Friday, July 28, 2017

Hawaii Vacation - Day 6: North Shore of Oahu

I had planned out most of our days on Oahu, but left Day 6 open to revisit a favorite spot or to go to a place we did not have time to see earlier in the week. We had gone to the North Shore the day before, but did not see nearly as much as we wanted to, so it was an easy choice to go back up there on our "free" day.

We made the hour drive for our rental cottage and first went to Waimea Bay. There are many great beaches on the North Shore, but I chose this one for the combination of a great setting, a sandy beach, protected bay waters that make it conducive for swimming, good facilities, and being a good spot for snorkeling as well.

We went out with our snorkeling gear and the water was crystal clear. The water gets deep pretty quickly but we all wore snorkel vests and that made me feel more secure.

At first we did not see any fish and started to head back to shore so we could move further up the beach. A man snorkeling called out that there were a thousand fish near him; so we swam over and indeed saw a very large school of fish swimming by. As we were marveling at this sight, he soon called over to us and told us that a turtle was headed our way. We put our heads into the water and got a great thrill in seeing a sea turtle swim right past us. (For those not familiar, sea turtles are much larger than the turtles you see in Midwestern ponds and lakes). I only wish that I had my underwater camera with me; I had stupidly forgotten to bring my battery charger so the camera was not functioning.

We later went further down the beach to a rocky area where cliff divers were jumping from. We figured it would be a good spot to see more fish and we were right. We saw a great variety and number of fish. My wife and I agreed that we enjoyed snorkeling here even more than at Hanauma Bay which was the more famous snorkeling site. Hanauma Bay was beautiful, but it was crowded and when we went, it was low tide and difficult to swim near the reef.

After a couple hours of snorkeling, Kai said he wanted to leave. We were surprised, as we thought we would have to drag him out of the water, but he seemed really tired on this morning. But he posed for a nice photo here; the water looked even more beautiful now that the sun was shining brightly.

After that, we drove a few miles into the town of Haleiwa. It was lunchtime and I knew just where I wanted to go; to Giovanni's Shrimp Truck.

There was a long line of people, but I had been told that this was the spot for great shrimp. So, we waited to order and then waited for our food. In all, we probably waited 45 minutes. Kai looked very tired but at least he wasn't complaining (too much).

The wait was well worth it, however, as the shrimp was wonderful.

We had ordered both the garlicky scampi as well as the shrimp with lemon and butter. We all agreed that the scampi was our favorite.

After lunch, we wanted to see a little more of the town of Haleiwa. Kai grumbled about having to walk. He really did seem tired and it was very hot in the sun so we decided to drive to our next destination, Matsumoto's Shave Ice.

Oahu has many shave ice places, but Matsumoto's is the most acclaimed. So it was not surprising that there was a long line there as well. My wife got out of the car to get into line, while I searched around for a parking spot. It took awhile to find a spot, but my wife was still well back in the line when Kai and I caught up with her.

As we moved up to the front of the line, we picked out our flavors and watched as they prepared our order.

Kai chose lilikoi, lychee, and coconut cream flavors. I chose gauava, mango, and papaya topped with condensed milk over azuki beans. My wife got the "Ichiban" (which means best in Japanese). Her flavor was green tea, and the shave ice was topped with ice cream, azuki, and condensed milk, and had mochi on the side.

Here is a closeup of my wife's fantastic choice. She said this is like the shave ice she had back in Japan.

I liked my shave ice, but will say that the one we had at Island Snow in Kailua was just as good. My wife thought her's at Matsumoto's was the absolute best.

Once Kai had his shave ice, he was in a much better mood.

When we returned to our car, we found chickens in the nearby park hanging out with some pigeons. I still can't get over how many chickens we've seen in towns all over the island.

Our next stop was Laniakea beach, which is famous for sea turtles coming ashore. And sure enough, there were two sunning themselves when we got there.

These turtles must come there very frequently as they each have names and their information is posted.

A rope is placed 10 feet around each turtle to keep people from going right up to them.

After seeing a sea turtle swim past us in the morning, it was great to get a close-up view of two of them on shore.

Driving back from the North Shore to Kailua, we decided to take the longer, slower, but more scenic route along the ocean. Here's one spot we stopped at near the northeast corner of the island.

Back in Kailua, we went to dinner at Kalipawai Cafe. We started with fire-roasted octopus which were very delicious.

My wife had Ono, a local fish that is similar to mackerel. Kai had gumbo.

I had seared marlin, and this was my favorite dinner entree of the trip so far.

So it was a good food day, and a great day overall.

I haven't written much about Kai's difficulties as he really hasn't had any really bad moments so far. And that is the best thing of all.


  1. Wow, another good day. I loved all of the great food you had eaten. I noticed smiles all around. You are going to miss Hawaii. My favorite beaches were all along the North shore. Except, there was one on the West shore where I used to go for the sunsets. I used to cross Kole Kole pass to reach it. The things I miss most about Hawaii are the waves, and the aroma of Plumeria riding on the cooling Trade Winds. You are going to have a lifetime of memories.

    1. Loved all the food we had!

      We've enjoyed all of the beaches we went to, but Waimea Bay on the North Shore is probably our all-around favorite. We'll have to come back some day to try some of the other North Shore beaches.

      The Plumeria are if full bloom right now and you can find them everywhere.

      I was last in Hawaii when I was the age Kai is now, and my memories from that trip are amongst my favorite of may youth. I hope Kai will have similar types of memories from this trip.


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