Today is our last full day on the island before we head over to Maui. We woke up early and headed out to Hanauma bay by 8 am. Somehow I got lost in finding the H1 signs and had to circle back. I asked a group of road workers about where to get the H1 east and they told me I just passed it and needed to back up, but by then cars were behind me. They were so nice, blocked the traffic and had me back up and take the exit, telling the other few drivers, "thank you, she is a tourist". LOL. What a nice gesture, which in DC would never happen, rather we would be yelling "those damn tourists". The spirit of Aloha is truly everywhere. Now I don't condone stopping traffic for every lost tourist but that was just so nice!
We got to Hanauma Bay by 8:45 am and the line was sooooooooo long! Parking was no problem but the line was insane. We did not get to see the mandatory movie until 9:45 and by then I felt like I wasted my time and should have waited to snorkel in Maui. Well, then we rented the gear for a whopping total of 38 for 2 (mask, snorkel, fins,) one kids vest and locker. It was expensive but wanted to have it all to see as it was my first time snorkeling! Ayayai. It took me a while to actually learn how to breathe through my mouth only and not feel like I was hyperventilating. Of course my daughter took to it in 2 minutes. She is a good swimmer and did not need the vest given how shallow the water was, and where we mainly stayed. Once I finally go used to it, we headed a bit further out, sometimes kicking each other in the process. It was lots of fun and we did get to see many different fish. We snorkeled for about an hour and a half and were tired and hungry so we decided to give it up for the day. There were of course tons of people there and I am hoping that perhaps our experience in Maui will be less crowded. I would still recommend coming here, the views are fantastic and the snorkeling for a first timer was fun. We did take the lazy route and paid for the shuttle :)
We headed out less t Han 2 miles further to see the Halona blowhole. The drive was wonderful and reminded me of northern California. The blowhole was not too active but still pretty decent, and we saw several turtle swimming in the ocean below it. We also saw a young teenager and his Dad climb over the railing. I was really shocked at the stupidity of this parent, they went pretty close to the blowhole. If you have never been here, it's a pretty steep climb down from the viewing area, and it was mostly wet from the spraying waves. I just could not believe this.
To the right of the blowhole, the Halona cove was also pretty busy and at first I did not see how the people got there, but it seemed like there was a pretty decent natural rock formatiothat stepped down. It looked very idyllic and I took lots of pics, but we decided not to go down. Stopped at Just Tacos for lunch and Kokonuts for shaved ice, both were just ok. The shrimp taco was just one jumbo deep fried shrimp, never had it like that but it was ok. The beef taco was not that good as the steak was really cooked and not grilled. The shaved ice was way too sweet and even my daughter did not finish it.
We then headed out to Leonards bakery and the malasadas did not disappoint me. I had way too many :)
Afterwards I drove to Iaolani Palace just to take pics and we ended up doing the self guided tour, it was awesome! I learned so much about the monarchy and about the fact that the Hawaiian people would like go be sovereign, which I did not really know before. My daughter listened to the whole audio presentation and she is only 7 so I highly recommend it for kids as well. We took a picture of the King's statue across the street and headed back to the hotel to rest and hit the pool before the fire works.
We hit the pools and the lagoon and since we are staying in the Ali'i tower, went to the Ali'i pool and had great seats for the fireworks. I was not expecting the fireworks to be as good as they were, and mainly watched it for my daughter's sake, but I have to tell you that I was pleasantly impressed. Coming from DC where we definitely do it up for the 4th of July these were really great and just the right amount of time. A perfect way to end a fabulous week on Oahu!
Got dinner and went shopping at the Hilton shops for some gold earrings. A great week with many things left undone, we would really love to come back soon. The north shore was amazing, the windward side as well, never even made it to any of the central areas and did not to any of the falls, Waimea Bay or Pearl Harbor. Definitely enough left to discover for at least another week.
Tomorrow, just a quick stroll in the morning on the Waikiki boardwalk and will check out by 11 am and head out to Maui.