Kaneohe Bay – Pyramid Rock Beach

 

One of the first things you learn when you move to Oahu is how the island is divided. Down the center of the island runs a mountain range (gotta love all that volcanic activity!). The north eastern side of the divide is the windward side, it gets all of the winds and moisture. The southwestern side (where we live) is the leeward side, not as cool and much drier. This becomes very apparent when you go from one side to another. I LOVE the windward side! It is so lush and green and every time I see it I feel like I am in Jurassic Park (because it was filmed here!)

 

 

 

This is the tunnel that cuts through the mountains, it is fairly new and is much easier than having to drive all the way around or over! And when you pop out of the tunnel this is what greets you:

 

The hills all have those distinct ridges due to erosion, all of the rain has carved the rock.

 

 

 

We were looking for someplace to snorkel over on the Marine Corps base at Kaneohe Bay but there wasn’t really anything suitable so we headed to Pyramid Rock Beach. It was a beautiful breezy day but the surf was really rough and we were advised by the lifeguard to stay shallow and keep our kids close.

 

 

Yes, I know it is all beach and ocean pictures all the time but seriously, this has been my life! We have spent a disgusting amount of time at the beach, but isn’t that what you are supposed to do when you live in Hawaii?

 

 

My gorgeous girl. This was the only picture I have where she isn’t posing like she’s trying out for America’s Next Top Model.

 

 

Oh this boy, he melts my heart.

 

 

Pyramid Rock, I wanted to go see if we could hike up the stairs but as you can see it’s REALLY far away and I am incredibly lazy. I bet the view from up there is great! 

 

 

 

Super crowded beach, I don’t know how we deal with the masses of people. Seriously though, I love going to beaches on base.

 

 

 

 

 

We also stalked a crab… cutest thing ever.

 

 

And the weirdo dog that was happy as hell to eat the leftover ice from the ice chest. Also please ignore my dirt back yard. My gardening stuff isn’t here yet, give me a couple of months and it will be beautiful!

 

The one where I eat out of a trough

So yesterday we decided to be the most awesome. parents. ever!  and pick our kiddos up from school and go directly to Dave and Buster’s. D&B’s is like a big kid’s Chuck E. Cheese. They have a restaurant and then a huge video game area. We had been before on one of our day date’s we have been indulging in since the kids have been in school, but this time we decided to be nice and take the kid’s too.

We were going for a late lunch but the kids weren’t hungry so they just got milkshakes. And eat the nachos we got as an appetizer (I LOVE their nachos!)

See?! Spoiled happy kids! (pardon the cell phone pics)

So for lunch I decided to get a salad and picked one called The Lawnmower. The picture looked like a cobb type salad with a little bit of everything. My kind of salad. So imagine my surprise when this arrived at our table:

That platter is TWO FEET LONG! You know how when you order fajitas and all the plates and bowls and sizzling platters feel like you are taking up half the table? Well this thing took up half the table!! I think our entire family could have eaten comfortably off of this salad. (Also please ignore Mckenna’s super natural looking surprised face)

Anyways, the salad was good (what I could eat of it) also the stolen sips of Omar’s abandoned chocolate milkshake.

Oh, Also!!! Dave and Buster’s offers a 20% military discount! That is a seriously good discount because they have decent meal prices to start, like mainland prices, not Hawaii prices.

Life size connect four! Mckenna won, she was super excited!

So after eating we hit up the games, which was perfect because Wednesday is half price games, who knew? The kids had a great time, we won a bazillion tickets and ended up not getting home until almost 6pm (love that traffic!)

So I got to skip out on making dinner because we still weren’t really hungry so we did leftovers/scrounge in the fridge night. Perfect!

So, yeah. Don’t order The ginormous salad unless you are starving or prepared to share some of your three heads of romaine lettuce!

 

 

 

Eating Our Way Through the North Shore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This weekend we headed back up to the North Shore. I am falling in love with this view as we crest over the hill and head down to the shore… When you actually see it in person you can hardly tell where the sky ends and the water begins. Also if you go earlyish in the morning you won’t sit in hideous traffic like we had to last time!

 

We made a quick detour to Turtle Beach since we had such good luck last time we were there.  Gorgeous water, beautiful coastline. I can’t wait to do more exploring up here. It’s just so, so different than Honolulu.

 

 

No luck this time. I don’t know if we were just too early or what. Not a turtle in sight. Insert sad trombone… Mckenna was really bummed, so was I. We had actually brought our snorkeling gear with us so we could snorkel with the turtles.  Omar on the other hand was thrilled because he was NOT in the mood to be at the beach. Weirdo.

 

Onward! We made our way over to Hale’iwa to poke around town and find something to eat. Please note Mckenna doing her best to look like my little Hawaiian girl by throwing a shaka! I may have made my poor husband pull over at both signs on the road (actually I made him pull over for the first one, he pulled over for me before I even had a chance to ask for the second!)

 

First stop on the agenda: Masumoto’s Shave Ice.  A Hawaiian must do. Everyone and there mother will tell you that you have to go to this place so there is usually a huge line.  I grabbed this shot as we were leaving. When we got there we only had a few people in front of us, almost zero wait. Also it gave us time to look at the CRAZY menu!

 

 

 

 

Below is the menu. It was VERY hard to narrow it down to 3 flavors! You can also get ice cream on the bottom of your snow cone sorry, shave ice, and/or condensed milk drizzled over the top. So far I have been a purist and haven’t tried it but I am going to have to start experimenting! Oh and they have a specific way they want you to order… how many, size, cup or bowl, etc…

 

 

This machine is an ice shaving beast. And the girl was crazy fast scooping and making the perfect scoop shape (and also clearly thrilled I am taking her picture.)

 

Yummy shave ice! What is not shown is that Omar dropped his shave ice about 30 seconds after sitting on a bench outside. There were tears. But he then got to share with all of us, and pose with my cherry/watermelon shave ice.

 

 

Verdict: All shave ice pretty much tastes the same to me. Stop by if you are there, otherwise go to one of the other million stands on the island.

 

 

 

After our shave ice we decided to get dessert. What? This day had no rhyme or reason to our eating schedule!

 

Just ended up grabbing a photo op and some cookies. We were a little disappointed by the baked goods selection for a bakery, but they do also bake their own bread and have a nice little lunch menu. Service, hmmm. Our order taker was friendly but literally stopped us 3-4 times in the middle of our order to deliver food/talk to other people. Super cute little place though. $1 cookies!

 

 

 

 

$1 cookie display. My walnut chocolate chip was really good. And Omar didn’t drop his!

Right across the parking lot is this trailer with dozens of chickens on it. You cannot miss the smell, it is divine.  We had other plans for lunch so we decided to pick up a chicken for dinner. $9 for a chicken ($9.50 if you want it cut up). We also picked up some pineapple cole slaw. Yes I know, I was dubious too. But it is really good.

 

 

Grab a 1/2 or whole chicken and sit at a table and eat it. When we ate it for dinner there was only a backbone left in the serving dish, my kids picked the chicken clean. Great sauce or rub or whatever it is that they put on it.  And when you are done you can wash your hands in the cutest sink ever. I love beach towns.

 

 

Next stop: Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck another must do according to every guide book, friend and tv show.

 

 

 

Super simple menu makes it easy to order.

 

 

While you wait grab a Sharpie and sign your name. Good luck finding a spot!

 

 

 

 

Omar got the spicy shrimp which weren’t that spicy to him because he has a ridiculous scale of spiciness from eating habaneros every single day. They were wicked spicy, I couldn’t handle them.

 

 

I got the scampi which were good. Both of our shrimp may have been a smidge overcooked. Good but we are also lazy and don’t like peeling our shrimp. (first world problems I know…)

 

 

 

So great day eating and trying lots of must try things. If you haven’t gotten up there yet, DO IT!

Spend the Day at Hanauma Bay

There is a reason that everyone raves about this place when it come to snorkeling, it is FANTASTIC!

Hanauam Bay is a natural preserve and because of this you have to jump through some hoops when it comes to visiting.  First off, get there early, the parking lot isn’t huge and once it fills up, they close it. We got there at 9:30am and they were only letting in 25 more cars.  The park is right off of H-1 so there really isn’t anywhere else to park nearby.  Parking is only $1 for the day, not bad at all.

There is also a charge to get into the bay, $7.50 for each adult (kids are free). However, if you are a resident (which we are, getting those Hawaiian driver’s license’s are totally worth it!) it’s free. After that you get to line up, yet again to watch a short video about the history of the bay and the conservation efforts being made to keep it safe.

It’s a pretty steep walk down to the beach itself…

But they have a little tram you can ride down (and up) that is $2 for a round trip.

The walk down is fine, the walk up is no joke!

The view is pretty nice as you walk down the hill…

I didn’t take a ton of pictures while we were on the beach, we put all of our valuables in a locker so we didn’t have to guard our stuff. There are bathrooms, lockers, snorkel rentals and lifeguards on the beach, but no snacks or drink sales.

The snorkeling was outstanding, all of the rock in the picture is reef and the fish were everywhere. We saw a moray eel within minutes of getting in the water (the only one we saw all day) and huge naso tangs, goat fish, spotted puffers, and humahuma triggers.

Once the tide started to come in it got really choppy and difficult to swim. I went out one last time before we left and was getting tossed around. Plus the visibility was getting worse and it was no fun to be out there.

The view on the ride home isn’t half bad either…

See that? That is a TRAIL going up the side of that mountain! Insane!

North Shore Trip aka Best. Day. Ever.

We decided to actually do something Hawaiian and touristy and take a trip up to the North Shore. On the way up we took a quick stop by the Dole Plantation. We weren’t trying to stay all day so we didn’t do the maze or train.

Not even a minute after walking in did Omar spy a pineapple! They have groups of different varieties growing all over the place and it’s amazing to see the many different colors and sizes. Who knew?!

The koi pond was also pretty cool. The koi were outta control, trying to swim on top of each other to get food. Unfortunately for us, the food was all gone out of the dispensers. Go before noon if you want to try to get some!

They had some really pretty plants as well. I am constantly taking pictures of all of the plants and flowers I see (I really need to buy that macro lens I want!) I love how well landscaped everything on this island is! Just beautiful!

My little pineapples… There was a group ahead of us who were doing this as well but they had way more people and a million cameras and were taking FOREVER. It was super annoying and they refused to get out of the way so my kids could take a picture.

Everyone raves about the Dole Whip, and I admit it was good. But really, it’s pineapple soft serve. For $5. But now I can say I ate it.

Guess what? MORE pineapple pictures! They were SO cool, and the baby ones were adorable. (Yes, I realize I just described a fruit as adorable.)

I don’t know what kind of tree this is, but Mckenna and I are now calling it a rainbow tree.

Continuing on to the North Shore, we passed this horse farm. Nothing happened, I just love how this shot turned out. (As we were creeping along in traffic because our bright idea was the same one that half the island had!)

Quick pull off right after the horse farm. Turtle Beach! I was hoping to see at least one sea turtle, or honu as they are known here. Instead, we saw DOZENS!

I just love those sweet faces! But not enough to touch them as they are protected and will cost $250K!  The volunteers were actually really great and I would love to join them! hang with turtles all day? Sign me up!

While we were having a religious experience with sea turtles, Omar was happy to watch from the shore.

Next time I am bringing a snorkel!

One of the turtles up close. This is why they are here, to munch on all this yummy algae.

Onward! This time to find something to eat! We ended up purely on accident at Ted’s Bakery. Ended up having a GREAT lunch wishing we had room for dessert. They are apparently quite famous for their cream pies (which looked outstanding!)  I did end up having my very first Hawaiian plate lunch. Fantastic!

After lunch we tried to make our way to Waimea Bay, one of the most famous surfing beaches in the world. Parking was INSANE. No where to park for miles, so back up the coast we go, finally stopping at Shark’s Cove. I had read that they had great snorkeling and even though we hadn’t brought any with us, we were hot and ready to cool off!

Omar and Mckenna went in first and I couldn’t tell whether they were enjoying it or not. Once they came back they said they saw tons of fish. We all ended up going out (with just goggles) and ended up seeing hundreds of convict tangs, parrot fish, wrasses, puffer fish, a moorish idol, and a humahuma trigger. I can NOT wait to go back here with a snorkel!

Still can’t believe this is my life. I’m kinda digging it so far.