Missy just reminded me that I didn't mention the people sitting on either side of us on the dinner cruise last night. To my right, Missy's left, were The Elderly Folks - he couldn't hear, so yelled at everyone, and she showed us many pictures (very worn pictures - they'd been making the rounds) of the Strawberry Shortcake quilt she was working on back home. To my left, Missy's right, was Uncomfortable Family - the mom got seasick as soon as the Starlet pulled anchor and spent the rest of the night either glaring at the dancers, reminding the wait staff that she was too sick to eat anything, or filling her coffee cup with vomit, while the rest of the family looked like they couldn't be having a worse time with her. Until she went to the deck for air, that is - then the father and two teenage girls started smiling, talking, and taking pictures. The mom may not make it back to the mainland alive.
Because Matt and Gretchen forced us to let them chauffer us, we saved a bunch of money by not renting a car in Honolulu. We wanted a couple days to do things by ourselves though (some of those things are pictured below), and the hotel offers its military discount to guests-of-military that are staying here. We took them up on the discount to rent a Jeep Wrangler for two days. Blazey - I know you probably aren't reading this, but Missy is going to have a hard time not trading you to Smart Motors for an orange Jeep when we get back. Your time in our family may be limited, is what I'm saying.
The first place we took the Jeep was Hanauma Bay, an underwater state park on the southeast tip of Oahu. We were there and snorkel-clad by 8:00 a.m., which ended up being the perfect time to arrive - by the time we left at noon, the beach was full and there was a line of 200+ would-be snorklers at the front gate.
You can see the coral reefs from the top of the bluffs at Hanauma - the clear parts are 8-10' deep and sandy-bottomed, and the darker spots are coral and rocks that often sat inches below the surface. There were sections of coral that were like underwater mazes - terrifying (what if I get lost? what if that fish eats me? What if that fish looks at me?) but indescribably gorgeous. We took a pair of underwater cameras, which we didn't drop off at the photo place in time to pick up tonight. Waiting for film to develop annoys me now - I've been completely spoiled by our digital camera and I don't know if I'll ever use our 35mm camera again. Blazey and Eos Rebel - your days are numbered.
Jeepey decided to take us to North Shore next - this is Bonzai Pipeline, but we also went to Waimea Bay. The camera doesn't convey the size of the waves worth a gosh-darn though. These are 3-5 foot swells according to the surf report on the shop next to the shrimp place where we ate lunch, and Waimea can get waves in the 25-30' range.
"I want to see a turtle." No problem, homie - Matt told us where we might be able to find some. There were three that washed up on one of the North Shore beaches - apparently the rain muddies the water and confuses them. There were two people in uniforms from the National Oceanographic Something or Other that had a red rope laid down and stern warning signs about touching, riding, harassing, or saying mean things in the direction of the turtles.
Instead of backtracking around the east shore of the island, we took H1 (which is an interstate, but I don't think I can officially call it an interstate if it's on only Oahu) back through the center of the island. On the way, we stopped at the Dole pineapple plantation, saw the entrance to the world's largest human maze, learned that pineapples don't grow on trees like any normal god-fearing fruit, and that pineapple ice cream is delicious. Thanks, food conglomerate!
Tonight was a luau at the hotel, but our seats were too far from the stage for any pictures to turn out well. Without photographic evidence, our memories of it are already slipping away.