The long anticipated trip to O’ahu didn’t start too well. We flew from Santa Maria Airport, which, it turned out, is in the middle of nowhere. So we took a shuttle bus which ended up being 1.5 hours late (on account of it being Memorial Day week end) and we arrived at the airport 20 minutes before the departure of the flight. However, the airport is tiny and therefore we made it on the flight.
With this problem out of the way, the holidays could only go well. (Our family has a tradition of having (usually minor) troubles while traveling. Most extreme so far: my brother and his girlfriend were on Iceland when Eyjafjallajökull erupted. They were consequently stuck in Reykjavik for almost two weeks without knowing when they could return to the mainland. They made the best of it, however, and enjoyed the holiday nonetheless.)
Anyway, back to the topic on hand: we stayed in a hotel only the first and last night of our O’ahu trip, as we wanted to see all the island. Therefore we rented an old Volkswagen camper van to cover the accommodation and vehicle needs at the same time:
I had found the company through a very short google. Here’s the link, if you’re interested. There were some bad reviews around, but we only had nice experiences with the people of the company. It’s true that the van had its quirks, but that only added to the charm of the holiday.
We decided to stay on West Coast time for as long as possible, which meant going to bed at 9pm (Hawaiian time) and getting up at around 6am. This way we could enjoy both sunsets and sunrises:
Another advantage of getting up so early on Monday was that the famous Hanauma Bay wasn’t crowded yet. Also, the ticket office hadn’t opened yet, so we got in for free, we found the perfect parking spot. Moreover, we were told later, early morning is best for snorkeling, as the water is clearest and you can see the most fish, because the night active ones are not yet sleeping, and the day active ones are already up.
And fish we saw! Unfortunately we don’t have an underwater camera, so you will have to take our word for it. But so I can prove we were there, here’s a picture of us on the Hanauma Bay beach:
Apart from fish, we also saw and swam with a sea turtle! PB was happy like a child, as he hadn’t expected that. Again, no pictures (I guess I know what I will get him for his birthday…).
After that we went on a short hike to Makapu’u Point, which turned out to be so short that we even managed to squeeze in some fabric shopping (we arrived 20 minutes before they closed, so I had to be super decisive):
So there can be no doubt left that PB deserves his name!
The next morning we decided to check out Kailua Beach:
Isn’t it exactly how you imagine a tropical beach? It was just perfect. Between this beach and the fact that we had seen a sea turtle, I didn’t think the holiday could get any better. Well, It didn’t. It just kept that level of awesome for the rest of the week.
Oh, I think I haven’t put any sunset picture yet. How could I? There you go:
Between Kailua Beach and the sunset we drove along the remaining of the East coast, stopping here and there. No good pictures, though, as it was raining (which didn’t bother me at all, it was a welcome cooler).
The next early morning we went snorkeling again. This time in Sharks Cove:
When it started to get too crowded we went on to Waimea Valley, which is a botanical garden, as well as a historic site. We enjoyed it up to the point where we got devoured alive by mosquitos. Next time I would wear long trousers and sleeves. Some impressions:
The following two nights we stayed in a camp ground in Mokule’ia. After 3 days with only cold outdoor showers, it felt like the most luxurious thing to take a hot shower with soap! I have seldom felt so clean. (I would totally do it again, though!)
Mokule’ia seems to be rather remote, as we mostly had the beach and the small bay to ourselves. We were lucky with the weather, as it wasn’t as windy as usual, and conditions for snorkeling were great. PB promptly took the opportunity and went, just to come back right after a short dip to tell me that he got surrounded by sea turtles the minute he stepped into the water. After that there was no stopping him and he snorkeled every minute of light.
Then it was unfortunately already time to return to Honolulu. We went straight through the center of O’ahu. As we were a bit too early, we stopped at the Dole pineapple plantation, which also had a botanical garden (I like those). It wasn’t anything groundbreaking, but we got a fun picture out of it:
The trip was just great! I would repeat it very willingly, had I the chance again!
So, this was our last “short” trip here in the US. I’m going back home (Finland in this case) this coming Friday already! It turns out I haven’t actually spent a lot of time here in Los Angeles. We have been traveling a lot, especially on the week ends, so I didn’t get to truly meet the sewing group I was invited into, which is a SHAME! They seem a bunch of great ladies and a lot of fun. Well, here’s to hoping I’ll return!