Published: April 5th 2009February 12th 2009
Today my group took a day-long tour of the west side of the island. Since O'ahu is quite a diverse island, it was a nice break to get outside of Honolulu. While Honolulu and Waikiki are full of attractions and things to do, I felt like I was getting a one-sided view of what O'ahu is really like. Today was my much needed escape.
We started out with a hour outside of 'Iolani Palace, which is the only imperial palace on American soil. It was only in use for the last two monarchs of imperial rule of Hawai'i—King Kalakaua and Queen Lili'uokalani—since it was actually the second royal palace to be used in the kingdom of Hawaii. The whole complex was really beautiful looking. We were briefed by our tour guide (aka bus driver) about the history of the last few decades of royal Hawai'i and then were sent on our way to the Dole Plantation. That was... kind of a waste of time. But Hale'iwa was not!
Hale'iwa is the quintessential North Shore town. Dotted with surf shacks and colorful stores, it was a nice relaxing break. Even though it's February, it seriously felt like a wonderful summer
Isabella the sea turtle
Turtle Beach, O'ahu, Hawai'i
afternoon. I spent it walking the streets, peeping into shops, wandering past surf boards lined outside of doors and mailboxes. The best part was the Hawai'ian shaved ice from the best place: Matsumoto. Our guide said that the reason why it is the best sis because of the way they shave the ice. I think it was so good because not only was there shaved ice, but there was ice cream in the bottom of the paper cone. By the time I had gotten to that part, not only was it a fresh relief to the 78 degree weather but the flavors had seeped down there to make the ice cream a melange of fruity flavors. Yum!
After Hale'iwa, we drove along the North Shore. All week long I was hoping to see a sea turtle. I didn't see one at Hanauma Bay though many of my students did while snorkeling. Today though, as we were driving past the aptly-named "Turtle Beach," our driver pointed out a sea turtle that had beached itself in the white sand. I asked our driver to stop and we crossed over the beach for a few minutes to meet Isabella who had just
pulled herself out of the ocean and onto the beach and was snoozing in the sun. It was a real cool experience, and she was huge!
We didn't stay long at Turtle Beach because we wanted to be able to get to at least one North Shore beach where the famous international surf competitions are held. We got to Sunset and were able to spend an hour there or so. Although this is supposedly the time of the year that the waves are the highest (they can get up to 30 feet high!), we weren't as lucky and didn't get to see the real big waves. That didn't stop them from being big though, or from soaking me a few times despite my best efforts to keep dry. I wish we had stayed at Sunset a bit longer, but we had a dinner to get to and a trek back to the other side of the island. I did enjoy seeing all the surfers, body boardes, as well as the houses that were right off of the beaches. It definitely let me see just a glimpse of what life in Hawaii is really like--at least if you have a
million dollars to spend on beach front property!
There are more photos below