Our Bed & Breakfast in Oahu is J&B's Haven near the southeast Oahu coast. We find it to be a very pleasant B&B with gracious, helpful, polite hosts. We discover that the location delivers very quiet nights. No sirens, motor vehicle engines, airplanes, helicopters, alarms, leaf blowers, or loud music. Just the tranquilizing sounds of rustling banana and palm tree leaves...
Like the other islands we visit, we discover that one side of the island is desert arid—much like the American southwest. The other side is a lush, tropical rainforest garden. We find this arid character on both the south and west sides of Oahu. And like the other islands we visit, we notice that the seas surrounding the Hawaiian islands are many shades of brilliant, glistening, crystal-clear, deep blue. This aspect of the waters is due to low nutrient content on the islands, which results in no growth of seaweed or similar forms of vegetative growth in the waters. In addition, this crystal-clear attribute is especially pronounced on the drier sides of the islands, due to lack of river sediment runoff into the ocean.
We first visit the horseshoe-shaped Hanauma Bay, which is outstanding from the lookout. We visit the Halona Blowhole nearby, which is worth a stop. Next, we see Nu'uana Pali Lookout, which Mark Twain found extremely impressive when he visited long ago. King Kamehameha I drove defending forces over 1,000-foot high cliffs in this area, which gave him control of Oahu centuries ago. Today, sadly, the view in my opinion is somewhat marred by sprouting subdivisions and highways.
Suprisingly, downtown Wakiki on a Wednesday night has sidewalks bustling with vibrant, festive pedestrian activity-street performers, tiki torches, musical entertainment, and thousands of pedestrians.
On our first night on the Hawaiian Islands, I take Maureen out to dinner for her birthday. Our restaurant—Hoku's—provides us with a superb meal, and the ambience is greatly enhanced by the expansive windows next to our table, which provides us sunset views of the beach and Pacific Ocean just outside.
Overall, we drive our rental car about 50 miles on our first day.
On our second day, we arrive at the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor at about 7 a.m. (doors open at 8:30). By about 7:15, there was a line hundreds of feet long snaking back into the parking lot. Fortunately, we are in the first group ushered in for a tour. First, we are taken into a theatre and shown a documentary movie of the December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese Zero Fighter Squadron. It is a very moving, powerful film, and brings tears to nearly all eyes in the audience. I strongly recommend seeing the film.
After the film, we are shuttled, by boat, to the Memorial out in the bay. The arched white concrete viewing structure sits, solemnly, over the sunken hull of the USS Arizona (see photo above), which sank with 1,102 men aboard. Like in other parts of the island, the crystal clear water provides a clear view of the deck of the ship. Fifty years after the ship was sunk, we notice oil slicks on the surface, indicating that the ship still leaks oil.
We next visit the Banzai Pipeline—a beach world famous for its strong, prominent surf (photo at right and below left). It is a pleasant surprise to find that the beach not only boasts great waves. It is also a gorgeous beach. We spend time on the beach watching the surfers do their thing. After a while, we wade into the water. I discover that body surfing the beach requires caution, because the powerful waves, more than once, strongly drive my head into the sand when it crashes at the beach. Afterward, despite lengthy, meticulous rinsing, washing, and combing, I have what seems like a bucket-full of Pipeline sand stuck in my scalp and ears.
Following the Pipeline, we hike to the summit of Diamondhead (Le'ahi). The 45-minute hike, on a trail built in 1908, to the 760-foot summit is arid and hot. One portion requires ascending a LONG staircase (the nearly 1-mile hike includes a 560-foot elevation gain). At the top, you arrive at a hardened military bunker that still contains gun mounts. Your reward at the summit is spectacular. Birds-eye views of the 350-acre lava crater next to Diamondhead-formed in an eruption 300,000 years ago. A panoramic view of the stunning Pacific Ocean, and a stupendous view of the Honolulu skyline. Be sure to bring lots of water for the hike.
Overall, we drive about 120 miles on our second day.
More so than other Hawaiian islands, Oahu is filled with bougainvillea flowers growing along streets.
Overall, Oahu is more impressive than I was told to expect with regard to natural areas such as beaches and vistas (we found some of the most gorgeous beaches in all the islands are on Oahu). However, the island is being seriously compromised by what appears to be a history in which the island sought to "build its way out of congestion." The result of this ruinous strategy is that much of the island is now afflicted with the downward spiral of six-, eight-, and ten-lane arterial roads, sprawling suburban areas, high-speed and hostile traffic, and serious congestion. Efforts to alleviate the "misbehaving cars" problem are obvious, as we noticed a large number of commercial areas and residential/resort streets are full of speed bumps (which, by the way, are much more annoying than speed humps, because speed bumps punish the driver even when the driver has slowed down to the properly modest speed). We also notice obvious efforts to install bicycle routes/lanes and provide a better-than-average bus system.
Total Days on Oahu: 2
Total Miles Driven on Oahu: 170 miles
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