Saturday, September 24, 2011

Swamp Thing

Trying to walk off the intake of a zillion calories, I decided to visit the Punaho'olapa Marsh. This required another visit into the Turtle Bay jungle.



At one point, I found some very unusual trees poking out of the jungle...


And some cool flowering bushes...



Then into the swamp. The trail I followed was an old Oahu railbed... I didn't see any exotic birds (although I certainly heard them), but I did scare up a few mongoose (they were too quick for my camera). Apparently, mongoose(s) were imported to Oahu to rid the island of a rat problem. However, rats live at night, mongeese live during the day. Now there are still rats and lots of mongeese... Oh, well... now for the marsh...




Leaving the marsh, the trail took me back to the coastline. Here, a couple fishermen were having at it.


I also saw a sea turtle surface, but it dove down before I could fire up my camera.

Then it was back to the resort for the big wedding during another beautiful Hawaiian sunset.



Friday, September 23, 2011

Surf's Up!


The last few days, a Pacific swell has stimulated the waves hitting the North Shore. The decent sized waves have made the surfing more exciting. Since the North Shore is one of the most famous surfing spots in the world, I decided to drive down to the areas with the most notorious surfing conditions, including the very dangerous Banzai Pipeline. Surfers discriminate very narrowly the various breaks, often differentiating every 100 yards or so. To my untrained eye, it all looked the same. Anyway, from Sunset Beach to Waimea Bay, the breaks are infamous. However, it's not December... that's when the surf in the following pictures doubles, even triples in size. These are from the Banzai Pipeline shoreline (Ehukai Beach).







After a hard day surfing... or at least picture taking, I retired to the pool bar. The green flags were out announcing the sunset drink special, The Green Flash (tequila with the ever present pineapple juice). The only flash I noticed was behind my eyes...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's a Jungle Out There

This Turtle Bay Resort is actually quite amazing. Besides all the beach and coastline, there are two major golf courses carved out of the pristine jungle. Maybe not so cool, but at least the resort left huge areas of the jungle for trails and exploration. I took off on one of those trails yesterday and had a great time.

I started out fighting the sand along the shoreline until I had a great view back to the main resort. Also found another sleeping seal. Oh, and some amazing tree roots exposed by the pounding surf.





As I got around to Protection Point, I found this old WWII bunker... somehow I don't think this bunker, as our first line of defense, was going to keep the mongol hordes out of Hawaii.


From here, I plunged into the "jungle"... I didn't get attacked by boa constrictors or wild hogs, but it was cool.





Side trails brought me back to the shoreline... I surprised a trio of bikinied babes who thought they had found a secluded beach.


At another side trail I got a good perspective of Kawela Bay.


Back in the jungle, I found some amazing trees... First, an ancient Banyon, then a lonely palm in the midst of all the other foliage, and some other interesting but unidentified trees.







Returning to the resort, I also noticed these curious conifers... and some beautiful flowering bushes.




And after a long hike, nothing like a beer...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

North Shore, Oahu

What started out as a drive to SoCal for the football game turned into a longer stay for a Steely Dan clone band gig (Willis on guitar). Then Lacey says she's going to Hawaii to work on a book (!)... and do I want to come along on a $99 companion fare first class ticket! Well...

And here we are on the North Shore at the Turtle Bay Resort with the surf pounding the shore outside our window. We woke up in the morning to this...


The resort is protected from environmentalists by a fierce warrior...


While Lacey worked, I started a series of hikes. First up was a beach walk to Kahuku Point. Walking in sand is a drag, I brought back most of the beach in my shoes... But it was rewarding. First I found the pervasive presence of graffiti... actually the design on the left was pretty cool.


Then I found this sign along the beach...


And, sure enough, I found this monk seal taking a nap. Of course I went up and kicked it awake...


No, I didn't... but I was jealous of its napping ability. Anyway, I finally got around to the Point... here's a shot looking back to the resort, and another of the cove formed by the Point.



On the way back, I chose one of the "jungle" trails wandering throughout the extensive resort property. There's a golf course in here somewhere.


Really... some of the trails follow the golf courses, but the forest effectively hides the trail from the murderous golfers. I did find some little kids entering the trail and warned them of impeding monsters in the deep, dark forest (actually true, some archeologists were using a noisy front loader to clear the foliage and to excavate possible ancient burial grounds).

Hawaii is, of course, quite lush... Here's a few of the flowering and fruiting trees I found.





On the resort property is a WWII historical marker for one of the first radar sites in the US. Now the Opana Mountain site is a very modern installation. Back in 1942 it was just an experimental radar site which actually detected the Japanese planes as they flew towards Pearl Harbor. The detection was duly reported; however, it was assumed the planes were actually American B-17s due to arrive from the mainland at about that time. Unfortunately the quality of radar at that time could not distinguish quantities or sizes of planes.



After a hard day of hiking and book reviewing, I decided we needed a drink. The pool bar had a Mai Tai special for happy (half) hour. They were good... very good...


Semi shit faced at sunset, we walked over to the shoreline for a typical, fabulous, Hawaiian close to the day...




The end...