Sunday, May 12, 2013

Melbourne to Honolulu

(Please excuse they varying tenses that may make it difficult to follow this. I wrote while I was travelling and then added some later)
It has been an  eventful day. Margot and Miriam dropped me at Melbourne Airport at about 9am (30 March 2013) in plenty of time for me to catch my 11.55am flight to LA. l joined the very long queue to check in. While wailing in the queue I heard other people mention something about the flight to LA from Sydney (our first stopover) being cancelled. This, of course, was something that no-one wanted to hear. No airline staff came to tell anyone in the queue that there was anything wrong at all. We didn't exactly know what was happening until we got to the
check in counter.

The lady at the counter explained that the flight had been cancelled due to mechanical problems with the plane. She explained to me that my flights through to Phoenix had been rebooked, and I would have to stopover on Hawaii for about 6 hours. This would put me at my final destination of Phoenix at 11.59pm on the same day that I was meant to arrive, but about 7 hours late.
A 6 hour stopover in Hawaii? After having spent all day in Melbourne airport I was not to keen about spending another 6 hours in another
airport. So my mind started ticking over. I called Margot and Miriam to tell them what I was doing.

What could I do with 6 hours in Hawaii? Would it be enough time to drive to the North Shore of Oahu and back? Margot thought it would be, the lady in the tourist information booth thought it would be. The only thing that I had to figure out was how to do it.

After a brief deliberation with a Speedy Shuttle tour guide (at Honolulu Airport) I decided to rent a car and drive myself to the North Shore and back.  I had the opportunity to see the most famous surf breaks in the world and the Temple in Laiae. And hopefully I would make it back in time to catch my flight!

So off I went in a Budget rental car to the North Shore of Oahu. Getting used to driving on the right hand side of the road and getting lead into a military base by the GPS thingy was a bit tricky but after a while was off on my way.

Haliewa seems to be the main surf town on the North Shore. Driving down the hill overlooking the town I could see waves going off everywhere. The lady back in the
airport told me the swell was up and the dawn patrol would be out. She was right.

Driving through the pineapple fields through the middle of Hawaii, I eventually came to the crest of the hill and suddenly saw peaks breaking everywhere. First stop was Haliewa Beach Park. Some nice easy waves on a reef with  quite a few people out there, and a few paddling on SUPS in shore. Out with the GPS, punch in Banzai Beach Park and its off to the Pipeline.  There was a beach along the way that was supposed to have sea turtles. Didn't see any turtles but I did see some guys riding the biggest waves I have ever seen.
The crowd at Pipeline

Next stop was the Pipe. A mass of guys in the lineup that looked like a
mass of flotsam and jetsam. I had a chat to a local guy on the beach who pointed out where all the different breaks were. It was awesome to watch. Too many guys out there on body boards though!
Awesome wave at the Pipe!

There was a  guy who had just gotten out of the water with a big purple Dick Brewer gun so I went and chatted to and took a picture of.
Sunset Beach
As awesome as the Pipe was it was nothing for me compared with seeing Sunset. Sunset was always one of my favourite breaks to watch in all the surf movies over the years. It was quiet a feeling to be there.

Oh yeah, before Sunset I stopped in at Waimea Bay. Not many waves there as the swell was not a big enough.
Waimea Bay

Back in the GPS type in T E M P L E and off  i went!
Laeie is different from the rest of  North Shore. Cleaner,  tidier, you could tell it had a strong religious influence, and not just LDS, as there seemed to be lots of other churches there too. I just had a few minutes to get the picture out the front of the Temple, then I had to hotfoot it back to the airport.

The drive down the east coast of Oahu is just spectacular. It was marred by heavy traffic the closer I got back to Honolulu. Made it back to the airport in time but not with a lot of time to spare. Back in the plane and off the San Francisco. But it was not a bad stopover! My trip was off to a good start!

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