The last day of a trip is always met with mixed feelings. On one hand you’re so gutted to have to leave the place you’re in, but on the other (in my case at least) you are so beyond grateful that you got to experience the place at all. And those we’re my exact feelings (mix some sadness in there that in 24 hours’ time I’d be saying see ya soon to Mikey for who knows how long *sob*) on our last day on Oahu. But sadness aside we still had a full day ahead of us to explore around, with our flight being a redeye back to Canada. On that note, as tired as I was the following day (jumped right back into the work game after that flight I might add) I would definitely do it over again, with a flight departing well after 10pm you’re still able to take in a full day in a place & see just a few more things before calling it the end. So with that in mind we slept in a little, packed all of our stuff, said goodbye to the lovely North Shore condo & headed south for the last time on our vacation.
First stop? Food of course, and from none other than the well-known Ted’s Bakery that had been recommended to us by more than a few people from home. As soon as we got there we really noticed how sought after this place was by the slightly long line up to get in and order, but in no time at all armed with a few treats (snack for the road right?)all the positive things I had heard were definitely lived up to in the amazing baked goods! From there we decided to take one last drive around the North Shore to stop in & see if the crazy swells from earlier on in the week had subsided. And, after 3.5 days of insanely high surf, a surf contest, and certain roads being washed out (luckily we never had to cross any of them) the ocean was calmer than we had ever seen during our time on Oahu. We pulled over to take a look around Shark's Cove, which told to us by a few locals, was the best spot to snorkel on the North Shore. But when we first arrived (the photo on the left) we would have never guessed that it was in any way safe to be in the water there, and we’re beyond impressed at what a difference a few days made (photo on the right was the last day on Oahu).
The ocean is a crazy powerful force of nature and I don’t for a second underestimate it, and this is a huge example of that. Essentially overnight, swells of 25 ft+ disappeared and left the coves of the North Shore calm enough to float about and snorkel around for sea life. To anyone arriving in that day, they’d be none the wiser to the fact that just three days earlier this spot had waves crashing up onto the road. As much as I love the ocean, it can honestly be the most terrifying things, be smart about it and know it’s limits as best you can.
Moving on from that brief safety announcement on behalf of She Who Wanders, we got back into the car driving a little ways before arriving in Haleiwa “the Heart of The North Shore”. With a population of barely 4 000 people, this quiet little town is home to a tiny marina & a huge stretch of souvenir shops & local art galleries, which made it a good stop for us to find a few things to bring back not just for ourselves but our friends & family. We strolled along for a little while until we couldn’t bear to take our credit cards out any longer & got back in the car to head down towards Honolulu, and Pearl Harbour.
Just west of the city of Honolulu lies this historic landmark, and is currently the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet. The attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7th, 1941 by the Japanese was the immediate cause of the United States' entry into WWII and a day that will never be forgotten.
Admission is free, unless you are interested in visiting the several other ships and memorials on the grounds which start at 60$ +. We opted for the free tour of Pearl Harbour which gives you access to the main grounds, a film viewing & a boat ride out the USS Arizona Memorial. Leaving every half hour we made it just in time for a new tour to begin and we were greeted by a few members of the US Navy who gave us a bit of background about the base and what had happened there some 75 years before, and from there we were ushered into a theatre for a film (about half an hour) on that fateful day in 1941. From there you’re onto a fairly small boat and taken the 10 minutes across the base to the USS Arizona Memorial with full view of GIGANTIC naval ships along the shores, and the crisp white memorial not too far off in the distance.
This memorial was erected to commemorate the nearly 12 00 men & women who were killed on Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour, their bodies to rest in the ships wreckage in the ocean. From the memorial platform you are able to see most of the Arizone in the water as well as the few manta rays who now call it home. Inside there are plenty of memorial items of those who lost their lives that day, and a full wall commemorating those brave individuals. The memorial itself is a rectangular white housing with cut outs on each side allowing you to see the ship below and the battle ships on the shore. With the tour over we headed back to the base for a quick look around and then headed towards Waikiki.
Heading into Waikiki it wasn’t the beach we were after (resting our poor sunburned skin on our last day was top priority) it was something I never imagined we’d be searching for..cookies! Yep, located in the maze-like but gorgeous Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is one of many Honolulu Cookie Companies. Well worth feeling a little lost, these tiny pineapple shaped treats were highly sought after by my travel partner & after testing a fair few I was quickly convinced that I’d have to bring some back. And Mikey? Well let's just say I'd never seen a boy so happy about cookies before.
After arming ourselves with probably enough cookies to feed a small village we headed off to our final stop of the trip, Sea Life Park & the Chief's Luau. No Hawaiian vacation would be complete (in my opinion of course) without having a Luau experience, and what better to spend our last night than doing just that. I wanted to make sure that we were getting the best value for our money (not only was our colourful canadian money worth rocks in the US, but luau's don't come that cheap) so I did A LOT of research and asked basically everyone I knew who had been to Oahu for their reccomendations. And thanks to a lovely girl from high school who visited Oahu with her boyfriend last year we got the best reccomendation. The Chief's Luau at Sea Life Park was hands down the best cultural show I've seen. There are a few different options, including seating choices & meal service but for about 90$ (USD) you get a free drink, a huge meal & most importantly & for us well worth the money, a hilarious host (The Chief) and a fantastic showcase of South Pacific culture. Before the show actually begins you get a feel that you've stepped into a whole other part of Hawaii being greeted by men & women dressed in traditional luau fashion and offer different stations to try your hand at basket weaving, hula dancing & even spear throwing. From there the Chief calls you around in a circle to unveil the "roast" by having a few people pull it out of the ground in true Hawaiian fashion. After that the night is filled with cheeky remarks from the absoloutely hilarious Chief, great food, fantastic music & performances from multiple South Pacific cultures, including Tahiti, New Zealand, Samoa and of course Hawaii. All of the performers are the same for each act & are insanely talented putting on quite the show for all the spectators. Closing the show is the most hardcore fire dance I've ever seen (head over to my Facebook or instagram for those videos) and left us pretty much in awe.
And there we were, Luau over & walking back to the car to head to the airport on our last night. To say we both wished that the trip had been longer would be a serious understatement. And to make matters that much more off putting for us, there were some serious issues with checking into our flight, and a slightly mad dash to catch our flight that we realized was going to be delayed by an hour anyway. We made it back to Vancouver just after 7am the following morning, and it was off to work (what was I thinking right?) for me & onto a connecting flight back to Montreal for Mikey. It's always sad to say goodbye to people not knowing when you'll see them again, but after not seeing eachother for 6 months & only having 9 days it all felt too quick for us making saying "see ya soon" a little harder than usual. It's crazy for me to be sitting here writing about the crazy amazing adventures we had in Hawaii. It was a trip in the works for quite a while & the fact that it's over is so surreal to both of us (something we talk about often and the topic of another post to come).
Kauai & Oahu, you were more than I ever dreamed of and I cannot wait to one day visit again (Hopefully you'll be my adventure partner in crime again B?). The things we saw, the places we visited, and the experiences we shared are somethnig I will never forget.
Mahalo Hawaii ✌️🌊☀️