Thursday, October 12, 2023

Honolulu, Oahu Hawaii Day 2

We had a very very busy day on our second day in Oahu! First we woke up at 4:30 am so we could take Lyft to the airport to pick up a rental car by 6:15 am. The reason for such an early start was to make it to Hanauma Bay early before it became too busy. We made it to Hanauma Bay by 6:45 am just as it was opening and waited in line to pay for parking, then waited in line again to get a walk-in entry time ticket, and then waited in line a third time to actually get in. By the time we actually made it to the beach it was close to 8:30, almost two hours after we arrived and four hours after we had woken up.

You can (and probably should) book tickets exactly 2 days in advance - they are free and "sell" out in about 5 minutes. Hawaiian residents don't need them. It did a good job of limiting the number of people there, but I think it brought a lot of people to the beach earlier? Or maybe we were on a beach a bit later than before. Before we had visited Hanauma Bay before they opened which allowed us faster and free entrance. This time we paid $25 each, which is I think much more than it used to be. Then we had to wait in line to go into a waiting area where they introduced us to the do's and don'ts (such as don't sit or walk on the coral - which I saw at least one person joyfully doing later that day).

Hanauma Bay didn't look quite as "alive" as on previous visits. It used to be one of our favorites but may, unfortunately, be over visited. Though the reservation of entrance times, new since we last visited, was a hassle, and it took us over two hours to get in, I can understand why they do that in order to limit the number of people visiting. Hopefully it's enough to help the reef recover.

Next we went to Tantalus Lookout in Puu Ualakaa State Park. Spectacular views of Diamond Head and Waikiki! Couldn't believe we had never gone there before. The parking area was empty so guess we're not the only ones to have missed this beautiful viewpoint. I'm guessing though, that sunset and sunrise may be better times to visit.

We were going to go to the Lyon Arboretum after the Tantalus Lookout, but that also required reservations which weren't available. This looked again to be a case of booking 2 days in advance. By the time we looked both today and tomorrow were booked up.

After lunch we headed over to the other side of the island to see the Byodo-In Temple replica on the eastern or windward side of Oahu, about 30 minutes from Honolulu. It's in the Hawaiian Memorial Park Mortuary, which made it a bit difficult to find. Having recently been in the real Byodo-In Temple in Uji Japan less than six months ago, it was interesting to see the replica. Thankfully the replica was much less crowded though a few tour buses showed up as we were leaving. Very picturesque and worth the visit. The sheer mountain cliffs behind the temple are much more scenic than the Uji Japan version of the temple. Also - they added a so-called "tail," to the temple that houses urns for people's ashes. It wouldn't be a bad place to have your ashes interred, though I prefer that mine be spread out over the ocean.

Our next stop on the way back to Honolulu was at the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden. I think we could have skipped this one. Very few of the plants are marked, so it's difficult to tell what you're looking at. The lake is fairly picturesque and offers dramatic views of the sheer volcanic cliffs as a backdrop to the lake. Maybe if we hadn't been so tired by this point, having been up since 4:30 am, we might have enjoyed it a bit more.

We made one final stop at Aloha Tower on our way back to return the rental car. Unfortunately the tower was closed due to an event and so we weren't able to see the view from the top of the tower.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Oahu Hawaii Day 2 photo album.

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