A Travellerspoint blog

Day 35 - Tuesday/Wednesday 2nd/3rd June 2015

Homeward Bound

sunny 27 °C

After nearly five weeks on the move, it was time to pack our bags one final time for the journey back home. We got ourselves up and ready and ate a quick breakfast downstairs and had all our belongings out the front of the hotel for an 8:45am shuttle pickup. The driver looked a bit worried when he drove up in a mini bus (we arrived by coach so assumed the same vehicle would pick up) as we had 5 suitcases. We managed to squeeze them in, and despite having to collect two more passengers we got to the airport with no drama.

The check in was quick, there seemed to be very little people at the Hawaiian Airlines area when we got there. We got rid of our suitcases and headed through security and made our way towards our gate. We still had two hours until our flight departed, there was a small duty free store next to our gate so we spent all our remaining US dollars and bought up our allowances in alcohol.

The flight back home was quite full, different to when we arrived. We had window seats on every flight during the trip so that meant we never had to climb over anyone to stretch our legs or visit the toilet. We had free movies being an international flight so I jumped on and watched three movies over the course of the flight - Kingsman, Cinderella and one other I can't readily remember. Dozing off during some of them also to catch up on needed sleep.

The flight back to Sydney was a little over 10 hours and all during the day. We landed at Sydney airport around 7pm on the 3rd June, having crossed they International Date Line after leaving Hawaii on the 2nd. Once we disembarked and grabbed our suitcases, we walked through Customs quickly, and we were out of the terminal around 8pm. Greeted In the car park by our daughter we were home less than 30 minutes later. Shocked to feel the coldness of the house, especially after leaving a warm and sunny Hawaii. But after an amazing adventure, it was time to get back home. Back to reality eg washing clothes and housework and soon back to work for both us. We had the best time and met wonderful people. Definitely an experience to treasure for the rest of our lives.

Posted by Ace from Oz 19:38 Archived in USA Tagged sydney hawaii Comments (0)

Day 34 - Monday 1st June 2015

Hanauma Bay

sunny 27 °C

We woke today at 6am as we had booked a snorkel trip out to Hanauma Bay that was recommended to me by a friend. We were picked up at 9am for the 30 minute drive to the bay, it is actually a designated nature reserve. We were dropped off and given 2.5 hours at the site before being picked up again, which I thought would be plenty but turned out different.

About a million people visit the bay each year and although our shuttle driver said the season wasn't busy yet, there were still plenty of people. First we had to line up to buy entry tickets, then line up again to watch a safety video. We then took a trolley ride to the beach down a steep hill. The day was overcast and windy and once we entered the water with our snorkel gear we found it a little rough as the current and waves were pushing us around.

The coral here is different to what we've seen previously in the South Pacific. Here the coral is covered with algae that the fish feed off but it meant there was no colour to it. The fish although were still as pretty and colourful, and we even had the experience of seeing a green see turtle swim right by us - not many had seen a turtle so we were lucky.

We snorkelled in a couple of spots but then a loud air raid siren blasted on shore, naturally we thought that meant we had to get out of the water. It was very loud and echoed around the bay and lasted a while. We found out later that it was the monthly test of the siren only, as it was the first day of a new month. We didn't have a lot more time left so decided to dry off and head back to the top of the hill and waited for our transport back to our hotel.

We took a rest for a while and went to grab a quick lunch at Starbucks before heading back to the beach. As it was a windy day the surf was rough, pleasing the surfers and boarders out past the breaks but making swimming tough. I decided I wanted to try and catch waves so rented a bodyboard and fins, but found it too rough so after just one small wave I gave up.

After the beach we washed up and headed out for dinner, as this was the last night of our holiday we decided to go somewhere nice. We opted for an Italian place under the Marriott across the road called Arancino. The food was certainly yummy - prosciutto and papaya entree, spaghetti with a whole Maine one pound lobster for main, and an affogato for dessert. Ate way too much as usual but throughly enjoyed it. After dinner we went back and watched the remaining part of the movie we'd started the night before then headed to bed.

Posted by Ace from Oz 02:24 Archived in USA Tagged hanauma_bay Comments (0)

Day 33 - Sunday 31st May 2015


sunny 27 °C

Keeping with the theme that this last part of our trip was more for rest and relaxation, we slept in as we had no plans at all for the day. After a late breakfast we decided to find a place several blocks away called Ross Stores that we were told about by another shopkeeper. We were told the store is the outlet spot where name brands send their discontinued and obsolete stock so there are always bargains.

We got to the store just after 10am and didn't leave until 1:30pm - not because it was a huge store. In fact it was only two levels and about the size of a regular Target or Kmart back home. We stayed so long because there were so many bargains we decided to stock up. By this time in our trip we already had four suitcases and one of the wheels on one of them had been breaking off slowly throughout the trip. We saw Samsonite lightweight suitcases for ridiculously low prices, the one we chose was $75 USD. Similar style and size back home was over $200 so we grabbed one hoping to swap the older one for the new one.

As the time passed we amassed an entire trolley load of stuff - clothes for the kids, shoes thongs, perfumes, even 2 doggie beds for our dog Charlie. We bought enough stuff to fill the entire suitcase full, so that meant we'd have 5 suitcases to fly home with. Our international baggage allowance was two suitcases each so we would now have to pay for the 5th bag, we weren't sure how much this would cost but hoped it wouldn't erode the money we saved in our shopping spree.

Packing all the purchases into the new suitcases we headed back to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch. After lunch we wheeled our purchases back to the hotel, Vicky started to arrange the packing better for travel on Tuesday. We went down to the beach later in the afternoon for a swim. Most days the surf is quite calm but we could see today the waves were larger than normal. We decided dinner for tonight would only be a take away meal as we didn't feel like dining out or eating a large meal. We needed up getting a late bite at Subway, then rented another movie - The Seventh Son - but only got through about half as we were tired and went to bed,

Posted by Ace from Oz 02:22 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day 32 - Saturday 30th May 2015

Pearl Harbour

sunny 27 °C

Woke up 6am today as we decided to make a trip out to Pearl Harbour. After breakfast we walked up to the next block and waited to catch the public bus. There are tons of tourism places here in Hawaii offering shuttle transport to and from all manner of places like Pearl Harbour. One of the tourists ambassadors that sit outside the police station on Waikiki beach told us we could get to Pearl Harbour by public bus at a grand cost of just $2.50 each. So we decided to try this, the only downside is it took just on an hour to get there.

Entry into Pearl Harbour is free, as it is a dedicated grave site. We had heard from our hotel concierge that we wouldn't be able to land and walk on the Arizona Memorial as a few days earlier the dock had been wrecked by some vessel and thus it was under repair and not allowing any one to alight there. That was a huge disappointment - standing on the memorial looking down at the sunken ship that lies underneath with over 900 people entombed would have been such a moving experience.

For anyone that doesn't know about the USS Arizona - when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour on December 7th 1941, the USS Arizona was hit by a torpedo bomb dropped by the Japanese. Upon impact the ship exploded, it was carrying thousands of barrels of oil and in an instant became a huge fireball. Many that survived were burnt badly, even if they jumped off the ship into the water as the oil was on fire on the water also.

We started our day here by hiring audio tour headsets so we could listen at all the different exhibits. We got our tickets for the vessel that takes us out to the Arizona Memorial - they still took visitors out to the site but not too close and obviously not for landing. Prior to boarding we had to sit in a theatre and listen to the story of the attack - not a single sound was heard as people were mesmerised. It brought a deep feeling of sadness to me, I was in tears from the beginning. I got goosebumps when they showed actual footage of when the Arizona was struck and burst into flames - I never knew that graphic footage even existed.

Once the short documentary was over we were ushered onto the vessel that would take us out into the harbour and towards the memorial. Right beside us was the battleship Missouri, we could see the active sailors on the top deck as we sailed past. On board our vessel was a ranger recounting some of the stories about the harbour and the various other ships that were sunk that day. Unfortunately we could not get too close to the Arizona, but could easily see one of the gun turret cylinders poking out of the water. Despite being sunk over 70 years ago the oil on board still leaks to this day, and they predict the oil will continue to leak for 40-70 more years.

After we returned back to shore we started the remaining parts of the audio tour on our headsets as we walked around and looked at the exhibits. There were several pieces of the Arizona on show along with one of the Japanese torpedo bombs that was found undetonated in the harbour. Lots of interesting stories especially the ones that detailed how the attack took place. After we finished our audio tour we walked over to see the submarine USS Bowfin, we didn't want to board and look around as by now it was hot and we'd been there several hours so far.

After exiting we walked up to the highway for the return bus, and luckily for us as soon as we got to the bus stop the bus arrived immediately. The trip back was probably just as long as the incoming one but we got talking to the people sitting around us so that kept us entertained and made the journey seem shorter. After getting back to the hotel we decided to head to the beach for a swim, it'd been a warm day and needed to cool off after our day out.

After the beach we got back and showered and headed out for dinner, the family we met at the beach yesterday had said the burgers were good at The Cheeseburger In Paradise restaurant, so we decided to eat there. We ordered a cocktail each and our main meal burgers, mine came with sweet potato waffle fries which was something different to try. After dinner we felt tired so didn't wander around the Main Street but instead headed home and watched the remaining part of 50 Shades of Grey.

Posted by Ace from Oz 02:18 Archived in USA Tagged pearl pearl_harbour _harbor uss_arizona Comments (0)

Day 31 - Friday 29th May 2015


sunny 27 °C

We had a big sleep in today, almost twelve hours of rest and it was 9am before we got up. One thing about where we are staying, there are noises throughout the night to wake you - sirens, people shouting, trucks, cars - not a spot for a restful sleep. We decided after all the travelling we'd done that this last leg of the trip would be more about relaxing and not so much sightseeing.

We put on our swimmers under our clothes and headed out for something to eat as by now it was after 10am and getting hungry. We got totally ripped off at Seattles Best Coffee in the next street - 2 medium coffees (their mediums are large in Australia) and a bagel and muffin both with bacon and eggs and cost us $29. After downing that food we crossed the road to the beach and waked along to find a spot where we some shade from hot sun as it was already 27 degrees Celsius. We both jumped in to the water, it was quite pleasant and not cold at all, as you'd expect. The beach is shallow, you can walk out a long way and still touch the bottom. The hard part is watching out for the board riders - the waves are small and lots of people rent boards to try and surf. The inexperienced ones are the people you need to watch out for so they don't hit you.

I was drying off after my swim and the guy next to me noticed my Aussie board shorts so starting chatting, as he was from Sydney also. We got chatting to him and his family, he was there with four kids and also his cousin and nephew. They had holidayed over in Florida and like us were on their way home via Hawaii. He offered me a beer and wouldn't take no for an answer! We sat there chatting for a while, playing with their kids, they were all a friendly bunch.

We went back to our room to shower and change and by now it was after 5pm so we decided to walk down a different street away from the beach looking for somewhere to have dinner. That was fruitful as all the restaurants and shops are along the beach road so we turned down and headed there. Along the way we saw a Mexican restaurant that had a few people eating so we thought we'd give that a try. Interesting name for a restaurant - La Cucaracha - which i believe translates to "The Cockroach" ! We had a margarita each and ordered just a main meal but that was more than enough.

After dinner we walked down to the beach as the Hilton has a fireworks display every Friday night. Unfortunately we didn't get to see any of it, we hadn't walked far enough west along the beach to get to a vantage point as the Hilton is far west and around the point. As we walked back to our hotel slowly we were tempted into getting ice cream from Horgen Dasz for dessert - not that we needed to eat more! But it still nice ice cream if I say so myself.

After walking back to our hotel we started to watch another movie we rented from the hotel, 50 Shades of Grey. Have to admit I fell asleep through some of the early parts, and we decided to pause and watch the rest another night so we hit the sack.

Posted by Ace from Oz 21:17 Archived in USA Tagged hawaii waikiki Comments (0)

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