After breakfast we went to the next-door beach but a few minutes later it was pouring with rain! But as our cottage is about 30 metres away from the beach it wasn’t a big deal. Went back to the house and then back to the beach shortly after to take in the stunning views of our little bit of Hawaiian paradise. Once again the rains came, so back to the cottage we went! The rains seem to come every hour or so for a few minutes – and it is warm rain.
After lunch on our terrace, which feels like it is set in the middle of a tropical rain forest, we saw that the weather had more rain forecast for the day, so we decided to go out to explore some of the island. Oahu is one of the bigger islands (around 600 square miles), a bit smaller than Leicestershire. It is home to just under 1 million people and is by far the most densely populated island. But there are still areas that offer that typical Hawaiian beauty and peaceful beaches were were looking for.
We drove to Pali Lookout which was over 1000ft high to what we hoped would give us a great view.
On the way, we passed so many stunning beaches, Shark’s Cove, Turtle Bay and Sunset Beach, but decided we would visit these later. We were all amazed at the level of greenery, the densely populated sprawling trees were stunning. The only time I have seen similar was in Malaysia. We had entered a landscape that was different from anything else we had seen on our trip. This was tropical scenery. Some trees appeared to be wide as they were tall (and they were not short trees!)
Driving to the lookout we passed small communities all with lovely little churches. I know from our love of rugby that the Pacific Islanders are generally active Christians and it appears that Hawaii seems to be the same. We also passed numerous houses, mostly single storey, the occasional two storey house stood out and looked very ‘grand’.
We have not ceased to be surprised at the way many of the houses are built in the USA. We are in the process of having a two storey extension on our house in the UK which dates back to 1850 and we have had to dig foundations down to 2 metres deep, more in some parts. Here in Hawaii, we saw houses being built on what looked like ‘brick pillars’ supporting a wooden structure (it looks a bit like battening with a strong chipboard covering). Then the outer gets some additional cladding. We have seen this wooden structure style in various locations through this trip. It is so different to the traditional brick method used in the U.K. The style here must work well and be appropriate to the geography and weather conditions to this region – it just looks odd to us!
Anyway, back to our first tour around Oahu (pronounced ‘Owe-aar-who’ which for some reason I have struggled to get this pronunciation right!). Driving to the lookout point the weather was changing (and not in a good way)! As we drove higher up this mountain we started to drive up through the clouds and thought we probably won’t see a view. We parked up (cost of $3 for the privilege) and were greeted by very strong winds and a misty rain. The wind was so strong we could hardly hold our cameras to photograph the stunning view of the North Shore. But despite the wind and rain we were glad to see the views.
We made our way back down the mountain with the expectation of visiting some of the beaches. But alas the rain Gods arrived and it was not beach weather. We took refuge in the Polynesian Cultural Centre to look for some souvenirs and to find out what it offered. We were keen to see a Lu’au a traditional Polynesian dance. The Culture Centre offered a range of activities but the best one was $120 each and we felt that we may get better value elsewhere.
We left the centre to visit some of the traditional artisan stalls we had seen on the road. Due to the heavy rains they had all packed up and gone home so we will have to explore that tomorrow. We visited Sunset Beach just as the sun went down and again the rain started to pour, so a quick photo and we were back in the car!
Dinner was a relaxed meal on our terrace with the sounds of either the sea crashing against the rocks or the rain lashing against the terrace roof. We knew what it meant to be living in a tropical rain forest!!!
Tomorrow we hope for better weather, which is forecast, but it does look like the stormy season is arriving in Hawaii!