Monday December 13th was the first day that I didn't have to rush to do anything. No biking to do, no marathon to run, no plane to catch, it was just a day to have fun. I got up at 6am and grabbed some coffee and headed down to the pier behind the hotel to watch the sunrise over Diamond Head. Truth be told, I actually wanted to hike Diamond Head and get some sunrise pics from the top of the crater, however, they closed the road for repairs for the week I was there! Grrrr! Oh well. So my plan for that day was to meet up with Shelly & Beth and do some sea kayaking. After a litte fiasco at the rental car place (apparently Shelly was on the 'do not rent to' list - LOL!) we got our car and headed to Kailua. We got our kayaks and decided to grab some sandwiches on the way out so we could have a little picnic on one of the islands. The people at the kayak place told us it would take 1 1/2 hours to paddle to this island... I did it in 30 minutes flat! BOOM!
We set out on a little exploration trip of the island and found some really cool stuff. There was a tide pool and some interesting rock formations. We found a shady part of the island and had a little picnic before heading out. On the way off the island I paddled out to sea a bit and tried to surf some waves in my kayak. It was a lot harder than it seemed in my head. We then went on to do a little snorkeling and headed back in to shore because Beth had a plane to catch.
Later that night I went out for a nice sushi dinner at Doraku with Marie & Shelly. I ordered "omakase" for us which is basically chef's choice. The chef, Hide Yoshimoto, apparently didn't get to do that much. He was so impressed that I knew what it was that he came out to speak with me, brought everything out himself and explained exactly what it was, how it was prepared and how it should be eaten. The food was spectacular as was the service!
Here is one of the dishes he made for us. I think this one was red snapper with deep fried ginger chips.
This is the view from the restaurant.
Back at the hotel, this is the view from my balcony.
The next day I tried my hand at surfing. I got up the first time which was awesome but apparently that was beginners luck because I fell a ton after that. It was a ton of fun though! After that I decided to just chill for the rest of the day. I had to figure out where I was going to stay the next night because my plane didn't leave until Thursday but my hotel reservation ended on Wednesday. Technically it ended on Monday but I was able to crash with two different people on Monday and Tuesday night. No such luck for Wednesday though. I also wanted to drive up to the north shore to see the big pipeline surfing competition. So what better solution than to rent a Jeep, drive to the north side of the island and sleep in the Jeep?! I wound up getting a soft top Jeep Wrangler (I've always wanted one of these) and cruising around.
Here's my ride!
The surf competition started early so I woke up at 5:30 and got some coffee. There were a ton of locals out surfing before the competition began at 8am.
The last 3 pics are of Kelly Slater. He's freakin' amazing! He's won Pipeline Masters like 6 times since he started.
After I saw Kelly surf it was off to cruise the island in my Jeep with the top down!
Here's the Dole plantation. Those are all pineapples.
This is a spot over on the east side of the island. Just gorgeous!
As my time on the island was drawing to a close I was reflecting on the trip and comparing it to others. In all my travels I've seen some amazing things but I've always been ready to come home. For the first time, I felt like I could stay. I had no desire to leave whatsoever. I've heard people say that time and time again about Hawaii but now that I've been there I totally understand! If you haven't been... GO!