Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Marbles and Ruby are funny

Marbles and Ruby hanging out, eating hay. They get along so well

Ruby's lips are so cute!


Turn up the volume of this video.
5 minutes of persistent piggies trying to get past my barricade to go play under the couch.
Notice how Ruby loves to follow Marbles

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Exploring the East side of The Big Island

During our visit to The Big Island, we stayed on Kona side, which is the West side of the Island. We wanted to explore the East side of the island (Hilo, Akaka waterfall, the volcanoes) but because it's all the way on the other side of the island, the drive over takes ~2.5 hours, we wanted to squeeze all the activities on the East side of the island all in one day.
It was a very busy and exhausting day.

Driving on Saddle Road to get from Kona side to Hilo side
(Reviews online all say that Saddle Road is dangerous and too difficult & unpaved to take rental cars on the road.
Those people are crazies. As you can see in the photo, the road is perfectly safe and paved.)

We arrived in Hilo

We tried "Kava". It was terrible

We took a helicopter ride, which goes over Hilo, the active volcanoes, and waterfalls

The smoke coming out of the active volcano

Explosion when the hot lava hits the ocean

Us outside of the helicopter. It was my first time

Mauna Loa Volcano
(the same name as the brand on Macadamia Nuts canisters)

We took a short hike to the Akaka waterfall

Jeff is on his knees. He did not shrink in height.

We saw some really exotic flowers during our hike

We took a short walk around Volcano National Park to see lava

We bought some tropical fruit from farmers on the side of the road.
I fell in *love* with rambutans.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Eating 1 year old wedding cake

There is an old wedding tradition, where the newlyweds keep the top tier of their wedding cake and eat the cake either on their 1 year wedding anniversary or the christening of their first child -- whichever comes first.

If you remember the post from ~1 year ago, I wrote about how we preserved our wedding cake.
Our one year wedding anniversary was yesterday (Sept 20), so we thawed out the wedding cake, unraveled it, and cut out a slice of the cake.

The cake actually looked exactly the same as it did a year ago!
No freezer burn
No mold
No dents
All the decorations are still intact!

We both had a bite of the cake -- it did not taste bad, but it was a bit dry.
And the best part is... no stomach ache!!
Hah! Take that all you non-believers!

the unraveled cake

the slice we "enjoyed"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Visiting Punalu'u Beach Park (Black Sand Beach)

We did a lot of driving during our visit to the Big Island. The day after we arrived in Hawaii (Sept 5), we made the trek down to Punalu'u Beach Park, which is most famous for its black sand beach. The black sand is made of basalt and created by lava flowing into the ocean, which explodes as it reaches the ocean and cools.

Taking highway 11 (southbound) for ~two hours (from Kona side), you will arrive at Punalu'u Beach Park! It is a lot easier to find than the green sand beach since no hike is involved, and there were actually signs telling you where to turn. But as a result, there were definitely a lot more visitors -- both tourists and locals.

The beach was good for relaxing on the sand, under the coconut trees. We also snorkeled a bit, but it's hard to see fish when the water and sand looks black! It was was also not very easy to enjoy the water because the beach was full of little children that did not know how to use their boogie boards.

The beautiful black beach
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

Enjoying the ocean breeze
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

Clouds are rolling in
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

Sloshing around in the wet sand. It felt good

The coarse black sand looks a lot like caviar

Where's Jen?! Try and find her
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

Jen gave Jeff a hot stone massage as he slept
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

There are green coconuts up there! (enlarge pic to see them)
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A new tradition, maybe?

Jeff's birthday was last Tuesday (the big 3-0!) -- we celebrated by enjoying yummy Chinese food (steamed flounder, roast duck, and winter melon soup) for dinner and watched "Scott Pilgrim vs the World" afterward.

To keep the celebration going, we went to the market today and purchased some (4to be exact) live Dungeness crabs. I prepared the crab in our favorite method -- steaming those suckers then digging right in. No need for dips and sauces -- they are so delicious on their own).

It was then that I remembered that two birthdays ago, we also celebrated Jeff's birthday by indulging in lots of dungey-crabby goodness.
I am thinking that we will keep this tradition going for Jeff's subsequent birthdays. =)

A very delicious tradition indeed.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our journey to the green sand beach (Papakolea Beach)

Last Tuesday, while we were in Hawaii, we made a journey to the Green Sand Beach (Papakolea Beach).
It is located near the southern tip of the Big Island, and it was a bit difficult to find because there is no address and you can only get to the beach either on foot or by 4-wheel drive -- we chose foot.
We had difficulty finding where the hiking trail began, where to park the car, and which path to take, but after some confusion and uncertainty, we eventually found both, the entrance to the trail, and the green sand beach.

From Kona side, the drive took about 2 hours. Take Highway 11 all the way south, then turn onto South Point road, until the very end of the road. We parked the car on the side somewhere, walked down toward the shore, and that was where we saw a gate on the left, which led to some visible trails in the dirt. Each trail in the dirt are made by 4x4 vehicles driving through. We weren't entirely sure which way to walk (surely following any one trail would eventually get us there, right? right??) , so we walked along the entire shore, over dried grass and volcano rocks. This allowed me to take lovely photos!

2.5 miles later, we saw the green sand beach in the distance! We were not sure how to get down to the beach, since we were on top of a cliff, but luckily, there was a guy there that pointed to some steps we could take down.

We enjoyed our sack lunch, splashed around the water, and watched the giant sand crabs run around.

On our hike back, we decided to follow a wider sandy trail that looked more direct than the trail-along-the-shore that we took on our hike in. After about 30 minutes of walking, Jeff and I got mad at each other because Jeff decided to take a shortcut over the rocky-sharp volcanic rocks, while I intended on staying on the sandy trail (which looked a bit more roundabout). I decided to follow Jeff, but when I had trouble walking over the rocks, he offered to turn back. I said "since we started on here, lets just get it over with". What I did not know was, "getting it over with" was longer than I anticipated. After wading through the never ending sea of volcanic rocks, all patience was gone and I was mad. But Jeff was mad that I had the chance to turn around but I declined, so I should not be mad. But I was mad he wanted to leave the dirt path to begin with!
Needless to say... the most awkward hike back EVAR. Plus, we were also hot, sandy and filthy.
(The Hawaii you see in TV and movies, where it's cool breezes, palm trees, and mild temperatures... that was no where to be seen).
I think it took longer crawling over the volcanic rocks, than it would have taken if we just took the roundabout dirt path.

On our way back to the condo, we pumped gas and I picked up some snacks -- Jeff snickered that my ice cream sandwich was $3 while my soda was $1.

Using the TrailGuru app on the iPhone, see our hike!
(click "replay track" to see our trail in motion!)


Starting the hike. Looks more like a desert, than a tropical island
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

The orange dirt path, with blue waves crashing on the black volcanic-rock shore
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

We found a lonely tree stump. Falling on those black rocks would be painful.
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

Jeff tore his sneakers up during the hike
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

Me climbing down the side of the cliff to get to the green sand beach
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

Jeff comfy on the "green" sand. Looks more yellow to me.
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

Look at that sand. Very fine.
From The Adventures of Jeff and Je

There were many large sand crabs. The biggest we've ever seen! They were so cute.
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

The lovely green sand beach.
From The Adventures of Jeff and Je

From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The underwater camera used

A number of people have mentioned that they are impressed at the quality of my underwater videos and photos, and have asked for the brand + model of the camera used.

I use the Pentax Optio w80.
It's a point-and-shoot camera, with pretty good specs for it's price.
I mainly got the camera, for it's "sporty" features, such as shockproof and sandproof. The underwater part is really a bonus. =)

You can get the camera online at places like Amazon:

sadly, the camera comes in red, blue, in silver. no pink. =(

Product Features
  • 12.1-megapixel resolution image sensor captures enough detail for photo-quality 13 x 19-inch prints
  • Coldproof design endures sub-freezing temperatures of 14 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Widescreen, HD movie capture that records resolutions up to 1280 x 720 pixels at full-speed 30fps
  • 2.5-inch LCD monitor; Pixel Track Shake Reduction (SR) ensures sharp images in any lighting condition

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Swimming with honu (Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle) and fish

Today, we went to Kahalu'u Beach Park to swim and Snorkel. It is right across the street from our condo and is a hot spot for snorkeling.
Once again, we took our underwater camera into the water, to take pictures of fish.

yellow tang
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

I don't know the name. Help please.
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

We saw a lot of different fish, but many did not come out looking so great on camera.

In addition to beautiful tropical fish, we also saw large Hawaiian Sea Turtles!
At first, he swam right at us, making me think he wanted to eat us!! But the turtle ignored us, swam right by us and continued on.
Jeff and I swam right after the turtle, following its every move.
After a while, we were done chasing the turtle so we stopped. When we looked back at the beach, turns out, we swam really far away!! Ruh roh o_O!
We were far away from the shore and from the rest of the beach snorkelers. whoops.

Also, because we were so far out, there was a lot of coral and rocks on the bottom of the ocean floor. Those things can cut your foot because they are sharp. In fact, I told Jeff to be careful and not kick a coral because it can cut him. 1 minute later, he got a small cut on his foot. Why did I even bother... =D

I floated back to the shore, to avoid touching any rocks and coral. There were times when I wanted to re-adjust my snorkel and get water out, but treading water could lead to torn up feet, so I just had to bear with it.

We finally made it back. What an adventure!!
And we saw this guy, when we got to shore:
From The Adventures of Jeff and Jen

Jeff took 2 videos of us following the green sea turtles. I see Jeff having a future in underwater videography!

(hehe. look at the 18 second mark for this video. a fish tries to suck on the turtle's foot. hehe)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Swimming with Manta Rays

We have been in Hawaii (The Big Island) all week celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary.
This evening, we swam with Manta Rays in the ocean!

What is a "Manta Ray"?
I'm not too sure. I just know they are giant sea creatures that looks a lot like regular rays at the local aquarium, but much bigger -- they are about 15 feet wide (but the largest known specimen is over 25 feet wide). And they are quite cute.

To swim with the Manta Rays, we had to take the boat out to the middle of the ocean at night time (~8pm). Then we got in the water, turned on our flash lights, swam around and watched the Manta Rays swim (we used snorkels). We needed lights to attract plankton, which is the only thing these Manta Rays eat.

I never swam in the middle of the ocean and I never swam in the ocean at night. I did not expect to be nervous about the whole thing until I got into the water and felt a tad bit nervous. It was cold, dark, and I could not figure out how to swim with flippers on. But it turned out to be really fun after I got to see the manta rays up close (literally). They came up within 6 inches from my body -- they are not shy at all when food is involved.

We took our underwater digital camera into the ocean and got some great up-close videos.


We used this company for the Manty Ray snorkeling/swimming:

(i will post more about our other Hawaii activities soon!!)


I uploaded a 2nd manta ray video: