Day 16

The entire morning was spent driving around the island in a game of car swap with my cousin and dad. These maneuvers also included me saying aloha to Kevin and Amanda as they flew back to California. I was really sad to see them leave. They’re a good hang.

Sara and I consoled ourselves by heading to the beach. Unfortunately, the water was full of kelp and the waves were rather lame. But it beats a mall any day.

Day 17

In giving my cousin’s car back to her on Tuesday, we effectively gave away our only form of air conditioning. So it was a bit strange that we waited until said AC was gone to take the longest drive of our trip. After a cataclysmically delicious meal at the Panda Express with about 13 Mormons, we headed out along the east coast of Oahu toward the North Shore.

Although technically the shorter of the two ways to get to the North Shore, the trip actually took considerably longer due to a winding road and slower speed limits. The scenic drive includes a pristine view of the ocean and mountains. Unfortunately, my view was a bit clouded by all the sweat pouring down my face. By the end of the drive we had sweated away about 20 pounds.

Our reason for taking this long trek was to get in some more snorkeling action at Three Tables and Shark’s Cove. Three Tables gets its name from three flat shelves that lie a little ways out from shore. There was a very strong current that day which made snorkeling rather difficult. Our recent scare at Hanauma made us a bit more cautious. Although there weren’t as many fish as Hanauma, the coral was much brighter. It also dropped off considerably, making it easy to snorkel over these monolithic formations.

Although we were rather exhausted from that experience, we decided to visit the next door neighbor, Shark’s Cove. Shark’s Cove gets its name from the presence of an ethically reprehensible lawyer just off shore. It was a completely different venture. At Shark’s Cove, the tide was extremely low, which created a coral maze. Unlike Hanauma, the patches of coral were much more sporadically and sparsely placed, meaning you could find an outlet if you just looked long enough. It also contained some extreme changes in water temperature, alternating between warm bath water and mountain stream. After exploring for awhile we crossed over into the more open ocean area. Right away we saw schools of fish and more spectacular coral. We came out of the water quite satisfied.

Afterward, we headed out to Haleiwa to eat at the famous Matsumoto Shave Ice. I came away underwhelmed, while Sara enjoyed it but admitted it was no Waiola (even though the order taker understood her on the first try).

Day 18

We caught an early morning flight and headed over to Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. Although we made it there our luggage didn’t. Well, actually our bag of snorkel equipment did, but that didn’t seem like proper attire for church or my friend’s wedding so we got breakfast at Ken’s House of Pancakes and went to pick up the bags later. Fortunately, the rest came. After dropping stuff off at our generous hosts’ house, we headed out to Volcanoes National Park on a particularly dry and sunny Hilo day.

I’d been to the park when I was about seven, but the only thing I remembered was it smelling like rotten eggs. We drove around the main rim of the crater and took in some of its nuances. Sure enough, there was that sulfurous smell, but it didn’t seem as strong. We walked upon hardened lava fields, journeyed through a lava tube, and walked along a path known as Devastation Trail. I was sorely tempted to pilfer some lava rock from the park, but my dad freaked me out with stories about bad luck befalling people who committed these volcanic crimes. Although I’m not superstitious I am highly neurotic and it hasn’t been a particularly lucky year for us…so I did the legal thing.

Sadly we just missed Kilauea erupting. Sara had really wanted me to say “liquid hot mag-ma” with conviction.

Day 19

Just a few hours into the morning, the sun and clarity of our previous day was replaced by cloud cover and rain. In actuality we were rather fortunate. Weather reports earlier in the week had indicated that a hurricane had started up and was heading toward the Big Island. Eventually this downgraded to a tropical storm and then became the yucky brew which hung over our heads.

Since we had planned on a beach day, we headed out into Hilo town in hopes that the rain would abate. We stopped by the Farmer’s Market and were amazed by the prices. Ten papayas for a dollar! Flower arrangements of ginger, anthuriums, and orchids for five dolla! Certainly a departure from Oahu’s prices. We purchased an arrangement for our hosts only to find out from them that it was traditionally placed on graves (whoops).

Even after lunch, the rain continued so we drove around Banyan drive and walked around Queen Liliuokalani Gardens. At the gardens we saw a couple Nene (state bird of Hawaii), along with a couple of mongooses (mongeese?). Sara also had a fun time taking pictures of some of the plant life. It was a very serene location, in the style of a Japanese Garden. Definitely reminiscent of a scene from Memoirs of a Geisha. Our clothes were dampened, but our spirits were dried, or something like that.

We decided to head over to Richardson Ocean Park just to check it out and hope that maybe some mighty wind might ravish the sky, replacing dreary gray with cloudless blue. But that didn’t happen. Instead we were treated to more winds and rain. Nevertheless, a few die hard snorkelers were out there, and a group of junior lifeguard folk were ready to trek out. After waffling between unabashed determination and severe pollo-hood, Sara suggested we go. So in we went. The conditions were certainly miserable compared to our sunny snorkeling days on Oahu, but it didn’t take long to realize that we had made the right call.

Within a minute of heading out, Sara let out an underwater scream. I turned to see an enormous sea turtle just a few feet in front of us. We followed it for a few minutes watching it pop its beaked head over the surface and then dive back down. The water was much clearer there than our locales in Oahu. It also felt considerably warmer in the water than it did standing on the shore. Like Three Tables, there was a drop off that allowed us an excellent view of the brilliant yellow and red coral, a nice contrast to the black sand on the ocean bottom. The current was a bit of a challenge, but there were pockets that allowed us to float for awhile and take in the view while we conserved energy.

We probably could have stayed out there longer, but we thought of my parents shivering on shore and decided we should come in. We emerged feeling very proud of ourselves. It was a great day of snorkeling made even better by the fact that it was so unexpected.

Since my dad decided not to get in the water he was looking for some solace for his rainy day. He found it in the form of homemade ice cream. Quickly swerving at the sign we headed in and enjoyed some creamy goodness that broke da mouth.

After the lull, our beach count rebounded to a respectable 12. Would we make it? Stay tuned or online or whatever it is for the final installment of The Aloha State! Same Queso time. Same Queso channel…er web address.

One Response to “The Aloha State: Days 16-19”

  1. […] Want the riveting conclusion? Click it without the ticket. Posted by teachiro Filed in […]

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