Looking for the aloha in life

The Tuna and the Rooster; Day 2

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Day 2 — another epic day — started out with once again, the O’Briens overtaking the Strawn condo early, hoping that Luke would come through on his overnight promise of a big aloha breakfast and, luckily, he did in spades!  Avocado and fried egg on hearty bread, crispy bacon and for the littles, big biscuits with butter.  Oh, and lots of pineapple!  Meanwhile, the kids were all over the place — on iPads, computers, searching for golf balls out in the lava behind the condo (you should see their stash!!) While it rained cats and dogs in Oahu, were treated to calm partly cloudy skies.  Paige and I snuck out for a walk and I took her by the Mauna Lani fish ponds and behind the Mauna Lani Resort which is closed for a full year while they completely renovate it. Even with its still gorgeous beach, it looked so sad and lonely without any guests and I fondly thought about all the memories my family has made there over the years.  We have had family pictures taken, wonderful dinners alone and with our parents at the famed Canoe House, and of course, there was that time a beautiful big sea turtle approached Casey on the beach and she talked to it lovingly for 20 minutes before it turned around and went back out to sea.  I hope to come back in a year and see the hotel bustling with guests in all its new glory.


surfers catching some swell by Mauna Lani

Of course, we can’t go anywhere without Paige making a new friend and this walk was no exception.  We watched some surfers catch some great waves and chatted with a mom from California who was photographing her 3 kids while they took a lesson.  She gave us all the details on where to inquire about lessons. We hope to get the boys out there later next week when the swell returns on Thursday.


The big boys and Bodie left for a fishing expedition about noon while Paige and I took the girls and Mack out to lunch up the mountain in Waikaloa Village.  Lava Java has fabulous pizzas and fish options and was a hit with us all, especially the kids who watched a rooster loiter by our table the entire lunch.  IMG_4945Our waiter informed us that this particular chicken comes by every day and hangs around like a stray dog, then returns to his home a few blocks away when the restaurant closes. Not something that happens too often in Dallas or Tulsa so the kids definitely got a kick out of it.  We then drove a few miles into the village just to see what it was like and check out any fun homes (I am always looking, just in case:) before heading to the Fairmont Orchid beach.

While the boys fished a mile off shore, we basked in the sun while drinking mai tais and lilikoi margaritas, brainstorming ideas on how to make a living here.  Mack, Casey and Shelby enjoyed the sand and the calm water of this beautiful inlet until it was time to prep for the amazing dinner that we would be eating later that night. IMG_4951IMG_4950

So, back to the fishing trip that they boys took…  Luke has graciously offered to share his thoughts here on this unforgettable trip and once again, Mike contributed the photographic evidence that they definitely all had a great time.

The Great Fishing Trip; according to Luke…

When we originally told the kids about this trip, Bodie only had two questions. “Dad did you know they have tuna, mahi mahi, and grouper in Hawaii, and what day are we going fishing?” Bodie is one of the most avid fishing 7 year olds you will ever meet. He watches fishing show after fishing show. When we are at the lake, he fishes for hours at a time. He can also tell you a lot about the different species of fish and where they live. I am confident that one of Bodie’s favorite phrases in life is “fish on”. So I booked this trip with Humdinger Fishing, mainly due to their reviews. Having done a number of guided trips like this, I decided this time we would try the afternoon. Mike and Dan joined the three Strawn boys. Mack decided to sit this one out at the Fairmont Hotel beach. Mack may still have bad memories of a long day spent with a guide offshore of Daytona beach. However this trip couldn’t have been more different. Captain Brett is a young guy, but loves kids and did great with Bodie peppering him with questions. IMG_4964He gave a couple of different options on fish we could try for and the group deferred to Bodie. After he heard that this was the season for Tuna, he was all in. It took about 30 minutes for us get in the spot we were looking for and we were just about a mile off the beach. The group had decided that Bodie would be first up, and it didn’t take long. The best part was we hooked up on double, so Dan grabbed the other pole and the fight was on. It took an average of 4-6 minutes to pull these fish in. Bodie was thrilled that it was the biggest catch of his life already, the first fish going about 15 lbs. The locals call these species of tuna, Cava Cava. A lot of you may have heard them called Bonitas. Dan landed his, then Turner got one in. Quickly after that, I hooked up. Once mine was in, we were “fish on” again and this time it was Mike’s turn. At this point I am not sure if Mike was planning on fishing or was focused on taking the awesome pics you see here. But I didn’t give him an option. Getting Mike’s fish in took about twice as long as anything we had experienced at this point. Once we got it to the boat we saw why. Mike caught a 45 lb yellow fin tuna, which ended up being our big fish of the trip. The action stayed consistent for another 30-45 minutes, catching a total of 9 fish. Bodie caught 3 of the fish you see here and smiled ear to ear the entire afternoon. After some prep and storage instructions from Capt Brett we brought home about 20 lbs of filets. We had a great assembly line in our kitchen with everyone jumping in to help. I think its safe to say that was some of the best tuna I will ever eat, and we will be eating it all week! As we pulled away from the harbor, Bodie informed all of us that he will be living and fishing here when he is older.



Such determination from a 7 year old!



Big fish and big smiles


Needless to say, our dinner last night was TO DIE FOR!  It is literally impossible to eat fresher fish!!  Between the poke and the tuna marinade recipe Paige and I found and the 20# of fish they boys brought home, we ate like kings and queens.  Topped it off with a Kahlua Cheesecake too and lots of adult conversation on the back patio with the two older boys.  I just love it when they actually want to hang out with us adults.  They make us laugh and remind us that they are growing up and have big important thoughts of their own.  We reluctantly headed back home when the distant thunderstorm finally brought us some rain. Another day in paradise!


Author: Angela

I'm a mom living in Texas trying to find the aloha spirit in everyday life with my husband and 2 teenagers. Until I can retire in Hawaii, I will continue to love good old fashioned walks with my dog, dabble in home decor, and pretend to play the ukulele. I am passionate about my family, music, and supporting other families, like ours, who have kids with Down Syndrome.

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