Awaking early with the plan to get out the door as soon as we could was stunted with being put on hold by Air New Zealand for an hour while they answered the phone and then attempted to see if we could change our flights. The outcome, if we wanted to pay an extra $4500 NZD we could. But no, we will continue as planned back to LA and then on to Auckland.
Off in the car we drove, south further on the H1 to Hanaumu Bay, the sign at the entry said Car park Full, no entry, but we drove on through as there were cars coming out. We found a park, just $1, then we paid for tickets $7.50 per adult and entered to watch an 8 minute video on the Bay. This bay has been created by a volcanic crater, which has then been flooded over many years by sea water. It was once a popular fishing spot, but now is a marine reserve. This bay has an amazing variety of fish and other sea creatures. After the movie we wandered down the steep path to the beach. Today the bay is full of people, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people at one beach, there are life guards on duty. We change into our togs, hire some flippers and some snorkelling gear for Steve. $5 for flippers, and $12 for a full set of gear. Finding a spot on the beach to put our gear is not easy. We then step into the water, it’s just like a bath. Just beautiful! The fish are everywhere, lots of white and black striped fish and yellow with blue. While we are in the water, we hear a fire engine siren and then see the Lifeguards carrying somebody up the beach on a stretcher. Before long there is another lifeguard truck, police and ambulance along with the fire engine down on the beach. We aren’t sure what happened, but they took the person away!
We were having so much fun in the sea, checking out all the fish, because the water was so hot, we didn’t even get wrinkly! The sad thing was, that all the rocks aren’t covered in any coral or anemones, it all looks very dead, it’s no wonder really, as there are so many people here and the water isn’t very deep! We spend about an hour and a half in the water, and only got out because we had planned to drive up the side to the North Shore. Steve came out absolutely buzzing as he had never been snorkelling before and so enjoyed watching the fish feed as he swam next to them! After getting dressed we took a ride in a trailer up to the top of the crater rim, it was $1.25 per person. By this stage it was scorching over 90 degrees again!
Back on our way now, the traffic was fairly heavy, but the road only had one lane each way, we past where the Blowhole was, but the tide wasn’t high enough yet to see anything. We drove past many beautiful beaches , stopping at a couple and then next to high mountains covered in tropical rainforest. On our journey we spotted the tunnel that takes the road back through the mountains back to Honolulu, connecting the east side to west side of the island.
As we got further up north, the roads got busier, there were lots of people at the beaches, but there weren’t the waves that we had expected to see. Once at Haleiwa we stopped and got some Shaved Ice for the kids. Shaved Ice on the North Shore is a Hawaiian tradition and it is supposed to be some of the best you can get! The kids got to watch them make it from a block of ice. It tasted really good!
From here we headed back through the middle of the island towards Honolulu. Not far up the road, we started to see fields full of pineapple, some coffee trees and bananas. Then we came across the Dole Pineapple Plantation. We drove in, thinking we would have a look around. We ended up going on the Dole Pineapple Plantation Train, which took us around the Plantation for twenty minutes. This was very interesting as they told us how the Dole Fruit Company started and what happens with pineapples, and how they grow. We also saw a variety of other fruits, such as bananas, mangos, plumeria, sugar cane and their beautiful rich red soil.
After our short journey on the train we were back on the highway. We drove past a huge Army Barracks, which had large fences around it. The compound had a school, housing and sport fields. There were a lot of army personal leaving the Barracks as we waited at the traffic lights to continue on.
Another twenty minutes down the road and we were back in Honolulu, where we hit the traffic. Even though the H1 around Honolulu is four to five lanes wide both ways, there were traffic jams and it got worse at entry and exit points. Just crazy, we managed to negotiate our way back to the hotel.
We made it back in time for the singing and dancing show and spectacular fireworks. We didn’t get to see much of the show, as you had to buy tickets, which we didn’t know about, but we saw a little of the Ukulele player and fire dancers. Then the fireworks erupted into the sky. It is just simply amazing! It’s so loud, and right over your head, fantastic!
Shannon then had a quick swim in the Tapa Pool, and then we ordered takeaway pizzas for dinner. We basically then collapsed into bed, exhausted from today’s adventures!