Trip Report so far:
Part 1: Getting There
Part 2: Hiking Diamond Head Crater
Part 3: First Day at Aulani
Part 4: Tuesday in Hawaii (Girls Version)
Part 5: Tuesday in Hawaii (Boys Version)
Part 6: Dole Plantation and the North Shore
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Wednesday was a great day full of small surprises. We had planned to visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation and maybe the North Shore if we felt like it before returning to Aulani in the afternoon.
Prior to our trip, I had researched a lot of things to do on Oahu and narrowed our list down to 4 things I absolutely wanted to see/do on our trip that were unique to the island: Diamond Head, Dole Plantation, whale watching trip and Kualoa Ranch. I didn't want to plan too many trips in different places around the island because I didn't want us to be stuck in traffic all day and not be able to fully enjoy Aulani. On the other hand, I also didn't want us to spend the entire week at Aulani and miss out on some great sights in Hawaii. So we tried to strike a balance between the two.
We slept in until 5:30 a.m. Woohoo! We got our breakfast around 6 a.m. and then waited for the sun to come out. We decided to go for a walk on the beach before heading to the Dole Plantation.
We went past the pools and to the Aulani beach and turned right. We heard that turtles sometimes appeared in a nearby cove. On our way there, my son found this huge acorn or nut:
We walked on a paved sidewalk until it ended, and then we walked on a
sandy path to the next cove. Instead of seeing a turtle, we saw a
Hawaiian monk seal! A volunteer had blocked off part of the beach to
protect the seal. This animal is an endangered species, and there are
only about 1000 of them left. Oahu only has 40 monk seals. This one was a
pregnant female just taking a little nap on the beach. We talked to the
first volunteer for a while, and then another volunteer came to take
over a shift. The second volunteer told us that he had lived on Oahu for
3 years before he saw one of these seals.
After we got off the train, we stopped for some photos:
Since the North Shore was only about 15 minutes up the road from the Dole Plantation, we decided to go there and check it out. I sort-of wanted to see it, but it wasn't on the top on my list. We had packed lunches but planned to supplement with some food from a shrimp truck.
I hadn't done a lot of research on where to go, so I think we got lucky when we ended up in the right place. We saw this cluster of food trucks and found some parking. We saw this fish taco truck and got some to split. It said it had "Hawaii's best fish tacos", but I was skeptical.
Before we arrived at the food trucks, I thought I saw a sign for Matsumoto's shaved ice. That place is supposedly the best shaved ice on the island and is very popular. We had no plans to seek it out, but since we were right there, we decided to try it. It wasn't labeled very well, but it had a large parking lot in back.
On the way back to Aulani, 2 of our 3 kids fell asleep. They needed it! Too bad the ride was short.
At 5:00 p.m., we dropped the kids off at Aunty's Beach House for a premium event called Surf's Up with Chip and Dale. This was another one of our splurges on this vacation. It cost an extra $79 per kid, but it was a 3-hour program that included private time with Chip and Dale.
After we dropped them off, Brian and I walked across and down the street to Roy's restaurant inside the Ko Olina Golf Club. Roy's has 6 restaurants on the Hawaiian islands as well as a location in Tokyo, Japan and even Plano, Texas! (and probably other locations). I ate at Roy's a few times while I was on a business trip in Tokyo and it was SO GOOD! But I read reviews that the location in Plano is not as good as the ones in Hawaii or Tokyo, so we have never gone at home. But tonight was another date night, and we decided to give Roy's a try. Would it be as good as I remembered it from Tokyo?
We were offered outside seating and had a pretty view of the golf course:
After dinner, Brian and I walked to another nearby beach to see if we could find any more turtles. We didn't, but we needed to walk off our dinner anyway.
The staff at Aunty's told us to come watch our kids through a window 10 minutes prior to the end of the program because they would be having a dance party. I figured that one of my kids (Joshua, age 7) would be dancing, but my youngest is usually too shy to participate and my 10-year-old usually thinks he's too cool to dance. Much to our surprise, when we looked through the window, all 3 of our kids were dancing the night away!
As part of the program, the kids decorated these surf boards: (14 1/2 inches long, 3/4 inch thick)
And they each got a nylon backpack from the event:
What a great day this was for everyone.
Up next: Out to sea