• Jessica Stough

The Big Island, Hawaii Itinerary, Trip Recap, & Eel Bite Update

It certainly does not feel as though we just returned from Hawaii on Monday, but we sure did. When we got home Monday, we realized that we have completely perfected our unpacking routine. It took us less than an hour to get everything put away properly. Actually, it took us the exact amount of time to unpack as it did for our DoorDash order to make it to our front porch. We didn’t have any food in our house that seemed appealing after such a long flight – no judgment is allowed on that choice.

After we unpacked and devoured our DoorDash food, we lounged the rest of the day. Then, Tuesday, we ran all kinds of errands and got a lot done around the house. When we both returned to work Wednesday, we spent the rest of the week digging out from being on vacation for over a week.


Now, it’s Saturday and I am finally back to relaxing after a morning run with my favorite local running group. With that, I thought it would be a perfect time to reflect on our trip and compare what we had planned to do and what we actually did while we were in Hawaii. Timing, weather, locations, and many other things come into play once we are actually on a trip that can change our plans.


I love looking at the comparisons between what we thought we could accomplish compared to what actually ended up happening – and also hope that it may help others with their plans if they choose to visit the Big Island in the future! I am also excited to share my Big Island planning map! I put together a map of everything we had planned out, along with all of the hikes that I researched and where each thing was. This helped ensure that we could make the most of each of our drives away from Hilo, covering the most ground and creating the best routes.

 

Honestly, I think my map is at least just as cool as the maps they had available at the airport, if not even better.

 

Planned Itinerary


Saturday, February 12


Sunday, February 13


Monday, February 14 ♡


Tuesday, February 15


Wednesday, February 16


Thursday, February 17


Friday, February 18


Saturday, February 19


Sunday, February 20

  • Kehena Black Sand Beach (Note: this is a nude beach, so I would not recommend it for littles – this also did not make it to the actual itinerary).


Monday, February 21


Tuesday, February 22

  • Land in DSM 12:57 PM

 

Actual Itinerary


Saturday, February 12

Sunday, February 13


Monday, February 14 ♡


Tuesday, February 15


Wednesday, February 16


Thursday, February 17

  • Waipi'o Valley Overlook

  • Take the scenic route on the Hamakua coast

  • Lose phone, ID, and credit card (0/10 – would not recommend having phone stolen by the ocean)

Friday, February 18

Saturday, February 19


Sunday, February 20


Monday, February 21

  • Land in DSM 12:57 PM

 

I’m still bummed about missing the ziplining tour because I was so excited to do that, but after everything that happened on our trip, we just did not feel comfortable going up against Mother Nature and her plans for the weather in Denver. Come to find out after the fact, the flights were all on time that we would have been on – but that is neither here nor there. For all I know, after the way my luck seemed to be going in Hawaii, my zipline would have probably broken when I was thousands of feet in the air.


Speaking of my luck in Hawaii, ever since people have heard about my eel bite, I have had so many questions about it. I am basically an eel expert at this point (as is everyone else that was on our trip because we all did some serious Google research after my attack) – so I figured I would just answer some frequently asked questions right here in the blog.


Eel Bite FAQ’s


Did it hurt? Yes, although not as badly as it could have. Apparently, eels typically latch on to their pray without easily letting go, and can cause some serious damage. The bite felt like a very quick sting, and continued to sting after the fact (probably due to the salt water). It actually hurt the most after we got the wound cleaned up and bandaged/wrapped – because of the pressure from my shoes pressing into the bandage and wrap.


Are eels poisonous? Freshwater eels are poisonous, but I was assured by the lifeguards that helped me that the eel that bit me was not. After, we researched different types of eels. We found that there are actually a lot of different types that live in Hawaiian waters.


From what I’ve read, I was most likely bitten by a moray eel (aggressive if their space is invaded – which is most likely what I mistakenly did). I learned about other eels that live in the Hawaiian waters here. I also learned about other dangerous animals in Hawaii, if interested, here.


Did you see the eel? No, not with my eyes. I took my contacts out before getting in the water since the salt water bothers them so much. The water wasn’t even up to my hips yet when I was bit, so the only chance I have of catching a glimpse of him is if my GoPro captured it. We already watched the low-res preview on my phone, and couldn’t see him then, but plan to review the footage on a bigger screen this weekend.


How is it now? The bite is healing. Through the week, it bruised quite a bit all over my foot (even on the complete opposite side where there were no bite marks). That being said, it seems to be doing well and the pain continues to get lesser and lesser each day. I can walk and run without it causing any pain.


What does it look like? Zac actually asked if I was going to put the eel bite pictures on my blog, and I told him no very quickly. He seemed to think that I was missing quite the opportunity by not putting it out there on the web. However, I didn’t want to have anyone accidentally stumble across the pictures without any warning.


Instead, I’ll share a few pictures if anyone wants to see them here. Please keep in mind that most social media outlets would consider them graphic content and to proceed with whatever caution is necessary before viewing. Also, they are pictures of a runner’s foot (any runner reading this understands that that is something to be cautious of in itself).

 

That pretty much sums it all up. Our trip was amazing, despite what I like to call a few “bumps” along the way. We absolutely have it on our bucket list to go again and hit some of the other hiking spots we missed, the ziplining tour we weren’t able to do, and some other adventures – but have no idea when that will be. Until then, we will be planning our next adventures elsewhere.


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