No turtles at Turtle Bay, all turtles at Kamehameha Highway

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So today was a day of tikitouring around the island, waiting for buses, and swimming with turtles! But first it was time to get there.

Kathryn is a person driven by coffee. When travelling, she prefers Starbucks. This cracks me up because oh she’s such a coffee snob at home, but take her out of the country, and it always defaults back to Starbucks. Turns out their coffee machine was broken today, and instead of providing her Banana Bread, they provided Pumpkin Bread.

So after we reset our moods, we then headed to Ala Moana Shopping Centre, which is the main bus transfer point. We caught the 55 bus which travels on the Windward side of Oahu, so we got to see the other side of the coast. It’s a long bus ride, about 2 hours 50 minutes to Waimea Bay, and along the way you get to see the real heart of Oahu, the rural side of life, and something a little different from all the high rises and glamour of Waikiki. There’s a really fancy Mormon temple if that’s your cup of tea. So now I can say I’ve seen two, the Waikato one, and the Oahu one.

Turtle Bay ResortAfter being on the bus for at least a couple of hours we decided to get off at a place called Turtle Bay, because obviously, we wanted to swim with the turtles! There were no turtles there.

We decided to stop by and have a bit of lunch here. Kathryn got the cheeseburger, and I got an Ahi sandwich. Ahi is a fish that is seared on both sides, but is still pretty uncooked in the middle, but it really was very delicious. I think the awkward thing about ordering food in the USA is paying, when we were done, we got up, talked to the person at the till who then said our server will be bringing us the bill, who then took our credit card, charged the card (without me signing it), and then I’m left to provide a tip inside this weird black thing. Why can’t I just pay as I leave? Why is it so awkward? What is 15% of $39.97?

We then decided to head out into the water pictured to try and find these turtles. Turns out because there were so many people there, the turtles decided to head down the road(!) so we were told from a New York couple (originally from Chicago). We decided to make like the turtles and head down the road also.

So then we waited for the bus talking to someone from Pennsylvania. With Philadelphia at one end, Pittsburgh at the other, and a really rural setting in the middle, some people say it’s a bit like having Alabama in the middle. The two cities vote Democratic, and the rest vote Republican, and so we talked to the person a bit about how politics in America seems so partisan, so divided, and she agreed. We then talked about the socialist paradise that is New Zealand, particularly ACC. Sure it makes petrol twice as expensive in New Zealand as it does in Hawaii, but the concept of giving up the right to sue each other for accidents and in return having this comprehensive no faults accident cover saves a whole bunch on lawyers fees and suing each other.

But I digress. The bus came, she went back to Honolulu, and we continued on our way towards Waimea. We then decided to get off at Pupukea. Pupukea has basically the only set of traffic lights on the North Shore, and is where the Foodland supermarket is. A great place to grab yourself some snorkels for $10, a bit of food, and then head to the Three Tables.

This isn’t my video, but it gives you a taster of what we experienced. It’s just amazing, it’s like swimming in an aquarium. We saw so many fish, so close, it really was amazing. I would just float, not really moving, not really breathing, watching small yellow and white striped fish, large black fish, tiny shoals of white fish, I would have seen hundreds of fish. Just awesome, and only about 50 people, which would equate to about 10 meters worth of people on Waikiki!

After that we decided to head to Haleiwa, which is famous for its Shaved Ice. We just missed the bus which meant another 40 minute wait. We got pretty tired of waiting 40 minutes for the bus all the time. Maybe next time around we just rent a car, but this whole driving on the right side seems pretty complex to me, let alone understanding the intersection rules.

Along the way Kathryn told me to get off the bus now, and in the middle of nowhere, turns out the beach was full of turtles! The turtles did end up going up the road, and had decided to hang out at a small beach that has seaweed and algae growing on some rocks which are the food of the turtles. Some where just beached on the rocks relaxing, and others were playing (if turtles can play) in the surf, and others just floating around. We jumped in and ended up swimming with turtles (though no closer than six feet). Just amazing. Who can say they’ve swum with turtles in the wild?

Another thing ticked off Kathryn’s bucket list – Wholphin done, swimming with Turtles done.

Now it was around 5pm and we decided to skip Haleiwa and head straight back to Waikiki. We caught another 55 bus and noticed at Haleiwa that everyone got off the bus. Have you ever had a feeling that something’s not quite right as you’re the last couple on the bus? That happened to us in Japan once as the train we were on heading into the city stopped at a station and then started going in reverse. Well, we were in a similar situation. Turns out the 55 is the long bus to get back home, and the 52 was the express bus back to Ala Moana. We got off the 55 in the middle of nowhere, and waited about 15 minutes for the 52. Turns out all the people that got off the 55 at Haleiwa were on the 52. Looks like we didn’t get the memo. An uneventful ride home, a very tired and sunburnt Kathryn and I, and now we’re crashing out.

Tomorrow, a day of shopping at Ala Moana.

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