Day 6 - Relax
Morning at Turtle Bay
Thursday, I think. It's sometimes hard to keep track on vacation - especially one this long! So we'll go with Thursday. We didn't have any excursions planned for this day, but that sort of made Jenny nervous that we would sit around the condo all day and play video games. She was probably correct… That said, we began the morning with some Smash Brothers, as is now becoming a thing. Perhaps we will take this activity back to the mainland with us! I'll give it a shot.
Since we had time, Jenny found a couple of activities for us to do here on the resort. For Mireille, the pony experience at the resort stables! She is pretty obsessed with animals in general, but is particularly fond of horses since she watches a lot of the show Spirit on her tablet (seriously, I don't think kids will even know what TVs are in an upcoming generation). Since I wasn't there, I don't have the pictures uploaded yet, but they will be on the shared album which I will link to these blogs when I get back.
The boys and I were to do a kayak adventure. We met our guide, Mike with Shaka Kayak Eco Adventures, at the hotel lobby at 9:00, where we loaded into a big van and headed towards Kawela Bay to do some kayaking.
I'm not sure what we expected, but I'll tell you, it was way better than anything in our heads! Kawela Bay is where the actual turtles are from Turtle Bay, and there are a LOT of them! Once I found out we were going to look at turtles, I sort of expected them to be little guys, you know, like 3 or 4 inches long. They were not. They were big!!!
Our kayak adventure was a little over an hour, and we probably saw a dozen different turtles in that timeframe. Occasionally people will also see baby hammerhead sharks in the bay when there aren't a lot of people around, but we didn't have good luck that way on this day.
Our tour guide, Mike, was full of really interesting information. For example, one of our stops on the tour was near a wreck about 100 yards out from shore in the bay. The whole way out to it he was quizzing us on what we thought it could possibly be. A boat, a plane, a car, etc. Well, it turned out to be a train! Apparently there was a tsunami sometime in the past (look it up, but I think it might have been in the 60's) that swept inland, uprooted a whole train, track and all, then deposited it back in the bay on its way out. Interesting!
Another interesting stories that Mike shared with us was the origin of “The Shaka.” I guess I didn't really know what it was or what it meant, but people use it all the time here. It's the “Hang Loose” symbol that surfers use. The origins had something to do with a sugar mill worker (who was a giant) who had his three middle fingers chopped off in an accident at the ranch. The company wanted to keep him on staff but he couldn't do his old job, so they had him be a security rider on the sugar train to keep kids from jumping on and stealing the sugar cane as it was heading into the factory to be processed. So he would ride on the train and wave at people, but since he didn't have his middle three fingers, his wave was only with his thumb and pinkey finger. He apparently had a friend that was a broadcaster on the local news, and she would sign off each broadcast by waving to him in the manner that he would wave to people. Since then, people started using it. It was originally called something else, like his last name, but over time it was shortened and pidgeoned into “The Shaka.”
Mike also had lots of information about these sea turtles. For example, these turtles grow their entire lives, which can be as long as 80 years, so you can tell how old they are based on how large they are. Also, you can tell the sex of a turtle by how wide the tail is. Since the male's genetalia are in its tail, the tails is much wider, while the females have a much narrower tail. Also, there are vastly more female turtles than males. Each year they swim back to their place of birth, which happens to be about 600 miles away, to mate. Since there are so many more females than males, the females only make the trip every other year while the males have to go every year. The way they are able to find their way back each year is due to some crystals in their heads that attune them to the magnetic fields of the earth. When they are born, that signature is imprinted on their brains so they know to go back there every year to mate and lay eggs. Also, the turtle sex is determined based on how warm the egg is while it is in the nest. Eggs at 86 degrees and warmer turn out female while the others are males. Since the eggs are laid in a pile, the ones at the center are more plentiful and warmer, hence there are more females. Also, with climate change and warmer temperatures, the disparity is widening, though that problem is much better to have than having too many males. At least this way the turtles have trended from Endangered back to Threatened over the last couple of decades. Now I kind of love turtles!!!
Lastly, Mike gave some interesting perspective on Hawai'i itself. Before people came, it was a true paradise. Not even rats or cockroaches lived on the island. It was due to the islands being the most remote archipelago in the world! So prior to man coming, it took an average of 35,000 years before some new species was accidentally introduced to the islands! The only native mammals to the island are bats and the Hawai'ian Monk Seals. I really liked this tour!
After our adventure, we caught up with Jenny and Mireille who were doing a little swimming. Mireille's horse adventure was fun, but she was too big to ride a pony and instead had to ride a horse. We were all hungry, and we didn't feel like eating at a food truck or in the room, so we got in the car and went back to Hale'iwa to find a sit down restaurant. We ended up eating at Stormy's, which wasn't much more interesting than your average mainland Irish Pub, but the food was OK and they served us beer and brought us our food, so it satisfied all the requirements we had.
After lunch and a little rest, we finally headed out for some beach time at the resort beach. Quinton really enjoyed snorkling for the first time, and Mireille just loved playing in the waves and building things in the sand. Of course, on our way, it started raining again! So far that makes 2 out of 2 times we went to the beach where Hawai'i decided to rain on us!
Romantic Sunset Walk to Kawela Bay
We took dinner in the condo, go the kids settled (playing Smash Brothers), and Jenny and I stole away for some much needed alone time. We hiked back to Kawela beach based on the recommendation of the neighbors that Jenny met in the pool, as well as my experience from there that morning. Along the way we encountered the “Lost Trail,” which got us to talking about the different locations that Lost was filmed. Actually this bay and the Banyon tree were prominant locations in the series!!!
Our hike wasn't too long before we found the Banyon tree. Banyon trees aren't native to Hawai'i - they were brought here by somebody from South East Asia, but this one was pretty cool. Banyon trees are interesting in that they will grow, spread, then “walk.” Walking for a Banyon tree happens by branches dropping new vines down to the ground which will eventually contact the ground and grow their own roots. That vine will eventually grow into an entirely new trunk that can be just as big as the trunk from which it was sprung (not the branch). Pretty intersting. This Banyon was probably only about 50 meters from end to end with several dozen trunks. Our guide that morning told us that there is a banyon tree in Vietnam (I think) that covers 5 acres of land!!!
The timing was right, and the clouds weren't too bad, so we stepped over to Kawela Beach and watched the sunset to close out the day.