A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Mari Anne

Mac Farm, Ali'i tour, kayak surf and Lomilomi


overcast 25 °C

We adventure not to far from home today to sample free macadamian nuts at the local farm. Yum yum! Behind the store is a tour. The Ali'i tour. We climb into an old open air bus and drive past a number of local plants that are used for medicinal purposes and some just for their beautiful flowers. Mw come to a small clearing with seats and a stage. there is a group of Koreans seated already. as we walk across to seat ourselves we can't help but be aware they are all watching so.... Of course I wave and tKe a bow and enjoy some friendly laughter. The men who do this tour are the same men who did the Samoan show at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The main man is Chief Sielu Avea who was son funny before. He  starts with much the same program, but with a smaller group he has some fun with us. We are able to see close up his fire making abilities using only the coconut husks and hibiscus wood. We are able to sample the freshly grated coconut meat which is delicious. He has a young Korean woman on her honey moon help and she is very timid but does as he asks. 
He does a fire dance and it is very cool to see it so close up.He then gives all the children a woven head wreath and explains which side the flower should be to indicate married or single. He then says as part of the ceremony  they kiss cheeks. She is not thrilled, but fianly pecks the one cheek. He then turns the other and asks for another kiss. She does it quickly thinking that't it. He then says he has more cheeks and to turn around. Shr slowly turns her back to him and the look on her face is priceless.  As she gamely tenses for what ever he plans she is surprised by the other men coming up the other way to get kisses. She is very relieved and gives them all a quick kiss with laughter. The ceif then asks is anyone else on their honeymoon. All 25 women put up their hands. Wow, it has to be a special honeymoon tour. So they give all the women headbands and I guess seeing the five Americans and Canadians sitting there give us one as well.
We now board a boat to circle the fish pond. This was made 800 years ago and is still used to harvest fish. At high tide the gates allow small fish to come in which feed the larger fish who are waiting inside the gates. We see the Island that was used to film Gilligan's Island as well as Lost, the cafe where 50 First Dates was filmed, An ER episode, a newer show Off the Map and an African movie. After a photo op we continue the  tour by vehicle and see more of the working farm. 
The afternoon is spent relaxing as a few showers stroll by, before we set out in the kayak. The winds are up but manageable we do some kayak surfing which is exciting when you catch the wave right. We caught one wrong but were able to get it flipped over and back in with no problems.
Our neighbor, Cathy, who is here to take a Lomi Lomi massage course offers me a free Lomi after dinner.
Okay picture this. The sun has set the massage table is set up om the lania with the waves rolling onto the rocks just feet from my head. The wind is blowing my hair and I am laying naked under a sheet with Hawaiian music playing and Roger and Cathy's fiancé sit talking on the lanai. Lomi is a traditional massage that has spiritual ties that went underground for a time when the missionaries came to the islands. It is a healing massage and it was wonderful.
One thing I failed to mention on Monday. the tsunami warning sirens went off. Kind of spooky. We learned this happens the first Monday of the month as a test.

Posted by Mari Anne 10:43 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Sea Life Park & polynesian Cultural Center

Go Oahu Card

semi-overcast 28 °C

With the Go Oahu card we get free entrance to Sea Life Park and we can do the dolphin encounter. The reviews on trip advisor and else where are not really complimentary of this venue although there are a few who really enjoyed themselves. So we decided to give it a go. 
Okay so yes if you've been to the big one in San Diego then there is no comparison, but if you take it as a small venue geared for a day out with the kids then it is fine although a bit pricy, but you can find discounts if you try.
We arrive early and are ushered in to sign a waiver, get in your swim suit, stow any jewelry, watches, hats ect and get a life jacket. As'with most tours we have had here, directions are in Japanese and English with the Japanese tourists making up the largest group. I must say that watching the tourists react to things is sometimes more entertaining than what we signed up to view. 
We are in a group of about 15 and we are lined up in the water along the side of the pool. The water hits about a meter and a bit. The trainer is a Zoologist and she talks to is about dolphins. Ours is a male age 27, older than he would have been had he lived in the  wild. (Should we have animals in captivity...I have mixed feelings here )
There is another group in the pool who have paid $250 to swim with the dolphins, it looks cool, but too pricy for us. 
The relationship between the trainer and the dolphin is good, she talks to him constantly as you would to your dog. She explains that there are days when they don't feel like participating, in that case they just swim away and another dolphin takes over. We are not to touch his face but at times are able to feel his smooth belly, flippers, back and flukes. At one point he takes off to join another group, but returns in a moment. We give hand signals for him to rise up and kiss our cheek, we can then kiss him before signal ing him to come up out of the water and dance with us. I had a good time!
After a quick shower we dressed and caught the sea lion show before visiting the rest of the exhibits. The turtles are impressive and Sea Life Park releases 500 per year back into the wild. This is most likely why we see turtles at almost all the beaches we've been to. The shows are spread out every one and a half hours through the day and we don't really want to hang around so we move on. 
We have our lunch north of our home at the Crouching Lion which is named for a rock formation. the food is good if a bit pricy. We continue north and use our Go Oahu card to get general admission to the Polynesian Cultural Center.  We will pass on the Luau and Breath of Life show.
We arrive in time to enjoy the  canoe pageant which is a wonderful display of Country's colours and dances. Last time we came we watched this in a torrential down pour. We then caught the Samoan show. The man who lead this was so funny. His timing and comments were priceless. He made fire using two hibiscus sticks  and coconut fiber and he  had it going in record time. He also showed how to husk a co nut and break it with a rock. One of the other young men climbed a palm tree like a monkey. It was really impressive.
We also watched the Aotearoa show. I love their aggressive war chants! They also play a game where they toss sticks at each other while singing with out missing a beat.
In Fiji we enjoyed dances while the skies opened up and drenched those outside. We hung around after to watch the Tonga show. They focused on drumming and had a fellow from Canada, one from India and one from the Us help. It was funny. The Canadian was especially so.
The park is pretty empty because most people are off to the dinner before the big show.there are a lot of young people about setting up the grounds for the Haunted Lagoon show they  put on until Halloween. People are lined up to see this as we leave.

Posted by Mari Anne 10:03 Archived in USA Tagged sea park life center oahu cultural polynesian Comments (0)

Ahupua'a 'O Kahana State Park and Blue Hawaii


sunny 28 °C

We are hiking for a change of pace today. Not far up the road is Ahupua'a 'O Kahana State Park. We start with the drier and shorter Kapa'ele'ele Kp'a and Keaniani Kilo trail. This goes along the coast. the Kapa'ele'ele Ko'a is a shrine dedicated to fishing that is facing the sea. The Keaniani Kilo is a lookout where the fish watcher would look for the flashing of akule fish in the bay. he would signal to fisherman by means of a flag of white kappa. The fishermen would surround the fish with their nets and all the villagers would gather on shore to pull the nets in and share in the catch. An additional portion was set aside for visitors called an malihini. you can see the Huilua pond across the bay. 
Upon our return we set out on the more adventuresome loop through the valley. Insect repellent was the order of the day and thank goodness we had applied it. At times even with that youn could not stand still. We were swarmed. So we drive a little further up the valley and park. We then walk through an area where locals still live and up a service road to the trail head. Here you sign in to walk the Nakoa trail. This is the wettest valley on Oahu and we are warned about the showers. However we have clear sailing the whole way. this is good as some streams are I'm Asa Le after a rain. we are able to wade all streams easily.
The trail is narrow and muddy, there are signs of pigs and we are aware the hunting season is open, but no one has signed in to say they are uo there while we are. They generally have dogs with them so we would have been aware of the noise.
At times you can see how much water actually comes down the trail by the amount of duff pushed around on the forest floor..or should I say jungle. We see lots of Kukui or candlenut, Hau used for making rope, Ti which is used for many things such as lei making and thatching,  Ohi'a 'ai or mountain apple, guava,and Mango. The trail down has a bed of crushed coral from when the army in WWI created a jungle warfare training site here. they say over  300,000 soldiers learned to live off the land here. I hope they had bug repellent. 
By the time we were out we were ready for more to drink and some beach time before heading to oir home where a spin in the kayak was a nice way to finish out the afternoon. 
Roger has got an app so we can watch a movie on the iPad on the lanai.what better than Elvis in Blue Hawaii as the sun goes down. 
I forgot to mention they are filming a new series at the park called the River which is supposed to be out in January. This is an adventure series set in the Amazon. I might just take a boo at that.

Posted by Mari Anne 10:22 Archived in USA Tagged hiking wet trails kahana Comments (0)

A day at the ranch and all girls rodeo


sunny 28 °C

Another beautiful sunrise. I love that the forecast is for over cast skies, and a chance of rain and a chance of thundershowers, but we have had great sunny skies with the occasional cloud rolling over which is a nice break from the sun. 
Today's plan had us walking down the highway to Kaolua Ranch. It is a large working ranch that has a variety of activities. Today is a fair there. We are able to watch an all girls rodeo, the theme being 'Tough Enough to Wear Pink with a tie in to breast cancer research. We watch two events, the first is a race down the field grape vine back around eight posts, a second pass through the posts and straight back to the start. Of course you are not to knock down the posts. The best time was around 23 seconds. The second event had the grips in a chute. When a calf was released the girls had to ride along and grab a ribbon off it's back. The quickest ones took less than three seconds. Some never managed to get the ribbon. The calves were herded back along a fenced corridor to run again. 
The funniest part was the when a dog on a leash broke away from it's family and headed for the arena. He got under the fence and ran up the corridor herding the calves back to the field and taking out the cowboy who was herding them. Three kids followed along outside the fence. the dog disappears for the moment only to appear inside the arena where numerous cowboys and cowgirls try to grab the leash. He makes a break for it and takes off behind us never to be seen again.
They have lots of events for the keiki as well as discounted tickets to do their ranch and movie site tour. Lost was filmed here as was Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, Hawaii 5-O, and a number of other shows. We passed on the tour, but stopped for lunch as the grass fed beef is supposed to be really good. So the burgers were good, but the lady behind the counter was less than friendly. The entertainment was sparse and the local craft booths were ... Well they weren't there which is what we hoped for. We did check out the store there, but anything we liked that was local was pricy or made in China.
We took some time to enjoy our walk home, visit with both sets of neighbors  and we ran into our housekeeper and her son. 
We thought we might take the kayak north to Kanaha beach, but once we started out the waves got a little bigger that I liked. While the kayak is a big heavy one, it will still tip and I just didn't like the idea of trying to get back on in front of the point here where there is no beach, just rocks. We caught a few waves coming back and while it was exciting it was a little too scary for me. 
The sun sets here early and we thought about heading up to the Crouching Dragon for karaoke,  but after a nice dinner and a glass of wine..... So they do have a tv, but I won't watch live tv - too many commercials we were prepared with 'Phantom of the Opera'. I have always loved the music and story, but the movie just went on and on, I think I also found Christine's slack mouth stare at the phantom annoying. 
The next comment reflects the laid back atmosphere in Hawaii, however this laid back thing does not apply to the driving. No one goes the speed limit especially on Oahu, maui was a little calmer. Just in from of our place last night someone took out part of the guard rail. We never heard a thing. Also on our way down the highway some had lost their boat off their trailer. 
Here people ride on the backs of trucks, almost no one wears bike helmets on bikes or motorcycles, and life jackets seem to be only for the tourists.

Posted by Mari Anne 09:59 Archived in USA Tagged ranch rodeo kaaawa Comments (0)

Kailua Bay Kayak and bike

Sunny and wild, the waves were great

sunny 32 °C

Off to Kailua Bay today to take advantage of our Go Oahu cards. We picked up kayaks from Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks and headed off to the shore. They are close to the beach and come with a trailer and you just walk them over to the canal and put them in there. It is a short kayak to the beach where you have to pull them over a bit of sand and launch them into the waves. The surf was up today, but that just made it more fun. We headed to Mokolua Islands. We are only allowed to land on the big one and it is a rush. You head up the North side and surf onto shore avoiding the surfers who are enjoying the waves. Around the south side of the island is a natural swimming hole. It is not very big, but it is deep enough to jump in. Launching the kayaks was a challenge. Roger got a lull and away he went. My first try I wasn't fast enough and I was pushed back and had to wait until another lull in the waves. That time I was able to get seated and ready to paddle in time. The tide was going out so we were careful to come closer to shore around some reefs amd then out to Flat Island so name because it is.....flat. The shore birds are nesting and it is a nice little walk around the perimeter. Roger exclaimed excitedly. A turtle rose for air directly in front of him and he hit it. Oops. Back to shore we caught a few waves and as I landed the kayak dug into a wave rolling back to sea and flipped me. Wheeeee. We drifted down the canal a bit before packing things up and returning the kayaks. 
We picked up bikes from the same location. People on Hawaii rarely wear helmets, but they do have them...only they were all m/l. They finally found a youth helmet that was small enough for me. The bikes have no gears and you have to back peddle to brake. Kind of freaky at first. There is a bike path through some very expensive homes with some beach accesses that we checked out. There were a number of Portuguese man o war at one. 
We showered off ourselves and bikes, dried off a biIt and returned the bikes before putting on some dry clothes.
Next stop was the Windward Mall. I had a Groupon for the Gyu Koku restaurant. So first thing I noted was the Japanese tables were normal height  not the low ones. The servers all kneel at the table when they talk to you and there is a grill in the middle of your table. We get to cook some of our dishes. Anyway the y start with the edameme and Gyu salad which aphasia a tasty miso dressing. then the cheese wontons followed by traditional Miso soup, then a packet of cheese and broccoli that we cook. The cheese dishes are American. Then the garlic shrimp, the Toto Beef Shio, the Filet Mignon and the Hirami Miso Skirt Steak come out with our rice and we cook al of these. Roger is e noting the BBQ so he does the cooking. To wind it up they take the grill off the BBQ and we have s'mores. LOL.
Home now after a long busy day!

Posted by Mari Anne 09:33 Archived in USA Tagged dinner bay kayak bike japanese sunny kailua Comments (0)