Saturday, August 02, 2008

Last Full Day

Our last full day on the island. Packing, while not occurring yet, is at least being considered. Greg and Janice stopped by to pick up the bread machine. We also loaded them down with excess beer and groceries that weren't going to be eaten. A little while after that Hugh and Linda stopped by and picked up Fred's surfboard, so it will be waiting for us next time, and I always like to hope there will be a next time.

Sue spent part of the morning designing a gecko that would fit in the bald spot of my right leg, and then Aaron and I wandered into town to have it permanently attached to me. The tattooing took about a half-hour and we met up with the women folk for lunch at The Shore Bird. We did a little shopping on the way back and sat and watched the waves for a little while, finally arriving back at ka hale in the early evening.

Francine joined us for dinner to celebrate Clay's 60th (in one month). Hao`oli Lä Hänau e bruddah! We convinced her to take Clay's guitar and the smoker for use/storage at her place until we return. We're gradually leaving enough accoutrement of life over here so that eventually we won't have to pack anything.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Into the Other Wild Blue Yonder...

As promised we returned to Hanauma Bay. We caught the #23 beach bus for an afternoon session. The water was a little cloudy, as usually happens later in the day, but the tide was high allowing us to see more of the reef...

"This is your snorkel, it may save your life someday"

"I wish I had a pencil thin mustache..."

"Humuhumunukunuku yaddah yaddah blah blah whatevah"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Into the Wild Blue Yonder...

When asked to pick a Waikiki-based activity for the day, the kids decided on Parasailing. They did the research and found an outfit that had a discount coupon, provided transportation to/from the boat launch, and hadn't killed anyone in the current fiscal year. We hoofed it on down to our rendezvous point, the Duke Kahanamoku statue, arriving early enough for a couple of pictures. The shuttle bus whisked us off to Kewalo Basin, and by whisked I mean, of course, crept through Waikiki for 40 minutes with the air conditioning turned off.

Our parasailing boat was waiting for us, engine running, and we were soon motoring out of the boat harbor. Past Kewalo's and Point Panic and heading for deep water. The waves were up and when combined with the hot, winding, bus ride I was feeling a little queasy. I wasn't the only one, as Aaron was starting to look a little green around the gills as well.

The crew began outfitting the pairs of riders and explaining the operation: When called, sit here on the stern, we'll clip you in. Don't unclip yourself. Don't unclip yourself when up in the air. Rides were all tandem, and everyone paired up: The other three couples on the boat with each other, Sue with Rae, and Liz with Aaron. Since we had an odd number of people and I have a bad back I elected to sit out. It had nothing to do with my white-knuckle fear of heights.

As each couple took their turn the boat would race into the wind, raising them up, and making Aaron and I feel much better. Then we'd stop and rock, and we'd feel queasy. Everyone who went up had a great time and eventually it was Sue and Rae's turn followed by Aaron and Liz - the last team. Sue took her camera up and captured a great video. When Aaron and Liz were coming down the crew had great fun dipping them over and over into the water - the price of being a cute teenage girl.

I had been able to make pretty good book on Aaron being the first one to lose his lunch, so as we headed back to shore and the Indian woman began heaving over the side I collected a pretty penny. Aaron and I made it back to shore incident free and we all elected to walk back through Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island, rather than take the winding bus back.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Aloha e Fred!

Fred's time on the island finally has come to an end. He's off to cycle in RAMROD (Ride Around Mt. Rainier Or Die), and then some kind of Tour de Montana. Of the people on this trip who haven't lived here, Fred would probably drop into life here more easily than anyone; with the possible exception of Rae. I know the kids will miss his uncanny ability to appear at any time bearing Napples.

We took him to the airport, pried him out of the car (picture taking a puma to the vet), distracted him long enough for the rest of us to jump into the car and lock the doors, and bid him a very fond aloha. I have no doubt Fred will return to these sunny shores again someday.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Our Family Adventure

We picked up a car on Sunday afternoon, following our usual routine of riding TheBus down to the airport, grabbing a car from Alamo, and raiding CostCo on the way home. The next morning we packed up the car with snorkels, masks, fins, boogie boards, teenagers, and beach towels. Everything one might want for an island excursion. The weather was poor; windy, cool, and rainy, but we had hopes that we could find better conditions somewhere.

Our first stop was Haunama Bay. We got there early enough that there were plenty of parking spaces available. But then, it might have been the wind and rain, rather than the hour, that kept the crowds down. Standing at the top of the cliff, we took a vote and unanimously decided to keep on driving (with the proviso that we would eventually get back to the bay on this trip).

Continuing along Kalaniana`ole Hwy we stopped at Sandy Beach. Being a Monday morning, with school back in session, the beach was fairly empty and the surf was cranking. There were a handful of people in the lineup, dropping into 6 foot barrels that broke on wet sand. The kids (Aaron) wanted to get out in the water, but I didn't relish anyone (Aaron) breaking their neck, so we piled back into the car and continued on.

Sightseeing didn't seem to be too popular with the backseat crowd so we pressed hard for Waimanalo. The single car in the parking lot gave us the first indication that we weren't going to be battling crowds. We walked out into sunny skies shining on an empty beach. 2'-3' waves were breaking on the shore and Aaron, Rae, and I wasted no time getting into them. Waimanalo is a great beach for body surfing and boogie boarding. The waves break very close to shore on a sandbar, so fins aren't necessary; just walk out and hop on.

After a few hours, our hunger for waves sated, we showered off and continued our trek. We stopped briefly at the Pali Lookout where the winds were blowing hard enough to lift some of the smaller tourists off their feet. Many theorize that it was these same winds that led to the eradication of the Menehune, blowing them off into Waikiki where they were eventually sold as garden gnomes at the International Market Place.

On we continued to the North Shore where we supped at Pizza Bob's. For you old timers out there, Pizza Bob's has moved to the former location of Steamer's. We sat outside and enjoyed sandwiches and pizza, all the while being entertained by a feral chicken who wandered about the tables terrorizing anyone with an irrational fear of poultry.

From Hale`iwa we pointed the car towards Ka`ena Point with the vague notion that the set of Lost was somewhere out there and maybe we could find it. We made it to the end of the road without spotting any of the lostaways, but we did see an abandoned VW van and a YMCA camp that looked vaguely familiar.

Working our way back towards civilization we stopped at the Dole Plantation where everyone enjoyed a refreshing pineapple-based treat. While the kids tried to find their way out of the pineapple maze we had shoved them into, Sue and I wandered through the pineapple hall of fame. Eventually Liz and Aaron solved the maze (Liz winning by 10 seconds) and we waited around for Rae to find her way out. When the plantation closed down and she still hadn't emerged we were faced with the decision of sending the two surviving kids back in to find her or setting the maze on fire to flush her out. We decided to gamble with the two we had left and sent them back in. They returned a short time later with their missing sibling.

We went back to the house as the sun was setting. Tired, but enriched with new vacation memories.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Breakfast at The Hau Tree Lanai

There are few restaurants on O`ahu that I just have to visit when I come home. Time takes it's toll on businesses and the list of places that used to be becomes longer than the list of those that still are. But the ones that remain become that much more precious.

A bite of a Kua `aina Ortega Burger can transport me back in time and space. I'm sitting at Sunset Beach watching Dane Kealoha in the Duke Kahanamoku surf classic. A bite of fries and Michael Ho is getting spit out of huge barrel with a cast on his arm at the Pipe Masters.

Lunch at Keo's triggers memories of the old restaurant on Kapahulu. Meals spent with Gerry and Lori Ackerman in a time and place long gone. Yet those dinner conversations still reverberate in my head, summoned by an Evil Jungle Prince.

The Hau Tree Lanai still sits on that dwindling list. The prices have crept upward and the linen napkins have been replaced by paper; but the old lady can still conjure the ghosts. Swells long past arise again at Old Man's, waves are reridden, for a brief time I am a twenty-five year-old surfer again.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Na keiki o ke kai

Sue and the kids took the boogie boards and underwater camera down to San Soucci for some wet playtime...

Liz finally learned to make a 'Shaka' sign instead of some weird heavy metal thing.

"I want all of the boogie boards! All of them!!"

Ladies floating in the sea.

And under the sea.

Gentlemen too.

"Yes! Another board! Soon my plan for ocean domination will be complete! Bwahaha"

"Can I let go now?"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More Surfing

We've been doing a little wave riding over the past few days. Sue and I finally replaced the broken paddle and took the two-person kayak out for a spin. It was late afternoon heading towards evening. We paddled way outside of the lineup - clearing a five foot wall of water on the way that gave Sue a bit of a scare. It's a great view, way off shore, with the hotels aglow in the beginnings of a sunset. We won't be sharing it with you since we didn't bring the camera out with us. But Chris was waiting for us as we came in and snapped a couple of shots.

On Thursday I took Rae and Aaron out for separate, morning surf lessons. It went pretty well. Rae was able to catch one wave on her own and is starting to get a feel for which waves to paddle into. Aaron did very well - catching the very first wave he paddled for. He paddled back out and proceeded to catch wave after wave, riding the first few on his stomach but then getting to his feet for longer periods of time.

On the wave in he challenged me to a race and actually beat me! Paddling! I retract what I said in one of the posts from our Whistler trip: Aaron doesn't have far to go to catch up to me at surfing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Boogie Boarding

A few shots of the kids and me going boogie boarding at graveyards...

"This is a boogie board. It may save your life someday"

"This is the ocean. It may threaten your life someday"

Paddle paddle paddle paddle
And a little video to show what riding a wave looks like from a boogieboarder's perspective...

Hau`oli Lä Hänau e Sue!

A very Happy Birthday to the absolute love of my life!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ua Hö`ea Na Keiki!

The kids have arrived!

We picked them up at the airport, bearing the traditional greetings of leis and napples. At least we tried to pick them up. We received a text message from Liz announcing that they were on the ground just as we were driving in. We told them to proceed to baggage claim and we'd meet them there. I dropped Sue off at the airport and waited until Homeland Security asked to see my papers; at which point I began the curbside pause-and-skedaddle routine that is an integral part of keeping our country safe from another terrorist attack.

On one of my orbits Sue appeared with Rae's checked bag, but no Rae. Unbeknownst to us, the kids had been spirited off to a Hawaiian Airlines safe room which had no cell phone coverage, thus preventing al Qaeda, or their parents, from claiming them. Liz eventually convinced them that, being 17, she was not an unaccompanied minor and slipped out to call her mom, who also had no cell coverage being in the same terrorist-free zone.

Finally we were all re-united. We brought everyone back to the house, unloaded, and hopped back in the car. We had spent so much time at the airport that the car was now due back. We dropped off the girls at Ala Moana Shopping Center and Aaron and I wen holo down to Alamo. We got the car back in time and took a bus back to Kua Aina where we all had well-earned cheeseburgers and fries.

Hau`oli Lä Hänau e Janice!

Today is Janice's birthday!!

We'll be celebrating hers and Sue's tomorrow with a big dinner.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunset at Waimea Bay

Since the kids will be coming in tomorrow, we rented a car to pick them up. Alamo had a good deal on Sunday pickup / Monday dropoff. I did the on-line check in so all I had to do was proceed to the fullsize cars, pick one I liked, and drive it off the lot. It would have worked great had there been any fullsize cars on the lot. We waited for awhile and then the attendant said "Want a convertible instead?". Well. Okay.

We made a CostCo run and stocked up and then Sue, Clay, Fred, and I dropped the roof and took off for the North Shore. We drove up to Waimea arriving a little too late, but in time for a relaxing sunset. On the way back we had dinner at Hale`iwa Joe's. I had the Ono, which was quite good. Fred had a nice looking salmon salad. Sue and Clay each had the grilled spear fish and neither seemed too thrilled with it.