WaikikiSunset Our Hawaii trip ends in Waikiki, home of surfers, worldwide tourists, especially Japanese and Jetsetters.  Our stay was in a hotel at the end of the beach whose front faced Diamond Head crater and sided Waikiki Park, home of the Honolulu Zoo. As can be expected in a large city the apartment was small, but the owner had made excellent use of every inch, included was a Murphy bed, one of the many well thought out and attractive appointments.  The apartment and the 10th floor rooftop sundeck that faced Diamond Head on one side and the ocean setting sun on the other  would have made it easy to lounge around the hotel all day but….

We did venture out into the sunny crowded beach, spent a day at the zoo, roamed the many miles of lavish stores on Kalakaua avenue, and while Ann got stuck in Macys I hiked Diamond Head crater.

Although the Ukulele music was everywhere the weather was the best part. Sunny in the 80’s with a good breeze. Being from NY we wanted to stay longer but decided to come back in the future during a NY winter.

TTatJapeneseTempleGreat 28-10 Win over the Broncos. Kudos to Carter for stepping up big for Clark, Polamalu is everywhere. Big Ben got bigger after his interception. Ward gets 2 more TDs. AND yahoo the Steelers have a running game, what a spin move Mendenhall has.

lavaflowAtNightWhen you arrive at Hilo Hawaii on the big Island, the road signs point one direction to Hilo and in the other direction to volcano 29 miles. If you look in the direction of the volcano, you see a nasty rain cloud with no mountain in sight. The shuttle bus driver, as he dropped us off at Honolulu airport for our flight, said we were in for a treat because the molten lava flow is now only a couple hundred feet from the parking lot instead of the 3 miles of hard lava hiking. When we arrived on the Big Island, we took that 29 mile trip into that cloud to volcano National Park. Half way to the park, the air started smelling and it looked outside like their was a fire somewhere.  At the gate to the park, the ranger said that the 11 mile loop road around the caldera was closed downwind from the volcano because the sulfur dioxide level was unhealthy. The first viewing of the collapsed, sunken caldera, after driving through fields of steam vents, showed  how incredibly huge this thing is.  It is many miles in diameter with two craters and one the Halemaumau crater spews clouds of sulfur dioxide in the air making it difficult to breathe. To get out of the bad air, we decided to drive down to the shore to see if we could see the molten lava flow. We drove through several fields of 1970’s lava flows and again were amazed at the size of the hardened lava fields. Some of the fields were over a half mile wide. Once we got to the shoreline the road ended in a heap of blackened hardened lava. As I was hiking to the blackened glob (by this time Ann was on lava overload and was sitting in the car reading), a couple was returning from the hike and we traded our experiences.  I learned that the shuttle driver was referring to a site located on the other side of the of the lava field where we were. They said the molten lava flow viewing was  controlled by the county and was open from 5 to 8 pm only. On my way up to the top of the lava heap I met another couple who grew up a few miles away from where I grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. We headed for the other side of the lava (about a 2 hour drive) and arrived as it was just getting dark. We knew we were getting to the end of the road when it was interrupted about 5 times with a one lane drive over the old lava fields. Looking out over some of the old lava fields you could see about 20 houses spread out on top of the black harden landscape and wondered why anyone would live there.  There were about 200 cars parked in the make shift parking lot when we arrived. You could tell this lava-viewing has been going on for some time by the organization the county has put into it. There were people directing parking, selling pictues, selling snacks and selling flashlights. Walking out of the parking area, red lava could be seen about 200 feet out burning up trees and whatever was in its way. The real show was down by the ocean where the lava was flowing over a cliff created by itself causing a huge steam cloud and explosions of lava as it entered the ocean. The sight was somewhat reminiscent of the slag cars from the Pittsburgh steel mills dumping the hot slag down the sides of the slag mountains, but much more violent. The nighttime viewing make the bright red lava explosions all that more spectacular. To get as close as possible to the lava flow involved a difficult hike for about a quarter mile over broken and sharp lava in the dark with a flashlight. Looking back at the steady line of hundreds of lights for a quarter mile was a sight in itself.

The North Shore of Oahu is many miles of beaches with a scattering of small communities; Hukilua, Laie, Kahuku, Waialee, Kaena and Pupukea to name a few. All with too many vowels for a New Yorker to pronounce or remember.The major activity along this shore is surfing. Everything happens at the beach, out in the water. AnnTendingThePinAt the beach you are either a surfer, a spectator or a beach lover. This creates a slowed down pace of life. We knew things really slowed down when when we started watching turtles. So since we are staying at the only resort that we have seen here, and it has a golf course, Ann thought we could quicken our pace by going out to the  golf course..Golf courses are normally landscaped to parklike settings, this one is no exception. The grass was so soft and plush. What made this one different was the trees and the shrubs were like we never seen. In fact the whole North Shore is that way. Not one tree or shrub from New York is here nor any from here in New York. Almost all of them have flowers or strange looking fruit, nuts or seeds hanging from them. What it must be to walk around this all on a warm breezy, sunny day.

annbracletturtleAnn is wearing her LukeStrong bracelet around the world.

ParkMountainWe took a drive down the east coast from Turtle Bay and were surprised about 4 miles south.  We arrived at Oahu the first night after dark and drove from Honolulu to Turtle Bay not seeing anything but road.  We knew there were beaches in Hawaii, but mountains. really awesome mountains! Mountains next to the road that hugged the shore, mountains in backyards of homes, mountains where it rained more than not. Check out the mountain photos in Been There Done That photos on this blog.

TerribleTowelGreat Steel Curtain win over the Vikings Sunday!  The Steel Curtain scored more than the Steeler Offense and more than the Viking Offense.

P1000334Yes, there are turtles at Turtle Bay. After walking 5 minutes along the ocean pathway from the Turtle Bay Resort, we spotted 3 Sea Turtles feeding close to shore. We waited for awhile for them to come on shore but something was tasty in the shallow water that they keep their heads in.  We continued on the walk for about 3 miles and spotted many turtles swimming off the rocky ledges.


The foot trail which was mostly deserted was sometimes along the beach or in the woods along a horse trail.


The trail along the beach was the more scenic.