Trip Start Apr 16, 2008
7Trip End Apr 23, 2008
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Where I stayed
It cost $1 for the parking, plus another $5 per person to enter the site. Upon paying our money, we were ushered to line up for a viewing of the mandatory 9-minute film that everyone entering the bay has to watch in order to be allowed down into the bay. This is to ensure that everyone is adequately educated about not disturbing the sea life and the coral in the area. So, basically, because too many people have ignorantly ruined the bay in the past decades since this beach has been such a popular tourist attraction, they have a strict rule now that you cannot touch the coral reef at all (anything that looks like "rock" in the water), nor touch any fish or other sea creatures either. I learned today as well that it is illegal in Hawaii to touch the endangered sea green turtles, which I was hoping to see.
The bay was totally beautiful and enormous - way bigger than I had expected from the pictures I had seen (in which I had obviously grossly miscalculated the proportions of size). I took some photos of the spectacular view from above - absolutely stunning, and I'm sure I'll find it hard to believe later on that I was actually there! There was a somewhat steep wall on a paved road to get down to the beach, which took about 5 minutes - or you could optionally take the "tram" down, which cost 50 cents to go down and $1 to go up
Ben had no problems just easily wading in. I, however, didn't feel like venturing in right away. We laid down on our towels to sunbathe a bit. The weather was sunny with clouds hovering over that alternated between sunny hot and then cool temperatures when the clouds were passing over, and it was about 22 degrees at that time in the morning, which is actually not bad by our Canadian standards at 9:00 in the morning! I got so comfortable lying on the beach that I actually briefly fell asleep, as did Ben. Very surreal to be able to lay on a beautiful beach in the warm weather, and next to come was the snorkelling adventure
Thank goodness for Ben as he was able to show me how to walk properly in the water while wearing swimming fins (backwards!) so that you can manoeuvre yourself, as well as showing me how to clear up water from the mask when it starts to fill up, which happened a lot. Once I actually got used to the cold water all the way up to my head, I just got right in and started swimming, and... seeing fish! There were all kinds of tropical fish swimming in the water beneath us - it was really incredible and the first time I had ever seen sea life of this nature (that wasn't in an aquarium!). They were actually just like fish that you would typically see in an aquarium, for lack of a more thorough description. I tried to take pictures of some of them with my underwater camera, but it was too hard to see through the viewfinder if I was actually getting them in the shot, so who knows - I might get some good surprises (or not) when I do get the film developed. One of the last fish I photographed was very pink, with blue stripes on it I think it had. Very brilliant! We didn't stay long in the water - maybe only 15 minutes. Ben had gone back to the beach, so when I finally realized where he was, I went over to see him. The waters in the bay were very calm, due to the big reef breaking the waves coming in, but he said that a wave had gotten him and scared him, so he went back shortly after
Ben, however, was not so conscientious about it, but at least he agreed to put sunscreen at all (which he refused to do last year in L.A., and, as a result, was badly burned). I had my trusty Venice Beach sunhat with me, which I kept covered on my face the whole time we lied there, but Ben did NOT bring his hat and was just lying there totally exposed, which I knew was going to affect him badly. I'm not sure how long we were there for because it was very relaxing and I fell asleep a bit again, but then we got up and took a walk along the beach into the more populated area. It was about 12:30pm at this point and we were going to go snorkelling again, but then Ben changed his mind and so we decided to call it a day there and head back to the hotel. Ben wants to go back there, which would be great, because there are other areas in the bay that we want to snorkel in, which we could see much better when we were back at the top and you can see where the coral is and where the turquoise open blue water is
On the way back from the hotel we passed by a "Foodland" store (which seems to be the only supermarket chain here) and decided to stop by there to get the sourdough bread and cereal that was too expensive at the Down To Earth store the day before. I wanted to get a few other things too that I assumed would reasonably priced, like they are at IGA or Safeway, however, this was not the case here! Foodland, and therefore all stores in Hawaii, we assumed, is very expensive compared to prices in Canada, which is even more so odd because food prices in the States in general are usually quite cheaper than in Canada! For example, the same 4L container of Silk soymilk that I had bought the day before (on sale) for $3.99 cost $5.69 at this store, and in Vancouver it's about a dollar cheaper at its most expensive price. Ben got the (small) box of Rice Krispies that he really wanted, for the same expensive price that we could have gotten a same-sized box of healthy, organic cereal from Down To Earth (about $5). I was able to buy a bunch of Luna bars for $1.69 each, which is a decent price for Luna bars, so as least that will give me some sustenance when I need it, since our food sources on this trip seem like they are going to be very sporadic and "unguaranteed" for lack of a better word. We didn't buy much else except for drinks, which were expensive.
We went back to the hotel for several hours and then had plans to see the "free" Hawaiian show at the Hilton Hawaiian Village (not very far away), followed by fireworks after. They do this show and fireworks every Friday night, as I had read, BUT, it turned out that this one hour Hawaiian music/dance show was not free at all but cost $20 per person! I didn't think that was worth it, just to get entry into the seated area in front of the stage, so we actually sat outside on a restaurant patio right beside the stage and were able to hear and see the show from there. After that the fireworks show above the beach there immediately followed, which was quite spectacular. And I really liked the beach there - the sand was really smooth and soft, and even though it was night time by then, it was still warm and calm weather outside - very pleasant. Tomorrow and for the rest of our stay here, the weather is supposed to be the same as it was today, so this means that I might actually get a tan since the beginnings of one (along with some subtle burning) were manufactured today.