Sunday, August 30, 2009

Kailua Beach - Oahu

No doubt, this was a highlight of my trip to Hawaii. Kailua Beach is one of Oahu's most beautiful beaches. There are a ton of recreational activities (surfing, kayaking, snorkeling, etc).

A nice change from Honolulu (about an hour drive) and you really feel like you’re in a tropical destination...or you can pretend you're on LOST...if that's your thing...
I know why Kailua Beach is often cited as Hawaii's best beach. It was ranked as the finest American beach in 1998 and then "retired" from subsequent consideration (most likely to protect it). It is a crescent-shaped, about 2 miles long and 50-150 feet wide. The ocean bottom fronting the beach slopes gently to overhead depths without any coral heads.
There are many day-trip tours you can take to Kailua from Waikiki, definitely make the time!

Huntington Dog Beach

Ahhh…it’s another hot (and smoky) day in LA. Contemplating taking Eli to dog beach…although it’s an hour drive for us…usually worth it.

For any dog owners in SoCal…I highly recommend checking out Huntington Dog Beach

Huntington Beach, CA, with a population of 200,000 is located 37 miles south of Los Angeles and 89 miles north of San Diego. Dog Beach is on Pacific Coast Highway between 21st St. and Seapoint St. in Huntington Beach and offers an amazing mile of beaches where dogs can run off-leash (cliffs also protect against dogs running up and out on PCH – this is a huge plus!)

I wish LA County beaches allowed dogs…I know a small part of Malibu does…but LA really needs an official dog beach like Huntington!
Here are some photos from past beach trips…

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Runyan Canyon

This is a GREAT hike in Hollywood, CA that allows dogs off-leash. I take Eli a few times a week, gives us both a great workout.

Runyon Canyon Park is actually a 130 acre – just two blocks from Hollywood Blvd at Vista with another entrance north on Mulholland Drive. Official entrances are on Fuller, Vista St, and off Mulholland.

The park has a major loop as well as more demanding trails up to some great viewpoints where you can see the Hollywood sign and the entire city of LA (on a clear day)

The best part is the off-leash dog rule (in my opinion)…

Byodo-In -- Hawaii

A cool stop towards the end of our tour in Hawaii...

This beautiful Buddhist temple is a replica of the 900-year-old Byodo-In located in Uji, Japan. It is located in one of the most peaceful locations in O'ahu - the Valley of the Temples. The valley is situated against a back-drop of tall cliffs and is landscaped with traditional lush Japanese gardens and koi ponds. Inside the Byodo-In Temple is a nine-foot Lotus Buddha. Outside is a three-ton, brass Peace Bell.
Inside the Byodo-In Temple is a nine-foot Lotus Buddha. It is the largest wooden Buddha carved in over 900 years and is covered in gold and lacquer. Beside the temple is a 5-foot, three-ton brass Peace Bell. The deep tone of the bell sounds a message of calm and peace.

Behind and to the left of the Temple is the Meditation House, a place for private thought and inner peace. Situated against a backdrop of mountains, the Temple is landscaped with traditional Japanese gardens and a 2-acre koi pond.

Oahu Grand Circle Island

If your on Oahu for a short amount of time, or a long amount of time and you wanna get the lay of the land, I highley reccomend this day rocked.

120 Miles Of Oahu's Most Famous Sights

This tour is ideal for first-time visitors, but regulars love it, too. On your journey you will see “the best of the best” of Oahu. From the lush, green mountains to the clear blue waters, across the pineapple fields, and beyond. There’s no better way to experience the diversity of this beautiful island. The sights are accompanied by live narration from our friendly tour guides, so you’ll get interesting cultural and historical information along the way. (And don’t be surprised if you find yourself laughing and singing songs. This tour is anything but boring.)

You’ll go to the 1,186-foot Pali Lookout, where King Kamehameha the Great fought his last battle, for a view that will blow you away. Or it may feel like it anyway, with robust winds that often sweep through the mountain pass, so hold on to your hat. World-famous North Shore surfing beaches are also on the tour, along with breathtaking Waimea Bay where giant waves break right on the shore, leaving behind their salty mist.

You’ll also catch sight of Aloha Tower, which you may recall from the TV show “Hawaii Five-O,” and the familiar profile of the 750-foot Diamond Head volcano that has become a symbol for Hawaii throughout the years. This Oahu tour is grand indeed, and will not disappoint.

Pali Lookout

This was very cool...and very windy...but the view was well worth it.

The Nuuanu Pali Lookout ("Cool Height Cliff")overlooking the 985 foot cliffs of the Koolau Mountain Range, is one of the best views on O'ahu. It was here in 1795 that King Kamehameha and his warriors defeated the O'ahu armies by sending them over these steep, forested cliffs and claiming his victory and uniting the Hawaiian Islands. The breathtaking sight and the gruesome history of the battle fought here is enough to cause a chill to run up your spine.

Hanauma Bay - Hawaii

Ahhh, Hanauma bummed I didn't get to snorkel (it was closed the day I tried to come) time.

This "Curved" bay was declared a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park in 1967. This is the very best beach area if you are new to Scuba diving or snorkeling with a diversified population of fish and a rich coral reef. The bay floor is the crater of a volcano that opened up to the ocean when the exterior wall collapsed.

There is a large sandy beach perfect for sunbathing and there are several hiking trails leading to breathtaking lookouts.
The bay provides some protection from large ocean waves and allows swimmers a terrific opportunity to view the reef life in a safer, protected environment.

Helemano Plantation

A cool stop on the "Grand Circle Island Tour" was the Helemano Plantation, founded by Mrs. Susanna F. Cheung, provides a "real world" work environment for the developmentally disabled. Helemano Plantation offers training and employment opportunities in its work centers. You will be able to visit the Country Inn Restaurant, Gateway to Asia, Gift Shop, Bake Shop, Farm, and Garden.

They offer a great buffet lunch and great hospitality. I highley reccomend.

Waimea Bay - Hawaii

Amazing place...although I didn't get to see much...oh well, next time.

Waimea Bay is located in Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands at the mouth of the Waimea River. Waimea Valley extends behind Waimea Bay. Waimea means "Red Water" in Hawaiian.

Captain Clerke aboard HMS Resolution stopped at Waimea Bay on 28 February 1779. Clerke had shortly before taken command of the ship after Capt. James Cook was killed at Kealakekua Bay on 14 February. Waimea Bay was the only O‘ahu anchorage visited by the expedition. Waimea Valley was densely populated at the time, and the remains of a Pu‘u o Mahuka, an important heiau (Hawaiian temple) can still be seen above the bay. Pu‘u o Mahuka can be visited by driving up Pupukea Road and taking the first right through the cattle guard. A short hike down the hill brings you to a spectacular view Waimea Bay and the North Shore towards the Wai‘anae Mountain range.
In winter, Waimea and other North Shore locations such as Pipeline and Sunset Beach host a number of surfing contests because of the large waves found here. These waves are created by winter storms in the North Pacific, and their arrival on O‘ahu's North Shore are typically forecast accurately several days in advance. In summer, Waimea typically has clear and calm water.

The surf break at Waimea Bay was significant in the development of Big wave surfing. Larger surf at the bay went unridden for years until November 7, 1957 when a handful of surfers finally paddled out and rode the giant waves that break off the northern point of the bay. While the surf only breaks big several times a year, Waimea was the most prestigious big wave surf break in the world for decades. With the advent of tow-in surfing, more and more big wave breaks have been discovered that are far superior in quality than Waimea. However, the bay still holds a significant place even in today's world of big wave surfing.

The well known Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational in Memory of Eddie Aikau takes place in this point to honour the legendary surfer and the first lifeguard of the North Shore of Oahu. Since its inception in 1984, the tournament has only been held seven times, due to a precondition that there be waves at least 20 feet high at Waimea Bay. The most recent tournament was in December 2004, when waves in the bay reached 30 to 50 feet high.

In Summer, Waimea Bay is a playground of fun for freedivers, S.C.U.B.A. divers, and those who desire to jump off "da Big Rock" or "Jump Rock" - a rock that is perfectly positioned in the bay (for use at your own risk!). You can also find rock climbers practicing their skills on the cliff and in the dry cave on the beach. The Bay- as well as Three Tables, Pupukea, & Shark's Cove- are protected waters. The diversity of life in these waters is astounding.

There are other locations named Waimea in the Hawaiian islands. Waimea, Kauai & Waimea, Hawaii (Big Island)

Waimea Bay is one of the filming locations used for the television series Lost, which is an American drama-adventure television series surrounding the survivors of a plane crash on a mysterious tropical island. (The location of the downed plane - not there anymore - is Mokuleia at the end of Dillingham airstrip almost to road's end at Ka Ena Point.)

Diamond Head - Island of Oahu

Well worth the hike...amazing views of Honolulu.

The most famous volcanic crater in the world is Diamond Head, located on the South-east Coast of O'ahu at the end of Waikiki overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was originally named Laeahi by the ancient Hawaiians. The name meant "brow of the tuna" and looking at the silhouette of the crater from Waikiki, you can see the resemblance. The current name came was given to the crater by British sailors in the 1800's.

When they first saw the crater at a great distance, the calcite crystals in the lava rock appeared to glimmer in the sunlight. The sailors mistakenly thought there must be diamonds in the soil. Diamond Head is a crater that has been extinct for 150,000 years. The crater is 3,520 feet in diameter with a 760-foot summit. When the United States annexed Hawaii in 1898, harbor defense became a main responsibility. One of the major defense forts, Fort Ruger, occupied the Diamond Head Crater. A battery of canons was located within the crater providing complete concealment and protection from invading enemies. An observation deck was constructed at the summit in 1910 to provide target sighting and a four level underground complex was built within the walls of the crater as a command post. A 580-foot tunnel was dug through the crater wall to provide easier access to the Fort.

The observation deck and underground complex is now abandoned with the advent of radar but evidence of the command post is still present along Diamond Head Trail. The trail is paved almost the entire way but can be steep in spots.

There are two sets of stairs, one with 99 steps and the other, 76 steps. There is also a 225-foot unlit tunnel. The hike is classified as easy to moderate in exertion but is certainly worth the breathtaking, unparalleled view of the entire west side of the island, from Waikiki to Koki Head.

Useful Information:
• Diamond Head Trail is 1 ¾ miles to the rim and takes about 1 ½ hours
• There is NO shade schedule an early hike
• Bring water
• Bathrooms available at the trailhead