Destinations · Hawaii

First Days – Oahu

Waikiki and Diamond Head

Admittedly, blogging while being in a beautiful destination such as Hawaii was impossible for me. As I’m writing this, we are still here, but the trip is winding down. It’s getting easier to find some time for it.

To reel it all back to the beginning – we started in Oahu and landed smack dab in Tourist Zone Central, in the Waikiki I had always heard about and never been. It was beautiful and I soaked up the scenes that I had only ever seen pictures of.

We heard many times that it was not as crowded as pre-Covid. The Japanese are not visiting right now, and they used to be a big part of the tourist crowds. We moved as we wanted to, but masks were a must for transportation and inside restaurants and stores.

Our condo was a couple of blocks away from most of the hotels and shopping district, and sat to the side of the Ala Wai canal:

The view from the balcony, 19th floor

We liked being high in the air in order to survey our kingdom. Despite the height, we could hear roosters crowing in the dark every morning.

Just down from our condo, we could walk into Fort Derussy Beach Park, with beautiful trees and flowers.

A spider lily

The park opens on to Waikiki beach, and we joined that day’s crowd of people to enjoy the sunset, plus the gift of a rainbow over Diamond Head:

On our first full day, we met with our friends Kathy and John to catch up on plenty of years past, and to go to the Honolulu zoo together.

Photo credit : Kathy Jarvis

We were all hot and tired, so ice cream was in order. At a little ice cream stand, Kathy talked us into an acai bowl. We had seen these the night before on the beach. Cal wanted some ice cream and we saw a sign that said “healthy treats”. Cal and “healthy treats” just don’t go together, so we passed. With Kathy’s recommendation, though, we gave it a try. The bowl that Cal and I shared had organic acai, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, granola, honey, coconut, and peanut butter, and it was delicious.

Cal and Kathy with their acai bowls

A few days later, we met up with their whole family for a whale watch. Whale watching, if you’ve never been, involves a whole lot of waiting for whales to show themselves. And when they do, it is breathlessly exciting. There are many whales in the waters off Hawaii right now. It’s their winter break, and they come to mate, calve, and nurse their young after making the 3,000 mile trip from Alaska. They’ve been gorging themselves in Alaska, and don’t need to eat when in the warmer waters of Hawaii. On a whale watch, the boat is required to maintain a 100-yard radius from the whales when they are seen.

The first indication that a whale is nearby is the puff of water that is coming out of its blowhole. They are above water only briefly unless you are lucky to see them totally jumping full body in the air. I’m a very amateur photographer, and all I have on hand at present is my phone. I try to be prepared for that special moment but what I get is a whole lot of pictures of nothing but water!

See the whale in the water?
I got the whale’s tail this time!

The whales were hanging around not far off of Waikiki Beach and the one we were watching came very close to some kayakers. If a whale is spotted, boats have to stay outside a 100-yard radius to watch it. Nothing can stop the whale from coming closer to the boat, however. We weren’t that lucky this time.

While waiting for whales and enjoying the boat ride, though, it was fun to get pictures of the family, and Kathy and John’s very cute granddaughters, Hanna and Kate.

Hanna and her Dad, Nick. Photo Credit: Kathy Jarvis
Kate, the ship’s captain! Photo credit: Kathy Jarvis
Enjoying our whale watch! Photo credit: Kathy Jarvis
Coming back into port

The Hawaiian word for humpback whale is kohola, with a line over the a. Their culture sees the whale as an ancient being, revered as a physical manifestation of Kanaloa, god of the sea.

Next time – traveling to Oahu’s north shore

2 thoughts on “First Days – Oahu

  1. What a wonderful time! We visited there while on a cruise. We only had one day, but it was a long day something like 7 am to 10 pm. We hiked up Diamond Head. We spent the day with Dan’s niece and her husband who was stationed there on the military base – which we visited also. I’m interested in reading about the North Shore; we did not make it there. A condo is a great way to visit Hawaii. I love that spider lily plant!

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