Last night I slept hard, like uber hard. When I woke at 8am it was so hard to open my eyes. We were four days into the trip but I felt like the jetlag was just kicking in. I guess going from full-time work to full-time travel is harder than it sounds. Forcing myself out of bed, K and L and I packed up our gear and headed off in search of breakfast. Grabbing more nutritious delights from Foodland (ha!) we ate quickly and drove to our stop for the morning, Turtle Bay.
Turtle Bay funnily enough, is named after the large amounts of green sea turtles which inhabit the water and used to lay their eggs in the sand. Until a huge resort was built around the bay and now only some turtles still return to the bay. Turtle Bay Resort is a huge and rather ugly hotel complex where all the rich and famous stay on the North Shore. Locals are fighting to stop expansion of the resort to avoid it turning into another Waikiki. As you drive the road around the North Shore many signs and banners are hanging say to stop expansion and to ‘Keep the country country’. I’m so on the locals side, the North Shore is busy enough as it is, but to lose the laid-back vibe that they possess to evil money-maker hoteliers would just be sad. On a completely different note, here’s a bit of trivia for you though, Turtle Bay Resort is where they filmed Forgetting Sarah Marshall!
We parked in the public parking area and walked towards the beach. Their still is a public beach at Turtle Bay for everyone, however it is overrun with hotel guests. We found a spot on the sand and K and I headed straight into the water to do some snorkelling. The weather still wasn’t fanatastic, it was cloudy and the wind was slightly chilly but every now and then the sun would come out and brighten the day. K and I snorkelled around one side of the bay, getting pulled around by the waves. Despite the rough waters, the visibility was still quite good. We headed for the other side of the bay when suddenly I hear K making shrieking noises into her snorkel.I quickly turned around and heard her say ‘Turtle!’ so I stuck my head under the water and there he/she was, the beautiful and calm turtle. K and I watched him (I’m just going to call him a him, he was a bigger fella) going about his day, floating in the water and stopping to eat the occasional bit of sea grass. I could have stayed their all day watching him swim about, it looked like such a peaceful life.
We’d been out for about an hour so we decided to head back in and see what L was up to. I cleared my mask and ducked under again and almost ran into another turtle. Shocked and surprised made a series of weird noises and got K’s attention. This dude was a little smaller than the last but no less chilled. He cruised about, not even bothered that we nearly had a head on collision. Distracted by him again, we watched his swim around until he got too far away before swimming to shore to tell L about our encounters.
It was just after 11am so we packed up and headed out of Turtle Bay Resort to continue our day. About to head south we realized we still had the key for the hostel because we’d forgotten to officially check out! Racing back to the hostel we were thankful for their relaxed vibe and not minding that we’d been late in checking out.
Heading back in the direction we were supposed to we pulled over at a fruit stand for a natural sugar hit and the world biggest coconuts before driving on. We were heading back down south, the same way we had driven up, as this was where our next night’s accommodation was. Tomorrow was our last day in Oahu and we had big plans, but more on that later :p
Stopping in for a toilet break, we noticed a ceremonial road on the opposite side of the road. Intrigued we drove over and low and behold, we were at the grounds where the Byodo-in Temple was. The girls had no idea what it was and I only knew about it on Instagram, but this temple apparently this temple was dedicated in August 1968 to commemorate 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. We wandered through the temple and the bamboo gardens for awhile before continuing our journey south.
By the time we reached Waimanalo Beach we were hungry again so stopping at the same lot of food trucks as we did on the way up a couple of days ago, we grabbed a greasy but delicious feast and headed to the beach to gorge ourselves. The beaches were back to the white soft sand and clear blue waters, which was a perfect place to chill out for the afternoon. The warm sun was a nice change from the dreary, overcast weather we had at the North Shore so we soaked up the sun for the afternoon.
Around 3pm we forced ourselves from the beach to pick up a few things before checking into our accommodation for the night. Tomorrow’s activity required a hardware store and a supermarket run so we picked up our supplies in Kailua before driving to Kaneohe where we were staying for the night.
Alright, because you asked so nicely, I will tell you what we have planned for tomorrow… Are you ready? You sure? I don’t think I am!
Tomorrow morning we are climbing the Haiku Stairs, otherwise known as The Stairway To Heaven!! If you don’t know what that is, Google it right now and come back. Got a visual? Yep, that’s what we’re doing.
We had this pretty planned, we had bought torches, snacks and water. We had booked an Airbnb place right near the start so we wouldn’t have to drive anywhere and we had sussed out the entrance so at 3:30am in the morning we wont be fumbling around in the dark. We were as ready as we could ever be… We just had to climb it. Easy, right?
We settled into our Airbnb place, which was a little apartment in an area called Haiku. Our host Brittany was lovely and very accommodating – she even settled our pre-Stairway to Heaven worries by telling us her husband climbs it for fun.
Heading out to find some dinner we got distracted by a discount clothes store called Ross, that had a huge variety of brand label clothes for extremely cheap. We picked up some things and searched for dinner, resorting to Denny’s restaurant for a fatty but yummy dinner with unlimited drink refills. This concept was insane, as soon as my glass was almost empty, another full was swooped in and took its place. It seemed like such a wasteful way of doing things, but of course I couldn’t help but drink what was in front of me!
We went back to our place and packed our backpacks for the trek we would be doing in a few hours. Between feeling so full from dinner and being nervous from anticipation about what we were doing tomorrow, there was no way I would be sleeping much tonight.
Ah well, wish us luck!