Published: May 7th 2008April 30th 2008
Finally a hot and sunny beach!
After a few hiccups with our flights from LA we finally made it to Hawaii. Hawaii is made up of several different islands, our first stop was (obviously) Waikiki on Oahu. After checking in to our hotel we went straight to the world famous Waikiki beach. It was pretty much as you would expect it to be - very kitch and touristy! The front was lined with resort hotels and nearly every spot on the sand was taken by sun worshippers! Having said that the water was crystal clear and the sun was shining so none of that mattered.
The next morning Steve took his first surfing lesson, and after only 2 attempts got straight up on the board and managed to ride it out from then on. He said that the hardest part wasn’t riding but paddling back out. He got a rash on his chest and arms from all the paddling, hence why most surfers wear tops.
Next we headed to ‘Surfers Paradise’, Oahu’s North Shore. A much more relaxed place than Waikiki with beautiful beaches and bigger waves. Here we had our first backpackers experience, which at first seemed
horrible. The room we had stunk and there were cobwebs everywhere. The bathroom we won’t go into..
We stuck it out for the first night and moved to a better room on the top floor that didn’t smell. Accommodation on the North Shore is scarce, which is probably why it retains it’s charm but if you choose to stay here, your options are The Backpackers or The Turtle Bay Resort, the latter being out of our budget. After a few days we became accustomed to The Backpackers and it didn’t seem bad at all. In fact we quite liked it in the end - it was nice to sit out on the balcony in the evening and drink a few beers.
Whilst staying there we met a few people, both times they were English and they had been travelling around the world. One night we were chatting away and Steve along with another guy decided the next day to go scuba diving. The other guy had just completed his PADI course so obviously wanted to do more. As Kelly is unlikely to ever go deep into the water I thought this guy would be my best choice, so arranged
Swimming through caves underwater... yeah!
to dive the next day with a local dive company. We were doing a shore dive which means you kit up on the beach and walk out into the sea (past all the sunbathers) and swim out then go down - the sea gets very deep very quickly here. As we were kitting up and the dive master was explaining what places we were going to we noticed humpback whales popping out of the water almost exactly where we were going to dive. Apparently they’ve never seen them that close to shore before. There was a good chance that we’d see them whilst under, but unfortunately because the dive master forgot to bring the underwater camera he had to go back and collect it, by this time the whales had moved further along. Our dive was still excellent though. The first dive was about 45 mins and we saw lots of fish but nothing out of the ordinary. The second dive, however, was much better. Because of the volcanic rocks the shore line had loads of underwater tunnels. We went off swimming through these tiny gaps that we could just about fit though. It was really cool to swim into
these dark tunnels then suddenly see light at the other end and pop up to a load of fish and sunlight piercing through the water. On this dive we also saw a sea turtle trying to come ashore but because the current was quite strong it was getting thrown all over the place. After finishing up the dive master told us of some other dive sites around the island that were worth seeing. A few wrecks and sunken airplane from the 40’s. Unfortunately, because of our schedule and the fact that we were flying I couldn’t get another dive in. I’ll have to wait till we get to Central America.
We spent the rest of the week on the North Shore, and went to the ‘Triple Crown’ of surfing beaches - Wimea Bay, Sunset and Pipeline. We were too late in the season for the really big waves (apparently 60 feet!), but nevertheless still too big to go into the water. We rented bikes and Kelly even went snorkelling! We also saw John Lock (from LOST) in the local supermarket - they film the TV show in various places around Oahu, didn’t get to see Jack or Sawyer though
This is where Captain Cook first rocked up in 1778.
(Kelly's comment I must point out!).
Next we headed back to Waikiki to hire a car for a couple of days and to book flights to one of the other islands. After a day or two of trying to decide whether to go to the Big Island, Kaua’i or both, we decided on Kaua'i. Mainly because of stupid Hawaiian Airlines not accepting UK credit cards! Because of this we had to book with another airline which put the cost up loads. Luckily we decided on Kaua'i because the day we had planned to go to the Big Island the Volcano National Park was closed to the public due to unusual activity and huge amounts of sulphur being emitted from the live volcano. Bit of a shame really cause we wanted to climb up to see it. Apparently there are active volcanoes in Central America so we'll go there instead.
So, after a massive 21 minute flight we arrived in Kaua’i - the garden island. Kaua’i is known for being the most beautiful of all the Hawaiian islands (it’s where they shot Jurassic Park), it is also where Captain Cook first landed and discovered Hawaii plus it’s a world
This is near the top of the island. The Grand Canyon of Kawa'i as it's known. You can (not) see the mountain top in the distance due to the amount of cloud - and rain.
record holder for having the wettest place on earth. We were also told, whilst on a tour, it also holds the world record for the worlds highest swamp! (I mean come on, who cares?!). We spent 3 nights in a little vacation cottage that we shared with a Swiss couple for a bit. It was a really cool chilled out place. From there we drove around the island, visited a few waterfalls did a little hike and generally chilled out. One day we went to an old sugar plantation from the 1850’s, where you can hire rubber tubes and float down the small shipping channels through the plantation and through small tunnels they had dug to move all the sugar. Quite cool, although everyone else doing it was at least in the 60’s nothing like the brochure we saw?!
On Kaua'i the weather was generally lovely nearly all the time. The temperature never below the mid 80’s. On the shore line is where the weather is best, but as you travel inland the clouds gather and it generally pours down every other day. The highest point on the island is rarely seen due to cloud cover, if fact they
say it’s only clear about 20 days a year. We noticed this on Oahu as well. The middle of the island is generally wet and cloudy but the beaches are dry and sunny? Very strange?
One other thing worth mentioning about Kaua’i is the amount of chickens. They are everywhere - the local pest. You could drive to the supermarket and they are walking around the car park, they stop traffic in the street and hang around on the side of the highway. Rooster's too. Apparently they introduced Mongoose years ago to kill off rats. They didn’t bother but ate the chickens, but for some unknown reason the Mongoose died out on Kaua’i so the chickens live on? I think they need to take some of the foxes from London to deal wiv’em!
Anyway, after a few days we had to leave and fly back to Oahu then LA. We spent a day in LA, did the sights, Hollywood etc. Not too much to report there. Then flew off to Mexico.
(As we head south the blogs will be posted a little less frequently from now on)
There are more photos below