Spring Break 2014: Circumnavigation

One of Waikiki's cycling Aloha Ambassadors.

When we travel, some days we have a definite plan for what we’re going to do and other days we’re looser and just see what the day brings.

Today’s plan was to go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, which is a bit east of Honolulu and considered some of the best snorkeling in the world. Even better, it’s a great place for shore snorkeling, which is perfect for those of us who aren’t comfortable in big water and want to have the security of shallow water and sand under our feet.

Because Hanauma Bay is so popular, one has to get there first thing in the morning, as parking is limited and fills up quickly. And because of the surrounding topography, there’s no other place to park, except in the official lot.

Alas, we were not so timely this morning, so when we got to there, the parking lot was full and blocked off so that people couldn’t even go in. Luckily, our Plan B came together quickly: We decided to do a counterclockwise driving tour of Oahu. It’s a small island — approximately 71 x 30 miles — so we knew we could see a lot in just a few hours. And so we did.

All told, we spent about four hours exploring. As with two days ago, we’d drive for a while, then stop at any interesting looking place.

A brief spell of rain, with clouds over the mountains.

Mokoli'i Island (Chinaman's Hat) off the northeast coast.

Along the North Shore.

For the first two-thirds of the journey, we were mostly near the water, but the last bit was spent coming down the middle of the island between the two mountain ranges.

Driving through the Dole pineapple plantation in the center of Oahu.

Once back in Honolulu, I felt the need to stretch my legs, so I went down to the beach for a walk and some people watching.

Kuhio Beach, which is just east of Waikiki, but much less crowded.

After that, it was Happy Hour on the lanai, while we watched the sun set over the mountains. There was no rainbow today, so here’s yesterday’s:

Tomorrow, we’re flying over to the Big Island, where we’ll spend the rest of our vacation. We didn’t have nearly enough time in Honolulu, so if we’re ever here again — and I will certainly endeavor to make it happen — I hope to see more of Honolulu itself, including Pearl Harbor and Iolani Palace, as well as the aforementioned Hanauma Bay.


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7 Responses to Spring Break 2014: Circumnavigation

  1. I’m sorry you didn’t get to play in Hanauma Bay (like you, I want my snorkeling very VERY shallow) but there are plenty of other adventures awaiting you. Have a safe trip to the Big Island!

  2. bdaiss says:

    Oh, I’m sad you didn’t do Pearl Harbor. It’s on my must-see list and I was hoping to live vicariously through you. Again. :) Glad you made the most of a bummer situation!

  3. It’s that busy a place, eh?
    Well, I like your travel style–rolling with it anyway.

  4. Julie says:

    Having a “Plan B” in your back pocket may be one of the most valuable lessons on any vacation…certainly one where it is a known busy spot! So, huzzah to you all! I am living vicariously through you (as I do for all of your travel spots) as I do not foresee a trip to Hawaii any time in my future. Husband is not a traveler. And I have not been cut loose yet. Am going through rather rough waters here at home, with youngest at college. It is a sad time for me as a mama….so reading your blog updates as I am now, is really giving me some mental time off. I so appreciate your photo essays. Very refreshing!

  5. I have only been to Maui – Looking forward to more of your travel stories!

  6. Kris says:

    Did you see the LDS temple in Laie? I can’t remember if it’s one that can be seen from the road or not. Did you see Brigham Young University – Hawaii? Man, I wish I had applied there my freshman year!

    I am bummed Hanauma Bay didn’t work out for you. I almost got eaten by an eel there. It was the best day ever. We had an underwater camera and I got some cool pictures of the fishies (but not the eel.) (When the eel popped out at me, I screamed. Have you ever screamed while wearing a snorkel? My mom said it was the weirdest thing she’s ever heard. BUT EELS ARE SCARY. I COULDNT HELP THE SCREAM.) (Later, an angry eel popped out at her. Serves her right.) (Also, am totally jealous of your breaching whale picture from the other day. Nate and I went on a whale tour and didn’t see even one. He’s still disappointed about it.)

  7. Smalltown Me says:

    One of the highlights of my one trip to Hawaii (when I was 11 — does anyone remember the good old days when children under 12 flew half-price?) was the circle-island bus tour.

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