Thursday 9 January 2014

Oahu's Infinite Possibilities

Coincidence - (noun) a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent casual connection. Are the events of our lives ultimately objective or subjective? Is there a deeper order or an overarching purpose to the universe? Or are we the lucky accidents of evolution, living our precious brief lives in a fundamentally random world that has only the meaning we choose to give it? Whether coincidences are meaningful is a mystery. But one thing is certain about them, their phenomenon to fascinate believers like myself.

Greg and I planned our trip back to Hawaii as soon as we returned this past April. We fell in love with Maui last year and planned to move back after a two week vacay in Oahu. We weren't certain about the date of our arrival but we knew it would be some time during the holidays. We booked our flight for December 5, it was affordable and gave us enough time to organize our lives in San Diego while providing enough time to explore the islands! Just so happens, the EXACT day we fly into Honolulu, Greg's old neighborhood buddy he grew up with was flying in with his family and staying for a week.  His oldest brother was running his 50th marathon in Honolulu to complete a marathon in all 50 states, so the family flew in to celebrate and stayed in a condo on the beach. Not only did we get to spend quality time with him and his family, they provided us with a place to stay, and we provided him and his brother with a car for adventures around Oahu! We had an absolute blast, made up for lost time, and we all got to see our first Oahu waterfall together! Coincidence? Synchronicity? I'd say it was a purposeful occurrence of two seemingly unrelated events!

Whether it was coincidence or not, Oahu provided us with an endless landscape of adventures. The must see Waikiki Beach is quite overwhelming compared to our small tourist town of Lahaina, but it's bursting with culture. It's not just a famous landmark, it's the vibrant epicenter of Hawaii! We walked the entire beach from one to end to the other then back down the flourishing strand of downtown Honolulu. We hiked to the top of Diamond Head crater, cliff jumped at Spitting Cave where we swam with an endangered monk seal, snorkeled Hanauma Bay, grubbed on some of the best fish tacos I've ever eaten and drank ourselves silly watching the Michigan State Spartans kill it!

A short drive takes us away from the kitschy tourist traps of Honolulu and into the mountains of Ko'olau or to the the laid-back beach town of North Shore. When paying a visit to Oahu's windward side, be sure to start early because the sunrise alone is worth the morning drive, and the earlier you go, the quicker you get to experience some of the most mouth watering fish tacos, shrimp plates or road side food truck grubs. Whether you've worked up an appetite after a 6 mile waterfall hike or are craving something small to refuel after a day of sun bathing, Oahu's windward side has it all!

And let's not forget a day of pro surf competitions and 10-12 foot waves on the infamous Banzai Pipeline! Once again, these things are never planned, they somehow always seem to fall in our lap. It JUST SO HAPPENED to be the Billabong Pipe Masters finals in North Shore with the best and most well known pro surfers from all over the world, the week we planned to be in Oahu. Coincidence? Maybe.

As we make our way towards the surfing capital of the world, the gradient two-lane road takes us through Oahu's last sugar plantation town, Hale'iwa. Charming wooden store fronts line the streets of this two block town, full of art, food, but mostly supporting the local surf life. Just down the road, you can hear the thunderous drumming of the Banzai Pipeline, home to the most famous surf breaks in the world. Enchanted by some otherworldly hippy and surfer deity, we find ourselves facing rows of what look like two story name brand surfer houses and brightly colored surf boards arranged like freshly painted canvases. This area of North Shore is home to the world's biggest surf companies and its surfers. From the street, the houses are hard to distinguish, cut off from the world by thick hedges and intimidating gates, but from the beach these houses share something special. 

It's just after noon, and an influx of cars are appearing from every direction. It's a good thing we got an 8:00am start! We left our car at a local park where we took a refreshing dip in the tide pools, then took a mile walk along a beautifully paved bike path to get to the competition. The faint murmur of shuffling feet grew in sounds, and the number of parking spots diminished. Our butts hit the sand front and center during the third round, right when God and Yadin Nicol granted us with a perfect 10! We got to witness Kelly Slater taking home his 7th win, local boy John John Florence come in a close second and tons of other local boys rip it! This perfect turquoise barrel is not just a wave, it's a lifestyle, as you can see here!

Already drunk off the satisfying sweet and salty air, we decided to pull into another beach for a quick cliff jump at Waimea Bay!

Island life is about living the dream, challenging yourself to do things you wouldn't normally do, meeting people who inspire you to be a better person and and making memories.

So you can either dream it...

Or you can live it...

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