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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Hui Hou - Our Last Day in Hawaii


It's hard to believe, but after 2 1/2 months of living in Hawaii we have officially left the islands.


Our last day found us with many hours to kill between dropping our daughter off at 6:45am and 10:00pm when our flight was scheduled to leave, so we decided to finish our circle tour of Oahu and drive up the leeward coast to the end of the road (where the pavement turns into 4WD tracks, a little out of league for our rented Ford Focus).

It was early morning and it was lovely.  Lovely!  I wish we had done this earlier instead of visiting the beaches in Waikiki, tourist-strewn and crowded.  The beaches at the end of the leeward coast were empty and vast and gorgeous.

Heading back towards Honolulu, we cut across central Oahu back towards the North Coast and followed Hwy 930 to the end of the pavement from the North Shore side of the island (where, no surprise, it turns into a 4WD track - the same one we left on the leeward side). 

Once again, just as on the leeward coast, the shoreline near the highway was graced by one gorgeous beach after another. We stopped at Ka'ena Beach near Dillingham Airfield for a picnic lunch and our last sunshine and beach time.

During our picnic we were entertained by small planes towing gliders up into the air currents above Ka'ena Point, the most western tip of the island.  We laid on our backs to watch them fly over us one after another, the gliders silent all but for the whistle of wind across their skins.

At long last we decided to head back towards Haleiwa, a small town near the home where we had been staying on the North shore. We hadn't spent any time exploring the little town as we had spent all of our time on the beaches.

Heading back down the highway, we happened to glance sideways while passing the airfield and noticed a sign on a small building on the airfield advertising "Glider Rides." It didn't take much convincing to turn the car around and go back to check it out.

A quick scan of the rates and time slots and we were soon booked for a 20mn flight. All we had to do now was wait for our glider pilot to land.

In what seemed like mere minutes, we were walking across the tarmac, helping our pilot pivot the blue and white glider aptly named 'Sky Surfer' into position and climbing in, Papa Bear first and me nearly on top of him.

{I didn't believe it when the pilot picked up the tow rope to hook it to our plane... it looked smaller than a water ski rope!}

Before we could even ask about the tiny tow rope, the tow plane was taxiing down the runway and we lifted off almost immediately. For about five minutes we watched as the tow plane carried us skyward, the coastline growing longer and the view growing wider.  Then our pilot disconnected us from the tow rope and with a small dip that made me yelp, we were soaring.

It is difficult to describe what it feels like to be airborne with nothing but a shell and 57' of wings holding you aloft while the western half of Oahu glides far below you, the surf-tossed shoreline stretching for miles, humpback whales jumping gleefully as you pass overhead.

Green mountains, turquoise water and white surf all vied for our attention as each turn of the glider gave us a new view of the land and sea.

The 20 minutes passed quickly and soon we were spiralling back towards the airfield, breathless and gleeful ourselves.

Another item crossed off of our Bucket Lists!

It's hard to say exactly what the biggest highlight of our time in Hawaii was... Manta Ray Night DivingSwimming with dolphinsParasailing

But I do know this - I didn't expect our last day on the island, with no real plan or purpose, to be so utterly perfect and give us one more amazing memory to take back home with us.

Which goes to show, the best days are always surprises.

A Hui Hou - Until We Meet Again!


Jess said...

Perfect PERFECT ending to your stay.

I clicked on your Manta Ray link. That sounds amazing.

Victoria Strauser said...

Thank you Jess!

I highly recommend the Manta Ray Dive, too!!

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