The Kaunala Loop Trail, located in Pupukea on the North Shore, is an interesting hike. Some might classify only half of this trail as a hike, with the other half being walking on an excruciatingly long and boring road. Okay, maybe the walk down the road isn’t that excruciating, but, for some reason, when it’s asphalt my feet is walking on, I tend to get tired (probably from boredom) very quickly. Not to say that the entirety of this hike was boring, it wasn’t. In fact, it had its share of pleasant delights.
All posts tagged Haleiwa
Hipstamic is a strangely satisfying analog-inspired app for the iPhone that I’ve really found a renewed interest in. This series of posts aims to place the focus a bit more on the photos rather than the words. In Volume 3, we feature a collection of Hipstamatic photos taken during a drive through historic Haleiwa town and Waialua.
A strange, but true story: I had set up Hipstamic to shoot with the combination of Buckhosrt H1 Lens + Blanko Freedom 13 Film + Standard Flash, and it had done that for the first seven images. However, when it came to the final image of the old St. Michael’s church ruins, it had switched to a Black & White setting that I had never used or had saved on Hipstamatic. Weird, but true.
For this Hipstamatic shoot, I challenged myself to shoot one shot each for eight different subjects. I gave myself a single try to frame the photo. Here are the eight photos that I ended up with. Here’s your challenge. See if you can identify the eight locations pictured below. Leave your answers in the comments. Good luck!
A few weeks ago I had the chance to attend a going away beach party at Japanese Beach on the North Shore. The beach party was great, but the underwater party was even better. I brought along my snorkeling gear and GoPro and decided to do some exploring. What we discovered was beyond what we expected. We thought that we would see one, maybe two, turtles if we were lucky. We were more than lucky on this day.
While snorkeling, Joel and I encountered what seemed like a family of turtles. Joel’s 10-year-old nephew, Isaiah, on the other hand, was struggling with his snorkeling gear and fins. He complained that he couldn’t see any of the turtles. During our hour or so of snorkeling, Joel and I saw at least 15 different turtles. Some of these turtles we small, baby turtles, while others were very large and probably very old turtles. These had to be some of the largest turtles that I’ve ever encountered. It was an amazing feeling to swim alongside these gentle creatures.
As we were swimming back to shore, Isaiah, finally encountered a turtle. It got up close and personal. It freaked him out and he quickly swam to me. As he latched on to my leg, he jumped out of the water exclaiming that he finally saw one and that it was huge! He was stoked.
Photos by Joel Sabugo.
I’ve never done the Hawaii Shark Encounters Tour. I’ve always wanted to. And I imagine that I will sometime in the future. Until then, I can live vicariously through this video.
Over the years, there has been much controversy surrounding this tour and similar shark tours. Many local surfers and bodyboarders feel that tours like these attract sharks to the nearby shores. Although it is illegal to feed sharks within three miles of shore, these tours go just beyond this range to throw chum into the water.
Some Native Hawaiians feel as if tours like this desecrate their amakua (ancestral gods).
Last year, three shark tour boats were deliberately set on fire in Haleiwa.
Despite the controversy, tours like the Hawaii Shark Encounters offer interested individuals with a very unique view of this predatory fish. Instead of being on the other side of glass tank, you instead are in the sharks natural environment. I can only imagine how thrilling that would be.
The tour is priced at $105 for adults and $75 for children. Kama’aina and Military personnel receive a special rate of $90. Book your Hawaii Shark Encounter here.
Two Sunday’s ago I had the fortunate opportunity to check out the 2nd Annual Cacao Festival at the Haleiwa’s Farmer’s Market. Actually, me going to this event happened on a whim. The day before, Ernest (remember Waldo from the Makapuu to Tom-Tom hike?) invited me to check out the festival with him. I heard about it a few days earlier but had forgotten about it when Ernest brought it up. My interest was renewed now that I had someone to go with. The funny thing is that we never really set a time to go. That Sunday, I woke up a bit late, jumped in my car and drove to Haleiwa wondering if Ernest would still be joining me. Before heading to the Farmer’s Market, I made a pitstop at the Haleiwa American Savings Bank to grab some quick cash. It turned out that Ernest had reached Haleiwa at around the same that I stopped at the ATM. Cool. Only thing, he missed the Farmer’s Market and ended up lost somewhere in the North Shore. Fortunately, I guided him to the intersection of Jospeh P. Leong Bypass & Kamehameha Hwy and he was able to find his way the Farmer’s Market. All this excitement and we hadn’t even checked out the Cacao Festival yet!
The Haleiwa Farmer’s Market was definitely bustling and packed with people. It was great to see such a large crowd supporting local businesses. As I walked around and checked out the different vendors I became impressed by the large number of local business that I had never heard of prior. This was great and I was very stoked. The various cacao vendors where interspersed with the regular maker sellers. Our first stop was at the
Waialua Estate Sweet Paradise Chocolatier Brew Bar where they were serving Hawaiian Hot Chocolate Shots. Ernest bought me a shot and my taste buds were instantly surprised, shocked, and satisfied. The shot included 70% Hawaiian grown Waialua Estate chocolate, local vanilla bean, ginger, cinnamon, and Hawaiian chili pepper. The shot was amazing.
My next stop was at the Roots of Hawaii Tea stand. They were giving away samples of their Noni Sweetlove tea, which contained noni leaf, raspberry leaf, lemon grass, hibiscus, and stevia. The seller mentioned that it was good for aiding the digestive system, and helps to rid of acid reflex, heartburn and gas. It did taste good.
At the very end of the lot, under a huge tent was Malie Kai Chocolates. I love chocolate, so again, I was surprised that I had never heard about this chocolatier. Their chocolates are made entirely from cacao beans that are grown on the North Shore. They had really nice packaging and of course, the chocolates tasted very rich. The only drawback was that these premium chocolates have a hefty price tag relative to the average Nestle chocolate bar. Then again, these are all Hawaii made organic chocolates. How can you not like that? After this event I had a new found appreciation for finely made chocolates.
Once I had my fill of samples from Malie Kai Chocolates, I made my way over to Ono Pops. Now, this was a vendor that I was 100% familiar with. I had tasted their product at one of the Eat The Street events last year. I remember their pops being super refreshing and very tasty. I wanted some. I ordered a Lilikoi 50/50 for myself and a Chinese Chocolate concoction (I can’t remember the real name, I think it was 6-spice Chinese Chocolate). Yep, my memory served me right. These pops were so delicious, especially on this particularly sunny day. And I finally found out why it’s called Lilikoi 50/50. It’s because they can’t use the trademarked term “creamsicle.” Instead, they went with the term “50/50″ which was used by an old and now defunct popsicle maker to describe their “creamsicle” like popsicles.
A lot of the adventuring on Exploration: Hawaii involves hiking Hawaii’s dirt trail. With that in mind, we set out to catch a ride to the high seas aboard the Ho`Onanea Catamaran of the North Shore Catamaran Charters. A close friend of mine, whom I affectionately call Marklander, was visiting Hawaii. He had a list of things that he wanted to do, see, and visit before leaving, and whale watching was at the top of his list. Actually, dining daily on Gina’s Korean BBQ was at the top of his list, but that is a different story.
Knowing that whale watching was at the top of Marklander’s list of things to do, I decided to jump on a daily deal that was being featured on Living Social. The deal was 50% off a 2.5-Hour Whale-Watching Cruise with Refreshments. So instead of $80, we just paid $40 for the whale watching tour. Marklander was here for just a few days, so we had to take advantage of this deal rather quickly. We decided to cash in our Living Social deal on December 12. When I called to make the reservation I asked the person on the other line what are chances were of seeing whales, he replied “very good, but our guaranteed date starts on December 15.” We decided to roll the dice and booked it for the 12th.
The Living Social deal was good only for the 12pm tour and we were told to arrive at the Haleiwa Boat Harbor at around 11:30am. At check in, I verified my purchase via the nifty Living Social app for the iPhone. Why waste precious paper when there’s an app for that? We ended up boarding the catamaran at around 11:50am. The check in process was flawless and not as time consuming as compared to my experience with the the Waikiki Rigger.
With about 15 people on board, the crew of two quickly mentioned the safety precautions, including the locations of the life vests, life boats, and coast guard radio. With the housekeeping out of the way, we quickly set sail from the Haleiwa Boat Harbor. Just a few moments later we encountered our first Chelonia mydas, or, Hawaiian green sea turtle. We’d see a few more before sailing out to the greater open sea.
I have to admit that I was pretty excited and pretty pumped while waiting to board, during boarding, and the first few minutes of sailing. But then, things got a bit boring relatively quickly. The first thing that I noticed was that the crew, though friendly, was not very interactive throughout the entire 2.5 hours. Occasionally they did point out some landmarks, like Waimea Bay, but, there were many moments when they didn’t do much speaking or entertaining. And by entertaining I don’t necessarily mean song and dance, but rather, simply talking about whales and why or why not we might not see them, Hawaii, and Hawaiian culture. Another thing that I noticed was that when not making a group announcement to all of the passengers “i.e. “Hey, look there, see that turtle!”, they would make conversation with some of the voyagers. However, the crew of two never spoke to our group of three. And we were the only locals on board! And we’re a friendly bunch!
The 2.5 Whale-Watching Cruise comes complete with complementary refreshments – this means bottled water and soft drinks. Though, you are allowed to bring your own alcoholic beverages if you wish. One of the great things about the Waikiki Rigger is that the drinks start to flow even before the catamaran sets sail. The Waikiki Rigger crew makes sure that everyone has a drink in hand. I naively thought that the experience on the Ho’Onanea would be the same. It was not. Unlike the Waikiki Rigger, which actively served and refilled drinks, the crew of the Ho’Onanea simply pointed out the cooler and made an announcement of available drinks. Maybe 2 or 3 people on our catamaran grabbed a drink.
Another gripe that I had with the North Shore Catamaran was the lack of tunes. Seriously, no tunes? No Jimmy Buffett singing Margaritaville? No Eagles singing Hotel California? I guess I was spoiled by the small luxuries found on the Waikiki Rigger. Maybe music isn’t a good thing for whale watching? I dunno. The 2.5 hours went by very, very slowly. The choppy waters didn’t help (though Marklander found the choppiness surprisingly enjoyable).
All of my complaints would have been rendered null had we spotted some whales, even just one whale. I would have been satisfied to have just seen the peduncle and flukes of a whale. We rolled the dice on December 12 and we lost the gamble. No whales. No peduncle. No flukes. Just three sea turtles and some flying fish. If the Ho’Onanea were Twitter then it would be flashing the Fail Whale. This was indeed a failed whale watching tour experience. At least Marklander had his Gina’s Koren BBQ to fall back on.
Of course, I can’t be too mad. You can never guarantee something like a whale sighting. The whales will either show themselves or they won’t. Whale sightings happen by chance. Sometimes you see them and sometimes you don’t. It just so happened that on this occasion, we didn’t see them. I think some Margaritaville would have eased the pain.
The one saving grace was that the Captain (I think his name was Ryan) of the catamaran invited everyone on board “half off the price paid” to come back on the catamaran for a second try at whale watching. So then I wondered if “half off the price paid” ment half off of the $40 I paid on Living Social (which means I’d pay $20), or if he really ment half off of the real price of $80 (which means I’d pay $40 again). I never asked, but if I do ever decide to catch a ride on this catamaran again I’ll be sure to make this inquiry.
With all of that said, December 12 has long past and the “guaranteed” whale sighting season is now in effect. So, with some reservations, I suggest that you consider the Ho’Onanea Catamaran / North Shore Catamaran Charters (reservations can be made at HawaiiActivities.com) if looking into doing some whale watching on the North Shore. I would love to test out a few other whale watching tours on Oahu, but at the moment, the Ho’Onanea is the only one that I’ve been on and the only one that I can suggest. Hopefully your whale watching gamble will pay off better than it did for us.
Explorers: Mark DeBlois, Coty Gonzales, and Joel Sabugo.
I have a friend that is from Hawaii, but moved away to the mainland for graduate school. He mentioned to me that he had never seen a Hawaiian Sea Turtle in action at the beach while he lived on the islands. I was blown away because they are so numerous … if you know where to look. One of the places on Oahu where you are guaranteed to have an encounter with a turtle is at Papa’iloa Beach in the North Shore town of Haleiwa. The beach is actually tucked away behind residential homes and so it is often the perfect place for a secluded beach experience.
Me and Joel stopped over today to check out Papa’iloa because I’ve been itching to test out my new GoPro Hero HD camera in the water. After testing the timelapse capabilities of the new GoPro (see video below), we decided to go and seek out those turtles. I was hoping to see some turtles and my goodness did I see turtles. We actually found a family of turtles. I counted about 15 Hawaiian Sea Turtles all in one spot of the beach. They were just chillin’, riding the waves, and having a great time.
Papa’iloa Beach was also a major filming spot for the television show LOST. In fact, take a look of some of the shots below and you’ll probably recognize the background. The beach was used as the official beach camp for LOST – pretty awesome, huh! During this time, Papa’iloa was also known as Police Beach, because it was common for it to be heavily guarded with Honolulu Police Department (HPD) officers during filming.