Back home in Portland, it’s difficult to drag myself out of bed. I still get up early, but it’s a real struggle. In Hawaii, however, I’m basically springing out of bed by 5:30am so that I can start the day. … Continue reading
Originally, I had hoped to ride a ferry from Maui to Molokai. Who doesn’t want a tour of a historical leper colony? Also, having already been to the other main islands many times over, I was hoping for a more secluded experience, if only for a day.
I had a vague picture in my head of what I wanted to do: ride the ferry (seeing a few whales and dolphins along the way), find a lonely beach, eat a picnic lunch and possibly take the official tour of the leper colony.
However, once we arrived in Maui and I started doing my homework, the only ferry I could find was pricey ($125 roundtrip, not including a car rental or shuttle) and it departed at 6:30am and didn’t return again until 7:00pm – that sounded seriously exhausting. But from our hotel beach, I could also see Lanai in the distance, as well. So I did some searching.
For $60 roundtrip, and multiple choices for departure and arrival, Lanai seemed to be the ticket. I read that a great beach was only a ten minute walk from the ferry dock, and that if we wanted to go to town, a shuttle could take us there for $10. So yesterday, that’s what we did.
It was easy to buy ferry tickets on http://go-lanai.com a couple days beforehand, and then boarded the top deck for a 6:45am departure. Once we took off, we caught the sunrise and immediately spotted several whale pods.
The ride took about 45 minutes and we quickly unloaded at the Manele dock. It really did feel like we were in the middle of nowhere. Hotels and condos did not litter coast line (in fact, there were none at all), and the dock was just big enough for our boat.
Right down the road, we found Hulopo’e Beach – not exactly super private, as many locals were camping and the Four Seasons guests had fancy lounge chairs set up – but it was still a far cry from our crazy busy Napili Bay beach. The sand was powder fine and the snorkeling was the best of our trip. There were even bathrooms and a shower.
We spent the day lounging, and even though we could have eaten at the Four Season, we packed sandwiches and Hawaiian Suns and lots of water. When it got too hot we found shade in the grass and watched wild turkeys roam the park until it was time to get back on the ferry.
Upon further investigation, it would run you about $2000 a night to stay at the Four Seasons in Lanai. Bummer. But I still enjoyed watching the 1% be waited on hand and foot (the beach valet literally set up their lounge chairs, umbrellas, towels, paddle boards, etc).
I totally crashed out on the ferry ride home, and we still had plenty of time. For us, it was a good way to get away from the crowds (these spring break families are killing me!) and get some really good snorkeling in. Thor even said it was his favorite day of the trip (until today where he vegged out endlessly).
More info about Hulopo’e Beach can be found here: http://www.gohawaii.com/en/lanai/regions-neighborhoods/south-lanai/hulopoe-bay-lanai/
As I had already found that stand up paddle boarding in lakes and rivers is relatively easy, my next goal was to try it out in the ocean. Surely the waves would make SUP more challenging, and where else to try than in Hawaii?
The thing about paddle boarding is that it’s seriously easy for pretty much everyone…or so I thought. Thor is notoriously better than me (and everyone else on the planet) at just about everything. A couple days ago we decided to play shuffleboard (both of us being equally new to it) and he won every single game. For the last ten years of our marriage, this is the status quo; I’m always the persistent sidekick, and he’s the naturally talented hero.
So when we rented paddle boards ($40 for the whole day) and drug them down to the beach, I was like, “Paddle out on your knees and then just stand up. You’ll get it.” But within the first five minutes, he had already lost his sunglasses from repeatedly falling back into the water. Meanwhile, I was paddling circles around him, “Less upper body; more centered on the board!”
While the ocean waves added a bit of challenge, it wasn’t any harder than navigating a boat’s wake in the river. I paddled back and forth across the bay. Thor, on the other hand, got frustrated and went inside after an hour.
Overall, I’m glad I tried paddle boarding in the ocean, although it didn’t end up being the workout I had hoped for. Also, once he had gone inside and I was all alone way out where the bay becomes the real ocean, I kept thinking, “What if a shark finds me? No one will know.” Then my eyes were playing tricks on me and I was seeing shadows circle my board and I decided to
frantically paddle back in.
Sadly, I couldn’t take any pictures because we were in the water but you get the idea.
A few days ago I posted about my first attempt to run up the Diamond Head Crater/Peak on Oahu, but I was confused about how to actually get up there. Today we figured it out.
For all the times I’ve been to Hawaii and dragged along super touristy destinations by my mom (we’re talking scuba trips, horseback riding, luaus, kayaking, cultural centers, the volcano spewing lava, a really nerdy bi-plane tour of the island), it’s surprising to me that I had never been to the top of Diamond Head.
On Sunday, I started running along the beach and then up Diamond Head Highway, but after learning it was just a loop with a great view, today we went the other way (i.e. away from the ocean). Basically, if you are running from Kapiolani Park along Monsarrat Rd, it will eventually turn into the backside of Diamond Head Highway and there will be big yellow signs and gates that say, “Diamond Head Crater” with big arrows. Of course we were doing a lot of stopping and starting and asking, “Is that the trail?” Once we paid our $1 admission, we were off.
While I realize my goal was to “run” Diamond Head, I now realize how lofty that goal was. First off, there were already a million people at 7am; I was dodging around people on a relatively narrow trail that was half-paved, half loose and uneven rocks. And let’s not forget the humidity and the elevation. I read some blog last night where a guy who said he was “38 and moderately out of shape” didn’t have much trouble, I was like, “Oh man this one’s in the bag!” I mean, come on, I run 3-4 days a week, in PORTLAND, OREGON – the city of hills and mountains!
Well let me tell you that as a 34 year-old female who is pretty in shape, it was hard. I’m proud to say I ran most of the way up, I finally allowed myself a brisk walk for fear of vomiting in front of 1000 Japanese tourists with their cameras handy. At the 500 foot level, we reached a set of 200 stairs…
…and then some scary, claustrophobic tunnels…
…that took us to the 773 ft elevation.
So here’s the breakdown if you ever plan on trying this:
It’s about 2 miles to the Diamond Head Crater entry gate from Kapiolani Park (my map below is a little off because I forgot to resume after a stop light). Then it’s a little over a mile to the peak. Don’t forget you have to make it home, which will add another 3+ miles (that are mostly downhill).
So there – I did it. BOOM.
This weekend I was talking with a friend about my progress (or lack thereof) for my list, and yet I don’t feel guilty in the slightest. In 2012, my list was soley based on getting over my mind-numbing frustration of blowing out my knee and not getting to participate in the things that make my life fun…so I made a list to FORCE myself into new experiences regardless of a physical handicap.
Even though I really do still have chronic knee pain and can’t do ALL the things I used to do, I’ve made some serious progress and I don’t feel like my daily life is hindered at all now that my knee surgery is a good year behind me.
My list is still very relevant. I think about it daily. I have several upcoming plans to cross some items off my list. But in the meantime, here are some rad things I have done in the last month that prove I am living the dream.
TEN THINGS I DID IN THE LAST 30 DAYS THAT AREN’T ON MY LIST
1. Rode business class on the train to Seattle to go to the Emerald City Comic Con. Ballin’.
3. Had the absolute BEST private karaoke experience at Voicebox with my friends Courtney, Kristin, Steve, and Tiffany.
5. Ran a minimum of 3 miles every day of my vacation in Hawaii.
6. Hiked the trail down to the Captain Cook Monument, which is only accessible by hiking or boating.
7. Saw whales and turtles on our last day at the beach, also on the Mauna Kea.
8. Ran more laps than any of my students at a Run for the Arts fundraiser…proving I still got it.
9. Started a new weekly boot camp class, hosted by my trainer Rachel.
10. Stayed at the Oxford Hotel in Bend with my friend, Kerrie, where we exploited the fancy mattresses, pillows, and room service.