Saturday, August 24, 2013

26 hour lei-over in Hawaii

To break up our trip to New Zealand, a friend of mine, Elia, suggested we stopover in Hawaii for a day.

Brilliant idea. 

We landed at 9PM in Honolulu and headed straight to the Waikiki Prince Hotel. It's basically the cheapest form of accommodation in Honolulu aside from staying at a hostel. 

The hotel used to be an apartment building that was converted into a hotel so most rooms have a fully stocked kitchen inside. The building is old but well kept and very clean. 

The staff there were also really quite friendly!

Dave and I were up super early for our kayaking trip. We got picked up and driven to Kalui Bay, which is about 30 minutes from Waikiki. 

After some safety talks and brief introduction to paddling we were off!
Getting ready to launch

On our way out to the island
Beach landing. Seriously so many other people here!
Nesting Shearwater birds

View towards Oahu

It was a beautiful, sunny day with almost no wind. The water in the bay was so unbelievably calm that day, even Andrew, our guide, was amazed. Dave and I quickly got the hang of the whole paddling thing and were motoring along quite nicely.

The whole way out to our destination, an island bird sanctuary, we could see the bottom of the ocean floor. I couldn't believe how beautiful the water was, nor how warm it actually was!

We landed on a white sandy beach and set off right away for a little hike to the other side of the island. It is full of shearwater birds that were nesting. There were literally eggs and fluffy little chicks everywhere we looked. The perimeter though, is the only part humans are allowed on, so that they are left undisturbed.

Along the way our guide pointed out some invasive species, including spiders and these weird beetles. He also picked up some sea urchins for us to hold and touch... The kind that hadn't learned to shoot its needles out at you yet! 

He also told us about some of the history and how the rock/Hawaiian islands were formed. 

After about 20 minutes along the rocky shore we made it to the sheltered little cove on the other side of the island. It was spectacular. It was sheltered from the ocean and just beautiful. Here we got to cliff jump and free dive in the saltiest water I have ever swam it. It took me about 10 minutes to work up the courage to cliff jump, but I did it!!  Once in the water, it took almost no effort to stay afloat. 

After some time there we headed back to have some lunch that was provided... Subway sandwiches... My favourite... 

We had lunch, then snorkeled around the beach  we had landed on. It was so neat to see so many fish! You really didn't have to go very far to see some cool things!  The coolest by far were the sea urchins that were about the size of a 5 pin bowling  ball.

The water the whole day was so warm! Quite a nice change from the glacier fed bodies of water in Alberta! 

On the way back, to the island, it was basically a turtle safari. They were everywhere! At two different points, they were right beside our kayak, and I could have reaches out and touched them. Dave was sitting at the back and almost hit two of them with his paddle! 

Overall, a fantastic day out kayaking. We couldn't have asked for more!! The company we went with was Two Good Kayaks. I highly recommend them! I might consider packing more for lunch though cause we were starving by the end of the day. They also pick you up and too you off anywhere in Waikiki. 

To kill time, Dave and I had and early dinner at a Mexican restaurant. He ordered a burrito and America did not disappoint. It was the biggest burrito ether of us have ever seen. Picture a one liter Nalgene bottle and add about one inch to its length. Dave devoured it like a champ and then we set off to find some free wifi in the shade.

We ended up wandering around Macy's for a bit and then heading to Starbucks. Since we were hotel-less I also ended up showering at the beach. It was a little weird soaping up while everyone else was waiting to wash the sand off their feet, but it was worth it! I was clean.

What a day!! So amazing, I know I will be back for a longer trip!

Before I end this post I will leave you with a fun fact about the Honolulu airport: Thirty years ago they banned gum from because people kept sticking it everywhere, so you can't buy gum there! 

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