Monday, May 18, 2009

Snorkeling, Kayaking, Hiking . . . Oh My!

Looking at our Hawaii posts so far, someone might think that all we did in Hawaii is take pictures and eat cookies, but the truth is that we were pretty active while we were there.

One of our favorite activities was snorkeling. We headed out to Hanauma Bay on our first morning and we couldn't believe how many beautiful fish were there. The bay is beautiful and the little video they make you watch has some catchy music ("Don't feed us at Hanauma . . ."), but the best thing about about Hanauma Bay is the amazing variety of fish there. We saw some really beautiful fish.We also went snorkeling on the North Shore in the tidal pools at Shark's Cove. Shark's Cove was pretty rocky, but we hopped out to some of the deeper areas and had lots of fun swimming with very different fish than those we saw at Hanauma. Shark's Cove seemed a little more wild. We went back to Shark's Cove a few days later when the surf was high on the North Shore, and we couldn't believe how much the place had changed. Occasionally, the big waves would crash over the outside wall of the tidal pools. The waves were kind of fun until a couple of them pushed Janae up and over some of the rocks. Ouch.Kailua is a great place to go kayaking. After we saw these guys take off one morning, we had visions of gracefully paddling the smooth waters around the island. Unfortunately, our two-person crew was a little less graceful than the one we saw that morning. But we still managed to have a lot of fun kayaking. Right away we set our sights on the Mokulua islands and started paddling. The one on the right is closed, but the one on the left is open to kayakers.The islands are a long ways out there, and we nearly got stranded on a coral reef that we didn't see coming, but we managed to make it. The islands are protected refuges for shearwater birds that nest in small holes that dot the hillsides.After conquering the Mokulua islands, we wanted to stop by the appropriately named "Flat Island" that is just a little ways off from Kailua Beach. The only downside to kayaking was the crazy sunburn that Janae got when she missed a spot on her shin with the sunscreen. Sunburn aside, we really enjoyed kayaking. Even though the beaches and the ocean were wonderful, we didn't spend all of our time in the water. After some snorkeling one day, we hiked to Manoa falls. The hike took us through some great jungly areas. We couldn't believe how green it was and how thick the different plants grew.We liked the bamboo.Although we were mostly interested in seeing the waterfall, the trail itself was pretty fun to hike.We could see the falls from a little ways away. Sadly, you can only see the bottom half of the waterfall from the bottom. But the view is still pretty great. We also went for a hike on the Kuli'ou'ou Ridge Trail. Josh really wanted to hike along the top of one of the ridges, and this hike was a pretty accessible route to get up on top. It was surprising to see how different the vegetation was on this trail. This hike was quite a bit more strenuous than the waterfall hike and a lot longer, but we managed to make it without too much trouble.

After hiking back and forth up a lot of switchbacks that didn't offer much of a view, we noticed this little bench in a clearing. We figured that meant the view was about to get good.And we weren't disappointed . . .

Once we reached the ridge top, things got fun. We were almost running from lookout point to lookout point to see everything we could. The views were amazing.We were up so high, that only the clouds and a few tree branches blocked our view.We wanted to keep going along the trail, but the clouds rolling in threatened to hide the sun away before we got back to the car. We were frequently surprised at how quickly things got dark, so we decided that we should head back down.Hawaii is an awesome place to get out and explore.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wally Amos

When we pulled into Kailua, Josh noticed a cookie store called "Chip and Cookie" and decided that he wanted to give it a try before we left. Well, it turns out that the store is the new cookie venture started by Wally Amos, inventor of "Famous Amos" cookies. While we were there we found out that Wally comes to the store on Saturdays to read stories to kids. Josh has loved Famous Amos cookies for a long time (and these new cookies are amazing), so we decided to go by on Saturday to try to meet Mr. Amos.
Turns out he's a very nice guy and was happy to let us take a picture with him - one of Josh's favorite parts of the trip.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


If we do plants, we have to do animals too - right? Our favorites were the turtles that we saw out on the North Shore. We spent a while watching them on the beach, and chatted with the "Honu Guardians." Honu is the Hawaiian word for sea turtle, and the guardians are volunteers who watch the turtles 24-7 to protect them while they bask. The turtles really are beautiful. We're glad that there are people watching out for them. There's something very peaceful about watching the turtles sleep, but it was also fun to watch them when they would flip sand up to cool off.

While we're talking about animals, it seems appropriate to include a picture of "Ace." One evening while we were watching the turtles we met this old surfer, Ace. We talked for a while about topics ranging from the turtles' personal lives to . . . well, lots of other random subjects. Mostly, we just listened, and then he told everyone on the beach to "Watch for the yellow flash!" (he was wearing a yellow shirt), and paddled out into some insane waves. Total animal. If you want to meet Ace and learn about the advocacy work he's doing ("Keep the Ocean Blue"), you can find out more here, and watch a video here.

Monday, May 11, 2009


One of Josh's favorite things to do on a trip is take pictures - lots and lots of pictures. These are a few of our favorite plant pictures that he took in Hawaii.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Little Aloha . . .

A few months back, Janae found some great tickets to Oahu that we could buy with the frequent flyer miles that we've been sitting on for a while now. We jumped at the chance to give ourselves a graduation present, and we've spent the last few months counting down the days to the end of the semester and our trip to Hawaii. So a few days after graduation Ainslie headed out to spend the time with her grandmas, grandpas, and a few aunts and uncles, and we headed out to an island paradise.
After she found the plane tickets, Janae also tracked down a fantastic place for us to stay, just a few steps away from the beach in Kailua and Lanikai (above). The location was perfect, and the people we rented from were very nice. We'd recommend it to anyone who's looking for a place to stay without the Waikiki traffic.
We expected to find some beautiful beaches in Hawaii, but we weren't prepared for how amazing the mountains would be.
And the beaches definitely did not disappoint. We loved to sit and watch the beautiful waves.
And it was fun to watch some crazy surfers take on the big waves of the North Shore.
We also liked watching the sea turtles and other wildlife that call the island home.
We ate some great food. And made some fun friends.

In short, there's lots to do in Hawaii, and we had a wonderful time.