Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Pineapple Express

We took a trip out to the pineapple fields of the Dole Plantation, established in 1900 in Wahiawa.
There are over 28,000 pineapple plants per acre, each planted by hand in soil coloured red from oxidised iron caused by decomposed volcanic ash.

Once planted it takes about 20 months for the first fruit and then another 14 or 15 months for the second fruit.   After either two crops in 4 years or 3 crops in 5 years the field is knocked down and the cycle starts all over again.

Pineapples come in all different shapes, sizes and colours and have incredibly long leaves with sharp serrated edges.

The pineapples are also harvested by hand and then loaded onto a conveyor that takes the fruit to a bulk bin.   About 80% of the pineapples are sold as fresh and the rest as chilled or turned into juice.

We took a trip through the pineapple fields on the Pineapple Express, 

 looking across Tanada Reservoir towards the mountains.

There are some interesting and unusual things for sale in the shop, mostly they’re pineapple inspired things, but one that made us smile was macadamia nuts with spam, can’t imagine what they must taste like!

Individual pineapples or boxes of pineapples are available to buy, they’re packed into special boxes and when you leave the island you’re checked by the Agricultural Department and if your pineapple isn’t properly packed you won’t be taking it anywhere.    

We ate lots of truly delicious fresh pineapple while we were on Oahu, and were quite tempted to bring some home with us, but as weren’t at all sure whether or not we were allowed to bring them into the UK we decided against it. 

Have fun, we are!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Polynesian Cultural Centre

Our trip to the Polynesian Cultural centre began with a walk to the Waikiki Trade Centre where, after boarding our coach we followed a route along the coast with some gorgeous views.   I took countless photographs through the window, some came out some didn’t, this one did and while I know where it is, I can’t for the life of me remember its name.
Our guide, who invited us to call him Cousin Billy, pointed out the valley where the film ‘Lost’ was filmed and regaled us with various other anecdotes about films made on the island, one of which was Pirates of the Caribbean.
The Polynesian Cultural Centre is divided into different islands of the Pacific, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, New Zealand, Hawaii and also has a exhibits from Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and the Marquesas.     
A replica of a Chiefs hut, as he was the Chief, everything, including his bed, was placed higher than everyone else.
Scenes from the canoe pageant, Samoan dancers,

Tahitian dancers.
We watched in awe as this guy scaled a palm tree, and then stopped to pose for pictures half way up.   He made it look soooo easy. 
In the evening we watched more dancing, these dancers represented Hawaiian royalty, as we enjoyed the luau, so much lovely food, although we’ve never come across purple bread or potatoes before.    
After the luau, we explored the shops for a while before taking our seats at the ‘HĀ Breath of Life’ evening show which was riveting.   What a spectacle, drama, dancing, drumming, fire dancing!  I could quite see why photography wasn’t allowed, those fire dancers definitely wouldn’t want to be distracted by an ill-timed flash!
It was a long, tiring day and there was a lot to see and take in but we had an absolutely fascinating trip to the Polynesian Cultural Centre.   Mind you we were soooooooo glad we didn’t have to drive ourselves back to the hotel afterwards!
Have fun, we are!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Island Tour

We thought it was about time we explored beyond Honolulu and Waikiki so before hiring a car, we decided to take a tour.    

One of the main reasons we chose our particular tour was the 1½ hours we had in Waimea Valley to hike to the waterfall.   It’s a lovely hike (about a 1½ mile round trip) through some amazing trees and flowers, at the end of the trail the waterfall cascades in a lovely pool where you can swim.
Hiking along the trail was quite hot and humid, I wished we'd taken the golf cart as it would've given us more time, but then we'd've missed some of the things we saw as we hiked.   Quite honestly though 1½ hours just wasn’t long enough to see it and enjoy it all properly.

We also stopped at Sunset Beach on the North Shore 
we watched the surfers for a while,

it’s a lovely beach but the surf looks a bit on strong side for me so I think I’ll stick to swimming where it’s a bit calmer. 

We stopped for a nice lunch at a freshwater Shrimp Shack. 
One of the stops was Bayodo-In-Temple a beautiful Buddhist temple set against the backdrop of the rain forest and mountains.


Even though it is close to a main road, it’s a lovely peaceful spot.
We also stopped at the Nu’uanu Pali State Lookout.   It’s high on the side of the mountains and has some fabulous views, although sadly the day we went it had turned grey, drizzly and very windy.

A great battle was fought here in the late 1700’s between Chief Kalanikūpule of Oahua and King Kamehameha I of the island of Hawaii as Kamehameha sought to unite the Hawaiian Islands under one ruler. 

During the battle of Kaleleka’anae (leaping of the ‘anae fish) Chief Kalanikūpule’s army was pushed up the valley and some 400 warriors were forced over the cliff to their deaths.
After King Kamehameha’s victory a treaty was signed with Chief Kaumual of Kaui’i and Kamehameha became the first King of the Hawaiian Islands. 

We really enjoyed our tour, but as with all tours you never seem to get enough time, well we don’t, but then again we like to take our time, however we visited some lovely places. 

Have fun, we are

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Hiking Diamond Head

Although I am always full of good intentions to keep the blog up-to-date it never quite seems to work out.   Ah well that’s life I guess!
Back on our trip to Hawaii, we decided to hike, Lē’ahi or Diamond Head as it’s more commonly known.  One single volcanic explosion around 300,000 years ago is thought to have created the crater which is 350 acres across.
One legend has it that the sister of the fire goddess Pele, Hi’iaka,  gave the mountain its name because the summit resembles the forehead of a fish.   Another says that the name comes from navigational fires lit on the summit to aid canoes travelling along the shoreline.
In the 1700’s western explorers mistook calcite crystals for diamonds hence the name Diamond Head.
In 1908 as part of the US Army Coastal Artillery defence system a trail was created to the summit with mules hauling construction materials to build the fire control station.
It’s only a short 1½ mile round trip hike, but the advice is that it’s best done in the morning.   With that in mind we had breakfast and took the first trolley from the Galleria.
We didn’t realise but this was the express trolley, so there were only a couple of stops along the way.  We headed through the Kapahula tunnel
arriving at the entrance we paid our Dollar entrance fee and followed the trail on this very short hike.
This is where we were headed.
As we were starting up the trail lots of people were heading down and we soon realised why.   It was hot, not the dry heat we’ve got used to in the desert south-west but hot and humid.
The trail starts of gently, but becomes steep once it hits the switchbacks there are some great views from part way up.
Looking back along the trail
Looking back into the bowl 
At the top of 74 steps the first tunnel carries on climbing for 225ft as it curves around the mountain, it’s quite narrow and meeting people coming down is quite a tight squeeze in places.
At the top of this tunnel there is a choice, turn right up a set of very steep steps or turn left up a gentler slope.   As I always take the easy option if there is one, we turned left.   Afterwards we realised we should’ve taken the steps as that way takes you through the second tunnel and into the Fire Control Station itself.  Oh well.
We made it to the top anyway where the views over Waikiki and the mountains were spectacular.
One of the gun placements from WWII
This view makes you realise just how built up Waikiki is.
Houses even climb partway up the mountains.
The hike was fun, although I have to say, due to the unaccustomed humidity and despite drinking plenty of water as recommended, I was totally shattered by the time we reached the bottom.  If we ever do that hike again, I’ll be there just after the gates open!
Have fun, we are!