We decided a 5k was an excellent way to spend a Sunday morning in Kona. Of course, we failed to notice the 6:50 am start time. On the bright side, we beat the heat by running early.
The run went along a road in town with views of the ocean and multi-million dollar homes. Thankfully, the hills were gentle and rolling; more like ocean swells than hills, really.
For my part, I was just happy to finish. I have only been training for two weeks, so I'm not at my optimum. I did run the whole race, and I finished right in the middle of all the women at just a smidge over 40 minutes.
Matt had a great outing! He finished 7th overall and 2nd in his age category, which netted him a gorgeous plaque.
Good race and fun times. Can't wait to keep training and improve my times.
On our last full day on Oahu, we headed to Kailua to go kayaking. Our rental had been canceled a previous day due to high wind. Wednesday was better but still fairly windy.
I am no stranger to kayaking, but this was my first time in a sit-on-top kayak. The only positive comment I can make is that it is easy to get out when you tip over. We thankfully didn't capsize out in the big waves; our mishaps came when launching and landing in large waves.
Despite the swells, we still had fun. We saw several green sea turtles and stopped over on a neat island with mating/nesting shearwaters (video on YouTube - I will embed later). I'll just make sure the water is calmer next time we head out.
Tonight, I am filled with awe. Our evening activity was so amazing that I have to share right now. We snorkeled with manta rays!
I almost have no words. This was mesmerizing, beautiful, and inspiring. It might even be better than my wedding (shhh, don't tell Matt). I feel fortunate to have witnessed this event.
I can't code from my phone, so please cut and paste the URL if you want to see my video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3B-UwHTAiek&sns=em
I'll fix this when I can embed (also, keep checking new videos in YouTube on my account - I will upload what I can while we have wifi.
Enjoy the pics too. None of them do the experience justice. You have to try this. HUGE shout out to Jake's Dive Locker for our amazing trip. We did an afternoon snorkel, snacks, and this night trip. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Also kudos to Mighty Girl (who also has an excellent video on her blog) for the last nudge I needed to do this.
On Tuesday, we visited the WWII Valor of the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor. We started at the USS Missouri, which actually marked the end of the war. The surrender documents were signed on the deck of this battleship. Interestingly, this ship was mostly being built during the war. It was the last battleship ever built by the US; after, we moved into the age of aircraft carriers.
The Missouri saw duty in WWII, Korea, and Desert Storm before being decommissioned and brought to Pearl Harbor to create a full circle tour of the war.
Next, we visited the Arizona Memorial, which marks the start of the war. The memorial is well-designed and a fitting tribute.
Finally, we ended our day on the Bowfin, a submarine that saw significant use and really represented the middle of the war. This was our favorite of the tours. The sub is compact, and it is intriguing to see how much they fit in such small quarters. Most interesting fact: when launching a torpedo, the inner hatch is sealed. Then, the chamber is flooded with water to equalize pressure before ultimately launching the torpedo. Sensible and something I had never thought of before.
We spent the whole day exploring the memorial. Thank you to those who fought and sacrificed for our nation.
Time to catch up. We are having a good and busy time, so I have been slacking on posting. Monday, while exploring the North Shore, we couldn't resist snorkeling in Shark's Cove. The water was nice and deep, which made it a tiny bit harder to see but much easier to navigate reefs. We really enjoyed our time there.
Just to the north is Old Quarry, and we wish we had spent more time there. We found it when we walked over to shower and change. Old Quarry is a protected tide pool area. The tide was up, so not a lot to see without some wading, and we could have used our snorkel masks. Note for next time!
Enjoy the pics. See if you can spot the fish and the sea cucumber in the last pic.
Fair disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Orphanmaster from Penguin in exchange for my review. All opinions below are completely my own.
I finished this book en route to Hawaii, and I can wholeheartedly endorse the book as a gripping plane read. Upon boarding in Minnesota, I had over 200 pages left. I finished the book before we landed in Portland. Truth be told, I kind of wish I had it here, as The Orphanmaster would be a good beach read despite mostly taking place in winter. The end was a total page-turner (see pic, which my husband snapped at a tense point in the plot).
Two pieces of advice for reading this book: don't read the dust jacket description, and don't give up if you find the first 150 pages a little too much backstory. When I was first asked to read The Orphanmaster, I thought the book description was beyond hokey. I won't even mention it here. Just know that this is essentially a mystery novel set in 1600s New York, when the town was small, Dutch, and still called Niewe Amsterdam. And it does take a bit of reading to get the hang of all the various threads of the plot. It is all worth it.
I studied abroad in the Netherlands, so I have a love of all things Dutch. This book definitely came through on that front, with mentions of the groot kamer (great room) and some yummy Dutch treats. The novel was also nicely grounded in history; the author even references her sources at the end of the story.
If you enjoy historical fiction, mysteries, or love stories, you will find this a satisfying book. Wait, I didn't mention the love story in my review? That was a tertiary part of the plot for me (I found the historical details more intriguing), but love is definitely afoot in The Orphanmaster.
I even loaned the book to my mom to read. This can be considered a hearty endorsement of an enjoyable read.
Now, for the most exciting part. Penguin has gifted me a second copy to give away! To enter, leave a comment below suggesting a summer read you love (or, alternately, sharing your love of Dutch culture). I will make my husband randomly pick a comment to receive this book. Comments must be made by June 26th, 2012, and you must leave an email address where I can reach you (the email can just go in the email line below - just make sure it is good for contacting you).
Also reviewing today are three blog friends. Go check out their reviews, and enter on their blogs for another chance to win a copy of The Orphanmaster. I really recommend reading their posts, as they touched on other sides of the story that I didn't get around to mentioning.
First of all, it is funny to us to think of Hawaii's North Shore, as we love our jaunts to the North Shore of Lake Superior. In regards to food, both places are fabulous.
For lunch, we visited Furi's shrimp "truck" (now a small building). They grow the shrimp in ponds behind the truck. We had garlic shrimp and spicy shrimp. Yum!
We snorkeled in the afternoon, then we headed to Hale'iwa to wander. Shave ice (like snocones, but tropical flavors) hit the post-snorkel spot. We went to Aoki's, which has great reviews and a much shorter line than Matsumotos. I had passion fruit, green tea, and li hing mui (a sweet/salty plum) flavors with some condensed milk added for good measure. Matt got the special. Both were super yummy.
We headed back to Waikiki for dinner at an authentic Hawaiian dive called Onos (means "delicious"). Our favorite dish was laulau, which is pulled pork wrapped in taro leaves. It was moist and succulent, and the taro leaves are like less bitter collard greens.
Oh, and how can I forget breakfast? We picked up masaladas from Leonard's, a famous Waikiki bakery. They are puffy fried pastries that can be filled. We had some filled (coconut, guava) and some not (dusted in cinnamon or lihi powder). All were good, but we prefer the non-filled options.
It is a good thing we're staying active, as the food here is amazing.
For the afternoon, we headed out on a hike up to Manoa Falls, which is a little north of Waikiki. We wove through back streets and past lots of houses before reaching this beautiful hike. It took maybe 15 minutes to drive there from Waikiki. The closeness of things here amazes me.
While the falls are a bit anticlimactic, the hike itself does not disappoint. We are glad we had out hiking shoes in the car, as the path was muddy, steep, and sometimes slippery. As you can see, however, the views are great. Banyan trees, lots of flowers, little birds, and a bamboo forest are all part of the experience.