ALOHA & SUNNY SALUTATIONS MY LOVES! I'm writing to you from the corner booth of a McDonalds, being serenaded by the one and only, Rod Stewart.
Since Wednesday we have been enjoying the simple life on the North Shore of Oahu; outdoor showers, sand in all the crevices, and my hair slowly becoming dreadlocked, I truly couldn't imagine anything better.
We arrived late night on Tuesday the 5th, getting into Honolulu and arriving at our hotel (more like a hostel) around 9pm. Seeing as the streets were busy with people, we thought we'd join the crowds and see what all the excitement was about. Turns out, there wasn't a lot going on, so we bought some beach towels for the next day, grabbed your traditional Hawaiian Burger King Meal, and headed back to the hotel. The next day we were up nice and early for breakfast, picked up the car, and headed north. Along the way we stopped at the Byodo-In Temple, which is only $5/pp and a great way to kill an hour or so. It's a beautiful temple nestled in the most picture perfect Hawaiian greenery, cats (although, not the friendliest) roaming about, koi fish filling the ponds, and black swans making their way through the waterways surrounding the temple. Scroll through the gallery below for some temple goodness.
After that short detour, we made it to Malaekahana Beach Campground, where we would be spending the next week. I think mum and Jayne (James' mum) were less than impressed, especially since their suite ended up having less than ideal electricity (flickering lights, outlets that wouldn't work, etc). BUT, luckily, James and I had no such problems - beach front and not a care in the world. We had already stopped to buy the essentials, beer & wine, of course, so we were pretty much ready for a mellow evening of cards and beach lounging.
We woke early to the light from the sunrise letting its way in through the open door and windows, warm breeze blowing on our faces, and the sound of cock fights and the roosters morning calls in the not so far distance. I of course grabbed my camera to check out the sunrise just over our little sand dune pathway and I was not disappointed.
In the hours following we had all gathered bright eyed and bushy tailed to take on the day. Our first stop - coffee. After grabbing our morning fuel, we hit the Banzai Pipeline to take in the empty beach, great wave watching, and crab spotting.
After catching a couple of hours worth of rays, we decided to head on down the road and locate one of these farmers markets that I had heard so much about. However, after arriving at said market location, we quickly learned that it did not start until 2pm. Given that it was only about noon at this point, we decided to continue heading north and make our way into Haleiwa where there are plenty of shops and a decent bay to swim in. After buying a few more essentials, (specifically, a deck of cards with a drawing of two turtles on them. And while this may seem insignificant, it'll be important later - trust me) we headed back towards the famers market, buzzed through there (as it ended up being mostly handmade crafts and clothing), and headed back to the campground.
Friday was a big day - mums bucket list day...we were going zip lining. We ensured to go early in the morning, that way she had less time to back out. With tears in her eyes and a shaky voice, we were finally going to make her do it - 8 zip lines, 3 hours, the highest in all of Hawaii and the 10th highest in the USA - here goes nothin'! I tell ya, she made me so proud, jumping at the count of three and scared out of her little pants, it was perfect. The rest of the day was spent lounging and recuperating after our intense morning of zipping through the trees. Also, did you know there is such a thing called Apple Bananas? They taste like an apple, but have the appearance of a banana. Mind-bendingly delicious.
Saturday was kind of a random day to take in some other sights on the island, however near or far, mostly in the hunt for turtles. We ended up at Kailua Beach Park after reading that sea turtles can be found on occasion in the area. Upon our arrival we noticed the parking lot was busy busy busy and we weren't likely to find sea turtles on such a chaotic beach, but after an hour or so of driving, we were going to stay for a bit anyways and take it easy for the rest of the day.
On Sunday we again woke to another beautiful sunrise, I rustled James out of bed bright and early to watch it with me as it was one of our last days to take in the view. We also wanted to find some turtles, and damnit, we were going to do whatever it took.
We had heard that in Haleiwa if you SUP or kayak down the river, you'll be greeted by turtles sticking their heads out of the water. We geared up, SUP'd down the river ... and only saw one turtle poke it's head out for a split second, and this just didn't quench our thirst for turtle watching. While there, though, we went into a water sports store and purchased some snorkel gear to hopefully aid us in our pursuit of turtles. We then thought to ourselves, "hey, there's Turtle Bay Resort just down the way, if they call themselves that, there MUST be turtles there." We donned our masks and snorkels, battled the break, and alas ... we found no turtles. Feeling disappointed, we headed back into town to get some groceries for dinner that night and formulated a plan to find some turtles on Monday. This was it, our last chance.
I should preface this next part by saying, the first day that we arrived at the campground we were bobbing in the water and saw a turtle not too far off in the distance, but we hadn't seen any since so we thought it might have just been a one off, kind of a "welcome to Hawaii" type of thing.
With it being our last day in the area, everyone was pretty keen on just sticking around the campground and relaxing, catching our last few rays of sunshine, eating up whatever food we had in our suites, etc. So we're all sitting on the beach and occasionally heading into the water to boogie board, when all of a sudden we see a turtle bobbing around in the waves! We got all excited and then he disappeared. Keeping our hopes alive, we kept our eyes peeled for more sightings, we had all day, after all. Only a short time later we see another turtle - this time James and I donned our snorkel gear and head out. He was a little further out this time, so we were hoping that by the time we got out there the lil guy would still be bobbing about. After looking around for a good 10-15 minutes, we still hadn't seen him and were starting to head back in when I turned my head and boom - THERE HE WAS! Rocking back and forth with the waves, munching on sea stuff, not even bothered by us hovering (a safe distance away). James and I just bobbed around with him for a few minutes before a surfer told us to bugger off, basically. Don't worry, I burned her cabin down that night. JUST KIDDING. I'm sure she's a lovely person under the right conditions.
Anyways, and here is where the deck of cards comes in, I have this weird sense that buying those cards was almost like a good omen for us on our last day, or maybe that's just me being a little crazy. After all of that excitement we were sad to say goodbye to the North Shore, it is amazingly beautiful up there and so many great memories were made.
On our drive back into Waikiki yesterday, we made a few pit stops at some lookout spots to take the views for the last time:
Our first night back in the big city was something different for all of us, as none of us are big drinkers, but were looking to sort of let loose and celebrate after a week of sleeping among bugs and sand. The four of us found ourselves at the Moana Surfrider Resort looking out over Waikiki Beach for their happy hour, and after a couple of drinks each we were feeling pretty dang good. We started walking down the beach and found ourselves a free hula show - what a time to be alive! We dropped the mums off at their hotel, but we didn't feel that the night was over quite yet, so hit a karaoke bar, had a couple more drinks, sang Wonderwall, and headed back to our room. Asleep by 11:30, that's my kind of night. We're now battling hangovers and are itching to get outside and sweat it out. Off to Australia on Friday for five weeks in a camper van and are so looking forward to the next chapter in our adventure!
Scroll through the gallery below for some more pictures :D thanks for reading <3