Oahu, Hawai'i is stunning

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Today we were determined to see some of the beaches as we could not come to Hawai’I and not see the beach.

Turtles in pondTurtles in a pond at our hotel

Little did we know that we would see many beaches on that day. We had just left the hotel to start walking to the beach when a man asked if we wanted him to take us out for the day, including lunch. After quite a bit of discussion we agreed to do so but then things got challenging. He did not take a credit card and at the time we did not have enough cash on hand as we were preparing to leave the US. He agreed to take us to an ATM to draw cash but, even though we tried 4 of them, none would accept our PIN as it is 5 digits and in the US they use only 4. We had experience no problems with the machine’s in shops though. Next we went to the bank and Trevor went in with his card and passport but could not even draw there as our cards do not have our full names on them. 

All this, took well over an hour but “Surfer Joe” as he called himself, I’ll explain why later” did not want to lose his clients so he was willing to help us in every possible way. We were due to board the ship that day and so it decided to go and sign in and see if we could get a loan from the ship. Registering took ages as they had no record of our Australian visas even though they had been attached to the on-line Registration Form. Fortunately I had made hard copies of all documentation, particularly for our Australian and New Zealand visas which were issued electronically. Finally we were cleared and were able to board the ship to arrange the loan.

At last we were on our sightseeing tour but as it had taken so long to get organised we decided to have lunch first. Joe took us to a lovely harbour-side restaurant where we had absolutely divine fish and chips. It was agreed that we would do the South end of Oahu Island that afternoon and he would take us on a tour of the North end the following day as the ship would only sail at 6pm that day. We began the tour with seeing a bit more of Waikiki itself going first to the original King’s Palace, Iolani. It is a beautiful building built in 1881 but only used as a palace for a few years. Thereafter it become a government building and was also used as the Capitol for Hawaii for about 80 years. In 1962 restoration to its former glory began and, once completed, it was opened to the public. It is the only Royal Residence in the US.

iolani Palace 3Iolani Palace

At the rear of the Palace are the former Military Barracks. Here there is a small room where we were shown a short film on the Palace History, a small museum of military paraphernalia and a Gift Shop.

In the grounds was a statue of King Kalākaua, a gazebo, many Monkeypod Trees and there are beautifully decorated gates at the entrance.

Kamehameha III statue 2 King Kalākaua III

Iolani PalaceFormer Military Baracks

Gazebo and Monkeypod treesGazebo and Monkeypod Trees

Around a corner there was a Council Building and an hotel near to which was an eternal flame dedicated to all those who had lost their lives on 9/11.

Eternal FlameEternal Flame to honour those who died on 9/11

In town there was the Cathedral of St Andrew, often referred to as the Westminster Abbey of Hawaii. We stopped there for some photos and it was finteresting to see 2 weddings taking place at the same time, one in the Cathedral itself and the other in the older church next door.

Cathedral of St AndrewStatue of St Andrew in front of the Cathedral

Old church on Cathedral propertyOriginal Church with some new Cathedral buildings behind

From there we drove towards the coast and saw Waikiki Beach for the first time. There were a number of surfers out on a really beautiful day. It was as we were watching the surfers that Joe told us that at the age of 17 he left Florida for Hawaii to surf. He had been there ever since, 37 years. He eventually had to have a steady income and started his tour guide operation. He had come to be known as “Surfer Joe” by the local community.

Surfers off Waikiki Beach 2Surfers off Waikiki Beach

We then began travelling south along the coast and saw some of the most beautiful beaches and coastline we had ever seen. At one point we stopped to watch a huge water spout send up its water. 

Water spout 2Water Spout on West Coast

Just after that we turned inland and visited the 2nd palace of Queen Liliʻuokalani who was the last of the 3 Monarchs. She had been accused of corruption during her election as Monarch and the people rose in revolt and she was banished to a room in the Iolani Palace. After her release she built the small home in Waialae where she died of cancer.

Holiday home of the Queen2nd home of Queen Liliʻuokalani

Garden at Queens homePart of the garden

Joe then took us further inland where we took a detour through a beautiful golf course surrounded by mountains.

Green at golf courseA green on the golf course below the mountains

We returned having experienced a wonderful tour of Southern Oahu to the ship late afternoon agreeing to be collected the next morning at 09:00 to see the Northern part of the Island.