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Since both of our condos faced west–and because, as a group, we never managed to get up early enough to go out where we could see a sunrise–we are top heavy with sunset pictures. Now that we’re back home, I’m kind of kicking myself for not making the effort to capture a sunrise, but there’s not much I can do about it now, I suppose. I’m not complaining…really…and I’m guessing that after you see our pictures, you won’t be either. Enjoy.

Sunset from our lanai in Kona - Big Island

We didn’t realize it at the time, but the haze you commonly see in Hawaii is caused by the volcanic ash in the atmosphere from Kilauea. The locals call it “vog.” Clever, no? Not to be confused with the haze we saw in Los Angeles which is neither volcanic ash, nor fog. It’s just nasty.

Sunset over the lava flow - Big Island

Sunset over the lava flow - Big Island

Sunset over the harbor in downtown Kona - Big Island

Sunset over Waikiki through the "vog" - Oahu

The trade winds shifted the third day we were on Oahu and blew the vog away from us, so the sunset pictures from here on out are much clearer.

While shopping in the little town of Haleiwa on the North Shore, a shop owner suggested we join the locals to watch the sunset in a nearby park. I will always be grateful to that guy. We took more than 50 pictures of the sunset over Waialua Bay. I’ll be judicious and only post three.

Sunset over Waialua Bay - Oahu

Sunset over Waialua Bay - Oahu

Sunset over Waialua Bay - Oahu

The next night, we were treated to a fabulous sunset at the luau we attended at Paradise Cove. I can’t honestly recommend the luau, but the sunset was spectacular!

Sunset over Paradise Cove - Oahu

On our final evening in Hawaii, Mother Nature provided a breathtaking sunset over Waikiki to photograph and enjoy. We were grateful.

Sunset over Waikiki - Oahu

The building in Waikiki aglow from the sunset - Oahu

Sunset over Waikiki - Our last sunset in Hawaii

And with that, I bring my posts about our Hawaiian adventures to a close; however, because it was such an amazing trip, I’m sure the stories and pictures will continue to pop up in my blog for a long time to come. Come back and visit anytime.


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

Well, you had to know this was coming. What’s a trip to Hawaii without beaches? Not much, I’m here to tell you. Here are a few of our favorites on the island of Oahu.

Some of the most gorgeous shorelines you’ll find anywhere are along the southeastern coast of Oahu just passed Hanauma Bay heading northeast. The colors on this part of the island are blinding. We stopped at several pullouts along Kalanianaole Highway to snap pictures and enjoy the sunshine.

The shoreline along Kalanianaole Highway

The shoreline along the Kalanianaole Highway

While stopped at this pullout, we got to see the beach where the famous love scene in From Here to Eternity was filmed. You would really have to want to get to that beach to climb down the lava cliff it takes to get there. But gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous.

The beach from Here to Eternity

A few miles further on, we stopped to see (and, of course, take pictures of) the Halona Blowhole.

The Halona Blowhole

Thar she blows!

The Halona Blowhole

No, Ruth. We’re not in Kansas anymore…we’re not in Missouri, either.

Shoreline along the Kalanianaole Highway

At the beach in the picture below, signs warn people to stay out of the water unless they are expert swimmers and/or surfers. The waves here looked enormous–at least, they did until we got to the North Shore–even so, I wouldn’t ignore the signs!

Wawamalu Beach - also called Sandy Beach

Further up the shoreline, we stopped to take pictures of Kaohikaipu Island (also called Rabbit Island–don’t ask me why–they told us when I was there last winter, but I don’t remember the details) and the Makapuu Point Lighthouse.

Kaohikaipu Island is also called Rabbit Island

Makapuu Point Lighthouse

Unfortunately, our stops at all these gorgeous beaches were for photo ops only, no swimming. That changed a few days later when Janie, Carey, and I spent the morning snorkeling and swimming at Hanauma Bay…even though there were jellyfish warnings posted.

Danger, Will Robinson! Run away! Run away!

Really. Jellyfish warning signs. Apparently, when park personnel arrived that morning to open the bay to the public, they found close to 200 Portuguese Man o’ War jellyfish washed up onto the beach. Oooooo. Good thing we left Carole in Honolulu. But Hanauma Bay is absolute Paradise. How could we possibly NOT get in? So we did, and we didn’t see a single jellyfish…except on the signs.

Hanauma Bay in all its glory

Hanauma Bay is essentially an enormous natural aquarium, a protected ecosystem where sea lions, turtles, and spinner dolphins frolic year round. In the winter, particularly in February, Hanauma Bay becomes a prime spot for whale watching.

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay

Although Janie, Carey, and I failed to spot sea lions, turtles, or dolphins, we did see hundreds of brightly colored fish that swam around within inches of us as we skimmed over the reefs where they live. We also saw Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukaupua’a. Seriously. The humuhumunukunukaupua’a. You can find t-shirts everywhere with its name printed across the front…around the side…across the back…around the other side…

The beach at Hanauma Bay

We also enjoyed the sand, the sunshine, a snooze, the sound of the waves, the incredibly blue sky…another snooze.

The view from Janie's beach blanket

Heaven. Pure heaven.

From the beginning, Pearl Harbor was at the top of Ruth’s list of sites to visit in Hawaii. For good reason. She knew three of the young men who died on the USS Arizona the morning of December 7, 1941. Nothing–including her fear of water–was going to deter her from visiting the memorial and paying her respects. The somber atmosphere is palpable from the moment you pull into the parking lot.

Entering the Memorial Visitor Center

The launch over to the Memorial

The Memorial out in the harbor

The Memorial perched over the sunken Arizona

The entrance to the Memorial

The ambiance surrounding the Memorial is one of silent respect.

Inside the Memorial

Thanks to the leis that Janie and Darrell treated us to upon our arrival in Honolulu, we had gorgeous flowers with which to honor the three brave Kansas farm boys who perished along with more than 1,100 other servicemen and civilians.

De-stringing our leis


Petals floating above the submerged ship

The list of men killed that morning covers one end of the memorial. You cannot helped but be overwhelmed by the loss the wall represents. As the mother of a much-adored young adult son, the mother-in-law of the perfect son-in-law, and the aunt of six lovable young adult nephews–one of whom is a navy veteran–I could hardly breathe.

The wall of names

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a month since my last post. Which reminds me, if any of you are within the sound of my voice the next time I idiotically tell my traveling companions, “Oh, I’ll organize all our pictures,” you must promise me to grab the nearest newspaper, roll it up as tightly as you can, and give me a good, solid smack. Turns out, between the five of us, we took nearly 1,400 picture, and that doesn’t count the five full DVDs worth of video that Carole shot. Thankfully, making something of Carole’s footage is a project for another day. As it was, compiling the photos, organizing them chronologically, labeling them, and getting them burned onto DVDs for everyone took forever. It didn’t help that my nearly six-year-old computer was waaaay too low on memory and was making threatening-to-explode noises the whole time. I got a wicked new computer out of the deal, but that’s a story for another day. Anyway, the good news is the pictures are done. Finally. And I’m anxious to share the last half of our Hawaiian adventures with you.

The last time I wrote, I believe we’d just arrived in Honolulu. While not all of the pictures I’m sharing in this post were taken on the same day, together they give you a good overview of where we stayed in Waikiki. In subsequent postings, I’ll take you to Pearl Harbor, some of Oahu’s beaches, and then to the North Shore. In my final post on Hawaii, I’ll share some of the photos we took of the glorious sunsets we were lucky enough to enjoy…then, I’m going to tackle the videos. Sigh.

The first picture is the entrance to our condo, a 50-yard long arbor draped with orchids. Ahhhhh.

The entrance to our condo in Waikiki

Our view off the lanai was both beautiful and entertaining. For example, the morning after Halloween, the beach was littered with revelers who’d chosen to just lie where they’d fallen the night before. Most days, we enjoyed watching the surfers, the paddle-boarders, and the variety of ships and small watercraft that were ever present. Unfortunately, we couldn’t hear the surf over the other noises of the city.

Waikiki Beach down below our balcony

The pinkish-color building in this photo is The Royal Hawaiian which was one of the first two hotels to open on Waikiki Beach in the late 1920s. Besides its iconic appearance, The Royal Hawaiian is famous for being the home of the world’s first mai tai and Shirley Temple cocktails. I have nothing to report concerning the latter, but I can tell you without hesitation that a Royal Hawaiian mai tai takes no prisoners. And that’s all I saying about that.

The Royal Hawaiian, home of the world's first mai tai

At one point, we tied a brightly colored shirt on the railing of our lanai so we could tell which lanai was ours. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a picture of it and counting up that high makes me dizzy. You can just guess where we were.

The Waikiki Beach Tower, our condo, from the street below

Our view of Waikiki Beach at street level was just as entertaining as from high above. You see all kinds and people from all over the world. Thankfully, we saw very few thongs or Speedos.

Activity at Waikiki Beach in front of our condo

This guy is Duke Kahanamoku, the most famous surfer and swimmer in Hawaii…ever. He was also an eel wrestler. According to the January 29, 1913, issue of the Long Beach Press, Duke wrestled a ten-foot eel “to the death,” losing the index finger on his right hand in the process. Clearly a stud muffin of the highest order. Today, he stands watch over Waikiki, holding leis and taking pictures of tourists from a video camera posted high on a pole in front of him.

The Duke on the beach at Waikiki

Walking along Kalakaua Avenue, the street that runs parallel to the beach, is a study in juxtaposition. Sunbathers in flip flops (or slippas, as the natives call them) stroll beach tote-to-Prada bag with shoppers in three-inch stilettos. Name any high-end retailer in the Western world. It’s on Kalakaua Avenue, right next to a McDonald’s, Burger King, or ABC convenience store. Hmmmmm.

Walking along Kalakaua Avenue, the street that runs parallel to Waikiki Beach

One of our last mornings in Waikiki, Mother Nature treated us to a rainbow that started downtown and arced right out into the water. Stunning!

A Waikiki rainbow

A Waikiki rainbow

Next, our trip to Pearl Harbor. Aloha!

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