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  • Writer's pictureKimberly OLeary

Cruise photos (Seattle to Sydney via South Sea Islands) - Part 1: Seattle to the Hawaiian Islands

We boarded the Holland American line ship Westerdam in Seattle, Washington, USA on October 2. We left the port of Seattle and headed for the Pacific Ocean. The first five days we were at sea. It was beautiful and calming. There was a stunning sunset the first night.

Next days were beautiful and calming.

Then, we arrived in Hawai'i. Our first stop was Honolulu. First, we visited the Iolani Palace. Hawaiian kings and queens had homes in various locations, and Iolani Palace was not a main living space for them. Rather, it was a place for diplomacy and state meetings. The museum showcases the history of the royal families and how the last king modernized Hawaii while also working to keep traditional culture alive.

After that, we walked in the Ala Moana Park and walked from there to Waikīkī. We had a special sushi dinner in the Waikīkī; area, (featured in the Cruise food post part 1), and then headed back to Aloha Tower to board the ship.

The next day, we sailed along Nā Pali coast of Kaua'i, which is part of a State Wilderness Park and has spiritual significance to indigenous culture there. It was remarkable, especially the scale of the cliffs. If you look carefully, you can see some boats at the base of the cliffs in some photos, giving you an idea of the scale. We saw one dolphin and many birds.

The next day, we awoke to a beautiful sunrise in a port on Kaua'i. We took a day trip to Wamea Canyon. As the sun was setting behind the mountains, the captain wiggled the large ship out of a tight space and back into the open ocean.

Our final Hawaiian stop was the big island of Hawai'i, the port of Kona. The big island was home to Hawaiian kings and queens, and the site of several state and national parks. Unfortunately, Volcanoes National park was closed the day we were there, but we were able to visit Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park. There, we saw evidence of ancient lava beds, petroglyphs, and swimming sea turtles on the beach.

From there, we went up the mountainside to a cloud forest. Here, a private family has planted native and other rain forest plants on a hillside that had once been cleared for a ranch. They have mixed native and non-native cloud forest plants. It was beautiful.

Although we were impressed by the recovery of the land to to more of a native habitat, we were a bit concerned about some parrots who were in cages in the midst of the forest. We were told they had been pets who were given to the owners of the forest after their owners died, rescue birds. The birds were very, very social, and appeared to need a lot of attention, but were in cages in the midst of the woods. We are not bird experts, but we felt some concern. We were told by other passengers that a sanctuary on the island had offered to take them and give them more attention but the owners refused. Some cause for concern.

Our final stop was at a Japanese owned Kona coffee farm, where we could taste samples of coffee and chocolate.

Upon return to the ship, we relaxed as the sunset and we said Aloha to Hawai'i.


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