ALOHA! GREETINGS FROM HAWAII
Trip Start Sep 06, 2009
17Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Dubbed 'Manhatten by the sea', Waikiki is not the sort of desert island paradise which some islands in Hawaii offer but, it has its compensations. Where else can you sit on the beach in the morning and buy Gucci handbags in the afternoon?
The beach is lovely and offers plenty of shade and, after the muggy heat of Florida, Hawaii's sunny, but drier, climate came as a welcome change. The children lost no time in changing into their swimsuits and dragging us to the beach. We spent a lovely couple of days just chilling out and relaxing after the fairly relentless pace of the last two months.
We hired a car for the last five days of our stay and set out to explore O'ahu island. First, we visited Hanamuna Bay, a beautiful and sheltered bay famous for it's snorkelling. It has been turned into a State Park and, before we were allowed down to the beach, we had to watch a 15 minute film presentation on how to look after the reef. All good, you'd say. However, it is clear that it was a question of 'too little too late'... The reef seemed all but destroyed to us and, while there were some wonderful fish, the experience was a little underwhelming.
The following day we drove North to the famous surfing beaches where the waves reach amazing heights and attract surfers from all over the world. We spent an interesting day at Waimea Bay where Katie made friends with some rock climbers on the beach. She was soon hooked, and spent most of the afternoon attempting to scale the rocky outcrop there. Even though the bay was pretty sheltered, it still had some fairly substantial waves and Steve and James had a fabulous time body surfing until Steve managed to tear a muscle in his arm... It was quite alarming to see the bulge of this muscle protruding from his arm and we doused it in ice in a bid to reduce the swelling. Even with this precaution, within a day or two, Steve developed an enormous bruise which made him look like he'd been beaten with a log!
Fortunately, as with the vast majority of cars in the States, our hire car was automatic and with me helping to put the car into Drive or Reverse for the next couple of days, we were able to continue with our exploration of the island. The next day we visited Pearl Harbour the bombing of which, in the American version of events, started World War Two. It was very sad to hear about the enormous loss of life on that day but ultimately it seemed to be a tale of American incompetence. Mooring all the major warships of the American fleet in the bay like sitting ducks, parking all the air force planes designed to protect them wingtip to wingtip and, finally, ignoring the radar warning that could have alerted them to the approach of the Japanese bombers, all sealed their fate...
Our visit to Hawaii unfortunately coincided with the start of the rainy season and we had experienced the odd drizzle and shower here and there. However, on the following day the weather started to worsen with heavy low-lying clouds hanging over the volcanic range in the centre of the island and obscuring the undoubtedly spectacular landscape. This was a shame because as we drove over to the 'windward' side of the island we were really impressed by the volcanic hills that had been thrust out of the earth's crust and whose amazing folds seemed to have been raked out by an enormous clawed hand... The beaches were beautiful and we would have loved to have experienced them in better weather.
However, our time in Hawaii was drawing to an end and our arrival to Australia was finally imminent. After all the months in the planning, Melbourne was our next stop!