Discovering the Island's true beauty
Sorry for not posting yesterday, but, doggone it, we were all so busy! On Thursday Wayne and Donna toured the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, as well as the Battleship Missouri, where Japan officially surrendered and entered World War II. After returning to their hotel, they browsed the Waikiki strip, and Wayne had Donna pose for this photo (Wayne, how could you?). (Note name of store)
Friday was the day we rented a car a toured the island together. We were lucky enough to get a snazzy black Ford Mustang convertible, which suited us just fine! We picked up Wayne & Donna in front of their hotel and off we went.
Our plan was to circle the island counter-clockwise, driving up the eastern coast, over the top (to the famous North Shore surfing area), then back to Honolulu by cutting south through the middle of the island. I'm happy to report that it all went flawlessly, and we had a fantastic time. Started at 8:30 am and didn't get back to home base until about 6:30. By the time we had our nightcap together and got back to our rooms, it was almost 10! Pretty full day for folks of our tender years.
Donna and Cindy are standing above at Hanauma Bay, one of the premiere snorkeling spots in the world. We didn't snorkel, but took advantage of the overlook to enjoy the fantastic views. Actually, gorgeous views are just a dime a dozen in Oahu - everywhere you turn, your jaw drops and you find yourself whispering "oh, wow...."
An interesting stop was at the Halona Blow Hole. Here, at a rock formation by the sea, pressure from the waves causes a geyser of water to squirt through an old lava tube in the rock. Old Faithful in Hawaii! It was great fun watching. Incidentally, the famous beach scene in the movie "From Here to Eternity", where Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr are rolling around on the beach together, was filmed near this site.
The winding drive up the Ko'olau Mountains was worth the effort, resulting in awesome views of much of eastern Oahu. Note how the Robinson's have adopted the "hang loose" philosophy of the islands...
Next stop - Kailua, a famous beach and snorkeling area. In fact, President Obama, before his inauguration, stayed in this area with relatives. Even by Hawaii standards this area is beautiful, with fine sand beaches stretching 2 miles in a graceful arc. The water was a deep aquamarine color, and an offshore reef protects kayakers from the potentially dangerous winter surf. An idyllic setting. Cindy and I decided to kayak, so we schlepped the kayak to the beach (about a block) and, while Donna and Wayne did the grueling job of sitting on beach chairs on the beach (drinking beer), we spent about an hour plying those lovely waters. Even saw a huge sea turtle near out boat!
(notice how Mr. Cool kept the beer steady while landing the kayak - no small feat!)
The North Shore in winter is a surfing mecca, where the giant waves call expert surfers from all over the world to challenge the Big Ones. We sat on Sunset Beach and watched the amazing power of these waves, and the surfers who tried to ride them, some with great success. None of us have ever seen the sea exhibit such power. The paradox is that, in summer, this is a placid, serene area, great for a relaxing swim!
A surreal aspect of this area - the waves appear to pound the rocks with such force that the whole area develops a sort of foggy vapor that hangs in the air. That's the best guess we could come up with for the phenomenon.
Into nearby Hailewa for eats. Stopped at the Breakers Bar and Grill, which caters to the surf crowd. As you can see, chickens and roosters are everywhere on the island, even in the restaurant. We can all now proudly saw that we have seen a chicken eating a french fry!
Drove past the huge Dole Pineapple Plantation on the way home, but it was closed. It would have made an interesting stop.
Battled surprisingly heavy Honolulu traffic on the way back into the city, but, thanks to "Homer" (my trusty old GPS device) we found the hotel easily. Gassed up the car first, paying $2.37 a gallon. Not bad for Hawaii.
We finished off the evening at Jimmy Buffett's new restaurant in Waikiki, open only 4 days. I'll close with a few photos of the general craziness that capped our perfect day. This afternoon - goodbye Honolulu, hello "Pride of America"! Aloha!