- snorkel at Shark's Cove
- fish sandwiches at Grass Skirt Grill in Hale'iwa
- surfing lesson at Surf n Sea in Hale'iwa
- dash back to hotel, clean up and dress nicely
- Big Official Anniversary dinner at Le Mer in Waikiki
Going with the snorkeling/sandbar trip that the hotel runs wasn't quite going to work due to timing, so we did a drive to Shark's Cove and did some more snorkeling. It was nice, a bit cloudy and rough because the tide was coming in, but we saw some good fish including a fish buffet on a rock (thought I never could figure out what they were eating but they all liked it).
The last fish Grass Skirt Grill sandwich of the vacation was ahi and Kijiki (Marlin) which C and I split. They both were delicious and we left completely full. Grass Skirt Grill was *the* fish sandwich find of the vacation. Highly recommended.
The surfing lesson at Surf n Sea in Haleiwa was very good. TG ("Tough Guy"), our instructor, started off with about an hour and a half of "theory", which consisted of rules of surfing related to position, actions, and life on the waves along with physical practice. After that, it was off to the beach to surf! You paddled up to TG (who was standing on the bottom, offshore) and he gave you a push when he thought there was a good wave. Paddle, paddle, paddle, and you can never stand up fast enough! I managed to ride a few waves and even took one in towards the shore. It was a real blast and pretty impressive (TG said I did well for a big guy).
C and I hurried back to Kane'ohe and got ready for the fancy dinner at Le Mer. We barely made our 8:00 reservation, but they sat us on the lanai in a corner with a view of the ocean. It was astounding - an excellent meal in a quiet romantic setting. C and I had a wonderful time, ate more than we should have, drank a bit more than we should have, and were taken care of by the wait staff. Kudos to MC for telling us Le Mer was the place for the anniversary dinner, because it most certainly was.
After dinner, we walked towards the beach for a bit but never quite made it. We decided to head back to the hotel and call it a night (as dinner didn't end until after 11 PM)
Thurs, July 19
- Haiku Steps climb cancelled due to weather (whew!)
- do Extreme Parasail tandem (1000 ft rope)
- go to Paul Salon Spa for lomilomi massage
- lunch at Okonomiyaki Chibo in Waikiki
- a little shopping in Waikiki
- (slowly) drive back to Kane'ohe
- drive to La'ie Point to see the islands
- (slowly) drive back to Kane'ohe
- snack and pack, wine and beer
It rained a lot during the night, so Thursday morning was grey and cloudy. The mountains were covered in fog and clouds to a very low lever, making climbing the Haiku Stairs somewhat meaningless. So we decided to cancel our plans.
I must say I wasn't completely disappointed and was somewhat relieved. I'd been having a little worry the previous couple nights and waking up after concerned thoughts about the scariness of the trek. But I'd also psyched myself up to believe I could do it or could at least get a significant way up the steps. All in all, I was a little relieved.
We decided instead to do a parasail in the bay off Waikiki. This was pretty incredible. We did the "Extreme" parasail which meant they reeled us out to the end of 1000 feet of rope. I was still a little white knuckled at times, especially when the wind shoved us to the side or the brackets holding everything together made a clicking sound. But it was also quiet, with the only sound being the wind, and the view was astounding. It was about as close to actually flying as I'll ever get.
After the vacation we'd had, a massage was in order so we went to Paul Salon Day Spa in Ward Centre and each had an hour lomi-lomi massage. The lomi-lomi massage is apparently a more formal process for the masseuse to follow along with a technique that makes extra use of the forearms. The masseuse worked me over pretty good, especially my neck, upper back and shoulders. I was very relaxed and loose by the end.
We managed to find a place called Okonomiyaki, recommended by C's parents, and went ahead and tried what they inlaws had called "the omlette". It turned out to be the ohonomiyaki, which is a Japanese "pancake" made of various ingredients and topped with garnishes. I chose prawns and scallops and it was very tasty. C got the Garlic Shrimp lunch special and we pretty much shared and ate everything.
We did a little shopping in Waikiki then made the slow painful drive through Honolulu traffic back to Kaneohe. We actually decided to head out to La'ie Point and see the islands. This was impressive as the surf was up and the waves were big and rough. It was a real demonstration of the sheer power of the ocean including the classic "hole punched in rock" scene that is the real landmark of La'ie Point.
After another slow crawl back to Kane'ohe where we actually managed to make it back without having to put the convertible top up or down (a common occurrence on most of the drives in the last few days), and a stop for a few supplies, we made it back to the hotel. We engaged in a "snack and pack" (eating while packing) then had a glass of wine while finishing packing. The rest of the evening was spent on the veranda having a beer and guacamole and typing up journal entries.
Fri, July 20
- gather up stuff and check out
- drive to airport
- fly back to Sacramento (sigh)
- vacation over, man.
Tomorrow we check out and head to the airport to catch the flight back to Sacto. The wonderful vacation will have come to an end. It will be sad to have to return to reality, but it will also be really nice to see the kids. It's time to get back to the workaday world, but it will be a bittersweet reunion.