Saturday, February 25, 2023

Back Home From Mexico and Hawaii Cruise

Below is a screenshot of a map showing the places I took pictures during our January and February Mexico and Hawaii cruise. Click on the picture or the link below it to see the map. Click on any of the pins in the linked map to see where we were and click that link to see the blog for that day.

I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Click this link or the picture above to see the Mexico Hawaii Cruise map.

Thursday, February 23, 2023


As with all cruises leaving US ports, they have to have at least one stop outside the US before returning to a US port. For the Hawaii cruise it was a one day stop in Ensenada. Note that the cruise ship in the picture below was not ours.

I can't say there was a lot to do in Ensenada. We'd already been to the main tourist attraction, La Bufadora, which has a water spout that is hit or miss depending on the tides and waves. La Bufadora also requires you to walk a gauntlet of vendors selling food and trinkets. So instead we just strolled around some of the nearby shops. If you're into wine or tequila there's a lot to buy, but not much in the way of beer, unfortunately.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Ensenada photo album.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Kailua-Kona Hawaii

On this, our last stop in Hawaii, we once again rented a car. We drove from north to south on the west side of the big island of Hawaii. The weather wasn't very good though, alternating between heavy overcast and heavy rain. Not many pictures today but we did have a nice visit to get some delicious coffee at Greenwell Farms where we saw the sign below.

Friday, February 17, 2023


I wish we had spent more time in Lanai itself. Most of the buildings in Lanai were burned down on August 17 in the big Maui fire exactly six months after we were there. Most of the buildings shown below are no longer there. The map below shows the major attractions of the town of Lanai.

We rented a car from near the airport north of where the tender boats docked. It seemed to take a long time to get to the car rental agency. Between the influx of tourists when a cruise ship is in port and the tourists staying in nearby resorts, the rideshares and taxis seem a bit overwhelmed. By the time we had picked up the car and driven to the aquarium pretty far south of Lanai, a good part of our day was gone. The aquarium itself seemed very crowded that day. Due to the crowds I didn't seem to get very many good pictures of the aquarium itself. Still, it was worth the wait and fighting the crowds to visit what is a fairly small but very nice aquarium.

After dropping off the rental car we returned to Lanai. We wandered around a bit taking pictures of some of the local landmarks including the Wo Hing Temple Museum.

We also took a picture of the Baldwin House Museum. Before it burned down it was the oldest building on Maui.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Maui Hawaii photo album

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Oahu Hawaii Day 2

For our second day in Oahu we had rented a car. It seems to be one of the least expensive ways to see a lot on the Hawaiian Islands. We often rent from the airport, since they have the most availability. But it's not very close to the port where we docked so we once again used Elizabeth's favorite mode of transportation when we're on Oahu and took the bus there!

Note: we've since returned to Oahu and it seems like the bus was no longer running right to the airport, instead stopping a few blocks away and requiring a 15 minute walk. That may change again? So be sure to check the latest schedule. Google maps seems to do a decent job of helping you use public transportation to get around in a number of countries we've visited.

As we started driving north, one of our first stops was at the Wahiawa Botanical Gardens. We were expecting flowers but instead realized it's an arboretum with a lot of trees and not many flowers. It's a very large former sugar plantation experimental arboretum. It's a nice quiet area with lots of shaded walks and off the beaten path, so it's much less hectic than Waikiki.

Next we headed back south to the Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout. Although we'd been here before it's always enjoyable to visit with ever changing views depending on the clouds and weather. The one consistent feature seems to be the ever present strong wind. It's also a convenient way to get to the east side of the island. See the photo album for more pictures from this lookout, including a panorama.

Once on the east side of the island we headed further south to go around the southern part of the island. One of our stops was at the Halona Blowhole Lookout. The sight can vary a great deal depending on tide and swells. We were pretty lucky that day though.

Another stop along the south west part of Oahu was at the Lānaʻi Lookout. The name originates from the fact that on a clear day you can see the neighboring islands of Lanai, Molokai and Maui. Unfortunately it wasn't a real clear day, though we might have been able to see some of the islands and there were scenic views of waves crashing on the rugged coastline.

Ever wonder where the architectural term "lanai" came from? It's actually Hawaiian, Lānaʻi, for "porch."

After returning the rental car at the airport we spent another $1.25 each to catch the bus from the airport to Waikiki (or you can spend $40 or so for a taxi). There we went to one of our favorite places, the Yardhouse. Yes, we do have one in our hometown as well, but there's always a wide variety of local Hawaiian beers on tap in the Oahu one. And so we had another flight of beer as well as some of the happy hour bargain plates.

Suitably refreshed with beer and food wasn't available aboard the ship, we once again took our favorite mode of transportation when we're in Waikiki, the bus, to get back to the ship.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Oahu Hawaii Day 2 photo album.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Oahu Hawaii - Day 1

After five days at sea we arrived in Honolulu Hawaii. Luckily I was up before sunrise, though since sunrise was a bit before 9am that wasn't a great feat. But I was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise over Diamond Head.

One of Elizabeth's favorite things about Honolulu is the bus system! Why? Because for seniors using their medicare cards as proof, they can get a bus ride all the way from the dock to Waikiki for just $1.25. Almost makes it worth turning 65.

We didn't waste any time putting the bus reduced senior fare perk to good use and rode the bus to the Waikiki Aquarium. This was our first time visiting the aquarium. I'd been there many years before, but didn't remember it being as extensive as it is now. Given the relatively small size of the aquarium I was very impressed with the variety of exhibits. You can see even more aquarium pictures in the Oahu Hawaii photo gallery.

After the aquarium we took a walk along Diamond Head Road. Although it was February the day was still hot and humid, making this a bit of a long slog. There were a few good views though, such as the one below overlooking Kuilei Cliffs Beach Park

Given how much we had sweated during our walk on Diamond Head Road, what better place to go than a brewpub! We enjoyed a flight of beer at the Aloha Brewing Waikiki. The beer was very good and the sidewalk location of the tables allowed for ample people watching opportunities.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Oahu Hawaii photo album.

Friday, February 10, 2023

San Francisco

Our cruise was actually two cruises that both left from San Francisco, one to Mexico and the other to Hawaii. So it was that three days after Cabo San Lucas we sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge once more at 5:30 in the morning.

There was also a beautiful view of Ghirardelli Square as we sailed past.

Ghirardelli Square has an extremely rich San Francisco heritage. This was where the world famous Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, now owned by Lindt, was located. Ghirardelli Square itself was the site of the sole manufacturing plant for Ghiradelli starting in 1893.

When the company was sold by Ghirardelli's descendents in the 1960's the manufacturing was moved across the bay to San Leandro. The square was purchased by a rich San Francisco family in 1962 to save it from being converted into apartments. In 1965 it became the first major adaptive re-use project in the United States, reopening as Ghirardelli Square. In 1982 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places to help ensure it remains Ghirardelli Square and is not converted into condominiums for the uber rich. The main attraction in the square remains a large chocolate shop and restaurant.

Shortly after the view of Ghirardelli Square we pulled into port with a view of another San Francisco icon, Coit Tower. We arrived just before 6 am while the sky was still dark.

Here's another view of Coit Tower, again with the moon, just two hours later.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the {album_name} photo album

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo

Arrived in Cabo around 7am. As you can see from the picture below, from the ship it looks like Cabo is much more modern, though also a much more touristy town.

For this stop we didn't have a pre planned excursion, so here again we found a local guide to take us around the local sights. Our first stop was at a very popular spot, the glass factory. The picture below is best viewed from the photo album. It's a Google Photo Sphere picture, a 360 degree picture of the main lobby of the glass factory. Even viewed in the photo album it is a bit glitchy, with partial images of people. Still - it gives you the best display of the inside of the glass factory. The pictures do tend to be a bit time consuming though so I don't take too many of them.

You can read more about Google Photo Sphere here. Unfortunately it appears that this feature is being removed in the latest Pixel 8 cameras, possibly all cameras once they go to release 9.1. Sorry to hear that since, although it was a pain to use and somewhat glitchy, it produced some of the most memorable views of a scene.

Our next and final stop for the tour was at San Jose del Cabo. Although there is often quite a lot going on here, including art galleries exhibiting work by local artists, I guess we were there at the wrong time. It was a pretty quiet stop with most of the shops closed. The major point of interest was a small church, Mission San Jose del Cabo.

One of the "must see" sights of Cabo San Lucas is the rock arch on the tip of the Baja Peninsula. Although our tour didn't take us out there, since it requires a boat to get a good look at it, we did get a good view of it as our ship sailed out of the harbor.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo photo album.

Monday, February 6, 2023


The day after Manzanillo and Colima we arrived in Mazatlan. For Mazatlan we hadn't pre-booked an excursion but there are always drivers available when you reach port. Our tour would take us to a number of places in "old" Mazatlan and then take us to the Mazatlan Malecón.

Our first stop was at the Monument to the Continuity of Life, or Monumento a La Continuidad de La Vida del Deno. According to one source, the statue "symbolizes the beginning and end of life, life balance, in addition to the respect we should have towards nature."[*] Although very impressive during the day, some of the night time pictures I've seen show it in an even more impressive light - multi-color lights as well.

Our next stop took us to see the cliff divers in old Mazatlan. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the actual dive, leaving that up to Elizabeth. She keeps saying she'll share her pictures with me. One day…

Our next stop took us to the Basilica Cathedral of Mazatlan. Below are pictures of both the impressive exterior as well as the interior. There are more pictures of the inside in the Mazatlan Photo Album.

Across the street from the church was the Plaza República, a nice quiet shaded area surrounded by street vendors.

Every year there is a carnival parade along the Mazatlan Malecón or promenade. This year's theme for the carnival is Deja Vu, Dreams of a Carnival. Below is just one of the giant monigotes, or dolls, that go up along the parade route. You can see some of the other monigotes and read about them here.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Mazatlan photo album.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Manzanillo and Colima

Our ship docked in Manzanillo but we spent most of the day on a tour to the inland city of Colima, capital of the Mexico State of Colima. The only picture I took of Manzanillo was a picture of the moon over the city a bit before 7am, as we were pulling into the dock.

The first stop on our tour was in Colima, an hour's drive from Manzanillo. We stopped at an area that included a number of shops and restaurants in an alley covered by umbrellas. The umbrellas were not only decorative but also provided much needed shade.

Next up on the tour was the Cathedral Basílica Menor de Colima.

Nearby the church was the Jardín Libertad (Freedom Garden), a small square shaped garden with a pavilion in the center.

The last stop on our tour was at the La Campana archaeological site, the largest pre hispanic population center in western Mexico. Some of the ceramics found in the area are estimated to be from 1500 BCE, around the time of the Bronze Age in ancient Greece, and the earliest dynasties in China.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Manzanillo and Colima photo album.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Puerto Vallarta

Our first stop in Mexico was at Puerto Vallarta. We took a taxi from the port to our first point of interest, the church Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe located near the center of the main set of shops and restaurants visited by tourists.

After touring the church we headed to the Puerto Vallarta Malecón, a 12 block 1 mile long promenade with numerous restaurants, shops, murals and sculptures. I can't say I did a decent job of photographing them. Oh well - a good reason to return to Puerto Vallarta! Here is one piece of street art that I did photograph, the Bette Davis Mural.

Puerto Vallarta has been considered a place for Hollywood stars ever since it first became famous in 1964 for the movie "Night of the Iguana." That movie, directed by John Houston, brought together two already love-stricken stars that became what some called "the marriage of the century." They married shortly after making the film and kept a home in Puerto Vallarta for decades afterwards. It was his second marriage and her 5th, even though she was only 32 at the time.

For those of you who are too young to know who those two are you can read this Vanity Fair online article "Crazy Love: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s Epic Romance". The couple married in 1964, divorced in 1974, married again in 1975 and divorced again in 1976. In 1999 the American Film Institute named Elizabeth Taylor the 7th greatest screen legend.

A famous sculpture on the Malecón is The Boy Riding a Seahorse. Some consider it to be an icon of the city.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Puerto Vallarta photo album.