On March 7, 2017 my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on our dream vacation in Oahu. This was a very special day for us and we intended to make it a day we would never forget. What better place than Honolulu to make memories to last a lifetime?
As we headed back to the marina I had a little anniversary surprise in store for my hubby. He loves to fish so I had booked us a fishing excursion. So we set off for an afternoon on the water for some bottom fishing. Although we didn’t get a bite we had a great time as we were able to see Waikiki beach from out at sea, have spectacular views of Diamond Head and even caught a glimpse of a couple of whales!
Next on our anniversary agenda was our sunset photo session. Our hotel offered this service and we were thrilled to be able to memorialize this day in such a special way. It was beautiful and we now have pictures that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.
The final part of our special day was a romantic dinner at the nearby Royal Hawaiian Hotel. With stunning views of the ocean and an amazing menu of fresh seafood we were treated like royalty. The waiter even treated us to a special anniversary dessert.
While our anniversary was wonderful, there were still many more memories to be made on our island paradise. So the next day we set out to do something we had been working toward for months. Waking up very early we set out to climb Diamond Head!
Having seen the view of Diamond Head from our hotel and from the ocean we were excited to see the view from the top! This is one place that planning and preparation really paid off. After reading that the best time to go was early in the morning we arrived shortly after it opened and were ready to see if the weeks of walking inclines on the treadmill had gotten us ready for the climb.
Although we arrived early there were still hundreds of people there who all had the same destination as we did, to make it to the top. While we were all going to the same place the pace for getting there varied greatly. There are people who do this climb regularly and are constantly trying to better their time. Then there are people like us, ok mostly me, who are happy to just make it to the top! Once there the views definitely didn’t disappoint, but even greater than the views was the sense of accomplishment we felt for truly conquering our mountain.
After working up a sweat climbing Diamond Head we decided that a swim was just what we needed so we headed to Hanauma Bay for some snorkeling! This is certainly another Bucket List item that you must do when in Oahu. We are definitely snorkeling novices but had a great time exploring the coral which is home to beautiful sea life. I was actually shocked to be wading out and then when I looked down there were fish literally at my feet! It is a busy place, so it’s best to come early. There is also a short video that is mandatory viewing before heading down to snorkel. And when I say down, I mean really down. It is quite a long walk from the entrance to the bay and after climbing that morning we definitely were more than willing to pay for the optional tram ride!
One of the most exciting things we experienced when in Oahu wasn’t planned. Visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center was strongly recommended by many who had visited Oahu so we definitely included this on our to do list. But little did we know that the drive up the coast to get there was just as spectacular!
With the top off of the Jeep we headed up the windward coast of Oahu toward Laie. We had the music blasting and were acting like a couple of teenagers. It was amazing, and a little scary, to drive along the coast. I snapped literally hundreds of pictures with my phone as my hubby navigated the sometimes curvy road as I reminded him frequently to keep his eyes on the road! Some of my favorite photos from our trip are from this drive.
After arriving at the PCC, we had a great time with our guided tour as we learned so much about the history of not only Hawaii but Polynesia islands as well. One of the most interesting things we learned about was the story behind the shaka. This is the hand gesture that people often associate with surfing. There is a statue of the man who is thought to have been the inspiration behind this gesture, although there are some conflicting stories. Needless to say after that the hubby and I had to “shaka” all of the time!
It was also here that we went to a Luau and tried poi. The Luau was great and we even got to go up on stage and dance. The poi was not so great, but I’m glad I tried it. This is a very family friendly place so I would definitely recommend it to anyone coming with their kids.
Any trip to Oahu would not be complete without driving up to the North Shore. This is the area to go to if you want to see some HUGE waves! They have a lot of surfing contests in this area, mostly from November to February. We didn’t see any surfers while we were there but the waves were definitely different from the ones we had experienced on Waikiki beach!
Besides watching the big waves, there are also a ton of shops and food trucks to visit. This area is definitely less commercial than Waikiki with more mom and pop type stores. You can definitely make a full day of visiting the North Shore and still not see it all.
From beginning to end our Hawaiian adventure was awesome! We were able to see and do so many things that we literally thought would only occur in our dreams. This trip was also very therapeutic for me, from the planning stage til completion, because visiting the beach is like food for my soul. The memories we collected on our vacation will be with us for the rest of our lives as we continue on this journey called life. Knowing that as long as we are together, side-by-side, hand-in-hand, it’s going to be quite a ride!