Friday, January 23, 2015

Honolulu, Hawaii: January 16-21, 2015

We had such a nice visit with my nephew Lary and his family (Jerrene and Kent) over Thanksgiving that we (I) spontaneously arranged a trip to Honolulu to spend more time with them. Even though January is in the middle of high season, we found good airfares and a good place to stay. It was one of the easiest flights we've ever had--5 hours nonstop Sacramento to Honolulu. So easy!

Lary's wife, Jerrene, is a foodie, and her knowledge of small, inexpensive, great places to eat is vast. Our first night they took us to a small Korean/Japanese restaurant. Jerrene and Lary ordered and we ate a fabulous meal. Every dinner was like that, and eating fabulous foods was probably the theme of our 6 nights in Honolulu with Lary, Jerrene, and Kent. We also consumed interesting desserts like Bubbies' mochi ice cream, frost at Frost City, and shave ice at Ailana.

On our first full day in Honolulu, we spent some time with Kent while his parents were working. We visited the Iolani Palace then met Jerrene for lunch at the Pig and the Lady restaurant.

On Saturday, Lary and Jerrene took us to Oahu's north shore beaches. Along the way we stopped at the serene Valley of Temples. The temple was built in 1968 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the first immigrants from Japan coming to Hawaii.

Before getting to the north shore beaches we stopped for a great sautéed shrimp lunch at Giovanni's food truck which doesn't look like much but the shrimp was exceptional.

It was windy and rainy at the north shore beaches but surfers didn't seem to mind. The clouds were beautiful.

One day, Dan and I took the bus to Diamond Head State Park to hike to the top of the 770 foot mountain.

The trail begins at about a 200 foot elevation and is about 1-1/2 miles RT. The steepest climb are the stairs at the end of the trail. The views from the top are great.

On another day, Dan and I caught the "C Country Express" bus to Waianae Harbor to do a whale/dolphin/turtle watching trip with Wild Side Tours.

It was an excellent day for whale watching. The sea was calm and the humpbacks plentiful.

A mother and baby humpback swam along side our boat. The baby seemed quite curious about us.

We were fortunate to also see a pod of Pilot Whales hunting. Female pilot whales have rounded faces and males have very large dorsal fins.

After lunch on the boat, we snorkeled in a small cove where Green Turtles come to get spa treatments. It was an unusual experience to float above a half dozen large sea turtles while they were "groomed" by small wrasse indigenous to Hawaii. The turtles were so blissed out they didn't seem to mind the audience.

Jerrene took off Tuesday and drove us to the Makapuu Lighthouse trailhead. The trail is about 1-1/2 miles RT and is fairly steep. We all made it to the top--even Kent.

Looking into the ocean from the trail, we watched a pod of humpback whales frolic.

We were lucky to have a room with a view of the city's skyscrapers, the mountains, and the ocean.

Because our hotel room was only about 1-1/2 blocks from Ala Moana Park/Beach, Dan and I spent a lot of time there watching the sunset.

Aloha and Mahalo to Lary, Jerrene, and Kent.