Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Another trip to paradise

Husband had the opportunity to go to Hawaii for work and of course we jumped at the chance to visit Oahu again. I tagged along because, well, it's Hawaii. We went down a few day before his work conference so we could have some leisure time on the island. June in Hawaii is different from December in Hawaii. The sun is much hotter (we both got sunburns this time), and the weather was nicer overall. The waves on the North Shore are calmer, almost non-existent. Beaches that were too dangerous to swim at in December were perfectly safe this time. Husband was able to jet ski this trip, something he wasn't able to do in December due to the rough waters on the North Shore. The highlight of this trip, however, was coming across sea turtles while snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. On our trip in December I desperately wanted to see sea turtles. We went to the popular spots to find them but had no luck. It was disappointing. This trip we got lucky and saw some in the water! It was amazing! The turtles are huge and absolutely beautiful. We were able to watch them for a long time, as they seemed content to hang out in the same area, eating their breakfast. We don't have any pictures, as we did not bring an underwater camera with us. To be honest, it was nice to just watch the turtles instead of trying to get the perfect picture of them.






Since we didn't hike to a waterfall on our last trip, we decided to do one this time. We hiked Manoa Falls, which took us through a bamboo forest. One crazy thing about Oahu is that there are wild chickens everywhere! I even saw one try to go into Target! These chickens were in the parking lot at the falls.






Besides seeing the turtles, we both got to check things off our bucket list. Husband got to ride a jet ski and I got to drink water from a coconut. Husband enjoyed the jet skiing more than I enjoyed the coconut water. If I was ever stranded on an island and coconuts were my only food source, I would most likely die. I never want to taste that nasty stuff again!





We also discovered the Ko Olina Lagoons this time around. These four man-made lagoons are stunningly beautiful and picture perfect. While the snorkeling wasn't amazing here, the calm water, protected coves, and white sand beaches made for a great way to spend the day. The lagoons quickly became one of my favourite places on the island. We also saw a few mongooses (mongeese? mongi?) at the lagoons.










We had a bit of rain one day so we decided to visit the Iolani Palace. This is the only royal palace on US soil (well as long as you aren't counting Cinderella's castle!). It has a throne room, so you know it's legit. We took a tour and learned the history of the royals in Hawaii and how they were overthrown. Fascinating stuff.






While Husband was hard at work, I got to explore a bit on my own. I spent one morning at the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden. I am convinced this is where they filmed Jurassic Park. As I wandered around, I kind of expected a dinosaur to appear on the path.






We ended our trip with a drive up to an overlook of Honolulu, a tour of the USS Bowfin (which sits near the USS Arizona memorial), a stop to see where the USS Utah was sunk during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and a visit to the USS Oklahoma memorial, where white pillars line up representing the 429 Sailors and Marines killed when the Japanese attacked. The USS Oklahoma was pretty sobering, especially when we read that the design was inspired by the Navy tradition of "manning the rails." Manning the rails occurs when the crew of ship, dressed in full white dress, line up along the ship's rails and stand attention. It is the Navy's way of rendering honour to important people.












Sunday, April 15, 2018

Anchorage in April

After a long, cold winter, we were able to go to Anchorage for a few days. While there, we kept running across this little moose family; a mama with her two babies. Husband saw them on his way back to the hotel after work one day so we hopped in the car and drove over to watch them for a bit. 




The next day while out for a drive, we came across the family again.








A friend told me about an eagle's next not far from our hotel so we just had to check it out. The first night we drove by we didn't see any eagles. We got lucky the second night and were able able to see this beautiful bird keeping watch over the nest. We also got to experience a gorgeous sunset.





Our drive back home gave us great views of Denali most of the way. Pictures don't even begin to capture how this mountain LOOMS over the road. It is massive. Along the way, we came across another moose. No matter how many times I see a moose, it never gets old.