Day 7 - Submarine
Day 7 - this vacation is getting long!!! Still fun stuff to do, and so much that we haven't even done yet! Today we had an appointment in Waikiki at 10:00 to go on a submarine! The trip there is about 90 minutes with morning traffic, so we left by 8:00 to get down there.
We took the standard mid-island route this time which looked much different this time! We got to see the pineapple fields and everything. Of course, it isn't anywhere near as interesting as the windward coast route, but it was still interesting to see in the daylight.
We parked near the Hilton on the beach and walked to our tour with Atlantis, a touring company that happens to own some consumer market submarines!!! We loaded onto our boat at Port Hilton (cleverly named) and traveled about 10 minutes away from shore to the transfer point. About 50 meters off the starboard side of the ship, we were directed to look at a grouping of bubbles that had appeared, and about 10 seconds later, the submarine surfaced!!! Apparently they send up a signal bubble to show people on the surface where it will be surfacing because that is the most dangerous part of submarine travel, surfacing. It is apparently very easy to come up on an unspecting vessel and tip them over or break them.
We were on the second sub to surface, so we got to watch the first one descend and another surface when we got on. Once on the sub, we descended to, at one point, over 100 feet deep in the ocean! So now we are officially part of the “three digits club” of which only like .0001% of people in the world are a part, so there!
The tour was pretty cool. We got to see a lot of fish and even some sharks! The tour company has been in business for several decades, so they've had an opportunity to develop the sea floor out here. Waikiki bay is pretty lifeless due to all of the tourism, but the Atlantis company has, over time, sunk several manmade objects in the ocean to give fish and sea life places to make homes. One of their most interesting vessels, a military boat, they purchased for only $10,000, but it cost them another $350,000 to clean it up and submerge it in the ocean.
All in all the tour was very cool. None of us had ever been in a submarine before, and seeing the sharks was a big bonus!
After disembarking, Jenny and I stepped off the boardwalk to grab a picture or two and the kids collected themselves further along in the walk. I got a picture of them in formation, each of the boys protecting his little sister while they waited for us to complete our shenanigans. I thought it was adorable!
We walked down the beach walk about 100 feet and sat at the first place that had outdoor tables. It turned out to be a Mexican restaurant. The food wasn't very good, but at least it was pricey!!! Waikiki definitely has a far different feel than the North Shore. Jenny and I sort of compare the North Shore to the North Woods of Wisconsin. There is a similar, laid back feel there. People are pretty friendly, but nobody is too wound up about anything. There are tourists, and people that look like tourists, but there are plenty of people that don't look that way - they just look like they are having a good time and relaxing. Definitely our kind of place.
After lunch we went over to see Iolani Palace, which is the only actual royal palace on US soil. It was the home of the last monarchs of the Kingdom of Hawai'i. Lots of history there, much of which I will have to read about later since I drew Quinton duty, and a royal palace is where he draws the line for patience.
After the palace, we got back in the car and took the windward shore route back to Turtle Bay. Along the way we gassed up our vehicle and sampled a local “must have,” Spam Musubi, which is a slice of Spam on a bed of rice and wrapped up in seaweed, all of which is soaked in some sort of flavorful sauce. Nobody was too impressed with 7-11's version of it. Maybe we'll have to try it again somewhere else.
Back at the hotel, we constructed a dinner out of leftovers, did a little swimming as payback for the palace tour, then settled the kids down again while Jenny and I headed over to the hotel for some adult drinks and to pick out different filming locations from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which we re-watched the evening before. Apparently that is the most rigorous filming project to ever be based at this resort, and there were lots of fun things to see from the movie.
On the way back from our drinks, we noticed that the sky had exploded with stars!!! I was very excited about it because it's been a really long time since I've seen stars that numerous and bright! I suppose since this is the most remote archipeligo in the world, it would stand to reason that stargazing was pretty good here. On the north shore, we are at least 40 miles away from a major city, so it made it quite good. I stormed into the condo and demanded the boys put their shoes on and go outside to look at them. They were, “impressed” as they could be, I suppose. Didn't matter, I was happy. I tried to get a picture but my iPhone camera isn't up to the task of a long exposure night shot of the stars, so it will just have to live on in my memory.