Dear O’ahu: I Love You

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Heart-shaped tidepool on the (western) Leeward Side of the Hawaiian island of Oahu

Just got back from the Hawaiian island of O’ahu, and I miss it already.

(Heck, I was already missing it by the time I’d settled into the plane ride home.)

Back here in my regularly-scheduled life, there’s no crash of 40-foot waves in my kitchen, no tropical breeze in my bedroom, no daily flourish of rainbows outside my windows, no lilt of ukelele and birdsong in my ears. Instead, my soundtrack is the far-off squeal of a firetruck siren, the text buzz of my iPhone, and the hornet-hum of a gas-powered leaf-blower.

Having spent a futile half-hour attempting to will myself back to O’ahu, I’ve decided instead to give in to reality and simply share my favorite photos from the island with you.

This way, we can all escape the noise — and feel the love.

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Just another rainbow on Waikiki Beach

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Infinity pool at the Sheraton Waikiki, raised just above a public walkway

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Outrigger canoe at Waikiki Beach Services; canoes like this were used by ancient Polynesians for long-distance ocean migrations

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

The expansive, elegant lanai at Waikiki’s Royal Hawaiian Hotel

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Antique map of Hawaii on display in the lobby at Waikiki’s Royal Hawaiian Hotel

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Some places, lovers carve their names in trees — on Oahu, they choose bamboo

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

This nawa tree at the entrance to the Waimea Bay Audubon Center is a riot of squiggles and grace

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

It always makes me happy to find a flower that stumps me — anyone know what this beauty is called?

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Out in Oahu’s Wai’anae Bay, humpback whales sometimes happen

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

You can’t go more than a few miles on the island without stumbling across a koi pond

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

The Byodo-in Temple is a faithful replica of a 900-year-old Buddhist temple in Japan

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

The Leeward (west) side of the island is windswept, rocky and largely tree-less — and it’s where most native Hawaiians live

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

On the Leeward Side, the sun-baked hike at Ka’ena Point should only be attempted in the morning or late afternoon

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

On the Makiki Valley rainforest hike, look for banyan trees and listen for  birdsong

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Hike up Diamond Head State Monument on a weekday, if you can — weekend crowds are astonishing

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

One slice of the view from Nu’Uana Pali Lookout, along the Windward (east) Side

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Trail horse at rest at the Kualoa Ranch, on the Windward Side

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

On the North Shore, Sunset Beach is known for its sand, water and enormous waves

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

In the North Shore town on Haleiwa, shave ice is a wildly popular treat…but sometimes hard to balance

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

The 19th-century Bishop Museum offers hallowed halls of treasures from all over Hawaii, both above and below the ocean surface

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

For a special Japanese meal, visit Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin on a quiet side street in Waikiki

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

The view of both Waikiki and Honolulu from up at Puu Ualakaa State Wayside Park

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Pineapple presentation at the New Otani Kaimana Beach, out near Diamond Head

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

On Oahu, even the phone booths have a little Hawaiian flavor

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

At Haleiwa’s Kua’Aina, turkey sandwiches (be sure to ask for extra grilling) come with huge wedges of Hawaiian avocado

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Enroute to the North Shore on the Windward Side, the He’eia Kea Harbor (tires and all) offers a stunning view of Mokoli’i Island

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Polynesian idols at the Bishop Museum are just happy to see you

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

But this tiki figure at the Polynesian Cultural Village Center? Not so much

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

The refurbished planetarium at the Bishop Museum offers you a chance to snuggle, look up at the stars, and learn a thing or two

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Fabrics designer Alfred Shaheen defined Hawaiian style for a mainland audience in the 1950s and ’60s (http://www.alfredshaheen.com/)

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

A luahine (older woman) teaches ukelele at Waikiki’s Outrigger Reef on the Beach…and man, can she jam

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Turtle Bay is the North Shore’s only luxury resort, and it’s just about to go through a full-scale renovation

 Dear Oahu: I Love You

Trust me: the last sunset on your last night in Waikiki will feel sweet and bittersweet at the same time

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RESOURCES

Outrigger Reef on the Beach
Sheraton Waikiki
Waikiki Beach Services
Wild Side Specialty Tours
Kulaoa Ranch
Tonkatsu Ginzu Bairin
Bishop Museum
Turtle Bay Resort
Kua A’ina
Haleiwa Shave Ice

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My trip to O’ahu was arranged courtesy of the O’ahu Visitors Bureau,
but all photos, experiences and opinions expressed here are my own

_________________________________________________

Share and Enjoy

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  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Dear Oahu: I Love You
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Dear Oahu: I Love You
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Dear Oahu: I Love You
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Dear Oahu: I Love You
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Dear Oahu: I Love You
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Dear Oahu: I Love You
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Dear Oahu: I Love You

Comments

  1. Enjoyed reading your posts and seeing your photos from Hawaii. And love your attitude! We’ve been to Hawaii more times than we can count, and Bob lived there for about ten years. It’s still a favorite place for all of us and our families.

    Alan, Peter, and Bob.

    Authors of Beer in the Bilges, Sailing Adventures in the South Pacific

  2. So awesome, Melania. I love this gallery! It brings back so many memories of … two weeks ago.

    I hope you guys had even more fun than these pictures hint at … and I’m still stunned that we missed each other by mere days.

    Back amongst the snowdrifts,
    -Mike

  3. Ah, love. Thanks for sharing these photos :)

  4. Aloha Melanie,
    Did you go horseback riding at Kualoa Ranch? I had a great time riding there.

  5. Aloha Melanie,
    Sorry I missed you while you were here but I’m glad that you finally got the chance to visit our beautiful islands. I just love all your photos. I makes me want to play in my own backyard, thanks for the reminders.

  6. Nancy, I didn’t have the opportunity to ride, but I loved watching the horses and riders prepare for their tour. I was sad to have missed the royal fish ponds!

  7. Bubbelah, thank you — we had a wonderful time! The only thing that could have improved it, of course, would have been laughing/eating all over the island with you. [Head>desk] Next time: Kauai or bust.

  8. Kathy, thank you! And please, for both of us, go play on O’ahu this weekend. :)

  9. Aloha Melanie,
    Was that whale photo taken onboard with Wild Side Specialty Tours? I believe we have others from the tour – we’d be happy to share them with you!
    Tori

  10. Tori, hello! I definitely took this (admittedly not great) whale photo while onboard one of your whale-watching and snorkeling tours — unless I’d had my big telephoto lens with me, I wasn’t going to get anything better. The experience of seeing whales with my own eyes was amazing, and I’m grateful to you for providing it! http://sailhawaii.com/

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Monday I wrote about my dream of visiting Hawaii; that dream was definitely fueled by the gorgeous photos of O’ahu taken by Melanie of Travels With Two. And speaking of my post about Hawaii, you have until midnight [...]

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