Tuesday, July 24, 2012


What a great time we had.  Shelby had us doing all sorts of fun stuff.  We opted to stay on the North Shore of Oahu avoiding all the tourist and crowds of Waikiki.  Because I used points for our airfare and rental car the only expense we had was the beach house. Plus our excursions of course!
Our view in front of the beach house called ......

  The house was perfect, two bedrooms with a/c window units. A large living area and dining area with a kitchen fully equipped for all our needs,  I probably should have used the kitchen more but we had a great time eating about town. My extra 4 lbs will attest to that :(

Hone Wai Beach Home
here is the link if anyone is interested in the house.  It also has an extra house on the side with additional bedrooms.  You  know you are getting old when you relish the thought of a washer and dryer in stead of the amazing views it has to offer. I came home to no laundry!!

 The area we stayed at had a fantastic little cove where sea turtles come to rest, play and swim.  Shelby has about a 100 pictures of the turtles and we were able to snorkel with them and enjoy these majestic creatures.

We arrived on Friday the 13th, Emilio's 22nd birthday. I originally planned for all of us to go and thought leaving on his birthday would make it special but that didn't work out. He opted to stay in Boston and work so he could afford to move into a new apartment in August.  Part of me knows it's part of growing up and we will have future vacations together but it was still hard.  I told John being in Hawaii helped getting over the fact we weren't all together this year.......just a little anyway.

We did a day trip to Kauai on Sunday, the 15th to do the *plantation tubing (more info. below on the tour)  and then drove over to
Wailua Falls.  After a slippery slope down to the waterfall in sandals (what was I thinking??!?!) we were at the top of this fall.  It was breathtaking and felt so scary!
*Circa 1870 a series of ditches, tunnels, and flumes was hand-dug by Chinese laborers to deliver water from the rainforest to thirsty sugar cane fields near Lihue. This land is privately owned and has never before been accessible to the public. The recent closure of the Lihue plantation has made this tour possible.  

John lived in Oahu back when he was stationed at Schofield Barracks with the U.S. Army and really had no desire to vacation there.  However, Shelby has been dying, yes dying, to go to Hawaii for many many years and being the big softee that I am, I told her when she turned 16 that we would all go.  John's only request was that he and Shelby do surf lessons while we were there.  So I booked them for 5 days of surfing and they completed 4.  They were exhausted and needed a day off on Wednesday just to regroup and more than anything try to get our clocks aligned with Hawaii time (5 hours difference!!)

Rosy the instructor from North shore surf girls said Shelby was a natural.  And John did great as well.  That's him on the board in the grey shirt. One thing they forget to mention is to cover up!! Not from the sun but the rash you get from rubbing on the board as you paddle out.  John has scabs and a rash on his elbow, knees and forearms.  OUCH!!  Shelby got a bad rash near her knees, she could have used some yoga pants but we had no idea and you try to find yoga pants in a surfing community, not gonna happen.

On Wednesday, we visited Kualoa Ranch to do a two hour ATV tour.  This is my favorite excursion on the island and the main reason I wanted to wait until Shelby was 16 to return to Hawaii. Such a beautiful scenic drive.  We stopped at a WWII bunker which now houses movie props of movies/TV filmed at the ranch.  Journey 2, Lost, 50 First Dates, Jurassic Park, etc.  Our tour guide was young and funny.  After all the movies mentioned , we joked that no movie was every filmed there and they just posted signs everywhere and anywhere.   Then we joked that everything was filmed there from Garfield to Ghost Busters, etc.  We had a great group!

On our vacation we took Shelby to Waimea Falls.  Great tropical landscaping and enormous trees!  Shelby had a field day photographing every plant, bug, and stream she could find. Here are a few of the 1,000 plus pictures she took in Hawaii.

We also decided to do some hiking so we headed over to a remote area called Kaena point .
You felt like you were the only people on earth (well you would if it weren't for all the fishing poles sticking out of the rocks.

 I know this blog is really really long.  But we did a lot of activities! I made the mistake of telling Shelby that you could dive with sharks in Oahu and boy she did not let us forget about booking the excursion.  So on Saturday morning at 6:30 am, we are at the marina, boarding the boat who would "Guaranteed" a shark dive.  (gulp)

I was very hesitant since I am a horrible snorkeler (confession time: I made John buy me a jetski life jacket, since I freak in open water, I mean I can't swim to the ledge when I get tired, now can I ?) Some of you may say, wait a minute aren't you scuba certified?  And I am. I feel very safe underwater  when I have an ample supply of oxygen strapped to my back.

Going back to the shark dive.  The boat ride was wonderful, we came across 50 spinner dolphins on the way to and from the dive.  So beautiful!  Shark dive was fun but I made sure all my toes and fingers stayed inside the cage!

I think John was wanting to be Shark bait in the last picture.  He wanted to pet the shark. But those who know John, I am sure that does not come as a big surprise.  He did pet an alligator last year.

North Shore Shark Tours if you want more information.  We even had a them video tape the 15 minute encounter.  I will be the one clinging to the cage like a monkey ensuring that all my arms and legs were tucked in!


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