Because we enjoyed the North Shore of Oahu so much, we made two separate treks to that part of the island. On one trip, we stopped along the way to see the Kaneohe military base where Harry (my father-in-law) was stationed right after World War II. Today, Kaneohe is a Marine air base, but in Harry’s day it was a naval base. In either case, the military is setting on one gorgeous piece of real estate. We rolled onto the base with cameras snapping and the video camera rolling (you’re shocked, I know)…that is until we stopped at the security gate and were asked not to photograph the entrance. Whoops! The young marine at the guard house was very sweet..and patient (I’m guessing he has lots of sisters and/or aunts at home)…and with a slight eyeroll, he allowed us to pull into a parking lot just inside the entrance to take a few shots of two World War II-era airplanes displayed near the gate.

Kaneohe Marine Corp Base Hawaii

As we headed north out of Kaneohe on Highway 83, we saw gorgeous ocean views on our right and verdant mountain peaks on our left. We didn’t know which way to turn.

Mountains along the highway to the North Shore

The farther north we went, the cloudier it got. Eventually, the low-hanging clouds obscured the mountain peaks. The mix of mountains and clouds was so beautiful, we hardly missed the sunshine.

Mountains along Pali Highway

By the time we reached the string of shrimp shacks littered along the North Shore, the sun was back out and the crowds had gathered. We were not deterred. We pulled into Giovanni’s on the recommendation of my niece, Alison, and my good friend, Sally, and elbowed our way onto an already crowded picnic table.

Giovanni's Shrimp Shack

If Alison and Sally hadn’t told us about the shrimp shacks–and if I didn’t trust both of them implicitly–I would have never thought to stop at this beat-up old RV for any reason–much less to pay good money for something that I was going to ingest, but, boy, am I glad we did.

Giovanni's Shrimp Shack

Carey wasted no time bellying up to the order window while Ruth, Janie, Carole, and I staked out our place at a table and chatted up the other tourists who were already elbow deep in garlic, butter, and shrimp shells.

Carey placing our order

While I never saw any signs stating as much, I came to believe that it’s illegal to serve anything in Hawaii without a side of rice. And yes, that is roasted garlic perched on top of the rice. Lots of roasted garlic. The shrimp is…well, the shrimp is indescribably delish. And I don’t even really like shrimp!

Shrimp Scampi a la Giovanni's...YUM!

With full bellies, greasy fingers, and breath that could knock over a buffalo 50 paces away, we got back into the car and headed to the infamous North Shore beaches to see the giant waves that that part of Hawaii is famous for. We weren’t disappointed, and we didn’t even get to see the really big ones. The waves we did see were big enough though. As we learned from the local news the next morning, the waves we were oohing and aahing over that afternoon were big enough to cause serious injuries to two surfers. I believe it.

Waves off the North Shore

Besides being enormous, the waves are also deafening–definitive evidence that Mother Nature is not to be trifled with…unless, that is, you have dog doodie for brains.

Another shot of the North Shore waves

The pull of the water on our ankles; the incredible colors of the sea, sand, and sky; the roaring waves hitting the lava formations along the shore; and the smell and taste of the salty sea air certainly gave us pause.

Janie wading in

Of course, the hunky surfers weren’t hard to contemplate, either.

More North Shore waves

The folks who purposely walk into that water carrying a big board that appears intent on knocking someone’s teeth out are certainly made of different stuff than I am.

North Shore waves at Waialua Bay

Giant waves at Waialua Bay

And please note, being young in this part of the world does not excuse you from paying homage to the surf gods.

Passing a love of surfing on to the next generation

As for us, we were perfectly happy holding down the beach towels. Hey, someone has to watch the crazies..and the sunsets. Just wait until you see our sunset photos! I’ll post them next.

Holding down the beach towels

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