Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Grand Princess Cruise Honolulu Hawaii

We finally made it to Hawaii!! We arrived a day late due to an unfortunate delay, so we were anxious to go ashore.  As the ship docked in Honolulu we climbed to the observation deck and checked out the scenery. The dock is located in the downtown area surrounded by  tall buildings. I was expecting grass shacks but this is a good looking city.
Honolulu HI

The port is very commercial with working boats and ships in large numbers. I fired off a bunch of pictures and noticed two guys on jet skis buzzing about the harbor. It's the harbor police doing their job. I am a little envious of a job that lets you tool around on a jet ski all day. My brain is singing the theme to Hawaii Five O, "Book 'em Dano!"
Port of Honolulu HI.

Police on Jet Skis

We hear the announcement allowing us to go ashore and we headed off the ship with no real plan. Silly us! We wander the port area,  where there is a nice shopping area with restaurants and gift shops. The light here is beautiful and the water is bright blue. We snap photos and remark that even downtown there are vividly colored flowers everywhere. I look in the water at dockside and see colorful fish near the surface.
Port of Honolulu HI.

After our initial walk about, we wander past the cab and bus stands. Standing there is a cab driver who introduces himself as John. He is a native Hawaiian and looks like an actor from central casting perfect for the part of cab driver. John asks us what we want to do and puts together, what ends up being, a six hour custom tour. It is possible to book a tour in advance with John. He knows the island like the back of his hand. He drops you off at your choice of destinations and you call his cell phone when you are ready to move to the next. The cost was less than a group bus tour.
John's Taxi and Tours 808-233-8227.

 Our first stop is Pearl Harbor. If one wants to visit the actual memorial, you must book way in advance. Like a lot of national parks there is limited availability. We were happy just walking the grounds and visitor center. You get a sense of place and  history just being there. I heard a squawking and looked up to see a pair of Myna Birds observing the humans and hoping for a handout.
Pearl Harbor HI.

Pearl Harbor HI.

Resident Myna Birds Pearl Harbor HI.
Dole Plantation HI.
Our next stop is The Dole Plantation. There are lots of photo opportunities here at this very colorful place. I would definitely bring the kids here. It has a train tour, exhibits, Koi pond,  a garden maze and lots of expensive things to purchase in the gift shop. A bit touristy,  but fun.

We were off to see the  Honu Green Sea Turtles on beach near Haleiiwa Hi. The Honu picked a beautiful beach to inhabit. One could spend a lot of time here. The  surfing. sunning and people watching is wonderful. I was told that the turtles come on to the beach some days but today we watch their green heads pop up from the water just off shore.
Honu Green Sea Turtle Beach

 We hated to leave the beach but were glad we did. Just a short drive away we arrive at Waimea Valley. Talk about wanting to spend time, this place is absolutely gorgeous! Next trip I think we will spend a whole day here. I will bring the huge camera and tripod to create some serious flower photos. At the end of the canyon there is a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole. We paid a little extra to take a golf cart ride because of limited time. I would really like to hike and savor each moment. I would pack a picnic and bottled water for fuel.
Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens

Sadly it was time to head back to the ship. We drove through small beach towns wanting to explore each a little more. John pointed out interesting sights as we drove. There was a myriad of food trucks and roadside eateries. I bet John could put together a great culinary tour. Back to the ship for more fun tomorrow.
Waterfall Fun Waimea Valley HI.


Zoomie said...

I'm so glad you got to explore a little of Oahu - so many people only see Waikiki! Let me know when you are going again and I'll suggest some places for John to take you next time.

Seeing your photos has made me homesick. Happily, we are going again in May to the Big Island and to Oahu.

Greg said...

Zoomie- I have to tell you I have a hard time with Hawaiian names. They have their own alphabet! I could picture myself in a place near the surf grilling fish and tropical fruit.

Zoomie said...

I know what you mean, but one gets used to deciphering them after a while. Just remember to pronounce all the vowels. :-)

Chilebrown said...

I was waiting for the 5o reference and the second paragraph did not disappoint. What fun your have!!!

Greg said...

Chilebrown- I went and added a link to the song on YouTube.I had to do it!:)