After our adventure filled couple of days on the big island we returned to Oahu just in time to catch the fireworks on the beach at the Hale Koa. It was definitely the thing to do on a Friday night since a large crowd gathered along the beach, but it was a fun and relaxed way to kick-off the next portion of our trip.
The next morning we headed out to Waialua to attend a painting class run by the wife of a Coastie the hubs used to fly with in Kodiak. Her shop, Simply Honeybee Art & Signs had a wonderfully relaxed vibe and plenty of Cece Caldwells paints in stock so we could customize our pre-chosen designs any way we liked. I had never used this brand of paint before but really liked it for several reasons. In fact, now that we’re home and back to working on projects I find myself wishing I had the stains we used on the signs we made so I might just have to order an inventory to have on hand, especially since we also picked up some other design stencils from her to create additional signs at home. We had a great time catching up with a fellow Coastie and talking about the idea of possibly opening a similar shop in Alaska one day. These fun new art pieces have since found a home in the Family Room gallery wall, which I’ll share in the near future.
Photo c/o Simply Honey Bee Art & Signs
After painting, we drove out to the North Shore to look for turtles at Laniakea Beach. It was pretty windy which made the surf pretty large. In fact they had closed the beach a few days prior because the waves were so intense they were cresting the small bluff and spraying across the nearby road. Luckily we arrived just before the tide started to rise so there was plenty of area to enjoy the beach as the waves pounded the rocks.
Although we didn’t see any turtles on the beach there were several cruising the waves. We’d occasionally see them come up for air and glimpse the edge of a flipper or top of their shell as they navigated the surf. I was a little bummed that they didn’t come up on the beach, but since this was a heavily trafficked area, it would have been a mad house if they did. There was a turtle guardian on watch who shared lots of information about turtles and the area since he didn’t have any turtles to monitor on the sand.
Next we drove further down the North Shore to see some sights and soon realized there was a surfing competition going on, which was apparently similar to spring break in Daytona Beach because we saw several interesting activities. One included this rig where a pool had been created in the back of a truck using a tarp and subsequently filled with several young men. Meanwhile a young woman decided to ‘ride’ the jet ski on the trailer behind them. We also spotted an interesting guy wearing nothing but a bright red banana hammock and winter ski boots on the side of the road. Although I did get a picture of that I’ll spare you the image being burned into your mind.
We headed back toward Honolulu and decided to stop off at the Dole Plantation along the way. We had heard that the Dole Whip was a must try so we browsed around a bit, picked up several sauces to bring home and ordered our Dole Whips. We enjoyed them out on the back patio as we watched the train come and go. It was a very simple treat, but definitely delicious. In fact, just looking at this picture makes my mouth water for more!
Finished with our snack we took a moment to snap a selfie with the giant pineapple on the grounds. Doesn’t the hubs look super excited to be posing with a pineapple? 😉 As we made our way back to the car I noticed these beautiful multi-colored trees. It was literally a piece of living art. I later confirmed they were rainbow eucalyptus, which obviously wouldn’t survive in Alaska.
The next day we decided to do a submarine tour we’d heard about from a co-worker since the dock was at the hotel next to ours. It was a little pricey, but it was a unique experience so we were willing to give it a shot. It was totally worth the cost to see the fish up close and experience the ocean floor without having to get wet. A boat takes you from the dock at the shore to the subs out in the open water, which provided time to spot cute trumpet fish next to the dock and enjoy the view of Waikiki from the stern as we headed out.
The sub surfaced as we approached their location and we docked along side it to onboard and offload passengers from the top of the sub. Once inside we spotted the pilot’s impressive cockpit, which has a full bubble view and found a seat toward the rear along one side of the sub. Here’s a video of the sub surfacing.
The company who runs the submarines has partnered with local research groups to set up structures in an effort to grow new reefs for sea life because the sand imported for the tourist beaches along Waikiki has killed off most of the natural reefs. The first we saw was this Japanese seaweed growing structure. Normally used to grow seaweed as a commercial product, here it’s too warm for seaweed to grow so it’s not as covered, but still provides a good place for fish to gather and hide. There were also a couple of planes that were purposely sunk to create artificial reefs.
This guy seemed pretty interested in the sub and swam along side of our window for quite a ways, checking us out. I’m pretty sure this is the fish that Dory in Finding Nemo was modeled after – and it did “just keep swimming…”
Next were some ships that had been sunken as reef starters. Like the planes it was odd to see this structure under the water, but still quite interesting to see how it had been transformed by its new environment.
At the bow of one of the ships three sea turtles were taking a little nap, while getting their shells cleaned by fish. Seeing them on the land and in the waves was one thing but being so near them underwater was totally cool – especially to see three of them in such a chill state.
There was also one turtle on another sunken ship, but he was harder to spot (the lump on the right of the picture). There had been two when we first went by but we had to wait until the sub turned around to go past again on the other side to see him and by then one had headed off to somewhere else.
That evening we met up with my friend who lives in Hawaii to create some portraits for his family at the new Ko’Olina Disney resort. I’ve shared those images on my photography website.
At the end of the session we all took a moment to savor the beautiful sunset before heading to their home where we were treated to a fantastic potluck with a variety of yummy dishes! It was a great way to end another day in paradise. I’ll share our visit to the Pearl Harbor memorial and Luau in my next post, so stay tuned for those!