Hau Tree & Hanauma

Wednesday was our 15th wedding anniversary.  We decided this was to be a relaxing day just doing whatever we pleased, whenever we pleased. (Like we haven’t been doing that since we retired?!)  We walked down Kalakaua (the street that runs along Waikiki Beach) to the Outrigger Hotel.  Here we ate at the Hula Grill; a great place for breakfast with a view of the beach. Love this place!

Afterwards it was the beach for a few hours and the pool for a couple of hours.  Need that hydration!

Sunset from our table

Around 5:30 we headed for Hau Tree Lanai.  It’s about a half mile walk towards Diamond Head from our hotel and through a beautiful park.  The restaurant is on the beach and its only roof are the incredible hau trees from which it gets its name.  We had a table at the rail and had the perfect view of the beach and sunset.  This is easily one of the most romantic restaurants we’ve ever experienced.

I had called ahead and made arrangements for flowers and told them of our anniversary.  The manager must have let out the secret because I think every person on the wait staff wished us “Happy Anniversary” and they presented us with a special dessert that was wonderful. What an evening!
Our morning hula dancer
Thursday morning began like every morning with a serenade from a Hawaiian singer on the terrace of the hotel across the street.  He’s usually accompanied by a beautiful hula dancer.  We’re really getting used to this and are thinking of how we could arrange to have the same singing at our home when we return.  Anyone interested in either singing or hula-ing for us in Decatur?

 

We also get birds-eye views of the Oli Oli buses.  These are bus lines and trolleys that cater to the millions of Japanese tourists who visit here each year.  The buses have whale tails on their roofs and they are pretty cool!  Oahu has many stores and restaurants that are tailored for the Japanese tourists; especially as they tend to spend more than their American counterparts.  However, it really doesn’t matter where you’re from.  You’ll always be greeted with “Aloha” and thanked with a “Mahalo” by virtually everyone you encounter.

Snorkeling  in Hanauma Bay was top on the agenda for the day. Hanauma Bay is actually the crater of a volcano.  The southern wall of the crater was breached by the sea and so it offers the perfect environment for over 400 species of fish.  This is one of the most snorkeled spots in the United States with over three million visitors a year.  You’d think that would make it very crowded, but in fact there’s plenty of room and the fish don’t seem to mind all the fuss.

We took TheBUS to the bay, number 22 to be exact.  TheBUS will take you virtually anywhere on the island and is the defacto mode of travel for many of the locals.  You will meet quite a blend of fellow travelers on TheBUS, especially Bus 22 as it has a good mix of locals and tourists.On the way to the bay I sat next to a sweet little lady who was about 85 years old.  She was dressed in a full length flowery mumu and had a garland of flowers in her silver hair.  We were both facing the ocean as we rode and she turned to me and said, “Isn’t it lovely? I never get tired of that view.  It shows God’s handiwork at his finest.” I said that it was indeed beautiful. She went on to say that she has lived here thirty years, her son was a surfer dude (like me) and she loves every day here.  She had that sweet little grandma voice and I was enjoying listening to her.  She continued to talk and I continued to listen and then she happened to point outher church.  She invited us to Sunday church and then just before she got off the bus she said, “Isn’t it wonderful how the Christians came here and vanquished all the pagans and got rid of their dastardly evil gods?! Aloha!”  Ummm…..okay….Aloha!

Surgeon Fish?

We arrived at Hanauma Bay and watched the mandatory video that says, “Don’t touch. Don’t take. But Shaka!” (hang loose and have fun!)  We walked down the long hill which is actually the inside wall of the volcano crater and found a spot on the beach.  We both hit the water and I snorkeled out to see what I could see.  This was my fourth visit to the bay and the water was the murkiest I’ve ever seen.  I had to swim quite a ways out before I could see clearly.  But at last, there were the fish!  Black ones, yellow ones, blue ones, rainbow colored ones!  They were all over the place!  I had my iPhone in a pouch hanging from a lanyard around my neck so I was able to get some pictures.  However, I missed the two best shots: One where I was along the edge of a huge school of black-striped manini.  I was just amazed at how they stayed in unison no matter which way they turned.  Incredible!

Awela

I also missed the shot of when this three foot fish swam under me from behind and almost skimmed my belly.  I was so startled that I jerked my head and swallowed a big gulp of saltwater through my tube.  I was coughing up sea water, but it was cool!

Finally, we headed back and hit the hotel pool for a couple of hours.  We finished up our evening by walking a few blocks down Kalakaua to the Outrigger Hotel. On the beachside of the hotel is Duke Paoa Kahanamoku.  Duke won gold in three Olympics for swimming.  But he’s known most of all as the Father of International Surfing as he’s the one who introduced surfing to the world outside of Hawaii.  The restaurant is filled with momentos of Duke’s truly amazing life.  Here’s a link if you want to learn more about the Duke.  You’ll easily see why there is a huge statue of the Duke on Waikiki. http://www.dukeswaikiki.com/duke

 

We dined outside and next to the beach.  It was a perfect night to end another perfect day on Oahu.

Shaka and Aloha!

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