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Posts Tagged ‘oahu’

One of my main goals for my Hawaiian vacation was to fill my time alone with as many fitness adventures as I could.  Since Oahu offers so many different options,  decided to do a bit of research and discovered that a 30-minute drive would bring me to the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail.

There’s something very intriguing to me about lighthouses.  They’re literally guides for sailors at night, and maybe because of all the novels I’ve studied, there’s something so romantic to me about them.  I never realized how drawn to lighthouses I am until this trip, but I am going to make it a point to go to the local lighthouses we have in the San Francisco area when I get back home.

When I looked up info about the trail itself on my Trail Advisor app, it said that it was a paved trail that offered a steady incline to the top, easy to navigate for people of all fitness levels.  I knew I could make the trek, and the promise of the views along the way were all I needed to decide that this was my Tuesday morning outing.

Getting to the trail by car was an easy, beautiful drive, and because I got there early, around 8:30am, parking was a breeze.  (I’ve been on California time throughout my trip, meaning I’m waking up at 3am local time).

10006917_10151952043440426_6763370043924131053_n The hills surrounding the trail were lush and green, and the path itself was very easy to navigate.  I put on some music, and started my assent.  I was a steady incline, enough to keep my heart rate going the entire way.

1534472_10151952042795426_132579950536500944_n Before too long, I saw the ocean peeking out among the brush, and if these were the views at the start of my journey, I was anxious to see what awaited me at the top. Between my music and these views, I think I was smiling from ear to ear the whole way up.

1601506_10151952043315426_8525203781774062793_n10259743_10151952043615426_6302813055275166739_n11893_10151952043700426_7882390771869107988_n10258807_10151952043655426_5132203295441575976_n1794676_10151952044000426_1692567953378443486_n It was right around this point when the breezy morning turned super windy, and the hat I’d been wearing to protect my face from the sun flew off my head!  Luckily, I was able to snatch it from the ground before it flew away.

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I walked for a while holding the hat with one hand and my iPhone in the other. Every time I stopped to take a photo, the hat flew off – about 4 times total. Until I remembered that I could tighten it in the back.

The water below me was so blue, the sky so clear – as I walked the trail I couldn’t stop thinking about how lucky I was to be living this life.  I’d decided that this vacation was my reward for all my hard work over the past year in accomplishing so many of my weight loss goals.  This hike wouldn’t have been half as enjoyable 132 pounds ago.  I would’ve been severely out of breath, concerned about whether or not I would make it all the way to the top, and not living in the moment and enjoying all of this natural beauty all around me.  Instead, I soaked it all in and truly felt blessed to be at this point in my life.

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Before too much longer, I was at the top of the trail, looking down at these stunning views of the surrounding area.

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10150652_10151952045015426_6540676470749329357_n It was so windy at the top that I nearly lost my iPhone capturing this shot, but it was worth it, even if it is a bit blurry, I think it helps capture the wind whipping all around.

And finally, the view I’d been waiting for all day – the lighthouse!

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It was smaller than I thought, but a true jewel on that hilltop.  I love this picture so much that I’ve made it my wallpaper on the phone.

1466037_10151952045100426_452066782254352158_n I hiked to the top of this hill, which is amazing to me!

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To offer some perspective, the parking lot is in the middle of the photo. I took this about halfway back down the trail.

There’s really no other word for this hike than glorious.  It offered everything I love – views of the ocean, a great workout, and the chance to remind myself how far I’ve come and how lucky I am.

After the hike, I noticed a spot around the corner from the parking lot that was a bit of a hidden beach, filled with black volcanic rocks where I could perch and watch the white-tipped waves crashing. It reminded me a of a place near Half Moon Bay that’s really special to me. Somehow being here all alone with no other souls in sight made it all the more special, like it was a secret spot just for me.

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I shot this quick video soon after I’d sat down on the rocks. I don’t know what I was doing with the camera angles, but I’m glad I got a bit of  video:

 I don’t know for sure that these rocks are the remnants of a volcano, but given that I’m in Hawaii, that’s the story I’m going with. I sat on the rocks for about 30 minutes, just taking in the majesty and power of the ocean. I’ve always been drawn to the ocean, there’s something very spiritual about it for me.

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If you look carefully about halfway up the hill in the distance, you can spy the little lighthouse.

If you look carefully about halfway up the hill in the distance, you can spy the little lighthouse.

1546144_10151952046655426_3891003743253631992_nEven though the lighting is bad and you can hardly see my face, I wanted to make sure that I captured the fact that I was there on what was a magical morning.

 

 

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I was really looking forward to my plans on Monday – snorkeling in Hanauma Bay.  I’d heard that Hanauma Bay had the best snorkeling in Oahu, and arguably the best in Hawaii.  I’d snorkeled before when I came here 25 years ago, and again in Jamaica, but it had been years.  Still, I hoped it came back to me the way riding a bike does.

I’d signed up for the snorkeling online through a Go Select Pass.  Since I wasn’t staying at a hotel in Honolulu, I had to drive to the Queen Kapiolani Hotel and wait there for the shuttle to pick me up.  Which meant a 45-minute commute from Kaneohe in heavy morning traffic.  I was told to park across the street, at the Honolulu Zoo parking lot, which was inexpensive at $1/hour.  I’d decided that morning to leave my debit card at home, because I didn’t want to leave it unattended while I was snorkeling.  This turned out to be a major mistake.

I got to the parking lot and discovered that the parking kiosks only took debit/credit cards.  Great, how was I going to avoid a parking ticket?  As if the stress of the drive and the parking situation wasn’t enough, I realized, after 45 minutes of waiting for the shuttle to arrive, that the company had lost my reservation.  I just got off the phone with the manager, who arranged for another shuttle to get me when the meter maid pulled up.  I told her about my situation, only have cash, and she said the kiosks also took quarters.  So I headed into the Queen Kapiolani to get a roll and avoid the $96 ticket. Even though the snorkeling adventure started out on a bad note, it all worked out ok in the end.

Once on the shuttle, I let all the stress wash away.  I was excited to be heading to the snorkeling adventure.  Because of the trouble I’d gone through, the company gave me a free underwater camera and a special breathing tube for the snorkel. Plus, seeing the beauty of Hanauma Bay made me even more anxious to discover what I could find in the ocean.

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I’ll post the photos I took with the underwater camera if any of them turn out well when I develop them, and I really hope they do.  I saw tons of fish and beautiful coral.  Floating around under the water was so serene.  It’s amazing that all of these creatures live just beneath the surface of the water. And just as I’d hoped, snorkeling came really easy to me.  I was only slightly concerned that I didn’t have a safety buddy, but I made sure that I was smart about where I was in relation to the shoreline, and just enjoyed myself.

The day was so much fun, and even the pouring rain as I came out of the water didn’t dampen my spirits. 1536554_10151950278295426_4683110617201285249_n

Throughout the day, I was reminded of all the things I can do now that I’ve lost all this weight.

  • First of all, I found swimwear that is comfortable and looks good so that I was not self-conscious, which is huge.
  • I had plenty of stamina to spend over an hour snorkeling all around Hanauma Bay.
  • I could walk all the way up the fairly steep hill back to the entrance with only a little bit of effort:

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The day was wonderful, and renewed my love of snorkeling.  I think part of the appeal, besides being able to see all the exotic fish in the ocean, is that fact that you can only do it in a few tropical locales.  The rarity of it makes it all the more special.

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After more than two months of planning, anticipating, and preparing, yesterday was finally the day I left for Hawaii.  All week I had the same feeling I had when I was 6 years old and my family was about to go to Disneyland for the first time. I had a lot of last minute errands, meeting, and grading to do to keep me occupied, but if I’m honest, my mind was really concentrating on the beaches of Oahu, and rightly so, I haven’t been on a true vacation since 2008, and I haven’t been anywhere tropical since my trip to Jamaica in 2001.

Back to Saturday morning. My flight was leaving at 8:55am, so my dad was set to pick me up at 7am to get there with time to spare. I woke up around 5am to make sure I had everything ready and I’m glad that it gave me time for a snuggle session with Sofi. Leaving her behind is the only downside to this trip. But she’s going to have a ton of fun with my sister, my nieces, and their dog, Minnie.

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Getting through the airport security was a breeze, even though that imaging machine is so strange. I even met a guy who was flirting relentlessly with me. Granted, he was 7 years old, but still. Lol. He was the cutest thing ever! He noticed that I had on an SF Giants tee and asked me to high five because he had on a 49ers sweatshirt. He said, “I’m going to Hawaii, where are you going?” And when I told him I was going there too, his face lit up. He asked me my name, and said, “bye, Bella” as I headed to get my Starbucks fix. We were seated a row apart on the plane, and every now and then he’s smile and wave. When the flight landed, he was right next to me at baggage claim, asking which bag was mine and then whether or not I was married. The scamp! His parents just smiled at me when I looked over at them. Finally, while I was waiting to be picked up outside the airport, he and his family passed me, and he said, “bye, Bella!!! I hope we see you in Hawaii!” Too cute! Now if only he was about 30 years older.

I had a major NSV as I took my window seat on the plane. Not only was I not spilling over into my neighbor’s seat, but I had lots of room with the seatbelt! On my last flight in 2008, when I was nowhere near my heaviest weight (in fact I’d just lost about 50 pounds because of that medically supervised fasting diet), I needed an extender. And when I went to put the tray table down, I was so scrunched that it wouldn’t sit flat. Not this time!!! This time, I had tons of room, and was like any other normal person. I could even move up & down the aisle of the plane, passing other people, with ease. Only someone who has been obese can understand the silent triumph I felt as each of these realizations hit me.

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The flight itself was amazing! I’d never flown Alaskan Airlines before, but definitely will again. The staff was friendly, the service was quick, and we we’re ahead of schedule the entire time. Not to mention the complimentary Mai Tai! I was seated next to a really friendly woman who was just chatty enough, but also respected my desire to read. At baggage claim my bag was among the first ten off the conveyer. And from there, I walked outside and within 15 minutes, my friend was picking me up to take me back to the house.

The house itself is awesome! It’s a little, hidden bungalow with this amazing view backyard view. First, let’s take a look at the inside: the living room, the kitchen, and the wall of windows…

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As nice and comfortable as the house is, the backyard and dock is by far the best feature of this place. Every time I see that dock, I’m reminded of the dock that Gatsby looks at in the distance, towards the green light at Daisy’s house.

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The view of the house from the private dock

The view of the house from the private dock

It rained a bit in the afternoon, but even that was so refreshing.  Hawaii is so humid, and the rain brings relief from that.  Plus, I love hearing the way it sounds against the dock.  I sat on the back porch and read as it rained, and it was so soothing, especially after a long flight.

One other “feature” of this place is ALL the stairs that lead to the street level.  There are three full sets of stairs that are fairly steep.  Yesterday I used them to get a workout in. No matter how much I may indulge on this vacation, I think I’m going to leave with my booty in better shape than it was when I got here.

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I went to Safeway to get some food for the week, and I can definitely see what they mean about how expensive things are.  I bought yogurt, salads, Flat Out wraps, salami, deli turkey, Laughing Cow cheese wedges, cottage cheese, strawberries, granola, coffee creamer, and some Boom Chicka Pop popcorn and the bill totaled $101! Needless to say, I’m going to eat as many meals at home/pack my lunch as often as I can.  I do plan to go out for sushi and maybe one other meal.

Once I got back from grocery shopping, I spent the afternoon lazing around – napping, reading, and feeling amazingly lucky that I’m able to spend this week here in what is truly paradise.  I stayed home last night, took a shower that let me wash off the day and made me feel like a new person, and just enjoyed a quiet night.

10154938_10151946586235426_644419868_n If yesterday is any indication, this is going to be an amazing vacation!

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