Tag Archives: snorkeling

A Week in O’ahu

As much as I’ve enjoyed the rest of Hawaii, I had yet to visit O’ahu and was always put off by pictures of busy Honolulu and Waikiki.  However, as part of Darlene’s “birthday month”, off we went – and while it doesn’t compare to Kauai or the Big Island, it was still quite enjoyable!

A short video montage of our week in O’ahu (under six minutes, 119 MB)

We rented a condo in Waikiki for four nights and then spent the remaining two nights at a place on the north shore.  We walked the length of Waikiki (and up to the top of Diamond Head and back), snorkeled at Hanauma Bay, spent a rainy day at the Pearl Harbor exhibits, visited some of the south and eastern shoreline, navigated Dole’s “world’s largest pineapple maze”and enjoyed more snorkeling in the north bay.

Click through for the full gallery:

      

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Return to Kauai

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Darlene and I just spent twelve days in Kauai, my favorite of the Hawaiian Islands.  There’s just so much to do and explore there – you can never have enough time! Twelve days was still not enough for everything we wanted to do. I last visited Kauai about eleven years ago on an REI Adventures trip.  And, as I found with the extra days after my REI trip last time, I highly recommend Andrew Doughty’s The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook to making the most of your time in Kauai.

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We stayed four nights in the southwest, in Waimea, and did a bunch of hiking in Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park. Our first full day was along the Awa’awapuhi Trail – out and back only as the Cliff Trail is currently closed due to cliffside collapses.  Another day was the Pihea Trail through the Alaka’i Swamp to the wonderful Kilohana lookout and another day for the Cliff Trail to the top of the Waipo’o Falls.  Every trail was more than the usual adventure (and slow-going) due to all the clay, mud and severe trail erosion, particularly along the Pihea Trail.  Finally, we also explored a little bit in the south near Po’ipu along the beaches and cliffs.

We found ourselves getting a late start on seemingly every day-long excursion so that we were always the last ones out of a given location, which was pretty cool for feeling like we had the place to ourselves and getting pictures without anyone else present.

Our next four nights were at a rented condo in Princeville, overlooking the ocean and we were thrilled to be able to watch the lengthy parade of humpback whales blow and breach right from our lanai.  The super dark night skies here were also fantastic for star watching.  From here, we visited the Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge, hiked the Kalalau Trail through the start of the Na Pali Coast to Hanakapi’ai Falls, checked out a couple of the wet and dry sea caves (including swimming into the “blue room”), watched the winter storms pound the coast around Hanalei Bay and at the “Queen’s Bath” and kayaked one evening up the Hanalei River. (And unexpectedly met Josh, my guide from my previous Kauai trip eleven years ago, who now owns a kayak rental/tour outfit of his own in Hanalei: Napali Kayak Tours.)

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Our last four nights were spent at a hotel on the east side in Wailua.  From here, we rented kayaks and paddled up the Wailua River and then hiked the remainder to “Secret Falls”.  (This is a very popular and well-known kayak/hike outing.  They’re anything but secret!)  We also visited Wailua Falls and hiked our way down one of the very unofficial trails to swim in the large pool of the falls. Another long day was spent trying to hike into the center of the island and the crater of Waialeale.  Once again there’s no real dedicated trail: it’s more about repeatedly finding and following and re-finding hunters’ trails to make your way as far as you can.  And of course we encountered plenty of mud along the way! We got further than I managed the last time I was here, despite having to hike the road a couple of miles due to fallen trees blocking our rented vehicle.

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We made a few attempts over the trip to get in some snorkeling from various beaches but were repeatedly thwarted by high surf conditions due to the winter storms and/or too-shallow sheltered waters in low tides.  We finally squeezed in a little snorkeling at Lydgate Park by ignoring the protected but shallow fish-feeding/snorkeling pool and swimming out what seemed like nearly a half-mile on a relatively calm evening.  (We had to go that far out to just get like a dozen feet of depth and find some fish.)  On some future trip I still want to set aside a few days to go out on a boat for scuba diving.  We ended our trip like my first one with a spectacular helicopter tour around the island.

Click through for the full gallery or below for a video montage from the trip:

(5-minute video, 71 MB download)

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Revisiting the Galapagos Islands

I originally got to visit the Galapagos Islands five years ago but Darlene has long wanted to go herself.  Of course the Galapagos Islands are well known for their abundant and unique wildlife, their fascinating and beautiful geology, as well as for the inspiration and development of Darwin’s theory of biological evolution.  So, no, I really didn’t mind going back for a second visit!

We were in the Galapagos for twelve days (December 5th through the 16th) and we stayed overnight on the islands of Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristobal with day trips out to Santa Fe, Bartolomé, Leon Dormido as well as a few smaller outcroppings.  (Here’s a great map.)  This was a land-based trip (as was my previous trip), but this time I booked the trip through BikeHike.com and extended it with time on our own for four days (and to include San Cristobal).

Our days were filled with hiking, biking, kayaking, snorkeling, and boating as well as with sea lions, iguanas, penguins, giant tortoises, sharks, sea turtles, rays, cormorants, pelicans, frigate birds, crabs and fish!  And great food!  The whole trip was fantastic!  (Thanks again to our guide, Jorgen, and to everyone else who contributed to making this such a fun experience!)

Here’s a little video I put together covering the whole of the trip:

(5:37 minutes, 115 MB download)

And here are my pictures and other video clips from the trip (including some of Darlene’s), separated into four galleries:

Days 1-3: Santa Cruz and Santa Fe

  

Days 4-5: Bartolomé and Santa Cruz

  

Days 6-7: Isabela and Sierra Negre

  

Days 8-12: Santa Cruz and San Cristobal

  

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Exploring the Big Island of Hawai’i

This is a collection of photos and videos from a six-day trip with Rahel to the “Big Island” of Hawai’i:

  

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Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

This is a collection of photos and video clips from a twelve-day, land-based trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, booked through REI Adventures:

 

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Exploring New Zealand

This is a collection of images from a pair of back-to-back group trips in New Zealand run by Active New Zealand and booked through BikeHike Adventures.

Click through for the full gallery:

  

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Exploring Kaua’i

This is a collection of images from a trip to the island of Kaua’i in Hawai’i.  The first six days were part of an adventure tour group trip “Kayak and Hike Kauai” sponsored by Match.com and REI Adventures and provided by Kayak Kauai.

Click through for the photo galleries:

  

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Belize Adventure

This is a collection of images from a trip in March 2002 booked through REI Adventures and provided by SlickRock Adventures. It was a week of caving, rafting, canoeing, jungle hiking, sea kayaking, surf kayaking, snorkeling, diving, windsurfing, … oh, you get the idea.

 

Jungle hiking (and a bit of four-wheeling) to reach Actun Tunichil Muknal – otherwise known as the Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre.

Watch your step — those are real Mayan artifacts!

Two nights at Casa Maya, a guided tour of the ruins of Xunantunich, and some “mostly gentle” canoeing down the Mopan River.

Nice day to capsize!

 

Helmets and headlamps for caving via rafts on the Caves Branch River.  And overnight nestled in Ian Anderson’s Jungle Lodge.

Sweet!

Four days of sea and sun on Long Caye at Glover’s Reef.  Sea kayaking, surf kayaking, snorkeling, diving, windsurfing, oh, and hammock surfing.

Rough life!

Miscellaneous Excursions: Downtown in Belize City and out to the Belize Zoo, visiting the ruins of Altun Ha, and demonstrating our primate origins at the Community Baboon Sanctuary.

Who’s the true primate?!

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Adventure in Queensland – Australia!

This is a collection of images from a trip in November 2001 organized through REI Adventures.  They call it their “Reef and Rain Forest” multisport trip.  Fifteen days of whitewater rafting, backpacking, camping, biking, sea kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and uh… eating!  It was wonderful!  (No worries, mate!)

Whitewater Rafting on the Tully River

Backpacking in the Rainforest of Wooroonooran National Park

Biking in the Atherton Tablelands

Snorkeling and Diving on the Great Barrier Reef

Sea Kayaking Among the Barnard Islands

Farewell Dinner

Exploring Cairns and Vicinity

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Maui, Baby!

These are pictures from a trip to Maui with Adrena, Glenn and Michele. Click on through for the full gallery:

  

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