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shapp

[TR] Our tropical state - circumnavigation via VW poptop 11/19/2012

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Trip: Our tropical state - circumnavigation via VW poptop

 

Date: 11/19/2012

 

Trip Report:

Its that time of year again to escape the rain before the steep and deep arives and the skis get tuned up.

 

Big Island 12 days, 5 days at the hilton, 7 days in the poptop VW Van camping, drove around the entire big island, hiking around the lava, night hike from the campground to see the lava glow, swimin with the turtles

 

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Gear Notes:

Locals flip flops, prescription dive mask, rash gaurd, pakalolo, papaya, hawaian chicken and terriaki beef on the propane weber grill that came with the van, cocktails of all shapes and sizes, sushi 2 nights at Sansei for their happy hour special

 

Approach Notes:

Hawaian Air, VW Pop Top

Edited by shapp

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Nearing our darkest days, you just have to rub it in. :ooo:

 

Hawaii is one of my favorite spots to reduce winter depression.

 

Thanks for the report and pics. Its a great diversion and brings back good memories.

Edited by matt_warfield

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hey brah, dats da shit. Did ya rent that poptop?

 

yup, from happy campers hawaii in Hilo.

http://www.happycampershawaii.com/

 

pretty reasonable price really when you compare other options. They provide all the stuff with the van, cooking gear, 2 burner onboard stove with the full propane tank, 15 gallon water tank full of H2O, the sink is electric pump powered so no hand pumping, 2 bath and 2 beach towels, 2 sets of sheets, pillows, blankets, weber propane grill, grass beach matts, dish clean up gear, cooler etc. I used to have a 1974 VW poptop and so I know they put in the time to keep these vans in good shape. They have a few items I never saw before, a snap in big screen for the back hatch to let the breeze in on those steamy nights! They also had a little metal bar that esentially extended the locking latch for the hatch about 3 inches further back out so you could close the hatch and lock it but there would be a 3 inch gap, keeps the rain and any pilfering hands out of the van but lets the breeze in nicely and in combo with the screened side windows, keeps the van nice and cool at night, which is important in the tropics. They give you a good orientation about how to operate everything too. All you have to bring is your clothes, snorkel gear, and island attitude. The van was very clean and in tip top working condition. They have about 14 vans total I think. Good peeps that run it too. You can fly right into hilo from Honolulu and they pick up and drop you off at the airport too. I would rent from them again fosho.

Edited by shapp

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did you hit up south point? Great place to take a 30 footer into the ocean and the rock is actually decent enough to do some short DWS...

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Thanks! We are heading there in a couple weeks so I have a couple questions. Did you stay at any of the state park campgrounds and how were they? We are thinking of camping at them for a couple nights. Did you need to reserve in advance or is there a way to just show up and get a spot?

Also, where was your picture of the glowing lava taken. Was it from the road or a hike in. from the park service map, it looks like the Kilauea calders area is closed to hiking.

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Send me a PM with your email address and I will hook you up with what I know about campgrounds around the island we recommend, don't recommend, and the lava hike stuff.

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Dude, I'm still pissed at you over your Upper Chetco River paddle descent and now this!!! Uncool! :nurd:

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I miss Hula Wahine, she was my steed for a few days too! I echo everything the OP said about the company. I rented on Maui too, and while that is definitely also worth it, it showed what a tight ship these guys run. They don't let you run a couple roads but I walked or 4x4 hitchhiked on some of the no-gos and can verify they are beyond the abilities of these vans.

 

Another tidbit: while it's impossible to completely hide, you are not seen as "a tourist" as much as anyone driving one of these a shiny agency rental, and are thus way less of a target for break-ins, harassment, etc....which is a bit more of an issue on the Big Island than other ones.

 

 

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Nice!

 

I do not believe that happycampershawaii is affiliated with the rental outfit on Maui in any way.

 

Based on actual experience (had stuff stolen on Oahu) and talking with some friends (cops) on the Big Island, crime is highest on Oahu, the Big Island is relatively tame in comparison.

 

Defenitley, more low key in the van, all the locals we talked to assumed we were from there.

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Nice!

 

I do not believe that happycampershawaii is affiliated with the rental outfit on Maui in any way.

 

Based on actual experience (had stuff stolen on Oahu) and talking with some friends (cops) on the Big Island, crime is highest on Oahu, the Big Island is relatively tame in comparison.

 

Defenitley, more low key in the van, all the locals we talked to assumed we were from there.

 

I agree. The dark secret is that Haoles are frowned upon, especially when they stay at big resorts, wear designer clothing and NEVER GET IN THE WATER and never get off Oahu. You have it figured out. The next step is to go spearfishing, grab some spiny lobsters, surf some big waves, and hunt wild boar on Kauai and you are ready to be adopted.

 

Then put on a disguise and go to Mama's Fish House on Maui, one of the best restaurants on earth. Don't forget to take your wallet.

Edited by matt_warfield

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Nice!

 

I do not believe that happycampershawaii is affiliated with the rental outfit on Maui in any way.

 

Based on actual experience (had stuff stolen on Oahu) and talking with some friends (cops) on the Big Island, crime is highest on Oahu, the Big Island is relatively tame in comparison.

 

Defenitley, more low key in the van, all the locals we talked to assumed we were from there.

 

I agree. The dark secret is that Haoles are frowned upon, especially when they stay at big resorts, wear designer clothing and NEVER GET IN THE WATER and never get off Oahu. You have it figured out. The next step is to go spearfishing, grab some spiny lobsters, surf some big waves, and hunt wild boar on Kauai and you are ready to be adopted.

 

Then put on a disguise and go to Mama's Fish House on Maui, one of the best restaurants on earth. Don't forget to take your wallet.

 

Spearfishing (done it)

grab some spiny lobsters (done it in Grand Cayman)

surf some big waves (done it, how big?)

hunt wild boar (haven’t done it)

been to Maui (haven’t been to Mama’s)

 

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Shapp,

 

My limit is 5 feet bodyboarding, 10 feet bodysurfing, zero feet surfing (I just like to hold the board on shore to impress the chicks). I have seen people at Waimea do 25 feet and it is frightening. I snorkel and free dive but don't scuba. I am envious about Grand Caymans.

 

The comment about the locals brings up one memory. Asking a local fisherman what he was fishing for and he said "fish"

 

And the boar hunting is bow and arrow and on steep slopes. Don't take your wife or GF unless they are informed.

Edited by matt_warfield

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My wife is from Alaska and is used to blood and guts, incidently her dad was charged by a mama griz a couple weeks ago and a couple days latter a family friend was trapping across the river from is place and was mauled by a griz, crushed his feamur, tore him up and ripped off his nose, but he lived, friend with him was also mauled but little damage so he could go for help.

 

Grand Cayman doesn't suck

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View out the house we rented in Grand Cayman, also the break you can see out the window is a big barrier reef, and there was a shallow ship wreck just to the right out of the photo, and we had sit on top kayaks at the place, easy paddle out there with great snorking and spiny lobsters chillin under corral heads.

 

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The house we rented

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Edited by shapp

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Kodiak or mainland griz? I have heard that while the Kodiaks are biggest the mainland ones are the baddest.

 

And in the water in Hawaii it is tiger sharks that are the biggest threat.

 

Except that I got a skin infection from the pool at the hotel that nearly cost me a trip to the hospital.

 

But I would still rather be inspired than be scared.

Edited by matt_warfield

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It is a trip. First there is the airport: greeted by a big brown right off the bat (taxidermy of course). Right off Main in Kodiak there are bear scratchings on the trees. Went hiking and practially crapped my drawers around every bend until above the shrubs.

 

But I've heard the Kodiaks are more benevolent than mainland griz. Am I right?

 

And how ironic that this thread transitioned from Hawaii to griz.

 

But I also was face to face with Brutus, who was being filmed for the Kinect game series from Microsoft in Montana. Nothing like a little 900 pound piece of joy to make you feel alive.

Edited by matt_warfield

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Last time I was working in Kodiak I saw 8 bears in 1 day. a couple shots of Kodiak brown bears I took below. But the scariest thing I saw on that trip was at the anchorage airport, below. I don't think it matters, if you jump a brown sow with cubs on Kodiak or the man land, you are in trouble.

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No kidding, I had no idea he'd look so hot in drag!

 

 

Nice vacation porn TR, I keep trying to convince my wife that she'd enjoy a trip to Tropical Paradise but she keeps insisting she'd rather take a freighter to Siberia. That's not just a sarcastic reply either, it really is on her list of dream vacations.

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Shapp,

 

You're killing us with this tropical stuff. We're 4 days from the shortest day of the year in the PNW and you have to inflict this damage? Great pics. Any stingrays or sharks? Always a bonus. I just saw the ray pic so strike that from the record.

 

Off, have your wife read "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich".

 

I personally like 85 highs, 65 lows every day. Just no hurricanes.

Edited by matt_warfield

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