I was a little disappointed in Waikiki. I had been there before in 2002 so I knew in general what to expect, but it seemed like it had gotten even bigger and more touristy since then. The last time I went we spent all of our time there, and one thing I wanted to do this time was explore more of the island. I especially wanted to go up to the North Shore. So we rented a car and drove the coastal road up to the top of the island. We stopped at Kailua for breakfast at Cinnamon’s, which I highly recommend — despite the fact we had to wait a long time for a table because it is so good.
We stopped at the Turtle Bay Resort to swim and lay on the beach. Although I’d wanted to stay at Waikiki this time, I would definitely consider staying at Turtle Bay if we go back to Oahu. It was more low-key and less crowded than Waikiki, and we enjoyed it so much we went back for another day. Mike also liked the trails and other outdoor activities they offered.
After getting our fill of sun and sand, we continued on to Hale’iwa, the famous North Shore surf town. We browsed in several surf shops, but neither of us knows how to surf and I at least am pretty sure I would not be successful at it. I did find an awesome surfboard for the alternate universe in which I might need it, though.
After that we got the obligatory shave ice at Matsumoto’s. Mike got the Matsumoto’s combination and I got just plain cherry. We drove back to Waikiki and saw approximately 358,456,752 rainbows on the way.
The second half of our trip, we stayed in Waikiki, but we ended up going to the North Shore for two of the days. The other days, we watched the Lantern Floating Ceremony, snorkeled at Hanauma Bay, and on our last day, we had afternoon tea at the Moana Surfrider Hotel.
On Wednesday (the snorkeling day), we decided to have breakfast in the hotel restaurant overlooking the beach.
I had been to Hanauma Bay before, the first time I went to Hawai’i. I was all excited to snorkel, but then when I actually did it, I was very unexcited to see all the fish floating in the water close by to me. It turns out I like to see fish, but not when I am actually in their habitat, so to speak.
Mike had problems getting his mask to adhere due to his beard. I didn’t even try, but I did go out into the water. We both had a hard time at one point not hitting the coral, since the waves were pushing us into it. You are not supposed to touch the coral since that damages it. And it can damage you, too, since it is sharp. We finally managed to float over it to a sandy part and make it back to shore.
That night we went out to take Hawaii sunset photos.
We flew back on Friday night, and before we left, we went over to the Moana Surfrider hotel to have afternoon tea. A wedding party sat down at the large empty table not long after I took this photo. Most of the group had changed into casual wear, but the bride still wore her white silk wedding gown, despite the heat.
After that we sat by the pool back at our hotel until it was time to leave.
We spent our first day in Waikiki on the beach at our hotel, of course. I joked with Mike that the first half of the trip, on the Big Island, was going to be hiking and adventures, while the second half in Oahu would be mostly about relaxing.
Believe it or not, although I had the Lantern Floating Ceremony in Honolulu on my radar for visiting, it wasn’t until a few weeks before we left that I realized we would be there for it. It is held on Memorial Day, which was the day after we flew into Honolulu. So Mike and I went down to Ala Moana Beach Park that evening to watch the ceremony.
I didn’t want to float a lantern, so we walked around the side of the park to get a nice viewing spot of the lanterns. At first you could hardly see them, but then as the sun began to set, they started to glow in the dusk.
I am not big fan of public events generally. I don’t usually attend parades or fireworks displays or festivals. But I really enjoyed the Lantern Floating Ceremony. Not only was it visually beautiful to see the lanterns launch and float, but it also had a beautiful atmosphere of remembrance, healing, and peace. I am glad we got to be there for it.