August 22, 2013

Beach Life on Oahu

Obviously you can't go to Hawaii without going to the beach, and it was on the top of my list.  I'm pretty sure Joe and I made it to one every day of our stay.  We even got up early to have time to do breakfast beach side, set up our hammock between the palm trees for some reading, swim, and scuttle our butts back to the hotel to shower before our noon check out.

I love the ocean.  And I'm sure everybody says that, but I can't wait to live by an ocean.  Growing up my grandma lived a house in Connecticut and rented a house Massachusetts- both within a couple hundred steps of the water.  Actually she could tell you off the top of her head the number of stair steps down to the ocean from her house in Massachusetts.  She grew up there too, and my grandfather's side has been living in Marblehead since before America started fighting for independence.  I'm pretty sure that love for the ocean is just in my blood. The smell, the sound, it all just makes me the happiest lady you ever did see.

Because I want to be at the ocean as soon as physically possible we tried out a couple options for having breakfast on the ocean.  The best was eating at Hula Grill in Waikiki.  Tables are right outside on a second floor porch overlooking the beach.  And it was very conveniently located across the street from our hotel (the Princess Kaiulani Sheraton).

 mmmmm, coffee.

The pictures aren't fantastic because they're from my phone (sorry), but that's the view from where we sat.  And you can tell the food was good because I forgot to take pictures until I was more than halfway finished.

I had a Benedict Caprese- that's a poached egg, macadamia nut pesto hollandaise, spinach, and tomato over an English muffin- plus breakfast potatoes.  It was amazing.

Joe opted for the Fried Rice Fo' Days-  two eggs, kalua pork, smoked bacon, and kukui portuguese sausage.  It was all gone except this itty bitty bite by the time I got to taking pictures, so it's safe to says he loved it.

Each meal was just over $10.  It was also a pretty good amount of food, you just can't tell because we ate everything first.  I also very highly recommend the croissant french toast with strawberries and bacon creme.  It's freaking delicious and basically everything you could want if you're hankering for a sweeter breakfast.

Before we left I got up to get the full view from the prime seating next to the banister to give you guys a proper representation:

Not too shabby.

The other decent breakfast option is getting take out from Eggs 'n Things (way faster than the line to eat in), and eating it at the picnic tables on the beach that are right across the street.

Our closest beach was Waikiki Beach, so we spent most of our time there.

You can't tell, but Joe is one of those tiny bobbing heads.  The thing I liked about Waikiki Beach was that there are areas that have rocks to break the currents for kids and less brave souls to swim without getting side swiped by a big wave.  And then there are pasts without anything blocking you where I could float in the big waves with less people around.

Less being relative, because there are thousands of other people staying right by this beach too.

The other nice thing is that you're super close to all of the other amenities too.  There's beach chairs, umbrellas, and floats for rent if you're looking or one. There's Duke's Bar (just underneath Hula Grill) if you're looking for a beverage or some food.  And there's ABC stores literally everywhere for anything else you may want.

In an ambitious venture one day Joe and I thought we'd hunt out a less crowded beach.  We were headed for the Ala Moana Beach, but ended up at Fort Derussy Beach Park on our way there are figured that was good enough for us.  They have a large grassy area where couples lounged around on blankets and one huge family were grilling.   They also had sand volley ball courts for those more action oriented than myself.

As I explained on the hiking post, Joe was obsessed with the trees here, so you are blessed with another few tree pictures here too.

We parked ourselves in the grass for a little bit to try and catch just a bit of shade.  I had a fruit-by-the-foot that kept hitting Joe, so he got inspired to try and catch an artsy picture.

And once we cooled down from our walk we hit the sand.  It's a skinny beach (or maybe we were just there for high tide), but I think it was a little less busy that Waikiki.  Plus if you were going to grill out if would be perfect.

You can't really tell by the picture above, but they had these paddle-boats that were kind of like a four wheeled water bike/tractor.  Very strange.

On another day we made a very failed attempt at finding hikes on other parts of the island.  But we did manage to explore the other side of the island in a big loop on just one bus fare apiece and had a pretty fantastic adventure in the process.  Long story short, google maps and I are still working on our communication issues.

We took Thebus from Waikiki to Honolulu and then through the mountains to Kailua, a much more residential area on the wind ward side of the island.  The bus ride itself was so exciting.  I'm sure it's tremendously touristy sounding to someone from there, but it is an absolutely beautiful drive through the mountain jungles.

If you find yourself in Kailua you MUST eat at Moke's Bread and Breakfast.  It's fantastic diner-style breakfast food in a wide open restaurant with outdoor seating.  We were so starving by the time we got there I ordered a breakfast special (2 eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast) plus a side of french toast and an apple cinnamon muffin to go.  The very large man next to us looked very surprised when our food arrived and quite impressed once I finished the whole thing.  It was literally the perfect breakfast.

From there we planned on doing this ambitious two hour hike that was unfortunately going to be quite the challenge to get to and from.  While waiting for a bus from breakfast closer to the hike we got forced into conversation with an abrasive, angry homeless man.  For the record, it's not that we have anything against talking with homeless people.  We are not arrogant enough to be thinking that we are above talking to them.  We both professionally work with homeless population, and do our best to offer them kindness and respect as we have no money to offer.  This man in particular was bent on calling Joe an endless string of profanities and trying to convince me that I oughtn't be with someone like him.  It didn't take long for us to decide to walk instead.

What I didn't realize was that because Kailua is so much more residential it was a serious challenge to hunt down a public entrance to the beach.  But we got there!  And just look at how beautiful (and empty) it was:

It's like a freaking postcard.   The water seemed a lot calmer on this side too.  We didn't get in because we didn't want to be salty and sandy for the rest of the day and unlike our touristy beach in Waikiki they don't have public showers to rinse off.

We decided that after this walk had taken much longer than we anticipated, and it was quite a long way yet just to get to the hike, that we'd skip it and head to our next plan- a hike up to a lighthouse on the south side of Oahu.

The bus we took for unexplained reasons wasn't going to whole way, so it dropped up off in the middle of a neighborhood where another bus would come along in 20 minutes.  We settled ourselves in a patch of shade and took in the crazy views.  Like the rest of this gorgeous island, the ocean was juxtaposed with huge, magnificent mountains.

Another bud picked us up and dropped us off at the Sea Life Park- supposedly where we could walk up to the lighthouse.  When we asked a woman at the Sea Life Park entrance how to get there, she balked that we hadn't driven.  Not a good sign.  We were supposed to talk past two parking lots before we got to the entrance.  We crossed the road where there was look out point and tried to see if we could see the hiking path (or parking lots for that matter).  That tiny dot sticking off that rock face?  That's the lighthouse.

We decided after a long hot day of walking and hunting we had no idea what the heck we were doing and might as well hit the bus back towards Waikiki.  Our proposed final stop at Hanauma Bay was on the way, so if it looked worth jumping out for a swim, we could do so.

Thank god we didn't try to find that hike.  Not only was it a mile up the road, but the hike itself was a huge asphalt incline and at 2 in the afternoon with wide open skies there was no way we were up for that.  The ride along the coast was beautiful, but the air conditioning on that bus may have been even more so.  Not surprisingly, we reached Hanauma Bay and decided to take our little butts back home.

Since our bags were still packed we scooted back to our Waikiki Beach and scoped out a spot to hang up the hammock to rest our tired legs.  We read a little in our books and relaxed as the sun set.

I have to say, it was one of the most stunning sunsets I have ever seen.

Mahalo for reading!

If you've been to Oahu and have other beaches you loved please leave comments to fill in other readers on places to try!
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