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Oahu, our last ‘proper’ stop.

NEW ZEALAND | Sunday, 16 March 2008 | Views [587]

Well we started with the description of WOW at Fiji, and we are finishing with the same one for Oahu; WOW.  We landed after a very long but excellent flight from Auckland via Fiji refuel stop, we had been put onto a smaller than expected plane due to the numbers flying but it was a lovely, comfortable and loads of space to spread out; so no hassles complaints about an hour delay from here.

We landed very late in the evening, Sun had set during our flight and Honolulu was light up for all to see its full length, width and height. We were staying in the Wyland Waikiki, no we suddenly find some money; we got a great deal and heard BAD things about the backpackers on Oahu so for the extra $200 NZD each we thought we would treat ourselves.  The hotel was lovely, as a part of the deal we got we had been ‘upgraded’ to a city view room (its back from the Sea and in the middle of Waikiki, so no Sea or Mountain View available) nice city view but talk about load.  After New Zealand and Fiji, Waikiki was the total opposite from what we had experienced so far; but in pleasant way.  Waikiki is, dare I say it? Amazing!  The beach is very narrow and VERY busy, forget a quite sun bath here; take a look but get out of town to look around if you want quieter sun bathing sessions.  Waikiki is the centre of shopping, designer, common or cheap; there all here at really good prices compared to the UK anyway.  An example, a Quicksilver 50 UV Rash vest UK price £40 - £50 ish’ Waikiki price $26.50 inc’ tax = £12.50 ish; I thought we had landed in the middle of sale season but no that’s the price.  After a day of shopping, Em and I got caught up in the price ‘Buzz’ and spent way too much but hey; were on holiday.  We had our 7 days planned but we weren’t expecting the buses, you can go any were on the island for $2 per trip; making sure you get your ‘transfer’ ticket which allows you to either change buses or return within a couple hours.  Great value for money, a little crowded at times but clean, fast and worth the short wait at the stop and everyone is so friendly on the buses; so get chatting to the locals.  Our second day was spent at Pearl Harbour, a very touching experience whatever your nationality.  You feel moved as you walk around the museum and displays that are around the main theatre, you are given a ticket upon your entry which when called you enter and watch a film which explains the full events that happened on the morning of Dec’ 7th.  You are then taken out to the USS Arizona war memorial by a US Navy launch, as you move through Pearl Harbours waters you really start to get a lump in your throat about what it all meant to the world; not just to the USA.  The memorial is placed over the hull of the sunken ship, which still allows a few drops of Oil out everyday since; a touching thing to see as they refuse to ‘clean’ the Oil up as they say it’s ‘The tears of the dead held within’  It’s a strange thing to see, Oil floating on the surface of the Sea and yet still Coral and Fish grow and live here; why are they able to grow and live amongst the Oil covered area?  Maybe they are tears?  Diamond Head overlooks Waikiki, so with a short bus ride you are within walking distance to the top; which allows you to have some great views over Waikiki and well worth the small effort.  You can, on a lucky day; see Whales from the top but not today for us.  BUT, we did see some Whales the next day when we went by bus to the North Shore.  The North Shore, home of big wave surfing; even after the season has past the waves are SO impressive.  On the ‘Pipeline’ the waves break so close to the shoreline that not only can you see the Surfing so close, you shiver with fear when they wipe out as they can fall onto the rocks and reef that they walk over to get in.  On more than one occasion, Em & I watched as a Surfer wiped out so close to these rocks, we stood up to see if they were okay; and then with a shake of the head they would surface and paddle back out to start all over again.  We stayed here for a good 2 – 3 hours, drinking the real fruit smoothie purchased from the street vendor while enjoying the sight of some Surfers who really knew what they were doing out there.  To get back to Waikiki we decided to take the longer route back around the North Eastern shore, a very scenic bus ride for $2.00.  The next day we decided to carry on with the Bus ride tour of Oahu, this time heading to Kailua beach to hire a mask & snorkel; and then a short walk onto Lanikai Beach reserve.  To be honest, the snorkelling was a little disappointing but it is a great beach to just lounge around and take in the sight, Sun and bargains from the small shops at Kailua.  Upon our return to the hotel, I managed to get through to the Helicopter tour company and book what we thought would be the ‘highlight’ of Oahu.  We were picked up by the tour company from our hotel and within the hour we were being given the safety instructions and boarding the Helicopter.  We had booked the full 1 hour tour of Oahu, and we were so glad we did; this was the indeed the ‘highlight’ of Oahu.  We flew out past Waikiki, Diamond Head past Hanauma Bay and around the coast to Lanikai Beach reserve.  We carried on up the coast before turning inland to the waterfalls and the ‘Jurassic’ valley park, where many films have been filmed including 50 First Dates, Karate Kid and of course Jurassic Park; and amazingly the valley has been owned by the same family since the 1880’s and refuse to sell off or build on the land.  After the Valley we headed back out and up the coast around to North Shore and then back inland towards Pearl Harbour, this route was along the path that the Japanese took on Dec’ 7th 1941; the way the memorial came into view as we flew in and over the Harbour only added to this ‘highlight’ experience and we highly recommend you take the time out to do it whilst on the fabulous Island.  After this it was time to take a walk along Waikiki Beach, chatting and looking at all the pictures that were taken over a cold drink; it was here take we decided to take a morning Sail cruise on our last full day in Waikiki; so we booked a 2 ½ hr cruise for the next morning.  We arrived at the Catamaran on time and eager to get sailing out into the bay for a swim and snorkel.  The Cat’ moored up to it’s permanent point, and after a quick talk we were set loose into the Sea and onto what was the TRUE HIGHLIGHT of this final leg of our 7 month holiday; swimming with wild Green Turtles.  We both jumped in and paddled to the advised area, about 50 mtr’s to the rear they were there; 4 Green Turtles in their wild environment.  They are truly beautiful, the smallest 1 mtr’ up to the larger at 2 mtr’  We were instructed on the entire Do’s and Don’ts of swimming with the Turtles, advised that they were a protected species and they ‘tour company’ would not hesitate to inform the authorities on anyone who might disturb or try to touch them.  We spent an hour in the water fascinated by these fabulous creatures, they would swim below us and at times rise to breath; at times surfacing so close to us that we could reach out and touch them if we were allowed too.  Well we have finished our trip on a massive high, seeing a Turtle was top of the list; but swimming with them has been something that we will never forget. 

All good things come to an end, and the end of this trip has come around so fast; we head to LA tomorrow for a single night stop over and then on to cold and damp UK.

 

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