Island Days, Once More

Trip Start Jun 10, 2009
Trip End Sep 07, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Wednesday, August 26, 2009

After departing Auckland, I flew to, that's right: Hawaii! I was getting a bit low on the fundage, so I decided that rather than work on the road, which I don't want to do, I would instead combine traveling and heading toward home and travel through parts of the western United States, since before now I had never been further west in the US than parts of Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.

The first full day I was in Hawaii I didn't do much. I thought I might be able to stay with some family friends for free so I checked out of the hostel I had booked for my first night when I left in the morning. I actually had to head all the way back to the airport to the main post office for Honolulu because my parents had sent me my cell phone by general delivery (meaning I could pick it up at the post office) since it would actually work without charging a ton of money in the States. After that my plans for staying at some peoples' house fell through, so after taking a bus back to Waikiki, I attempted to check back in to the same hostel. I say attempted because between the time I left to get my phone and the time I got back a couple hours later, the hostel had been filled up. I had to try two or three others before finally finding one that had an open room, and it was a bit more expensive because it was part of a hostel chain, Hosteling International. But it worked out. I spent the evening at the beach swimming and then rested on the sand and watched the sun go down. Aside from all the running around, it was quite a good day. I think I heard "Surfin' USA" whistled or hummed more times that day than ever before in my life, in total.

Through the contacts of one of the workers at the hostel, I arranged to go SCUBA diving the next day. It was my first dive in the ocean and outside of the ones I did to get certified a few months ago, and since those were in a murky lake while it was raining, the clear water off Hawaii's coast was an amazing experience (I could actually see stuff!). What I saw was much better than those initial dives as well: instead of a few rocks, a tire and some sort of bottom-feeder freshwater fish, I saw several huge sea turtles being cleaned by little fish; I saw several moray eels poking their heads out of holes in the coral or darting away through the water; I saw and held a baby octopus that suctioned to my hand and shot ink as it tried to get away. And that's just a bit of the different things we happened upon: I can't describe all the different fish, coral and other wildlife like sea urchins that we saw without going on for much longer. Anyway, we got two dives, and it was a great activity, worth the money.

I booked a flight from Hawaii for the next evening and decided to spend the day before going to the airport hiking. I went to the Manoa Falls, which I had heard was a great track, but after hiking in New Zealand, it left something to be desired. It was incredibly muddy all over the track and since, in all my wisdom, I decided to go in the middle of a Saturday, it was full of tourists, some of them not equipped for hiking in the slightest (think bikinis/swimsuits, flip-flops, surfboards, inflatable rafts and tubes, etc.). The trail was fairly boring and easy (the one good thing about the mud was it made it slippery and lent a small degree of difficulty to it) and the falls alright but lackluster compared to the several I saw in New Zealand, so I was a bit disappointed with wasting my last day in Hawaii there and was heading back when a guy asked me if I was continuing up to the top of the mountain. Not having anything better to do, I said yes and we went together. That trail was a two-mile hike and much better than the falls track. While it was uphill, it should have been a quick 45 minute to an hour jaunt to the top and back, but KV, my hiking buddy, turned out to be very slow and out of shape. It turned into a two-and-a-half hour meander up the mountain, with me constantly having to wait for him. The view at the top, though, was pretty great, and it was fairly well worth it. I ditched KV when we got back to the falls trail, though, because I was ready to get back down and needed to make sure I caught my bus back into town since I had a shuttle to the airport arranged.

I got back to town, caught my shuttle, caught my plane and set off into the night to my next destination.
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