Oliver Wolfe. All rights reserved.
Hawai’i may be one of the nifty fifty, but the island state felt almost like a different country several times during our four-day stop. Semester at Sea’s first two ports were Hilo and Honolulu, Hawai’i. Many of the images speak for themselves, but I will do my best to add informative captions. We crossed the International Dateline yesterday, so we lose a day…Tuesday’s Gone seems a fitting song to play on my computer right now. As always, e-mail me with any questions or requests at firstname.lastname@example.org!
-Oliver, Wednesday, February 3rd, Ship Time 11:00 (EST -7 Hours)
Hilo did not have very much to do outside of sightseeing. We spent the first day at Richardson beach, a black sand “beach” that ended up being more a giant lava rock than beach. The most important difference to notice between the two is that one is soft and can be turned into fun objects like castles, while the other is SHARP AND CUTS YOUR FEET.
The lifeguard warned us against getting in the water on the other side of the rocks, so any swimming was done inside a little natural barrier.
Sarah, Linzi, Jenny and Casey do their best Free Willie impersonations. I think?
“Do you know Matt Russell” asked Alex. I told her I’d heard of him. And that he was my first friend at Vanderbilt. “I had a locker next to him at Lake Forest for EVER!” Semester at Sea, I’ve told some friends, is a small world where everyone knows each other. I then point out that, in addition, the world is a little less remarkable when you think of the small number of people who can actually pay for this adventure.
Once the college kids vacated the premises, the fishermen moved in. The ground might have hurt, but I never complained about the beauty of the place.
Sarah, Jenny and I woke up early the second day to visit Akaka falls. Uncle Jessie gave us the cheapest price there and back…check out my previous blog post for more on the man in the rearview.
Akaka falls was my first attempt at anything other than photojournalism in the past several years. Hawai’I has some odd-looking plants.
I need to get a macro lens, as I’ve decided the only way I’d like to take pictures of plants is if I can get close enough to make them stop looking like plants.
Akaka falls is one of the largest waterfalls in all the Hawai’ian islands. It was worth the trip.
After Akaka falls, we picked up a few more travelers and headed to downtown Hilo. More of a street, Hilo has a very local vibe to it. Here, Sarah and Jenny found a pineapple stand and asked one of the nice Japanese ladies behind the counter to cut it up for them. The downside: she rinsed the pineapple in lavender water after cutting it, so every so often a bite of pineapple would grant a bonus of straight lavender.
A member of the surgeonfish family, this fish was the coolest one in a little aquarium in Hilo’s downtown. Run by a branch of NOAA, the aquarium center’s purpose was to inform people about the eight or so additional Hawai’ian islands that require permits to visit as they are all natural sanctuaries.
After a brief overnight on the MV Explorer, we woke up early the next day in Honolulu where Sarah and I joined around 60 other SAS’ers on a trip to Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately the whole place was under construction, so there wasn’t really much to see outside the Arizona memorial.
The memorial, though, was stunning. History can be dates and numbers, but to me it is an attempt to remember how people not unlike us lived any number of years ago. History is the attempt to humanize the past. The Arizona memorial sits on top of the actual vessel, where over 100 seamen remain entombed.
The memorial does great justice to the men lost in the attack. Those trapped underwater sent out SOS Morse code from early December until Christmas Eve, when they were never heard from again.
The view through an attack periscope at one of the side displays at Pearl Harbor.
Back in Honolulu, a few of us took a Catamaran out on the ocean to watch the sunset and enjoy the latter half of the day. It was a welcome reprieve from the dark place I was in after Pearl Harbor.
Kelly is a good friend of mine and is also a great photo subject.
The second day on Oahu called for a road trip. Sarah, Jenny, my roommate Kyle and I rented a Jeep Wrangler and took it around the island. Our first stop, Hanauma Bay, is an old volcano crater that opened up to the sea. The coral reef is one of the best snorkeling and diving locations in Hawai’i.
Kyle, out of Southern California, is ready for some damn snorkeling.
We had to pay $7.50 to get into this protected place, but still enough trash sat outside of trash bins that the rats of the sky decided to hang around.
The weather took a turn for the worst on the East Coast in the bay, and we decided to pack it in and move on before the downpour really started. The windward side of the islands always gets a heavy dose of rain, while the leeward rarely gets any.
I don’t have any pictures of the leeward side, but we ended up over there after another couple hours outrunning a storm. The leeward side was hot, dry, and at some points beautiful. Still, nothing compared to the drive to the northern side of the island, where beautiful mountains and colorful plains abounded.
Our last stop was at the Pipeline surf tournament. The tournament allows several days, so the judges can pick the best surf possible. We were there for around twenty minutes but still had the chance to see some enormous waves.
Northern Oahu reminds me of a more ramshackle southern California: surfer dudes, dreadlocks, and rusted metal everywhere.
I had to pull over the car at this spot as we drove past.
Keep checking out the blog, I’ve been taking a ton of pictures, and will have one or two more posts up before we get to Japan on February 9th.