Hawaii

Last day on Hawaii, Aulani Disney resort

On our last day we planned to go to the newly opened Disney resort Aulani.

We had a late evening flight and being afraid of being bored at the resort, we took the long road there, by running a counter-clockwise loop of entire Oahu island which took about 3 hours.

Hawaiian roads
In many places trees overhand the highway.

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Visit to Hawaii in 2011, Turtle beach and Dole plantation

One of the weekend days we decided to try and visit Laniakea turtle beach again in hopes to finally see some wild sea turtles.

During our previous visit we came too late and did not see any turtles, so we departed earlier this time.

Laniakea beach
Here we have arrived.

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Visit to Hawaii in 2011, first few days

As part of working through backlog of pictures we finally got to out second visit to Hawaii.

I wanted to make myself a nice birthday present, so we went to Hawaii, we chose Oahu again, since we were there already and I did not want to burn through my vacation days which was easier done when you go to a familiar place.

It so coincided that we went to Hawaii a couple of days after we returned from Paris for a nice contrast.

Landing in San Francisco
Picture of landing in San Francisco where we had to switch planes.

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Hawaii vacation. Days 8-9, SeaLife Park, Laniakea Turtle Beach

One thing we have not done yet from our plans on Hawaii until the last day was the swimming with dolphins. Ksusha wanted to try this a lot and so we purchased our tickets to "Dolphin royal swim" at Sea Life Park. The description was pretty bright, you get 2 dolphins to play with for 20 minutes or so for a hefty price.

As it always happens the reality turned out to be much bleaker. A group of 6 was formed (I guess if they had more paying customers, they'd form even bigger groups as evidenced by a  cheaper dolphin swim with only one dolphin that had absolutely enormous group) and then everybody waits for their turn to perform a trick with the dolphins. There were 6 total tricks, total time spent directly interacting with dolphins - less than 5 minutes per person.

First is a kiss and a hug, everybody stands in line to get their kiss from one of the dolphins and then to try and lift it a bit while Sea Life Park photographer makes pictures from the water from the best point (of course they will sell the photos to you later at a big premium).

п÷п╬я├п╣п╩я┐п╧я┤п╦п╨ я│ п╢п╣п╩я▄я└п╦п╫п╬п╪

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Hawaii vacation. Day 7, Diamond Head, more sunsets.

On our day 7 we decided that we'd climb the Diamond Head crater. The climb itself is not very hard, but included steep stairs and all advices we've seen recommend going there in the early morning before the sun is full up so that you are not fried on the way (they also recommend a hat, comfortable shoes and plenty of water).

The Diamond Head itself is a crater of a long extinct volcano that believed to have exploded over 100,000 years ago (others put it at 300,000 years). The crater area covers 350 acres and it's width is greater than height. The crater has spherical form and the south-west rim is the highest. It is currently the signature landmark of Oahu due to its shape visible from far away (As you probably have seen on my earlier pictures). Hawaiian people named the crater ʻahi after the tuna fish forehead that it resembles.

In 1904 the crater was purchased by US government as ideal place for coastal defenses of Oahu (due to it's great panoramic view of the surrounding ocean). Fortifications began in 1908 and total of 5 batteries were built along with fire control station (to direct artillery fire) at the summit. In the end no artillery was ever fired during the war, though.

So we woke up at 5:30am and headed to the parking lot. Diamond head tunnel opens for tourist traffic at 6am. Here is a view from our hotel room from around 5:30am

п▓п╦п╢ п╦п╥ п╬п╨п╫п╟. 5:30 я┐я┌я─п╟

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Hawaii vacation. Day 6, Polynesian Cultural Center

Finally I waded through (literally) thousands of photos from day six.

Just as planned, we went to Polynesian Culture Center that day. Thinking arriving at around 1pm would be fine, we let ourselves to sleep a bit more in the morning and so by the time we woke up and got ready most of restaurants already closed (this really annoys me about restaurants in US, why not stay open in the middle of the day?) so we were forced to eat at the hotel restaurant.

Polynesia is a large group of islands (more than a thousand) in the central and southern parts of Pacific Ocean. Some of the island groups are very far apart, up to 2400 miles, yet people living in there were able to cross those distances with their primitive boats.

PCC consists of 7 "villages" each of which represents separate group of islands. The villages are: Samoa, New Zealand, Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji, Tonga and Rapa Nua.

The road to PCC was already somewhat familiar, since we used it going to Temple Valley and on a previous day too, but this time we finally made a few shots of the view that opens right after you exit from the tunnel on Likelike highway.

п▓п╦п╢ я│ Likelike highway я│я─п╟п╥я┐ п╥п╟ я┌я┐п╫п╫п╣п╩п╣п╪

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Hawaii vacation. Day 3, Valley of the Temples, Aloha Tower, Sunset.

So we decided to dedicate next day to visiting interesting places. First one on our list was Valley of the Temples with their Byodo-In Japanese temple (Chinese style Phoenix temple).

We woke up early again and proceeded to drive to the west, via Likelike Highway, the more we moved to the west the more clouds we saw, all mountain tops were hidden by the clouds as well which got us nervous there might be a rain.

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Hawaii vacation. Day 2

Why do people go to Waikiki? I guess it would be fair to assume they mostly go there for the sea.
That was the case with us too.
So after waking up pretty early (6 hours time difference helping with that) we proceeded straight to the beach without even having a breakfast.

In the morning there were significantly less people on the beach, but on the other hand the sun did not quite rise from behind all the high-rises either, so the beach was in a shade still.

Anyway we quickly jumped into the relatively warm water.

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Hawaii vacation. Day 1

Finally we got some time to shuffle through our Hawaii vacation photos from end of August.

By the end of August we were in real need of some real vacation. Several places were discussed, amongst them were Hawaii, Florida, Mexico and Puerto Rico. We decided on Hawaii to avoid hurricane season on Atlantic shores.
The plan was to check Oahu for a week-long vacation and decide if Hawaii were worth it at all, and to return later for other islands if so.

Of course soon after we got our tickets I decided to check weather forecast for Honolulu and sure enough it said there would be rain every day. In the end that proved to be irrelevant. Rain on Hawaii is nothing like rain pretty much anywhere else.

And so on August 22, 2009 we boarded our plane and departed. After boring 8 hours (most of which we strategically spent sleeping) finally something showed up in the window.

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