What a wonderful last two weeks…. My fiancé came to visit me and got to experience Hawaii for the very first time. We had such a good time. I had just two weeks to show her around the island and to spend time with her. We visited many of the “off the beaten path” places and we both got to see Hawaiian sea turtles for the first time. Please enjoy my photowalk to beaches all over Oahu, Nu’uanu, Ford Island, Kahuku, and to the Valley of the Temples.
After arriving from the mainland, she was pretty jet lagged so we decided to go look for turtles.
Personally, I have been in Hawaii for over a year and have not seen a single sea turtle or monk seal. That’s because I’m always in the mountains….even at Kaena Point. ^^;
So, we set off for Haleiwa Beach in search of sea turtles or “honu” as the Hawaiians call them.
Surprisingly, it only took us a few seconds to see the honu. They were all swimming off the shore and would occasionally lift their heads up for air.
They were so cute but we really wanted to see them come ashore (like in all the pictures we’ve seen). I heard that the turtles came out as the sun sets but that turned out to be wrong. They really come ashore during the daylight so that they can rest on the warm sand. Live and learn. ^^;
We relaxed and enjoyed the beaches at both Haleiwa and Concrete City and at both beaches Nikki found heart shaped rocks/coral.
It’s like it was a sign or something… (:
After a while, she wanted to check out Pearl Harbor and all it’s World War II sites. Since I’m military, I was able to show her some stuff that tourist don’t usually get a chance to see…. This is the USS Utah memorial which rests on the opposite side of Ford Island from the USS Arizona. It’s only accessible by US military…
Next, we checked out the progress on Ford Island’s flight tower. When I first came to the island, you could still see all the neglect and battle scaring. Now, the tower is being worked on and supposedly they might let folks inside at some point? I hope so….
If you look carefully, you can still see the “22″ from the old Ford Island runway. This marking was added after the Pearl Harbor attack and is currently overgrown (according to old photos).
Another memorial on Ford Island is the USS Oklahoma memorial. You can actually access this memorial if you ask permission first as its right outside of the USS Missouri.
Every one of those “sticks” represents someone who perished onboard the USS Oklahoma during the attack….
Along the coast, you can see several place markers for where the ships from battleship row were moored during the attack. Also, you can see a bit of rusted wreckage as well.
An often overlooked memorial is the plaque explaining the attacks on the USS West Virginia and the USS Tennessee. It’s along the coast, not far from the USS Missouri (military or military escorted only)…
What a view! The USS Arizona memorial set against the backdrop of Oahu’s mountains. (:
While in a WWII mood, we set off for several of the beach side bunkers that I have visited while stationed on this island. This one was actually a new one that I did’t know about until recently. It’s a beach side bunker not far from the Pu’u o Hulu battery complex. We also visited some south shore bunkers that I had made an article for a while ago.
The next day, we decided to go for a luau (Hawaiian feast).
Apparently, it’s something that is a “must do” while in Hawaii so we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) in Laie. This is perhaps the most well known luau on the island so I was expecting a touristy experience….not that that is a bad thing…. ^^;
At the luau, I had fun trying to spot all of the religious references thrown in. Laie is a Mormon town and the PCC is ran mostly by folks who go to the local college. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I don’t know a lot about Mormons but they were kind enough to give me a hiking permit so they are okay in my book. lol
The religious references we noticed were the “saying grace” before the meal, several angels appearing during the show, and a dramatic death scene showing a soul being taken into the afterlife. Also, there is no alcohol at this luau as Mormons do not drink. ^^;
The food was good though. They had a kind of buffet setting and there was plenty of stuff to choose from. (:
The main thing I enjoyed though was the desert. I liked the haupia (Hawaiian coconut pudding) the best. Nikki preferred the pineapple bars though…
After the luau, we wandered around the PCC grounds which were admittedly rather beautiful. It’s kind of like a Hawaiian Disney Land. lol =p
On another day, we went to explore the Nu’uanu area. I particularly wanted to show her the Kaniakapupu ruins.
Kaniakapupu is the former summer palace of Kamehameha III and dates from 1845.
Finding Kaniakapupu was a lot easier this time. The first time I kept taking all the wrong turns and got a little lost. lol ^^;
Afterwards, we headed a bit up the road to the Nu’uanu Pali Overlook. Apparently, an army was pushed over the cliff during a major battle. Now-a-days, it’s a popular tourist attraction. This was my first time visiting it though…
On this day, it was quite windy and rainy. I felt kind of bad asking Nikki to come all the way out there but the view made up for it. She had a good time. (:
On the way back, we were both shocked to see a large waterfall high in the mountains. I’m not sure what the name of this waterfall is but I think it was near K1 or K2? *shrugs*
Later that night, we went looking for more sea turtles but once again came up empty. We did get to see the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen though.
I now know what I have been missing by always being in the mountains. ^^;
The next day, after more research, we set off for North Shore determined to find sea turtles. Everyone seemed to be able to find them except for us. I was beginning to wonder if I was wearing turtle repellant or something. ^^;
Thankfully, we managed to find tons of turtles around Laniakea beach. I had been there before but missed the area by the umbrellas. That’s where they usually are. ^^;
That’s one grumpy turtle….
Occasionally, you could see the turtles swimming in the water but usually the water was too deep to really see them well.
This is my favorite turtle shot. It came out so well! (:
On the way back, we saw a lizard eating his lunch….
Overall, seeing the sea turtles was definitely the highlight of our Oahu adventure. They were so cute! (:
On Nikki’s final day in Hawaii (for now), we went to the Valley of the Temples. It’s modeled off a famous temple in Uji (that I have visited). I made an article for this one here.
Ringing the temple bell for luck. (:
Nikki found an area that I had not visited before. There’s some bamboo groves in the back of the temple where lovers carve their names into the bamboo….
After walking around the temple for a bit, we went up to the Kahuku Land Farms. It was my first time there but Nikki said it was amazing so I had to try it. (:
The main thing I wanted was their homemade jellies. I love English Muffins (with a passion), so I am always looking for new jams to try. Though, I usually prefer honey with butter. (;
Their lilikoi jelly is wonderful!
Kahuku Land Farms also has the best smoothies I have ever tasted. I hear their pizzas are good as well….maybe next time…
Near the stand, they also have some nice plumeria flowers. These are real even though they look fake.
And lastly, we visited China Man’s Hat. This is a wonderful place because you can see the towering mountains and beautiful beaches in the same area. Plus, China Man’s Hat is special to me for another reason….
This is the exact spot where I asked the woman I love to marry me. I already knew she was “the one” but I was just waiting for the right moment. At such a scenic location, it just felt right. Can’t wait till I see her again. I miss her so much already!
Well, I hope you enjoyed my photowalk all over the island of Oahu. We had a great time and I am very much looking forward to making more memories with her. Next up is a beautiful waterfall that was left out of this article. It kind of needs its own article….
Till next time!