Friday, April 3, 2015

Hawaiian adventures exploring the North Shore of Oahu and beyond...

I can't believe it's already been four days since we came back from our quick and much-needed trip to Hawaii. Fortunately I have the photographic evidence to prove that yes indeed, we did have a holiday.

Aloha Turtle Bay Resort
Turtle Bay Resort Oahu North Shore
This was only my second time to Hawaii, previously I'd traveled there to run the 2012 Honolulu Marathon, spending only a little time in Waikiki and then flying off to Maui to recuperate and explore the island.
Turtle Bay North Shore Oahu
This time three of us traveled to Oahu's North Shore for some R&R and no rushing around traveling between islands.
Turtle Bay Hotel North Shore Oahu
We stayed at the Turtle Bay Resort, which wasn't too busy and didn't have too many screaming children, and by day explored the shoreline to the left and right of the hotel.
Exploring North Shore Oahu
On our first day we strolled along the lava rock and beautifully shelly sand and found the Banyan Tree featured in the TV series LOST.
Banyan Tree North Shore Oahu
Of course I couldn't resists climbing up into it for a picture, before I spied all the 'killer' ants at my feet and had flashbacks to smoke monsters and rampaging polar bear experiments.

Once a cheeky monkey...
Climbing Banyan Tree North Shore Oahu
The tree is amazing and its branches actually grow down into the earth to act as props for the tree, making for an incredible otherworldly effect.

Mai Tai Time North Shore Oahu
Obviously after a had trek through the forest it was time to return to base camp and get some well deserved refreshments. For some reason I crave Mai Tais in Hawaii, despite how calorific they are. But that's the point of a vacation, right? To relax and unwind.
Hawaiian Monk seal
The weather was at times cloudy, raining and beautifully sunny and it could change instantly as you drove up and down the island. The next day we walked the opposite direction and came across this endangers Hawaiian Monk Seal, who apparently always comes up onto this beach at this time of year for a rest.
Oahu North Shore
Further along the coast and we spied a mother teaching her pup how to fish in the surf, although both instances had protective fencing around the areas, as mothers can be especially protective of their young and will attack if you get too close.
Monk seals Oahu North Shore
We often see California sea lions, dolphins, porpoises or whales when we take Cooper to Hendry's Beach in Santa Barbara, but it's still always wonderful to see wildlife in their natural habitat and the fact we're encroaching on their world.
Hawaii fun Oahu North Shore
When the sun was shining you could see how clear and blue the ocean was and the sand was almost white, so pretty and a great place to let yourself go and have a little fun (and this was before alcohol).

Crowded Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach Honolulu
Waikiki Beach Honolulu
On our penultimate day we headed back down the island to check out Waikiki and have a quick drink in their gay bar Hula's Bar & Lei Stand, which was where my teammates and I had recovered from the Honolulu Marathon with massages and cocktails to celebrate finishing the 26.2 miles in that humidity.
Cocktail o'clock
Waikiki certainly has a more bustling feel and loads more tourists, with crowded beaches and sidewalks, so it was a welcome relief to return to our quieter haven on the North Shore. I think it's safe to say we contributed to the local economy during our stay.
North Shore surfers Turtle Bay
As the sun went down each night you could usually find us sitting in the comfortable deck chairs on the water's edge and watching the surfers ride the North Shore waves, and just being hypnotised by the ever-changing ocean.

This is as close as I got to surfing
It really was a peaceful way to spend the day, and at night you'd normally find us eating at Ola restaurant on the beach, with tasty poke, butterfish, shrimp and more great food and wine besides.
Turtle Bay sunset North Shore Oahu
You may think we didn't do much, but it felt like we did. Best of all we totally relaxed for a few days and recharged our batteries to face the day-to-day trauma of driving around sprawling L.A.

Now I just have to get back to training as in a few short weeks I'm off to the U.K. to run the 2015 London Marathon for charity.

Better lay off the cocktails I suppose...

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