Oahu, Hawaii Trip Journal – Day 2 – Honolulu

categories: USA Travel

Hanauma BayLiz got up early to dive to start the process of getting her scuba certification while the rest of us headed to Hanauma Bay for our own close encounters with all things aquatic. The bay is a nature preserve in part of an ancient caldera that had eroded until it was flooded by the sea. It was a popular fishing site for the native Hawaiians but they probably did not have to watch the 9 minute orientation film before they were allowed access.

You can hike down to the beach or take the tram. It is $.75 to get down the hill, $1.00 to get back up the hill or $2.50 for the day. You can rent snorkel equipment there but I did notice they had run out of some gear. We had made a stop at Snorkel Bob’s to get a one day rental on 3 sets of snorkel gear and a beach umbrella. Our hotel provided the beach towels. You can check out any (reasonable) number of towels.

Our friend Dave had never really snorkeled but was hooked by this experience. We have seen better snorkeling in terms of quantity of fish at other places in the world but Hanauma Bay was very accessible for beginning snorkelers and provided some good size fish including a rainbow fish that my wife Joan saw that grows with each retelling. I saw two sea turtles and also some humuhumunukunukuapua’a which is the Hawaiian state fish (voted so by Hawaiian school children). The humuhumunukunukuapua’a is one of the only fish with a name as long as the fish itself. Sadly the battery on my underwater camera gave out very early so I might be getting far fewer underwater pictures than I had planned.

Hanauma BayThe snack bar at the park provided a fair lunch and the umbrella turned out to be more useful than we thought as the sunny sky turned to rain. We packed up and headed out to see the Makapu’u lighthouse but as we drove to the east we crossed from the leeward to the windward part of the island, from the dry to the “I can’t believe how” wet part of the island. We stopped to watch the Halona blow hole on the way. At least one tourist there we overheard asking if someone had bored this hole out of the rock. Not so much.

Since the sky had opened up and was dumping buckets of water we decided not to hike out to the lighthouse but kept driving up the coast to Kailua beach park. The water here was wonderfully warm like Waikiki (Hanauma Bay was not as warm) but so much less crowded. The beach is large and there are kayaks to rent to explore some small islands offshore. One our way back to Waikiki we stopped at a rotisserie chicken stand that simply smelled to good to pass by. Dave and Mike got 3/4 of a chicken between them and it was as good tasting as it was good smelling. We also stopped for shave ice with leechee, liliquoi and li hing mui Lailua beach parkflavors. It was fabulous with the li hing mui (base don dried plum) being the most popular. Li hing mui shaved ice, it should be noted, shows up as number 12 in Frommer’s Honolulu & Oahu Day by Day‘s list of the 16 favorite Oahu moments.

After returning to Waikiki we met up with our other 4 friends who had flown in and traveled to Lulu’s for dinner and live music.

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

One Response to “Oahu, Hawaii Trip Journal – Day 2 – Honolulu”

Traveling to Hawaii


I’m traveling to hawaii soon and this post was great. I’ve got to get to Hanauma Bay

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