I’m sadly as red as a lobster from sunbathing at Waimea Bay park after a day of swimming and snorkeling on the North Shore, brah. I was a total kook and didn’t use enough sunscreen. It’s not that bad but I haven’t had a burn in years, with my pasty computer geek complexion and the farmer’s tan I get in the convertible. The beaches are beautiful beyond belief, and we talked a bit with some board shapers and other denizens.
We started the cloudy day at Pali lookout, but the clouds kept us from getting a really good view of the area. This will give a hint of it. It was windy too, and we were concerned about our planned day at the beach. But once we picked up Courtney and headed north, the weather turned in our favor. We stopped briefly to take photos of the island known as Chinaman’s Hat, then headed up to the North Shore.
We drove all the way up to the little town of Haleiwa, where there’s a shop called Surf & Sea that rents snorkel gear. I grabbed a nice pair of cork flip-flops (slippers in Hawaiian parlance) because my sandals were getting full of sand. Before we left, we grabbed some shave ice from a local vendor, too. Shave ice is a lot like a sno-cone, but the flavor selection is a lot different here. I had lychee and li hing mui, which was very tasty. Li hing mui is “asian spice” and made from spicy dried plums.
The water was out at Shark’s Cove, so we settled on the milder waters of Waimea Bay. While I wear a sleep snorkel aka a CPAP, I’ve never snorkeled before. While this wasn’t an amazing coral reef, we saw a lot of fish on the rocks out there. In winter this is one of the most violent breaks, but it was extremely peaceful today. After struggling to get flippers on in the surf we paddled out over the rocks. If you’ve ever walked through a saltwater aquarium store, this was like swimming in one. I’ve definitely found a new hobby.
There were also dolphins at the beach, swimming across the current and feeding. We saw some big fish jumping as well, probably feeding in the dolphins’ wake. One jumped like a billfish, but it was too far out for me to get a good look. Here’s a video of a guy on a raft surrounded by feeding dolphins. That must have been something. The lifeguards asked him to paddle in, because you’re not supposed to disturb them.
After getting nice and burned on the sand, we drove back to Haleiwa to return our gear and grab a bite to eat. Courtney and a native gal at the shave ice stand had talked about a Mexican place called Cholo’s, so we ate there. It’s a Tex-Mex place with Hawaiian favor. This is the first time I’ve asked for fish tacos without it being a euphemism. They were ahi tuna and quite good. They had some Kona beer on tap- I had the Fire Rock Pale Ale- and a frozen ling hing mui margarita.
On the way home we drove through central Oahu through the pineapple plantations. Courtney is a great guide to the island, and we finally learned the answer to that old joke. It is pronounced Havaii.