Friday, August 9, 2013


 Don't you think that a 40th wedding anniversary deserves something special?  Mike and I have been talking about going to Hawaii for several years now.  We just kept putting it off.  Partly, because of my fear of flying across the big ocean.  And, partly because, well, we didn't quite know when to go.  It gets a little complicated for us to be flying off to places with Evan.  When we realized that Camp Harmon (a special needs camp, Evan has attended the last few summers) had an eight day camp session available this year we decided this just might be the right time for us to actually go to...

So, on July 31st, we dropped Evan off at camp and headed to the San Francisco Airport.  I had to pray really hard not to let my anxiety get the best of me. Luckily, the flight was smooth and I didn't embarrass myself or my sweet husband.  We got into Honolulu, fairly late at night, and settled into a nearby hotel for the first night in Hawaii. The next day we would head up to stay on the North Shore.  We actually had found a little vacation rental right on the beach in Laie!!  I knew I wasn't much for the big city and Waikiki didn't really sound that fun to me, so Laie seemed like the perfect spot!

Before heading to the North Shore we decide to check out Pearl Harbor.  Wow, is there a lot to see at Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.  We started with a tour of the battleship the USS Missiouri or "Might Mo".  This ship is massive!! We were able to tour the deck and the interior. Talk about getting lost.  It would be easy to do in the belly of that thing.  I only have admiration for the men who served on board that ship especially Captain William M. Callaghan. A Kamikaze pilot tried to attack the "Mighty Mo".  His plane crashed into the side of the "Mighty Mo" causing a fire, the bomb was a dud.  Luckily, no one aboard was injured.  But, the body of the Japanese pilot was found aboard and the sailors were just going to throw him overboard before the Captain stopped them. He said that he was young and serving his country just like they were. He ordered a traditional burial at sea with military honors.  What a wise Captain.  I was very touched by that story.

"Mighty Mo"

Next we went on the USS Bowfin, a World War II submarine.  I don't know how anyone can survive in a submarine.  I would have claustrophobia. 

USS Bowfin

Some of the Bowfin equipment

A telescope aboard the Bowfin

The ships bell.

Right by the Bowfin there was an submarine museum.  We wondered around for a while and then were surprised by this display about U.S.S Halibut.  This was the submarine Mike served on in the Navy.  Except, it was decommissioned and then recommissioned before Mike served on it.  It's an interesting submarine because it was used for spy missions.  Of course, I didn't know that when Mike was on it. 

Then it was on to the U.S.S Arizona Memorial.  This was just a very somber experience. 

 This memorial can only be visited by boat. The memorial floats over the remains of the sunken ship with it's crew still buried underneath. 

There are but a few parts of the ship that are about the water.  

The United States Flag flying high about the memorial. 

We left Pearl Harbor and were excited to drive to the another side of the island.  We really hadn't seen the pretty part of Oahu yet.  It didn't take long before were were driving through the green mountains.  And then before we knew it we were on the other side of the island.  We found our little rental and settled right in!  Before the evening was ended though we headed across the street and Laie's little theater. There we meet up with some old friends of ours from California who run the theater.  it was great to catch up with the Neilsen's again. 

Every morning while in Laie, we woke early and took a walk on the beach.  This was the sunrise the first morning. 

 The ocean here is a very different color blue than the beach near our home.  And the water is much warmer. 

 There were always beautiful pillowy clouds in the sky. 

 The water was crystal clear and shallow in many places.  We were surprised how far out the waves would actually break.

 This is an area called Sunset Beach which is a few miles up from Laie.

Our first full day in Laie we decided to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center.  This place did not disappoint.  We had a tour guide TJ who was so funny!  He made it so enjoyable and we learned a lot about the culture of the different islands too!

 We made a fish by weaving leaves together. 

 My favorite Island show was at the Aoteraroa Village.  The warrior dancers were scary with their eyes bugging out and they stuck out their tongues.  We were able to play games they would play on the island and participated in a ritual ceremony.  

 These actually represent different people, kind of like a family tree.  Very interesting, indeed.

 Scary warriors.

For dinner we attend a Samoan Luau.  The fire twirler was just a young teenager but he was phenomenal.  We decided to just enjoy and not take pictures, so you will just have to believe me. 

The evening show, "Ha, Breath of Life" was just awesome, they had fun with fire there too!  I would highly recommend the Polynesian cultural center if you are ever on Oahu. 

The next morning we were up early again.  Something, about still being on Pacific time, I think.  Anyway, we were treated to beautiful skies again. 

This morning we were off to the Laie Temple, just up the street from where we were staying. 

Three things surprised me about this temple. First, it is a rather small temple.  Second, it is old, it was dedicated in 1919!  And, third, it has progressive ordinance rooms, with beautiful murals.  We enjoyed our time inside this beautiful, spiritual building.

 Our next excursion was to Waimea Valley to see the waterfall and the botanical garden. 

 Mike was the brave one to swim out to the waterfalls. 

 It's kind of dangerous so they make everyone wear life vests and there are lifeguards on duty.  I decided being photographer was a perfect job for me. 

We had lunch at the park with this pesky little visitor. 

Mr. Peacock tried hard to get some of our lunch.  We did NOT let him succeed!

There was a beautiful botanical garden that actually we walked through to get to the waterfall.  I got  just a little carried away taking pictures of the beautiful flora and fauna.  Some of the flowers were so unusual.

This was called a pineapple ginger plant.

These trees span out like umbrellas covering the meadow.

This tree had about seven different parasite plants growing on it.

I love how the ivy climbed up these trees.

These looks soft to me at first but were prickly.

When we were finished at the Botanical Garden we decided to drive to the Dole Plantation.  But, it was Saturday and there was stop and go traffic. Yes, on Oahu!!  So, we turned around and went back to the rental to just play in the water and walk along the beach. It was a smart move!

It was fun to see the kite surfers.  They didn't have to wear wetsuits like they do here in California.

 Sunday dawned bright and early and we were treated yet again to the beautiful sunrise.

 The beach was filled with these fast tiny little albino looking beach crabs.  You have to look closely to see them. 

 After early morning church service we drove to Honolulu to meet up with my brother Tim and his sweet wife Marina.  They were both off today so it was great to spend some time with them.  They were great tour guides even though they have only been living on the Island for six months. 

 They took us up to Pali Point Lookout for an incredible view of the windward side of the Island.  

 It was very very windy, but the view went on forever. 

I could not believe how steep the mountains are that rise to the sky. 

 The trees here were rather strange.  Marina called this "drippy". I think it's a great word for how the tree's roots just kind of drip right over the cement wall.

And this tree had roots that reminded me of ribbon candy.  


We drove to another point, and found this crazy hand glider.  Boy did he ever pick up some speed.  It kept looking like he was going to run into the mountainside.  

 It's a bird!  It's a plane!  It's crazy!!

We enjoyed just visiting with Tim and Marina and driving around the sites of Oahu.  On the way back to Laie it rained just a little bit on us and then we were treated to this beautiful rainbow.  What a great way to end a day! 

Our last full day in Hawaii, saw us up early again.  How we loved those early morning walks on the beach.

 You can't dress like this early in the morning back home in California.

 In the distance is Goat Island.  We were told you could walk out there during low tide.  But, it still looked a little dangerous and we are not strong swimmers, so we decided to look from a distance.

This morning we had lots of choices of things to do.  We decided after breakfast to just stay at the beach and play.  The sweet owner of our rental unit had left fun things for the beach including snorkeling equipment.  So, we gave that a try and what a great morning we had!!  

Under this ocean there was lots of beauty.  I was so happy to have a underwater camera.  See, those cute little fish there!! 

Here are some of the stripped fish.  We found most of the fish hanging out near the rocks.

 Mike got pretty good at snorkeling.  I was better with just the mask.  I just didn't have my head under for so long, but did get to see lots of cool things.  It was very relaxing to just swim in the ocean and enjoy the beauty.  Most of the time we had the beach and ocean just to ourselves.  This is a morning I will remember for a long time. 
There is a cute little spotted fish there near the bottom.

Can you spot the sea cucumber?

 We decided after lunch to go back to the Polynesian Cultural Center.  The tickets we had bought on Friday allowed us one day of general admission for FREE.   So, we could wonder to our hearts content and see the shows we missed. I am so glad we did! 

The flowers and gardens here were just as beautiful as the Botanical gardens. 

This is Hannah who taught us about Hawaiian dance.  It's not really the hulu. 

This was a traditional Tahitian wedding ceremony.  It was very interesting.

 This is the scary warrior dance.  I just had to go back to see the Aoteraroa show again. 

 These sententials were  standing guard over the Polynesian Cultural Center.

 Our last morning in Laie we were up before the sun.

 We would soon be saying, Aloha to Hawaii.  We packed and headed to Honolulu to have a late breakfast with Tim before heading to the airport.  We had a great vacation.  Everyone should probably go to Hawaii at least once in their life.  It is a magical place indeed! 


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