Monday, October 27, 2014

Moving day

Saturday morning we packed up our things (fairly minimal packing) to move to our final place to stay.  It was hard to leave the house, which was so quiet and peaceful, but we had to move.  Our next place was only a few blocks away, in a condo apartment said to be "11 steps from the beach".  I didn't ever really count the steps, but I think that was a good estimate.  The one-bedroom condo exited right onto the beach, and again was very quiet, unless you consider constant surf noise a problem.  The owners were originally from Louisiana, and their daughter had been Miss Hawaii, and 3rd runner-up for Miss America, in 2011.  

By Saturday evening, the reason for Tom and Cathy's early departure began to hit.  Hurricane Ana was about 130 miles off the coast, and produced constant rain for the next 24 hours.  We did not get much wind, and the rain was not heavy, just constant, but the area around Honolulu and the airport got a lot of both.  A good time for us to hunker down and read and wait out the storm. 

 Oh, I forgot about the sunset!  What a spectacular time. 

Kayaks, turtles, and tropical forest

Friday morning we had arranged to be taken on a kayaking tour of a very sheltered cove where there were supposed to be lots of green sea turtles (adjacent to Turtle Bay resort).  We were met by our two young women guides, were given some brief instructions in the use of the kayak and paddles, given lifejackets, and then pushed off into the bay.  The kayaks were each singles, with clear plastic bottoms in front of the seat for viewing underwater life.  As we paddled around the cove we saw many turtles popping their heads up from time to time, and got very close to several of them. 

In the late afternoon, after Tom and Cathy had packed for the trip home, we went back to Waimea Valley to walk to the falls.  The walk was through a tropical forest preserve/botanical garden, with a huge variety of beautiful flowers, trees and shrubs.  The falls were really a bit anticlimactic, particularly with all the signs again about leptospirosis! 

Later that evening we drove Tom and Cathy to the airport in time to catch their 10:15pm flight home.  Seemed strange to go back to the house without them. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Underwater and up a creek

Thursday morning was the day to go snorkeling.  We had seen a couple of likely spots along the coast where snorkeling would be good, but focused on the very sheltered area around Shark Cove. 

The cove is surrounded by coral reef and volcanic rock, the bottom is coral and volcanic rock with many sandy spots as well, so we could swim a bit, find a sandy spot to stand and rest, then keep going.  The water was very clear, with lots of colorful fish.  My photos, using a waterproof camera, are not so great, but the actual views were! 

We spent more than an hour just floating around, enjoying the fish, until the place got crowded, and we got tired. 

In the afternoon, we went to a Farmers Market in Waimea Valley, along the creek.  There were lots of vendors, selling fresh fruits, coffee, nuts, and of course all kinds of jewelry and clothing.  We picked up some bananas (Apple bananas, the best), limes, macademia nuts, some honey, etc.  That was enough activity for the day. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Riding on the beach

Today we started with a trip to one of the nearby beaches, to swim and walk a bit.  The water is warm, but the power of the waves is hard to imagine until you experience it.  Just ask Christina!

The sand between the parking and the water gets extremely hot, so some sort of sandal or flip-flops are really helpful.  Otherwise, running through deep sand is the next best alternative.  

After a leisurely lunch, we headed down the coast to the Oahu Polo Club where we had reservations for a ride on the beach.  The horses were primarily "retired" polo ponies, and were extremely well-schooled.  The ride lasted about an hour and a quarter, most of which was right along the edge of the beach (no closer than about 20 feet from the high-tide water level).  The breeze off the ocean kept us comfortable, but when we took a brief turn into an area of reeds and bushes, the breeze stopped and it got very hot very quickly.  Once the ride was over, we had a chance to watch a polo scrimmage between students and instructors, and talked with the guy who maintains the polo field, who gave us some insight into the game.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Polynesian Cultural Center

Several months ago, we made reservations for an all-afternoon/evening experience at the Polynesian Cultural Center, a "living history" park run by Brigham Young students and faculty.  It is the most-attended paid site in the state.  Christina and I had been there briefly about 20 years ago, but our memories of the visit were minimal.  When we arrived, we were assigned to a guide who came from New Zealand (he is Maori) to study at BYU and work at the center.  Part of the deal for them is that they work for tuition/room/board, and then they must return home for about the same time as they were here.  After that, they have no real obligation.  We learned about several of the polynesian cultures, had a luau-like dinner, watched an IMAX film about Hawaii, and then decided we had had enough for one day, so took the bus back to our house.