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  • gloria139

Two days in Hawai’i … I swim with giant turtles and visit Pearl Harbour

I tell people I have never been to Hawaii. That is not technically true. I stopped there once for a few hours and a bite to eat on a trip with a Prime Minister. But I have never actually experienced these magnificent tropical islands in any real sense. Until now.

We were supposed to land in Maui but the weather, and thus the water, was too rough for docking, so we spent two days in Honolulu instead.

On the first day, Josie, Virginia, John the Irishman, and Antonio the Italian, and I headed to the downtown and bought two-day hop-on-hop-off tickets. But I left my four companions as soon as the purchase had been made because I had booked a snorkeling tour.

The 50-minute walk to the snorkelling boat took me along modern downtown streets, down beach-lined boulevards and through lush green parkland. How great is it to spend a Saturday morning walking through Honolulu? Stopped for water 💧 at a bench overlooking the beach ... there are surfers out there if you look for them.

There were also tent cities of homeless people in the parks ... but, as much as I feel for anyone in that situation, I gotta believe it is better to be vagrant in Honolulu than in the ice storms of Ottawa.

The snorkelling was fab. I might be one of the younger ones in the cruise but I was the oldest person on that excursion which I booked separate from the ship. Through rough seas we reached a massive haunt of giant sea turtles just off the city shores. It is illegal to touch one of the magnificent animals .. but there were scores of them. I did not even see a turtle that surfaced right behind me until the guide pointed out the rounded head in the water just above my right thigh. So cool.

Unfortunately I left my underwater camera on the boat so all I have is memories, rather that photos. But I got a shot or two of the Honolulu skyline.

I then took the hop-on bus back to where my friends were having lunch but by then I was completely knackered (22,000 steps on the Fitbit, plus the snorkeling, plus a massive sunburn down the back of my legs from the time spent in the water, and I was ready to call it quits.)

The next day, we took the free ship excursion to Pearl Harbour. There, we took a boat to the memorial for the USS Arizona, one of the ships that was destroyed on that December day in 1941 taking 900 sailors with it - their bodies remain entombed in the wreckage. Attending the memorial was a sombre event, even for Canadian gals like us, and I was struck by the number of pairs of brothers who were killed that day - 23. This is a turret that still sits above the surface.

Then we took the hop-on bus around Honolulu and got some spectacular shots of the city as well as a detailed history lesson from our guide.

There was a bit of shopping before we walked back to the Poesia.

At 4:55 ... just before the ship took off, they called the names of four French people who had apparently not made it back on board before departure. That was an expensive mistake. Our next stop is Samoa (after five days at sea) ... as long as the typhoons that are now causing trouble in the region hold off. Those folks will have to find their way there from Honolulu... possibly without their passports which most of us leave on ship when we go on shore ... definitely without a change of clothes... possibly without speaking great English... and they will cover their accomodation until they can join us again. I feel for them.

But I am so stoked about the next leg of this journey ... we are in the South Pacific.

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