Aloha All My Fellow Adventure Seekers!!!!

Have you ever traveled somewhere and had a knowing that you belong there? Well, I had that when I traveled to Hawaii. It truly is paradise!!! From the moment you step off the plane there are Hawaiian singers and dancers to greet you, draping a deep purple and white lei over your head, wishing aloha to each tired traveler. Their warm welcome breathes life back into a tired body and the whiff of pikake and plumeria flowers circling in the warm trade winds is intoxicating. There’s even a waterfall in the Honolulu airport. From the moment you debark the plane you’ve already transitioned to tropical living.

If you haven’t traveled to the island of Oahu yet, it’s time for you to. My daughter and granddoggy, Lucas, live there. I admit, it was a bit challenging getting to the island from the mainland during the COVID-19 Pandemic but well worth the extra effort. I tested “negative”; therefore, I didn’t have to quarantine and was able to hit the ground running. If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know that I just LOVE the outdoors. The weather in Hawaii is magnificent. Honolulu is the most temperate city in the U.S.; the only one with average highs in the 80’s 12 months a year. The trade winds keep the consistent temperatures pleasant. Everything blooms year round. A nice welcome from the cold, dark and gray winter months. Hawaii breathed new life into me when I arrived.

I was so happy to see my daughter and Lucas because I hadn’t seen them since last year. He remembered me and did the whole puppy zoom thing when he saw me, which made me so happy. The morning after I arrived, the three of us walked to the beach, with coffees in hand to watch the colorful sunrise over the water and between the Mokulua Islands. We brought along a ball to toss in the water for Lucas. I love watching him prance out of the water with the biggest smile on his face while holding the ball in his mouth.

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The East Side, or Windward Side beaches of Hawaii, are scattered with soft white sand that’s cool to the touch. They’re truly magnificent and there’s always something to see while sitting on a beach. Sometimes its parasailors on wakeboards, other times its surfers and the occasional dogs frolicking in the sand and water.

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All the beaches in Hawaii have something special to offer. Whether it’s peacefully snorkeling on the West Side with dolphins and seeing the most colorful and mesmerizing fish swim by, or checking out the world famous surfing competitions at Bonzai Beach on the North Shore, or packing a picnic to kayak or paddleboard to Chinaman’s Hat, there’s something for everyone.

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Another sport I absolutely love is hiking and each and every hiking trail has spectacular ocean views on all sides. If you’re lucky, on the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, you can catch a glimpse of humpback whales which visit from December through February. We could see water shoot up from their blow hole as they began to breach. I never knew you could whale watch in Hawaii. The whales migrate down to Hawaii from Alaska for the winter to mate and give birth. After the whale calves are born, they gain up to 200 pounds a day during the first few weeks of their life. WOW!!!! I won’t complain about the 3 pounds I gained while there–haha.

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Another beautiful hiking trail is at Waimea Falls on the North Shore which takes you through breathtaking botanical gardens and a big waterfall at the top of the trail. Then there’s the Lanikai Pillbox hike which promises some of the best views on the island. This is more of a rock scrambling hike so make sure you wear hiking boots.

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Once you’ve experienced the views from the hikes, the astonishing rainbows, and the beautiful beaches, you’ll understand why so many movies were filmed in Hawaii. Specifically at Kualoa Ranch which also offers many fun adventures allowing you to tour their grounds. We took a tour where we got to drive an ATV Raptor around the ranch with helmets on and everything. My daughter drove the ATV while I took pictures. Jurassic Park, King Kong, Jumanji and many other others were filmed right at this ranch. The whole valley looked pretty prehistoric and you felt that at any moment a dinosaur would jump out in front and devour you. Our guide was hysterical. He had a hand puppet that he strategically placed in front of his camera so that it looked like one was coming after us, ready to eat us.

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If you’re looking for a fun evening activity, one of the top things on your list should be the Maita’i Catamaran Mahina Moonlight Sail to watch fireworks over Waikiki. There’s nothing like it. It’s so much fun because all the people on the boat are there to have a good time. You can even find 2 for 1 Groupons. This is one thing you shouldn’t miss during your stay.

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Another tidbit I want to throw in is that Hawaii is known for their astonishing rainbows and even their license plates have rainbows on them. I was there for 3 full weeks and saw rainbows on all days but 2. Many times there were 3-4 in a day. I’ve never seen rainbows where you can actually see the starts and stops of them. What’s really spectacular is when you’re driving through a tunnel and then when you emerge there’s a brightly colored rainbow right in front of you.

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There’s a beautiful Japanese Temple there called, Byodo-In. It’s located at the foot of the Ko’olau Mountains in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. It was established on June 7, 1968, to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. The temple and grounds are truly reminiscent of temples in Japan.

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The Aulani Disney Resort, which is on the West Side of the island offers gorgeous sunsets. Our favorite thing at the resort was the lazy river ride that zig zagged throughout the resort and the infinity hot tub which overlooked the ocean. You can lay back while the water jets release your tight muscles from all the adventures you’ve been on while here. At night enjoy dinner outside with live Hawaiian music and a sunset over the water.

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If you’re in Hawaii over Christmas, you just have to do the Waikiki Christmas Trolley Holiday Lights Tour driven by Santa himself. Santa takes you around Honolulu to see all the beautiful Christmas lights. It was so much fun and we sang Christmas songs while sitting on a very decorated double-decker trolley.

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Obviously, I couldn’t leave Hawaii without going to a luau. They say that the best one on the island is the Paradise Cove one on the North Side. I went on stage to learn how to hula and even got an official certificate indicating that I was a certified hula dancer—ha ha ha. When you arrive, they greet you with a lei and a mai tai. We even made beautiful flower crowns to wear. It was interesting to learn about the different Polynesian cultures. The dances were magnificent, and the fire dance where the guys twirled fire sticks soooo fast and threw them back and forth to each other, was exhilarating. We even got to watch them unearth the buried pig for the luau that was cooking underground all day long. The food was delicious and watching the show as we ate was very entertaining.

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If you don’t scuba dive, the next best thing to do is to make a reservation on The SemiSub One. I wasn’t able to go this time because time ran out but will on my next visit. The boat is partially submerged which allows guests an underwater view similar to that of a scuba diver. It offers underwater viewing of the beautiful Honolulu reefs and their sea life—turtles, dolphins, stingrays and squid.

The Locals are incredibly friendly and helpful. They greet you with an Aloha and when you leave they use the same word. It can be used for hello and goodbye. The word, “Aloha” is an essence of being: love, peace, compassion, and a mutual understanding of respect. Aloha means living in harmony with the people and land around you with mercy, sympathy, grace, and kindness. When I would enter shops I’d say, “Aloha” and when I left, I’d say “Mahalo” to the shop keeper, which means, thank you.

One last thing, I’d like to introduce you to an amazing photographer, Ruth, with pierleandblumphotography who took several of the pictures I posted here.  Check her out on Instagram.  She’s a true artist.

My next article will be on how you can eat your way around the island.

I’ll be planning our next adventure together so stay tuned!!!
Huggles and Smoochies,
Your Friend, Susan