Hawaiian Waters: Day 3

Our third day on Oahu, we started out the morning with a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, before heading off to walk along Waikiki beach.

For the most part it was a casual stroll, some window shopping, pictures along the beach, and enjoying the morning. The sun was already bright and warm, so we stuck to the shade as much as possible.

After a little while we headed back to the hotel to check out before going back to the airport to grab a rental car. As I mentioned in my first post, rental cars were one of the factors that caused us to pick Oahu rather than other islands, as they had some availability at a more reasonable rate.

Once in our car, we took off to explore more of the island. First stop, Pearl Harbor.

Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions, tours of the USS Arizona Memorial were full up so we were unable to actually visit that. I’m sure they were limiting numbers, and it was Memorial Day Weekend, so perhaps busier than other weeks.

There were at least other parts of the site that we could visit, the museums and other memorials. We wandered around those for a little bit, checking out exhibits and learning more about the details of what happened there. It was interesting to see the place I’d read about so many times in my history classes over the years.

After we were done at Pearl Harbor, it was just about lunch time. My brother insisted we try a Hawaiian chain restaurant called Zippy’s. Apparently he’d heard about it before and was curious. My family actually enjoys trying local chain restaurants, just out of curiosity.

At Zippy’s we enjoyed having a variety of different dishes. However, we really enjoyed getting to try malasadas, a Portuguese fried dough that’s still uncooked in the middle. I wasn’t sure if I loved the texture, but it was at least interesting to try something new.

After our meal, we took off to head to our next place we’d be staying at. We’d rented a small apartment on the water in Makaha through Vrbo.

We arrived at our new place and got settled in. After that we decided to head out and try some snorkeling in the little bay we were situated on.

Down at the beach we found a spot to settle in for the afternoon. We took turns going out with our snorkels. Just as we were getting in, my mom said she thought she saw a sea turtle. I was so excited as I’d never seen one in the wild before! Unfortunately before I could spot it, it disappeared. I was pretty disappointed.

I’m definitely not a snorkeling expert, but I’ve gotten better the more I’ve practiced as with everything. My first time trying was in Mexico when I was a teenager, and I gave up pretty easily. Since then I’d tried again in Colombia, mostly letting my father help lead me around by the wrist in shallow areas, not doing much exploring on my own.

But this time I felt prepared. I’d practiced a bit in my bathtub. As humiliating as that sounds, it did work to get me more adjusted to the feel of my mask and snorkel. I am a person who largely breathes out her nose, so it was good practice to work on not doing that and therefore not fogging up my mask.

The waves were a little stronger than I had faced in previous experiences, but I worked on just staying calm and letting them push me around a little. I was just gaining some confidence when my father started yelling my name.

Not going to lie, I definitely initially thought a shark was headed straight at me or I’d somehow gotten myself in danger.

But when I looked up I saw him waving frantically and swam over to where he was not too far away.

There, sure enough in the water was a sea turtle! Not a big one, but still right up close! I was so excited to get to see this amazing animal in person. Probably my favorite experience from the whole trip.

All in all we had a good time and enjoyed the water and some tropical fish. There were no further turtle sightings, but we felt pretty satisfied as we headed back upstairs to clean up.

Once we were done with that, we though maybe we’d go for a hike at Ka’ena Point State Park nearby. The sun was going down, so it seemed like a nice time to avoid the heat.

Unfortunately, we arrived to find the road blocked off. The park was officially closed just a few minutes before we got there. Are you sensing a pattern? Don’t worry, this is going to happen more than once on the trip! Somehow we just managed to arrive several places outside of operating hours. I’ll admit our family is used to parks that are open dawn to dusk, and as the sun wasn’t down yet it seemed a viable option. Just a good reminder to always check hours before heading somewhere. At least it was close to where we were staying.

Thankfully, on the way back we had fun stopping at Kaneana Cave, a volcanic cave right off the side of the road. It was pretty good sized, so we had fun poking all the way to the back, stopping only when it became apparent any further expedition would involve shimmying on our bellies and probably getting very dirty or possibly stuck.

After we’d had our brief evening adventure, we headed to grab some dinner. As it was the holiday weekend and no one was exceptionally hungry, we opted to just grab fast food and go back to our apartment to dine on the balcony. We picked up McDonalds and were back just in time to watch the sunset.

Definitely not the fanciest dinner, but the view was amazing! After we polished off our food, my dad, my brother, and I decided to go snoop along the ocean in the dark and see what we might find out and about. We figured it would make for a good way to end the day, and then we could finish off with a swim in the pool before heading to bed.

I actually am a huge fan of night walks, especially to search out wildlife. When I was a little girl, and I went camping, I always loved going down to the water at night and shining a flashlight out to see if we saw any eyes in the darkness. I did a night jungle walk in Costa Rica, and it is to this day one of my favorite travel memories.

This walk was not too exciting, though we did see several ghost crabs along the shore before they’d disappear into the waves, as well as some needlefish that would catch the glint of the flashlight. Definitely a fun little adventure to end our day.

After swimming in the pool for a bit, we headed back upstairs to get some sleep for another busy day ahead. Stay tuned, the next two days were dedicated to seeing as much of the island as possible, so there are plenty more adventures to share.

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