We've made it!
22.08.2005 31 °C
Aloha! We made it to the island with no problems... just one very long flight. The kids did really well, considering the flight from Atlanta to Honolulu was 9 hours and 21 minutes long. They showed 3 movies, only one of which was really a kid movie. In between each they showed our flight's progress up on the video monitors - that was really cool. A map of the world was shown, and the picture of our airplane showed where we were, how far we'd come and how much longer was left. Distances, altitudes, temperatures, etc were all shown.
When we finally landed in Hawaii, it was about 7:10pm local time. It was already dusk! We were 4 rows from the back of that huge plane, so it took quite some time for us to actually get off... but when we finally did, we were SO happy to be moving! Made our way down to the baggage claim area, and there was C!! He'd brought fresh, real-flower leis for each of us! They were so fragrant! And beautiful! I was surprised at how heavy they were... and we each got two! LOL Here's a shot of us w/ our leis:
I'd checked 6 suitcases - the maximum we were allowed. Rounded those all up, carted them out to the car (a Jetta he'd borrowed from a friend for the whole weekend) and he managed to get them all inside the car. Not easy! It was an extremely quick drive to the hotel, as it's basically ON airport property. Or might as well be. It was not what I'd hoped for because we can't just take a walk and get to anything good. So when C is at work, the kids and I are stuck here at the hotel. But anyway, that first night we went to bed immediately because by the time we got checked and moved in, it was after 9:00pm here, and that felt like 3:00am to us because of the 6 hour time difference.
I was up at 4:50am the next morning, too! So we got an extremely early start to the day. Ate a quick breakfast and we were off on a very full day. C drove us up to the base (Schofield Barracks) and showed us around. A lot of the housing does look rather run down... be interesting to see what we get. Visited his barracks which is nicer than the hotel we're in! Drove around base, saw the "lemon lot" where other Army families put their used cars up for sale. Nothing along our lines there.
Next stop... The MALL! I'd read and heard alot about the Ala Moana Shopping Center, so we headed there. It's just as you get to Waikiki, and it's pretty huge!! It was different than I'd expected, tho! It's not an indoor mall. You park on the ground floor, and then walk around the outside edge of that first floor. Ride the escaltors up and then the shops are in a circle around you and you walk up and down the center aisle. But it's all open and sooo nice!! Flowers everywhere make it REALLY pleasant. There are 4 levels to the place, and it's got quite the selection of shops, from Old Navy and surf shops to Fendi, Tiffany's, Gucci, Armani, Chanel and SO many more. Made for some good window shopping, for sure.
The weather here is fabulous!! The car we were using doesn't have A/C, but we weren't melting, either. After the heat and misery of South Carolina, this place is truly Paradise. I don't find it too hot and I think there's not a whole lot of humidity either. It's warm... high 80's I'd say. It's warm enough, though, where a good swim in the ocean is really inviting!! So we drove on into Waikiki... it was a Friday afternoon, and we actually found a place to park on the street. Below are pics of our first swim in the awesome waters here and a couple of the "typical" scenic Wakiki shots that I just had to take!!
After Waikiki, we drove over to Pearl Harbor. We were in search of a lemon lot there, too. Drove right by some amazing ships... I just took this out of my car window:
Next day: Saturday. Day 2.
I woke up even earlier than the day before! 4:08am. Going to take longer to get used to the time change than I'd thought. Got another early start to our day! We drove up to Kaneohe Marine Corps Base (K Bay) first. We took the H3 through the mountains to get there and there were some really pretty views along the way. Here are mountains still with a morning cap of fog along the tops:
After leaving K Bay, we headed north along the Windward side of the island, stopping for lunch along the way. Each beach we passed, I read a corresponding description of from a wonderful book called "Oahu Revealed" from Wizard Publications. Tiny towns here couldn't be more different than what we saw on the southern side, Waikiki area!! We drove along, rounding the very peak of the island (Kahuku Point) and started down the official North Shore! Turtle Bay Resort was first and then we came to Sunset Beach!! It looked too good to pass up, so we pulled over and jumped out of the car. Getting to the beaches here is SO easy!! You park, you roll out of the car, and walk a few feet and there you are! Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!!!
Here are my pics from Sunset Beach:
After leaving Sunset Beach, we continued driving south along the North Shore, passing Waimea Bay (can't wait to return and actually stop there!), and at Haleiwa, we turned inland to drive back to Schofield Barracks again. We went right by the Dole Plantation, driving thru miles of pineapple fields! Spent the rest of the day looking for a car... never finding anything. We also went to the Navy Exchange (NEX) and bought snorkleing gear for the 4 of us. Once you've spent the money on the gear, it's a free activity from then on!!
Next day: Sunday. Day 3.
We loaded back into the car, intending to go to Hanauma Bay for snorkling. We arrived there at 9:15am and the lot was full already!!! Definitely a thing to do on a weekday, I suppose. So we kept on driving around the point at Hawaii Kai there, and came upon a scenic vista stopping point, so we pulled off and viewed the following scenes of Halona Blowhole:
Continuing the drive up the Windward coastline: We came to Makapuu Beach. The islands in the picture below are Manana (Rabbit) Island State Seabird Sanctuary and Kaohikaipu Island State Seabird Sanctuary and the water is Kaupo Bay (Cockroach Bay). LOL!!! Ick! But it certainly is gorgeous!
Next stop.... Bellows Beach!! This is found on Bellows Air Force Base... it's open to civilians on the weekends, and to military people only during the week. I'd seen pictures of it before, and couldn't wait to get there myself. The kids were dying to try their snorkling gear out, so even tho it definitely wasn't ideal conditions, we did it anyway. LOL They were AWESOME at it!! It didn't take very long before they were both floating around, washing wherever the waves took them. I even learned, too!
After the time at Bellows beach, we moved further up the coast to Lanikai Beach which was fabulous!! The water was calmer and we snorkled a good bit there, too. We took turns going out deeper to coral reefs and looking at fish! I was apparently too busy enjoying myself to take any pictures here, because I don't have any! LOL