Showing posts with label Oahu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oahu. Show all posts


Hawaiian Swan Song

 .......or The End Is Near...again.

With only a few weeks before my current assignment ends, Ms Darlene joined me once again for Thanksgiving here in Honolulu.

 Virtually every year, instead of going home, Darlene often joins me at my assignment location.  Last year, it was in New Mexico where we spent the holiday in Taos at a ski lodge.  Other years on we were diving on Maui or enjoying a Subway sandwich sitting on a concrete bench in Solvang, California.

When she visited this time, the first few days were presented with rain


even though there were a few afternoons that gave us a few wonderful sunsets.

So as Thanksgiving day approached, we drove up to the Oahu north shore to watch the surfers at the Pipeline in the rain.

We often sat in the rockers in front of the Moana Surfrider hotel watching it drizzle on the never ending parade of tourists.

One evening, we sat on the back porch and listened to music under the Banyan tree along with a younger military couple who were about to end their tour of duty here.

As the weekend began to dry, we found ourselves taking the island tour again, driving around the island to see landmarks we had always enjoyed seeing, taking little side trips and eventually discovering the Vans Off The Wall 2015 surfing competition.

While the weather was great and the waves were huge, the powerful waves were so far out you really needed binoculars to see them.

We sat in the cool sand watching and I found myself always craning around sightseers trying to get a decent photo.

At that distance, by the time I blow up the picture and crop it, the details are limited but still, I enjoyed myself

That Sunday was Darlene's last day so we took one more scenic tour back to Honolulu so she could catch her flight back to Louisiana.   I miss her still.

So, a week later, this is my last weekend here and quite possibly my last post from Hawaii this year.  With that in mind, I made it back to Sunset Beach again to find the place looking about as smooth as Lake Pontchartrain.  Moving on west, I stopped off at the Pipeline again to see the wave a little bit better than Sunset but not exactly 20 footers.  It seems that when surges come in, it moves the sand bottom around which affects the wave's distance from the beach and their height.

With the waves being a bit tamer, this brought out a different crowd.

There the usual really good amateurs, some old and some young.

As a matter of fact, there were several female surfers that I had not been seeing earlier.

While some of these women took the easier waves, others took to the larger ones.

I believe there were as many women out there this time as men and definitely were not timid.

I sat a lot closer to the water this time and even got wet with a couple of rogue waves.  Fortunately, the Nikon and Samsung phone did not suffer.

As I was about to leave, I was shooting away when this girl in one of the smallest bikinis I 'd seen, walked right in front of me.  So, in keeping with the theme of another post I made a few weeks ago, I submit to you......The End is Near.


Oahu Lighthouses

(clicking on the photos will increase size and resolution)

 Over the past couple of weekends, I have taken some hikes to Oahu's lighthouses.  Although there are a some beacons, the basic scenic choices are three (well actually 4) that I had an interest in seeing.

The Aloha Tower Lighthouse, or Minor Light of Oahu, which has had it's beacons moved to a tower is still a landmark that greets cruise lines.  During WWII, it received hardly any damage during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  However, it's glowing white surface was painted in camouflage so that it could not be seen at night.

The most difficult thing in getting to this lighthouse is finding a parking spot down near the end of Bishop street.  The shopping area around it controls the paid parking lot.  Yeah I know, I'm cheap.

 Another is the Diamond Head Lighthouse.  A lot of people choose to see it from atop Diamond Head itself which requires a little hike.  Instead, I opted for parking on Diamond Head Road and popped over a little stone wall and make my way through the weeds (there are no snakes here) to find a nice location not blocked by trees so I would have access to it and the setting sun.  One tip I'd pass on is don't go too deep into the brush because there are some homeless encampments hidden in there.  While they may be on public land, there is no need in antagonizing them and risk a confrontation.

 Makapu`U (Makapuu) Point Lighthouse built in 1909.  If you're paying attention, you can get a slight glimpse of this lighthouse if you're traveling southwest on the Kalanianaole highway between Sandy Beach and Hanauma Bay but you have to be really looking.

There is a parking lot below the Makapuu overlook where you begin the 1 mile hike up a 10% grade.  Fortunately, the trail is actually paved which makes it nice.   The trick for me is to stop and take pictures often to catch my breath and not let the other visitors hear you wheezing.  Plus, you do get some magnificent shots after your heart stops shaking your hand with the camera in it.

Anyway, this hike does take on quite a few visitors, some kinds you expect to see such as the casual hiker with the aluminum walking sticks or couples taking their time strolling hand in hand.  I admired the tenacity of a young woman who was pushing a stroller full of baby and maybe a 3 year old in a backpack style child carrier.  

One guy in particular had his own fitness quest I found amazing if not somewhat crazy.  He had made his way all the way to the top of this hike and on his way down while carrying a 200 pound bag of sand.  Even on his way down, he had to drop that bag of sand every couple hundred yards and catch a breath.  I admire a man's resolve and determination but It's not my (pun intended) bag.

 So another quarter mile to the top where the state has blocked access for repairs, I was at least able to get somewhat of a shot at this lighthouse.  On a good day, you can also see a faint sight of Molokai, the smaller island just east of Oahu.

The Makapuu Lighthouse trail was closed up until a month ago so that accounted for a lot of people on the trail.

Named after Captain Henry Barber who shipwrecked near this point, the Barbers Point Lighthouse on the southwest side of Oahu, is just a short walk from a beach park.  The sand is deep and the little trail is bordered by private property and a rocky sea edge that is even more narrow when the tide is up.  As I understand it, like the others, it is totally automated and does not have a person living on the property.

This was in the middle of the day but from this direction, I would bet it makes a dandy sundown shot.  Maybe I'll get a chance to try that out one day.


October 31 - Northshore

It was storming in Waikiki this morning but had planned on going to the north shore unless the waves were crashing on the road up there.  As I made my way out of town and onto the Interstate H1 and H2 (technically, I think you have to be able to drive OUT of the state for it to be an INTERSTATE) and actually saw lightening. Oh well, what else could I do.

So, I did make it back up to the Banzai Pipeline.  Parking a couple hundred yards away from the beach park I slipped through a lesser known path to the Pipeline where I had watched the Backdoor Shootout surfing competition several years back.  Apparently, it's still ongoing.

There was a lot of misty element to the air and the sun didn't come out regularly so it was pretty hit and miss for the right light.  Red flags lined the beach but that's pretty much an every day occurrence up there.

Anyway, here's a few surfer pictures I took.


Full Moon

No, it's nothing to do with some tourist in a thong.

We just had another full moon here and couldn't resist going out on the Ala Wai Canal again in hopes of taking a different full moon shot.

These are not the best in the world but I'll keep on until I get what I am hoping to achieve.

Behind the clouds more than out



The End Is Near

On Darlene's last day here, we spent time walking around in Waikiki, had breakfast at Eggs N Things and enjoyed watching the huge variety of people all over the place.

At one time, we discussed how skimpy bathing suits have become over the years and talked about how we did not see that back home.  I remarked that it wouldn't surprise me if in the near future, men would start wearing a male version of the thongs that were in such abundance here.  Ms Darlene dismissed that notion and the subject was dropped.

We made our way down the street to the Moana Surfrider hotel where you could sit out under a giant Banyan tree and have dinner, drinks or just sit under a hundred year old Banyan tree and enjoy the ambiance.

Admittedly, I have the attention span of a lightening bolt and so Ms Darlene and I decided to take one last tour up the beach before going back to our room, collect her bags and make our way to the airport.

Since I had not brought my Nikon and had played on my cell phone until the battery was down to zero, I had no way of taking a picture but that was no big deal...right?

Well, as we were making our way out onto the sand I looked up and saw this dude in the tiniest thong I'd ever seen.  Darlene had not noticed so I motioned for her to look (as discreetly as possible) in a certain direction. 

"Take the picture!", I exclaimed.  "My phone is dead and can't take it!"  She fired off this beauty.

So, our final and parting shot should be entitled, "The End Is Near".

News from Oahu

Ms Darlene has been with me over the past 9 days.  While I would be at work, she shopped, walked the beaches and pretty much found her new favorite spot in the world.

One Friday evening, we went down to enjoy the weekly fireworks at the Hilton Hawaiian Village under a clear moonlit sky.

The place was wrapped up with locals and visitors alike.  Honestly, the fireworks did not go off at the appointed time so we were headed back to the car when the place just lit up with pyrotechnics.  They had delayed setting them off because of the police helicopter nearby that had assisted in the rescue of a capsized yacht.  Fortunately there were no injuries.

Over the two weekends she was here, we pretty much kept the roads hot trying to absorb as much of Oahu as possible.

Her spots as well as mine tended to be away from the crowds checking out the beaches and fabulous scenery stopping from time to time to digest it all.
 But each evening we would return back to town and take in Waikiki Beach again and do some serious people watching. 

There might have been some shopping involved as well.

Both weekends, we were a little disappointed that the waves were not as large as we had hoped.  Last Saturday, we went up on the north shore to the Pipeline thinking it would be terrific but when we arrived, the place almost looked like a lake.   Only a few surfers were out. 

Still, the drive was great and stopped to snap a few pictures of places we'd always seen but never really stopped long enough to enjoy.  Here's a different view of Chinaman's Hat near the ranch where Jurassic Park was filmed.

We stopped in amazement to see a half dozen young men make their way down through the rocks to do some diving from the cliffs.  It was a dangerous thing to do but when you're that age, you think you're bullet proof and the world is all Disneyland.  They probably did not know, but someone was killed doing the same thing a couple miles around the island at a place called Spitting Caves.

The Blowhole has been the demise of many as well.


I'm really glad she was able to come over for a week and a few days.  I know she enjoyed it and I appreciated her being here with me.


The Northshore Pipeline

We took a little drive up to the north shore of Oahu to see how the waves were.  For the most part, the Bonsai Pipeline was pretty tame but still, it was nice to see surfers out there.  In the late winter and early spring, the waves can be awesome and the dream of serious surfers everywhere.

A few years ago, while working here on the island, it was a favorite place of mine and visited it and the nearby town of Hale`iwa  (pronounced "Ha-lay-ee-vah") often.  You pretty much need to be looking for it to find because there are no glaring signs pointing to it saying "TURN HERE".  In other words, just Google it and click on the map.

Here's a few pictures.