm Tree

Nell Laughing in Front of Waterfall

In the Bamboo Forest

In Front of a Big Wave

Bamboo Forest Waterfall

Parents in Front of Waterfall

Inside the Bamboo Forest

Hibiscus Rose Close Up

Feet on Black Sand Beach

Gazing at Surf on North Shore

Cross on a Hill

Cliff Lunch View

Black Beach Far Away

Bamboo Forest Up Shot

7 Sacred Pools

We put the top down on the jeep and tuned the radio to some reggae music early on a Maui Thursday morning. It was our first full day on the island and the perfect time to head out on the journey on the road to Hana. The Road to Hana is not so much a destination as it is an experience and adventure. The road is about 50 miles long with over 600 curves and about 50 one lane bridges. We stopped at almost every scenic point so, the round trip took us about 12 hours.

The road to Hana leads you through plush rainforests, beautiful waterfalls, a bamboo forest, lava rock splash pools, the only black sand beach in the world, caves and the seven sacred pools. By far, this drive is the most beautiful and most scenic drive I have ever been on in my entire life. Every single view looks like a postcard. About a third of the drive was spent with me standing out the top of the jeep snapping pictures. I took about 400 pictures just on this one day, hence the many pics in this blog post. There were so many amazing pictures captured so it was very difficult for me to narrow them down.

It seemed that every path we walked down led to a beautiful waterfall. No matter where we stopped to eat our picnic lunch, we were guaranteed a breathtaking scenic view. The black sand beach was so cool too see and even more special to stand on. It is literally the only one in the entire world. It occurred when the hot lava flowed down the mountain and met the cold ocean. This crystalized the lava making the black sand; amazing. Next to the black sand beach was a beautiful cave where the ground was covered with smooth black rocks. When the waves flowed out of the cave, it sounded like music as it flowed out over the rocks; just beautiful. I captured a video of it, but again, it doesn’t do it any justice. It is much more profound in person.

This drive is one of those experiences in life that you cannot fully understand unless you experience it. I promise you that the pictures do not do it any justice. Its like seeing Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon. Yes, the pictures are beautiful but it is simply not possible to capture the beauty in its entirety unless you see it for yourself.

I am forever changed by Hawaii; it is breathtaking at every view.