Hawaii is heavenly! The vibrancy of life & color is a feast for the eyes & soul! The hues of blue … the blue skies … the varying blues of the warm Hawaiian waters … Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” definitely came to mind. The thick, lush, deep emerald green of the gorgeous vegetation, the variety of blooming flowers … the frangipanis, orchids, hibiscus. The trees … their beauty stopped me in my tracks & had me wishing to be a kid, able to grow up climbing limbs you’d imagine leaping from the pages of The Jungle Book or Tarzan. Monkey pods, rain trees, banyans, African tulips, jacarandas, flamboyant, albizia, eucalyptus, palms. Such a vibrant feast of life & color everywhere!
We are not big fans of concrete, cities & crowds, so we didn’t plan on spending any time exploring Honolulu, except for lunch with a friend & a walk down Waikiki Beach right at the tail end of our trip, before we flew out to Kauai. I am a fan of the history of WWII & seeing Pearl Harbor has always been on my bucket list. However, we were there leading up to 75th anniversary & there were crowds with long lines so we decided for forfeit seeing it this trip & will try see it in the future, hopefully. Arriving in Oahu, we headed across the island to the north shore, where we stayed in a very simple Airbnb. We really enjoyed staying with locals & getting to know them & the Hawaiian lifestyle. Our host taught yoga each morning & spent each afternoon surfing. Definitely an envious lifestyle! On both Oahu & Kauai, we also saved money by renting our cars from locals through an app called Turo, which is like Airbnb but for cars. We bought our food from grocery stores & farm stands to save money, cooking light & simple meals, eating sandwiches, meats & cheeses. We ate out a couple of times. We took our Kleen Kanteen water bottles with us, & always had water to drink & fresh coconut water bought at the farm stands. We ate a lot of fresh fruit – coconuts, pineapples, bananas, mangoes, avocados, starfruit, etc. The fruit there was delicious – organic, fresh, & a lot bigger than the fruit sold here in our grocery stores.
We fell in love with the world famous North Shore … the surfing capital of the world … the culture … the relaxed vibe … the beauty. Loved seeing laid-back, tanned, windswept, barefoot, salt water haired people walking down the side of the road with their surf boards or in grocery stores. While we were there, the Vans Triple Crown Surf Competition was going on. A local, John John Florence, won. It was fun to witness the locals’ pride & joy in their boy.
Our Oahu highlights:
Swimming with sharks
We booked a Pelagic dive with the family-owned & operated Islandview Hawaii … a swim in the deep blue with sharks, minus a cage or any form of protection. Troy had been planning on doing the swim for months, but it made me nauseous with fear just thinking about it. But, the time came for us to book the swim & I was more afraid of staying behind on shore & missing out on an incredible opportunity so we went ahead & booked & paid for the two of us. Once the boat stopped a few miles out, we could see the sharks circling under the boat & coming up from the deep. I was terrified, but feeling shy about causing a scene once the 5 other people we were with had entered the water. Our guide advised us, “Throw out every scary story you’ve heard, every documentary you’ve seen, every preconceived idea, & go in with the heart of a child. And don’t act like a flailing fish in distress.” I took that advice to heart & pushed the fear out of my mind, calmed my heart, & slipped into the water. It turned out that being able to see another side of God’s incredible creation like that was one of the single most awe-inspiring, amazing, beautiful, & surprisingly peaceful experiences of my life … and the water was so warm, like bath water! I wasn’t expecting that. I am very thankful and proud of myself for overcoming these two huge fears in my life & not allowing them to have the last say. I really appreciated Island View’s calming, non-pressuring vibes & patience with me, for not making me feel like an idiot for being afraid in the beginning. Their cool, calm, & collected professionalism made all the difference & I so appreciate their efforts to educate people!
Pu’u Manamana hike
We spent one morning hiking the incredible Pu’u Manamana & Crouching Lion trails, which overlook beautiful Kahana Bay. It wasn’t the easiest hike, but it was fun & memorable! The way up is a steep bun-burning incline, often requiring the use of tree roots & limbs to pull ourselves up. The soil was somewhat loose & slippery, so not the best to grab a hold of on the extra steep parts. It was also very hot & humid, a big change from our dry & moderate Colorado climate, so we were soon drenched in sweat. But, the climb up through the thick jungle-like vegetation was beautiful & the incredible views we were rewarded with were absolutely worth every step! Definitely one of our favorite hikes & views!