During inaugural week I was in Hawaii. Given how cold it was in the Balitmore/DC area that week, I can’t say I wasn’t happy to be there. I stayed at the Embassy Suites Beach Walk in Waikiki and I cannot say enough good things about the hotel. When we first checked in we were offered some tropical drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The rooms were suite style and very well kept. Every morning they had a whole bunch of complimentary breakfast food – including omlets made to order. They also had a happy hour every night with free drinks and cheap snacks.
Of course, I took my Canon 400D and Fujifilm A 345. Overall I did pretty well. Out of 800+ pictures only 63 were out of focus. Also, for sake of mentioning it, 61 were of my wife. That’s a new thing for me as we usually don’t take the usual tourist-y pictures. Our first day were were still on Eastern Time so we got up at 0400 and went to watch the sun rise.
We both got some pretty awesome pictures and had a better time than just sitting in the hotel waiting for it to be time for breakfast. We also went snorkling at Hanauma Bay. I’m pretty annoyed that we didn’t get the underwater housing for Danielle’s camera before coming to Hawaii because we could have had some awesome fish pictures and even a picture of a sea turtle. It was a pretty good first day.
The following day we went to whale watching. We book a tour with Atlantis Adventures. If you take their lunch cruise you can see whales. Overall the food was OK. It was equivalent to standard sweet 16/wedding quality food as long as you’re not thinking of rich people. They claim to have a certain type of boat that makes it hard to get seasick. That didn’t stop Danielle from getting seasick. Also, she said the women’s restroom was full of other women who were getting sick despite the boat’s design. Was it worth it? It was pretty much $60 per adult. The food was pretty blah and you can’t get that close to the whales. Also, there’s no guarantee the whales will do anything interesting. They only breached 3 times and this was my only good shot (the other two were too far away).
I’m glad I got to take that shot. (I mean how many people can take pictures of whales? – not including Sea World) But overall the cruise was a disappointing value for the money. Of course, you might go on a day when the whales just keep jumping. Just know that the food isn’t anything great and the boat is not really sea-sickness proof.
We went to Chinatown because I am on a mission to visit all of the world’s Chinatowns. Honolulu’s Chinatown is pretty uneven. Parts of it are nice, but overall it’s a dump. I wouldn’t want to walk around there alone at night.
The other major thing we did was to go climb Diamond Head. It was pretty cheap – I think about $5 and we got a good hike and very nice views of Oahu. Here are some of my best shots.
This is how high we climbed and we weren’t all the way there yet.
This spiral staircase we had to go up for the last part of the climb. The only really bad thing is that it served both directions, but really only one person could on at a time. Then again, this was originally a military installtaion so they didn’t have to worry about people having to go in both directions at once.
There was a lot of Obama stuff for sale since he grew up in Hawaii and it was innaugaral week.
On our last day we went driving around Oahu. We got some good daylight pictures of Hanauma Bay.
And I FINALLY got some good pictures of surfers although they weren’t on regular surf boards.
We really want to see the lighthouse from Diamond Head up close, so we found a trail that lead to the lighthouse. Unfortunately, once we got to the top, we found out it was the wrong lighthouse.
But it was a fun climb. We both really had to use the bathroom so we tried to climb up as quickly as possible while still enjoying the view. And we ended up seeing this bird. It kept jumping and flying around so it was hard to photograph, but I got some good shots.
I had a really great time in Oahu and I’d recommend it to anyone as a great sample of Hawaii. The only thing it doesn’t have is an active volcano so I’ll need to go to The Big Island in the future to see that. I have a bunch more pictures in my Hawaii set on flickr. I just didn’t want to clutter the blog post with TOO many photos.