Man Overboard

It was the morning after the night before, although that is always the case, and I had to catch a bus to Wai’anae Boat Harbor on the West Coast of O’ahu. Having got off the bus five stops too early, a sweaty jog in the mid-morning Hawaiian sunshine was required in order to catch the 11:45 ‘Dolphin Star’. This dolphin watching and snorkeling trip was the only thing I had booked prior to my arrival on O’ahu and it was definitely worth organising.

Dolphin Watching at Wai'anae

Dolphin Watching at Wai'anae

By the time all the snorkeling equipment was handed out to everybody all the dolphins had decided they had had enough human exposure for one day and had moved on, bugger. Despite a dolphin-less snorkel, I did manage to see a wide array of other bizarre and beautiful sea creatures. None more graceful than the giant sea turtles who decided to chill and glide around below me for a few minutes.

Sea Turtle at Wai'anae

The Dolphin Star

Some rather interesting green beverages later and it was back to Honolulu. That evening was the most chilled I have had for a long time. A few guys from the hostel and I bought some rum, sat on the beach and watched the sunset while the last of the surfers attempted to catch some waves. We stayed in that spot for most of the night and were joined by other backpackers from Australia, Japan, South Africa and Mexico. We exchanged a few travel stories, drank heartily and just stopped short of breaking into Kum ba yah, thank god.

Waikiki Beach

My first port of call on my last full day in Hawaii was somewhere I felt I needed to see; Pearl Harbor. The sun was pounding down that day, a complete contrast to my afternoon on the North shore. I had no idea how vast the actual harbour was and I really could have done with the whole day in order to see everything.

After hearing horror story after horror story, and viewing many examples of the destruction and carnage that occurred on that fateful day in 1941, I left there with a somber and even stronger sense of how needless it all was.

Pearl Harbor

Any trip to Hawaii would not be complete unless you attempt to surf at least once and on my last afternoon on the island I booked myself a group lesson, which turned out to be a private lesson, on Waikiki beach. Given my shocking ability at any balance-related activity – ice skating, skateboarding and rollerblading spring to mind – I believed that surfing would be extremely difficult to get to grips with.

But after a five minute practice on the beach, and two failed attempts in the ocean, I was able to stand and ride waves fairly easily. After an hour of near crashes and surf rash I am surprised to say that I am addicted to it. I will definitely give it another go when back on Vancouver Island, although my enjoyment levels may diminish when attempting to surf in 8°C waters as opposed to 22°C!

Surfing at Waikiki Beach

And so state number one is in the books and it’s back to a Canadian winter for me. It will take a pretty awesome state to beat my experience in Hawaii but I have high hopes for my next trip. Join me in state number two…

Alaska!

J

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