Saturday, September 10, 2011

...Two Weeks Later Part 4: All We Need Now Is Our Car

On Sunday September 4, Roxi spent a fair amount of the morning continuing her lecture preparation but after lunch we decided that it was time to make the drive up to the North Shore.  With it being a holiday weekend, I was expecting some heavy traffic but we didn't really experience too much and arrived at the North Shore in about an hour.  The view as we drove up the Kamehameha Highway was beautiful!

North Shore of Oahu

North Shore of Oahu

The traffic got a little heavier as we made our way through the town of Haleiwa but thankfully the majority of it was going in the opposite direction.  After driving a little further, we spontaneously stopped on the roadside where several other people appeared to be enjoying a beach.  We unloaded our things and set up on the very rocky beach.  Signs around the beach informed us that this was a basking area for sea turtles and instructed us to remain at least six feet from any turtles.  There was even a volunteer on the beach monitoring the area to make sure that any sea turtles approaching from the ocean would not be disturbed by the many swimmers, snorkelers and paddlers.

We headed for the water and it was very cold!  It seemed colder than the water in Waikiki although it's hard to imagine there being that much of a temperature variation.  We decided to sit on the beach for a few minutes and let the sun heat us enough to offset the temperature of the water.  After a little while, we tried again but the water was still very cold.  We decided to just bite the bullet and dunk ourselves and that did the trick.  It was a pretty calm afternoon with most of the waves breaking far from shore leaving us to slowly bob up and down in the rocky cove.  We floated out pretty far on boogie boards, but once we started to notice an increase in rocks and coral under water, we paddled a little way back to shore.  I certainly didn't want a trip to the beach to end with one of us getting some nasty cuts from shallow coral.

As we continued our relaxing float, we began to drift further out so we again paddled ourselves closer to shore.  When we were about halfway back to shore, I noticed a rock protruding from the water that I hadn't noticed before.  As Roxi and I steered away, I noticed that the rock had a little head protruding from the water in front of it.  I realized that this was no rock but rather a sea turtle attempting to swim to shore!  We were only about eight feet away and it was huge!  It was amazing, but a little terrifying to imagine this sea creature attempting to surface from underneath you as you swam unsuspectingly.  I'm sure the turtle would be equally surprised and scared but it wouldn't change the fact that it was a giant sea creature!

We watched as a snorkeler was swimming directly towards the turtle and shouted warnings so that he wouldn't swim into it although he couldn't hear us with his head below water.  The turtle began to go underwater just as the snorkeler reached it and he reacted a lot calmer than I would have in the situation.  He was visably and audibly excited and came up out of the water to tell anyone nearby what he saw.  We talked for a second before he put his head back in the water to see the turtle again.  As slow as turtles are on land, they must be pretty fast underwater since none of us could spot it or any evidence of movement in the area.  After a few minutes of scanning the ocean floor through the crystal clear water, we gave up.  Any one of the large round rocks we could see might have been the turtle but it certainly wasn't planning on surfacing again while we were around.

We paddled back to shore and sat in the sun to dry off a bit.  After we got a little too hot, we decided it was time to move on to another spot on the North Shore.  When we visited the area for our honeymoon a few years ago, we spent an afternoon at the Turtle Bay Resort, so we continued our drive north along the coast to the hotel.  One of the great things about Hawaii is that there are no private beaches.  Even if you own a home on the beachfront, state law prohibits private ownership beyond the line of natural vegetation.  As a result, you can use any beach you want so long as you do not cross private property to get there.  We arrived at Turtle Bay and made our way to the public beach access area.  We decided to have a beer and an appetizer at the beach side bar and grill and enjoy the afternoon.  Just as we sat down, it started to drizzle but this did not cause anyone sitting in the uncovered patio to move indoors.  As with most Hawaii rain, it was a very short shower.  It actually gave us the opportunity to see a double rainbow! Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me to capture it and become part of the internet meme

After our snack, we took a walk along the beach and the volcanic rock.  As we walked on the coarse pumice, we couldn't help but think of the volcanic formation of the island so many eons ago.  It was also fascinating the see the vegetation that has managed to survive and even thrive on what seems like inhospitable terrain.  Along the walk we also noticed deposits of salt that were the obvious remnants of puddles of seawater that had long since evaporated.  I sure hope that children in Hawaii appreciate all of the amazing geology and earth history that they are privy to but I'd imagine that, like most youths, they take where they grow up for granted to some degree.  If some of the local radio commercials I have heard are any indication, there is a desire for young Hawaiians to move to the Mainland for various reasons.

As the sun began to set, we began our drive back to Honolulu.  Shortly after leaving Turtle Bay, we passed one of Oahu's only wind projects, the recently completed Kahuku Wind Farm.  I loved the way the turbines looked on the hills and despite it's small size, the farm generates a considerable amount of power.  In a place where almost all of the electricity is generated by burning imported coal and oil, it certainly seems logical to capture the resources of the wind and sun to reduce the reliance of off island energy sources. 

Kahuku Wind Farm

Kahuku Wind Farm

Our Labor Day, Monday September 5, was spent at the apartment working.  Roxi was busy getting ready for her first day of class on Tuesday while I worked on organizing things on my computer.  I learned several years ago that if you don't keep up with your computer files, eventually you will have a mess (and lots of duplicates) on your hands.  Although I've only had this computer since April, I have been working on consolidating all files from my previous three computers onto it and then working to create a master backup on an external hard drive.  I know what you're thinking: "Wes, you're in Hawaii and you're working on your computer instead of going to the beach!"  This is true but like I try to remind myself, this is life in paradise not a vacation.  I have to utilize this time for my personal projects before I start on my work projects because...well, you can see my blogging activity over the last year.  I can't say with certainty how much time I will have when my work commitments kick in about a week from now. 

On Tuesday September 6, we were up early and eager to see about finally getting our car.  Since our arrival in Hawaii, we've been in a rental car as our vehicle has been making its journey across the Pacific by ship.  Since we dropped it off at the port in Long Beach, we've been able to keep tabs on its progress through the shipper's website.  We've seen the status change from "Delivered at Port" to "Loaded onto Ship" to "In Transit Aboard Ship" until finally over the weekend it was listed as "Arrived in Honolulu."  Late Sunday evening, the status had changed to "Estimated Available for Pickup on 9/6/11." Needless to say we were excited so we fully intended to pick it up on Tuesday morning before Roxi had to be on campus for her classes that afternoon.  Unfortunately, as of that morning the status had changed saying that our estimated pickup day was back to 9/7/11.  We were a little bummed, but since that had been the date we were expecting since we dropped it off in Long Beach, we weren't too heartbroken.  It gave me the opportunity to get our things in order for the vehicle registration process.

That afternoon, I dropped Roxi off on campus for the afternoon and I took care of some errands.  As usual, the traffic was pretty bad in Honolulu so errands that should have only taken about an hour wound up taking me most of the time that she was in class.  So right around the time I was finished with my errands, she called me ready to be picked up.  I'm very glad that we are located as close as we are to downtown, otherwise the commuting and traffic would really get to both of us!  Roxi had a great first day and enjoyed meeting her students.  All in all it was a good and productive day for both of us.

On Wednesday September 7, we were up early and eager to get to the port as soon as possible to avoid a repeat of the long wait we had dropping off the car in Long Beach.  We beat the rush, but we still had to wait but only for about twenty minutes this time.  The convertible made it and although it was a little dirty, it was otherwise in the same condition that we left it in!  We signed our release paperwork and then headed to airport to return the rental car.  As soon as we were done with that, we put the top down and made our first drive together in Hawaii in our convertible.  As usual, the traffic was bad because it was the morning rush hour, but at least we were doing it in style. 

So after two weeks in Hawaii, we were finally done.  We had found an apartment, furniture, gotten oriented to life on the island and finally had our car.  The last six weeks have been stressful and challenging but they've also been exciting and rewarding.  If we'd had more time to prepare, I honestly don't think that we would have made the move so smoothly.  And we certainly couldn't have done it without our friends, both old and new.  Thanks to everyone who have helped us along our way! Mahalo!

1 comment:

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