Getting some Aloha spirit with Bike Hawaii
Waikiki Travel Blog› entry 6 of 22 › view all entries
We awoke early today; we needed time for a hearty breakfast before setting off for our day of adventure.
It was off to the Hula Grill for breakfast. We knew the food was delicious and the service quick so we wouldn't be late for our 9am pickup in front of the Moana Surfrider. We waited 20 minutes for our pickup, but it was worth the wait. I had a wonderful day.
A couple of days ago I had a session with the tour consultant at the Princess Kaiulani and made some arrangements for the rest of our week. Today we had a full day of Hiking, biking, sailing and snorkelling with "Bike Hawaii" to entertain us. First up was a Rainforest hike through 75-acres of private rainforest, then hop on a bike for a downhill ride through the lush Pu'u Ohia rainforest and finally on to a sail on a 40-foot catamaran, off the beautiful Diamond Head/Waikiki coastline, for a snorkel with the Honu, the green sea turtle.
Today was a wonderful day! I want to jump straight to the swimming with the turtles part, but I will restrain myself and tell you about the rest of the day first.
We drove to the entrance of the private property for our rainforest hike, where our guide Matt handed out gumboots (rubber boots) and insect repellent and we set off into the rainforest. As it had rained a little the previous night, the ground was a little muddy; the trees were glistening and the streams gently flowing. Matt guided us up one side of the stream through gorgeous lush rainforests to the base of a 200-foot waterfall that, although it was flowing, was not flowing as much as it could have been. Matt informed us Hawaii was also suffering from a lack of rainfall.
The hike was only a 3.2 kilometre (2-mile) round trip, and a little tricky, not difficult, just tricky. There was a lot of climbing over and under fallen logs, up and down rocks and shimmying through the bamboo. It was so much fun though. The weather was hot but the sun did not poke through the VOG once, so it was quite dark and moody walking through the rainforest, giving the picturesque pools, tranquil streams and lush tropical vegetation even more atmosphere.
After the rainforest walk, it was back in the van and up a mountain to jump on a Kona mountain bike to coast back down the other side of the mountain. Everyone wore a helmet and thank God, because one young guy - about 20 years old - went straight over his handlebars.
We stopped halfway down the hill at a fantastic lookout to enjoy the gorgeous view over Honolulu and our lunch, a sandwich and a drink included in the price of the tour.
On the way to the boat for our sail, Matt made a pit stop for anyone who wanted to pick up some beer to enjoy on our sail.
At the marina, we changed into our swimming gear and settled ourselves onto the Catamaran for our trip out to swim with turtles.
We sailed out to the waters off the coast of Waikiki where every two years the Sea Turtles - Honu, return to their nesting sites just as their ancestors have done for thousands of years. The Honus have the longest lifespan of any creature on the planet.
I am going to have to change my most memorable travel experience. This is the most magical thing I have ever experienced. It had been years since I had done any snorkelling and I was a little nervous about hopping into the choppy water, so I took my time, and by the time I finally did get into the water, most of the others were hopping out, not having had any success spotting the turtles in the water. Snorkelling was like riding a bike, as soon as I was in the water, it all came back to me and I was off paddling around, swimming with the fish and thoroughly enjoying myself. I noticed a bit a commotion on the boat so I turned to see what was happening and everyone on the boat was waving their arms and pointing to a spot in the water just in front of me.
I was so excited! With my snorkel in my mouth, I said hi to him (or her) and thanked him for coming to see me. He swam around in front of me for a little while and then gently descended back to the bottom of the ocean. I believe on a clear day you can see to the bottom and the turtles look like rocks sitting on the bottom, but as visibility was poor, it wasn't long before I lost sight of my new friend.
I was so happy. I stuck my head back out of the water and gave the thumbs up to my fellow sailors who were all clapping and waiving at me. I spent a bit more time swimming around and taking photos from the water. I found that my cameras sight was off and my photos ended up being further to the right than I expected them to be. Never mind, I still have my photo of my turtle.
After I rejoined the rest on the boat, there was still one other swimmer in the water, Jessica had come to Hawaii for her 30th birthday with her mother. Jessica was keen to see one of the turtles from within the water and would not get back on the boat until she did. The rest of us on the boat were scanning the water to try to spot one for her so she could swim towards it. We spotted one or two but Jessica was too far away to get to it before it sank back to the bottom.
Well, that's about all I remember of this day. My experience with the turtle was so extra special for me, that for the rest of the day all I could see was turtles floating before my eyes. Now I know how people who dive feel. I have never been diving, but I will be learning how in the not too distant future (I just need go somewhere warmer first). My photos show the view from the Hula Grill, so I know I went there for dinner :) and because I took a photo of the menu, I also know I had Macadamia Nut encrusted Mahi-mahi.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the photos of my very special day.