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22 September 2013

Hawaii - Part 2

A continuation of Hawaii - Part 1 . . .

Third day

The 3rd (and last full) day of our trip was possibly the best.

We went to Hanauma Bay! Like, for real this time. We got there pretty early. They were preparing to close the parking lot but there was still plenty of space and the line to get in wasn't super awful.

Visitors have to watch a quick video about beach safety and the ecology of the bay before entering the park. It was a pretty decent video, I guess, but what really got to me were the people who just kept talking or blowing up their floaties or whatever while it was going, like they clearly didn't care one bit about either safety or ecology, and sure enough there were way too many damn people STANDING ON THE REEF out in the bay, and this filled me with a MURDEROUS RAGE but I managed not to commit homicide and ruin the rest of our vacation.

Gary packed his own flippers and snorkel set. I get weirdly claustrophobic with full face masks and snorkels so I just brought some regular old eye goggles.

We picked a shady spot in some grass well back from the beach for our towels and accoutrements, which turned out to be a wise choice because (a) we got to see a mongoose close up and (b) that beach sand was SUPER HOT by mid-afternoon.

Actually we got to see several mongooses (mongeese?) and also a cat that was apparently friends with them. And I accidentally kicked a pigeon. In my defense, it was trying to nap in the middle of the sidewalk. It was surprisingly fluffy and I feel bad but not that bad because, seriously, it was a clearly idiotic specimen of flying vermin.

But I digress.

We didn't go all the way out to where the coral got really pretty, where most of the coolest animals could be found, because the current was super strong that day and I didn't have the flippers with which to fight it, but the reef did go all the way up into the shallows of the bay and there was plenty of stuff to see anyway.

I wish we'd thought to bring an underwater camera along, but it was really nice getting to just swim and try to spot things without having to worry about focus/lighting/movement/etc. So unfortunately I have no photographic proof of the absolute coolest thing that happened to us there. . .


Dudes, it was a-maz-ing.

Gary gets all the credit for spotting him (or her, IDK, it, whatevs). He was almost completely hidden in this little depression in the coral except for his little eyeballs just barely poking up and keeping a look-out for random swimmers/dinner/potential girlfriends. We floated there for a few minutes and would you believe it -- that little dude was just as curious about us as we were about him. Octopuses are notoriously intelligent invertebrates. He just ever so slowly sort of floated up out of his little hidey-hole, keeping an eye on us but becoming less and less shy as the minutes passed. We must have floated there, the three of us just sort of staring dumbfoundedly at each other, until a couple of other snorkelers blundered up and scared the little guy back into his safe spot. It was so great.

I also almost ran into a porcupinefish. I think I startled it as much as it startled me. It was huge! Actually most of the fish we saw there were much larger than I anticipated.

Anyway, the fish were cool, but I just can't stop thinking about that octopus.

That afternoon we went back to Tiki's for a late lunch/early dinner.

It was pretty great. I'm glad we went back. Relaxing atmosphere, good food, amazing view. I just have to rave about the food for a minute. I had a mixed plate with panko crusted fish, kalbi rib eye, and chicken katsu, plus fragrant rice and kimchi and macaroni salad. The macaroni salad thing again!

Later that evening we walked around Waikiki some more. We got some souvenirs/candies for folks back home. We ended up at Duke's and Gary got me a cute little tiki cup to take home from there. We had a pretty nice night.

Getting home

The trip home wasn't too bad. I mean, it sort of sucked to have to leave, but that's how vacations work.

We had a late afternoon flight so we slept in a little and then had lunch there in Waikiki. We ended up at the airport pretty early. The Oahu airport is actually surprisingly lovely -- lots of open air walkways and bright flowers and some nice little shops, too.

We tried to sleep through the "night" on the way back to the states, but we both still had a little trouble adjusting to a normal schedule once we got home. That's to be expected I guess.

Sneakers seemed to have had a lovely time at his doggy "summer camp" (our vet boards). He came home with a little bandanna and even a little photo fridge magnet. Curiosity was pretty upset at being left at the house all by himself for almost a week (well, not all by himself, the neighbor lady looked in on him every day) but he seemed to recover quickly and didn't punish us too much.

I'd like to go back again someday. Maybe for a longer amount of time. Gary says that he doesn't want to wait another 12 years to return. In the meantime, though, we have some great memories and lots of daydream material.

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