Tuesday, November 1st
Today was busy. But not in a bad way. The chill island vibe was ever-present, just a long list of activities took us from sunrise to sunset.
We rose early, hopped in the mustang with some snacks and headed off to the eastern shores of Oahu to Kahana Bay Beach Park for a two-hour kayak and snorkeling excursion. The drive was incredible. Cruising along the same highways as the previous day but with a slight drizzle in the air. As long as we drove fast enough, the water never touched us.
Upon arrival, the parking lot was dotted with Moa chicks, native wild chickens, adorable little birds with various markings, some white some speckled brown. They hustled out-of-the-way as we pulled up.
Our host, a lovely young man who was very informative throughout the entire trip (he even brought water bottles and snacks, you can’t beat that), helped set us up with life jackets and snorkel gear. Two other couples arrived, one from the UK and the other somewhere in the states. We walked down to the cove and spotted three tandem kayaks. Kyle and I desired singles as we are both a bit independent and headstrong. I started laughing. There was going to be trouble; nothing harmful, just some playful competition.
We shoved off and headed into a strong wind and current pushing against us. The first part of the trip was a kayak across the bay to Coconut Island. This is where “Gilligan’s Island” was filmed and it also played host to a bunch of celebrities, politicians and wealthy people before becoming part of the university’s biology program. The kayak across seemed to take forever! It was fun, but a tough paddle. Kyle and I managed to get there without too much difficulty. We were the first couple to make it, of course, but not without some splashing and poking fun at my inability to maintain any sense of rhythm.
The island was beautiful, lush and green surrounded by clear waters, white sand and colorful reefs. Kyle and I were both first timers at snorkeling. He jumped right in no problem. I stared at the water for a moment contemplating the best way to get in without my flippers causing a commotion. I opted for a gentle tumble off the side and immediately started breathing.
Peculiar. The sensation was uncomfortable at first, strange pressure against the face and breathing in and out of your mouth with a hyper awareness of your surroundings, but AWESOME. Getting this close to the fish and coral was incredible. The abundance was astounding. There were fish everywhere, of all different colors and sizes. We saw a bunch of brightly colored angel fish, a porcupine fish, as well as some larger silvery fish. There were an incredible amount of sea cucumber. At the time I was unaware of what they were and could not help but see the resemblance between tapeworms. I steered clear.
Diving into the deeper depths to peek into the crevices under the coral, I spotted a gorgeous sea turtle. I caught a few photographs with an underwater disposable (I’ll post the photos when I get them developed). Kyle and I swam along the edges of the coral before heading over to the shallower regions. He, scared of having his pecker bitten off by an eel, followed me bravely over bits of deeper coral as we neared the shore. Without realizing I turned and started to head over some very shallow coral. I did not hit anything, but Kyle did not dare follow me. The masks play tricks on you. The coral appears much much closer than it actually is. Kyle did not dare follow me and it was awfully amusing watching him attempt to find a way back that was deep enough for his comfort levels.
We headed back up to the boats and over to another location. This was much deeper and less secluded. It was a round area in the middle of the bay that sunk down like an underwater crater. The walls were coral and the bottom was a bit too far down to visit, but it was mainly sand with scattered coral. Here the currents were stronger, water cooler, and fish larger. There were still many tiny brightly colored fish hidden along the coral.
Back into our bright yellow kayak, we started to head back to the cove. With the wind and the current at our backs the trip is easy-going; we downed a water bottle and a granola bar along the way. After a quick shower and freshen we hopped back in the mustang and continued north along the east coast. Our destination: Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck.
This place was recommended to me by the man I met on the plane ride over. It is famous for its shrimp scampi. The truck is this old beat up thing covered with signatures and doodles from patrons.
The scampi was amazing! Kyle had the spicy shrimp, way too hot for me to handle, and we split a tasty pina colada. It was peel your own. We both… well not so much Kyle, but I made a mess of my hands tearing at the shrimp and reeked of garlic for the rest of the evening, but it was totally worth it. Delicious. There were a bunch of shrimp trucks along the North Shore, but this definitely had the largest crowd and seemed to be a hit with the locals.
Feeling full and a bit sleepy, we took a slow drive along the surfer beaches, did not catch a glimpse of the pipeline, but we did not hang around long to seek it out. We continued our way to Waimea Canyon State Park. This was recommended to us by the guy at the Naval base. It is a gorgeous stroll through luscious botanical gardens full of tropical flowers and plants, some native some brought in from various islands and countries.
We made are way slowly through the twists of paths and foliage full of shrimp and content to stroll in the warm afternoon sun and occasionally sneaking off into dark shadows to steal a kiss. Due to massive amounts of rain the previous night, bits and pieces were closed to foot traffic and the waterfall was closed to swimming. This was a big disappointment as we were both really excited about having a romantic swim in the falls.
Despite being closed for swimming, the falls were a stunning sight. With at least double the normal flow, the water was pounding down and the spray could be felt from the shores. We sat at the rocky banks for quite a few moments, silent and in awe, or maybe just tired and full, but it was an impressive view.
We made our way back to the car and drove in the direction of Waikiki as the sun began to set. We took a slight detour to drive along a road we spotted from kayaking in the bay. The road was attached to the side of one of the mountains and appeared narrow and windy. It was Highway 3. The detour in getting there took quite some time, especially with my inability to give proper directions, but we made it and cruised along the H3, top down, and darkness all around us except for the far off view of shining lights from the various towns. For me, this drive was relaxing. For Kyle, it was the perfect adrenaline rush to end the day.
Once at the hotel, we freshened up and headed down to grab dinner at one of the hotel restaurants. This was the moment of our first Mai Thai’s. They were deliciously strong and sweet and everything amazing. Once a nice little buzz developed, the hotel room awaited us for a romp in the sheets before passing out.