Hawaii Travel Update: Grand Times on the Island of Oahu!

We just got back from a fabulous trip to Oahu. I was gathering content for an article about an exotic fish that lures well-heeled anglers from all over the world. Along the way I spent time with my family savoring this fantastic vacation destination. Sorry if that sounds like an ad, but there's no other way to describe Oahu. On the South Shore you have Waikiki, which is a busy metropolis, world class shopping hub, and home to some of the world's most famous beaches. On the North Shore, you have a rural, down-home country feel, mixed with some of the most beautiful mist shrouded valleys, sun soaked beaches, and of course, the most famous surf spots in the entire world.

We stayed at some really awesome resorts. One was the Kahala Resort, which is a high-end exclusive resort about 10 minutes out of Waikiki, located just past Diamond Head. In addition to being a travel and fishing writer and photographer, I do a lot of resort photography (you didn't think I just sat around on these trips, did you?) Anyway, I got some neat shots at the Kahala. Here's one I took of the Spa they have:

and here's a shot of my daughters living it up in the pool:

and here they are chilling on the beach:

Maybe I should trade jobs with my kids! At the Kahala, they have this thing called Dolphin Quest, where there's a salt water lagoon and dolphins swimming around in it, and you can swim and interact with them. It's fantastic. I pointed out to my daughters that the girl in this photo below, who I assume is a dolphin trainer, seems to be having the time of her life, and is getting paid for it. So I gave them the "Hey, go to school, get good grades, specialize in marine science, and become a dolphin trainer" speech. I don't know if you can relate but I am getting to the age where I need to start guiding them in life choices, and having a fun job that you like, like this dolphin trainer here, seems like a great thing to strive for. Plus they can do that in Hawaii and I can come visit them!
Anyone who goes to Oahu and doesn't stay for a spell in the heart of Waikiki is really missing out. My wife LOVED it there, because it's like a little mini 5th Avenue, NYC style, right on the prettiest tropical beach you can imagine. It's where surfing took root, and where I first fell in love with the State of Hawaii. Here's my whole family...
Here's what it looked like at night from our hotel room:
After Waikiki we ventured over to the North Shore and stayed at the Turtle Bay Resort. It's a high end resort on the very tip of the island, and it has stunning views, beaches, golf courses, restaurants, and privacy, if you want it- just the place to go to after a stay in busy Waikiki. Here's a shot I took at sunrise our first morning there:
 This is the view from the resort looking out over Turtle Bay itself.
and here's a picture of my own daughter ripping it up on the surf they have right next to the resort!

I've been fortunate to do a lot of traveling and have a lot of exciting personal adventures but watching my daughters enjoy themselves, and photographing them surfing, was a special treat! I was the proudest daddy in the entire world!
Just past the Turtle Bay Resort, there lies an expanse of secluded beaches that are breathtakingly beautiful. I went for a short hike there with my daughters, in part because we wanted to see the rare Hawaiian Monk Seal. I was told that there are very few of them left. I took this shot with my long lens because you're not allowed to get very close to them. I also wondered where her pup was, as I was told that she was spending time on the beach with her pup and waiting until the pup was grown enough to fend for itself. Maybe the pup already flew the coop?

One of the shots I did in my resort photography there was to capture the view that massage clients have when they are in the spa. It's kind of an interesting puzzle to get the shot so that the inside of the spa is lit properly, while the view through the window is not blown out and overexposed. Here's what I got:

My daughter Leilani is a pool freak. She gets a crazed look in her eye when she is playing in the pool and is in a total world of her own, she is having so much fun. It's almost like she doesn't hear you when you talk to her, she's in such a state of bliss. Last year I took a neat picture of her underwater and when she saw me with my camera she told me that she wanted to try for that shot again.


Anonymous said...

Wow....this blog is great!!!RLS

Anonymous said...

Hi Jon!
This is a really detailed set of info on Oahu!
My name is Jane and I’m with Dwellable. I’d love to have this post featured on our site...Shoot me an email if you’re open to it and I can fill you in a little more.
jane (at) dwellable (dot) com
Really hope to hear from you,