Monday, June 19, 2023
By now, if you have been reading the trip report, you know our usual routine. This day started like the others. No complaints at all. Great company, great scenery, a great place. It was all great, as you might have guessed.
We had decided to do a bit of sightseeing to start the day off. We had talked about some options, and we decided to drive up to the North Shore to see what we could see there. We got in the Pathfinder again and headed out.
This time around, we turned north (which makes sense to go to the North Shore) on a highway we had not been on before. It took us away from the main city areas and across the island of Oʻahu. We saw pineapple plantations, ranches, and lots of grassy areas. The mountains were still off in the distance, too. It was different than anything else we had seen on the island so far. Oʻahu still had lots of surprises for us, it seemed. And that was a good thing. We turned up Kamehameha Highway and kept going toward the beach.
When we got close to the shore, we saw a small shopping village, the North Shore Marketplace. We decided to get out and have a look around. There were severall small shops there. We picked the first one and looked around in it for a while, finding a few things here and there. It was called a general store, but in many ways it was a large souvenir stand. That was fine with me, since I like that sort of thing anyway.
Another day, another chicken, this one in the parking lot of the North Shore Marketplace
After we finished in the general store, we decided to see what else was there. I saw that there was a Wyland Gallery store, and Laura and I always enjoy going to a Wyland Gallery in Florida. The sign said that the gallery would open at 11:00 AM, and it was about 10:30 AM, so we kept on going. We looked around a few other stores, just seeing what all they had. Most of the stores had similar things, but we still enjoyed looking. One of my finds was a solar-powered hula girl, which for reasons I cannot explain I had been wanting. So I was happy to get one. As you can tell, I am not an extravagant shopper.
The solar-powered hula girl, who dances all day long, as long as there is light
When we had visited all of the shops, we went back to Wyland Gallery, but it was still closed, even though it was well after 11:00 AM by that time. Some other people were there and appeared to be waiting, but they gave up and left. We went around to the street side to look in the windows and see what we could see, and around that time the lights inside came on. So we went back around to the door, which the shop lady was unlocking as we walked up. We went in to look around, and we were greeted by the shop lady. She asked if we had been there before, and we said we had been to the gallery in Florida (at Walt Disney World, but we did not get specific). She asked if we collected art. Laura said, “No, but I have a couple of Wyland t-shirts.” The lady sort of sniffed and walked away, and that was the end of our conversation. But we did enjoy looking around, and I am always impressed with the art by Wyland and the other artists, some of whom I have come to recognize from social media.
Outside Wyland Gallery, waiting for it to open
But then it was time to move on. We got in the car and continued along, passing through the town of Haleʻiwa that had some interesting looking shops. But we kept on going, since the beach was our goal. As we drove, I noticed that traffic was starting to get heavier, going along with the traffic data that I had seen on the map on my phone. Apparently, we were getting more into a popular place.
We saw Haleʻiwa Beach Park on the left that looked like it had a good-sized parking lot, and it looked like parking was free, so we pulled in and parked, which was indeed free. We walked out to the water and were immediately amazed by the view. The water was a deep blue, and there were mountains off to the left. There were waves out away from the shore, but the waves reaching the sand were not large enough to be a problem, so there were several people swimming in the water. However, there were a good bit of rocks along the shore, rather large rocks, so you would have to be careful where you would get in. And off to the right, there were several people surfing. It looked great!
Haleʻiwa Beach Park and just one of the many beautiful views there
Laura in her natural habitat - the beach
Another beautiful beach view
While I took photos, Laura walked on down the beach to the left. She was looking for a place to put her feet in the water away from the rocks. As I was taking photos, I noticed something out in the water. The more I watched, the more I was sure what it was - a sea turtle, probably around 20 feet away! It was a large one, just swimming around and bobbing in the waves. It would occasionally stick its head above the water and then go back under. I got the Brant and Karen’s attention to show them.
Once we had watched the turtle for a bit, I went to try to get Laura’s attention. I saw then that she was waving to me and jumping up and down. When I got to where she was, she showed me another sea turtle. This one was about 50 feet out from the shore. We watched it just a bit, and then I took her back to where Brant and Karen were, and sure enough, that turtle was still there. When I looked out in the water more, I could see that there were even more turtles, just floating around, different distances from the shore, not bothered by people being there. And the people were not bothering the turtles either, by the way. We watched them for quite a while.
Looking for turtles in the ocean
Yet another beautiful beach view
We then walked to our right. There was a large grassy area there, along with some sport courts, and some sort of pavilion that might have at one time had a cover over it but was now open. We were walking along a wall, with the ocean down below to our left. And from that vantage point, having some height to where we were, we could look down and see more turtles. I realized that Laura and I could see the turtles well thanks to our polarized sunglasses, too. If I looked at the water without them, I saw more of the sunlight reflecting off the water. With my sunglasses (prescription, by the way, and progressive lenses because I am getting old), I could see down into the water better. Polarization for the win!
Turtles are difficult to photograph, and I did not have a zoom lens with me, but hopefully you can see the turtle here
Another look at a turtle in the water, right in the center of the photo
Laura, Karen, and Brant looking for turtles
We kept on going, getting to a wooded area that we walked through to get closer to the beach. Because of the signs on some of the cars in that part of the parking lot near the woods, I realized that there were a couple of surfing classes going on. North Shore surfing classes - what a place to learn!
Are you getting tired of these beach views yet?
Surfers in the water
Laura at the beach
Three of the four of us. The fourth was behind the camera.
Laura and Karen at the beach
We did not linger at that part of the beach for long, because we were starting to get hungry. On our walk back to the car, we went through the grassy area, with a side trip to see a couple of large banyan trees. Those trees are always amazing. And then we got in the car and headed back down Kamehameha Highway.
Under the Banyan tree
Under the Banyan tree with Laura for size reference
We had seen a McDonald’s in Haleʻiwa, so we decided to go there for lunch. The parking lot was busy, but I managed to squeeze the Pathfinder in a parking space, and we went inside. We ordered with the kiosk things and the girls got a table while Brant and I wanted for our food. I noticed on the menu they had taro pies, which you can’t get at the McDonald’s back home, but I did not feel like trying one based on my experience with poi at the lūʻau. I also saw that there were no drink refills, which is typical of tourist area McDonald’s restaurants, unfortunately. But then our food was ready and we ate. Food always seems to taste even better when you are hungry.
We had not actually made it to the main part of the North Shore, but we decided what we saw was good for the day, and we started back toward Aulani. As we drove, we realized that was a good decision, because the road back toward the beach was packed solid with a line of cars. Apparently, the morning is the best time to go. Or at that time the tide was right for some good waves and everyone was going to try to catch them. We were going away from the traffic, so it was not that bad for us. But I felt a little sorry for those going the other way.
Back at Aulani, it was time for the pool/lazy river/beach, especially since that had not fit into our schedule the day before. When we went to get our wristbands from Kāwele Korner, they asked once again if we would like to get our wristbands for the next day, which we did. They also asked if we would like to get our towels for the next day, which we also did. They said that would save us from waiting in line, and I wondered if Tuesday might be the busiest day for the pool. We went and claimed our spot near the Wailana Pool again, and then did our usual routine of Waikolohe Stream (lazy river), tube slide, hot tub, and beach, but just Laura and me at the beach. Maybe I am wrong, but I don’t think I could get tired of that routine. Maybe a science experiment is in order! Laura and I also added a stop at the Ka Maka Grotto pool. As you might guess from the name, the pool is partially covered by a large rock grotto. It was interesting and different, and I could see it being popular with those who did not want direct sunlight.
As usual, the time passed quickly, and we went back up to our rooms to get changed back into dry clothes. For supper, we ate Lunchables (supperables?) on the Riedels’ balcony since we had a relatively big lunch at McDonald’s. It does not always have to be something fancy for us, after all.
Laura and Karen had an appointment to make Mickey Ears, so they went off to do that. Meanwhile, Brant and I walked back across the street to the Island Market ABC store to get a few things that we needed. It was good timing, because the girls finished about the time that we got back. They had decided not to make lighted ears so that they could save a little money. They enjoyed making their ears, and they looked good!
Laura texted us this photo after they made their ears
Next, we went for our usual evening walk, another thing that I would probably not get tired of. The breeze was nice, the sunset was beautiful, and I did not take any photos at all, instead just enjoying the walk and the time with friends. Have I ever mentioned that we never seem to run out of things to talk about?
After the walk, we went up to Kālepa’s Store to do some shopping, because I did not want to put that off too much longer and miss our chance. It was nice to have some gift cards and Disney Visa Rewards money to spend, so that I did not have to spend much “real” money. And then we took all of our purchases upstairs.
However, I was not quite ready to go to bed yet. I had been wanting to take some night photos around Aulani, and I had brought my tripod for just that purpose. As with shopping, I did not want to miss my chance, and this seemed like a good night for it - no clouds, not much wind. Laura said she would go with me, so off we went out into the night.
Night photography is not always my strongest point, so it always takes me a little bit of trial and error. But there were not many people out, and I tried my best to set up my tripod out of the main paths, so hopefully I was not too much in the way. The stars were out, and they made a great backdrop. We went all around the Waikolohe Valley pool area so that I could get all sorts of angles. I am sure Laura was getting a little bored, but she still stayed with me the whole time. It was fun, and I can’t get photos like that back home. I was glad I had that chance.
Walking along the walkway at night
Nighttime at Aulani
One more nighttime view for now. More to come later.
I could have stayed longer, but some of my photos were starting to look the same, so I thought it was best to call it quits. Laura and I headed back up to our room and headed off to bed.