Friday, June 22, 2012

Life’s a Beach, Part 2

Saturday was one more beach day and one more diving day for Dan and Ray.  Sadly, this was our last day together with the Lakes, because they were leaving the next day for the Big Island. 

Angela did some research on beaches and suggested we go to Lanakai Beach (interesting fact- lanakai in Hawaiian means “heavenly sea”) .  Lanakai beach is located in an upscale residential neighborhood and the only parking available is on the street.  If you do not get there early, you will not find a place to park.  Also, the beach does not have any public facilities, so if you got to go, you got to go in the ocean:)

Besides the above mentioned caveats, this beach is incredible.  The water is crystal blue, there are beautiful islands off in the distance (that many, many people were canoeing to), and the sand is the softest sand I have ever felt (feels like baby powder).  Here are some pics from our time at Lanakai. 

  IMG_0707 IMG_0704

IMG_0700  IMG_0697

IMG_0698Heading out for the dive




testing the waters

IMG_0684  IMG_0681 IMG_0683

loving the sand

cute feet

Baby feet!!!


Back from the dive

Unfortunately for Dan and Ray, this beach was not ideal for diving.  They got a good swim, but didn’t see much sea life:(

Lanikai beach is located on the Winward (or east) side of Oahu.  We really wanted to hit up Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck before our trip ended, so today was the day.  It was a bit of a drive, but so worth it.  We showed up at the truck to discover an hour wait!  We were starving, so that was not happening.  They directed us to their lesser known truck in Haweiwa, so onward we went.  It only took us about 20 minutes to get to this truck and we were served immediately (score!).  Dan and I split the shrimp scampi and he also chowed down on the garlic hot dog.  This plate was definitely for garlic lovers (which we are).  Not healthy, but absolutely delish.



What a yummy end to a fun day.  Last night was grown up night.  Kids stayed back at the hotel and the adults went to The Beach House, a fancy restaurant in the Moana Surfrider.  The setting was beautiful; it was on the back porch of the hotel that is located on the beach. 


Disappointingly, the service was horrendous and the food was mediocre.  Regardless, the company was fantastic!  We love our friends!!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Life’s a Beach, Part 1

Friday and Saturday were devoted to the number one reason to go to Hawaii, the beach.  Dan was super stoked to go scuba diving as he just completed his certification. 

Friday, after picking up all the scuba equipment, we headed to Electric Beach.  This beach got its name due to its location across the street from a power plant.  There are pipes that lead into the water, causing super warm water and attracting some great sea life.  The boys were fortunate enough to dive with dolphins and see a ton of beautiful fish. 

dolphin Dolphins (kind of hard to see)

IMG_0635Where the guys started their dive  

electric beachHmm…a little scary

creepyPerhaps someone who should have read the warning?

IMG_0638 The beach in the distance is where the rest of us spent the day and where the boys swam to. 

divingGetting ready to dive.  

After the guys got settled, we drove down to a more swimmable beach.  The boys were going to swim there after they were finished.  This beach was an improvement from the the first place, but was still not the most desirable beach.  First, it was right off the highway.  Second, the water was kind of rough and there was a lot of debris in the water that hurt when you hung out in the surf.  There was some great seashelling and sea glass collecting. 


electric beach1

The water was a little rough, so we spent a lot of time looking for “treasure”…


burying each other in the sand…


and napping.


After a while we were starving and really excited to spot these guys coming in.

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Successful first dive!


Following the beach, we headed to Mac’s 24/7 which was featured on Man Vs. Food for their gigantic pancakes. By gigantic, I mean larger than a steering wheel. Dan and Ray both ordered pancakes and they were delicious. If in Waikiki, check this place out. The food and cocktails are fantastic.

For dinner, we celebrated Priscilla’s 18th birthday with dinner at the Shorebird. The Shorebird is a unique restaurant located on the beach in which you order your meat or fish and then grill it yourself on a giant grill. I was still full from lunch, so I didn’t eat too much at dinner:(

IMG_0664Happy hour before dinner

IMG_0665Great views of Diamond Head. This picture was taken from our table.IMG_0667IMG_0666


Grill masters


Looks who’s 18!


The real birthday girl

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pineapples, Luaus and Grass Skirts

Dole Pineapple Plantation

Thursday was a jam packed day.  We hit the road early to head to the Dole Pineapple Plantation.  I have one word for this place- lame.  Do yourself a favor if you are ever in Oahu, skip this place.  We browsed the gift shop, which was nice, but overpriced.  We also took the Pineapple Express, a train tour of the “plantation”.  I put that in quotes because it isn’t a plantation anymore.  This tour was terrible; you don’t really see anything and you have to listen to a super cheesy audio recording.  We did get some good pictures of Ava as a pineapple though. 


The plantation is free to visit, so if you must stop by, just check out the gift shop and say you have been here.  While you’re here check out the trees by the entrance.  They do have super cool bark. Just don’t pay money for the Pineapple Express.

IMG_0618  Dole Plantation

IMG_0620 Dole PLanation

North Shore Eats

We continued our journey to the North Shore and made a lunch time stop at the Grass Skirt Grill.

Grass Skirt GrillThis teeny tiny cafe was featured on the Food Network.  It is known for, what else, their plate lunches (are you noticing a trend with plate lunches).  I had the special, a grilled vegetable sandwich.  It was OK, didn’t blow me away or anything.  The Lakes got an order of garlic fries and those were awesome!  Leave it to Angela to always know what to order.  FYI, this place is super small and there is limited seating.  I am pretty sure it didn’t even have a bathroom.

After lunch, we headed to Aoki’s for shaved ice.  This is apparently THE PLACE to go on the North Shore for shaved ice.  I wish I wasn’t having stomach troubles, because I love shaved ice and everyone was raving about how delicious it was. BTW, shaved ice + ice cream = awesomeness.

shaved ice 1 Shaved Ice

Polynesian Cultural Center

Polynesian Cultural Center

Last stop for the day; the Polynesian Cultural Center.  This place is touted as the number one PAID attraction in Oahu.  Interesting: The PCC is owned by the Mormon Church and the majority of the employees go to BYU Hawaii.  Many of the entertainers or "Island folks” were recruited (not sure that is the right word to use) into the church and given scholarships in exchange for their work at the center.

Everyday at 2:00 the PCC features a parade showcasing the culture of the different islands.  We didn’t really get a good view of the parade, so I don’t have any pictures.  I was kind of over it, since Dan and I were here 2 years ago. Plus it was so HOT and I was still not feeling well. 

The center is broken down by islands.  Each island has a show or demonstration as well as hands-on activities.  Our favorite island was Samoa.  This guy was very entertaining, don’t miss his show.  You also get to see men climb coconut trees (very impressive). 


The luau starts at 5:30.  Tables are family style and you may be seated with people who are not part of your party.  There is entertainment during the luau and a buffet in which you get to sample some local delicacies. 

Taro rolls are on all the tables. They look really weird, but do not turn these down. They are sweet and delicious.

Taro Rolls

Here is a picture of Angela’s plate.  The purple sweet potatoes are fantastic, even better than regular sweet potatoes.  The purple sweet potato salad rocked my face.  Yum!  If you are ever here, try everything. 


Like all tourist attractions, they take your picture and try to sell it to you (why buy it when you can just take a picture of it). Here is our beautiful group.

Polynesian Cultural Center luau

You admission ticket also includes tickets to the evening show.  Dan and I went to this show 2 years ago, so we decided to skip it to get Ava home and in bed before she became a major cranky pants.  The drive back to Oahu is beautiful and I am glad it was still slightly light out so we can see it.  We were back in time to put Ava to bed and enjoy a few cocktails on our lanai before calling it a night.