My brother and his wife were the first guests in our beach house and flew all the way from Pennsylvania to be here. Cameron last saw her aunt and uncle almost a year ago when we visited my family in PA. She had such a good time with them all week and it was an incredible opportunity for her to get to know them (and them to get to know her)!
We have been living in this house for two months now but I have never gotten in the water yet. To be honest, I'm really not a water person - I'd much rather look at it from land than be in it. I've been building up the courage to go snorkeling but didn't want to do it alone. Luckily, my brother was excited to join me and his wife was more than happy to relax with Cameron on the beach.
We were thrilled to discover that the best snorkeling in the immediate area was directly in front of our house! The coral isn't very colorful but we did see a lot of colorful fish. We also saw many giant Green Sea Turtles and swam right alongside them. It was the most amazing and tranquil experience! I took photos and video with my waterproof Olympus Tough TG-2 camera. My next blog post will be all about swimming with the turtles to showcase the photos and video that I took.
We took a family hike to Kaena Point, which is the westernmost point of Oahu. This is a five mile round-trip hike on a dirt road along the coast. Many people try to travel this road with their four-wheel-drive vehicles but it is rough, muddy, and can be dangerous. At the end is a fenced bird sanctuary that you can walk through to get to the point (no dogs allowed). We saw a lot of whales and the scenery was gorgeous!
We took a trip to Waimea Valley which is on the North Shore across from Waimea Bay. This is a scenic area with a gift shop, cultural events, and a farmer's market held every Thursday. For a fee, you can hike the 1.5 mile round-trip paved walking path to Waimea Falls. It is a beautiful walk through lush botanical gardens to the waterfall at the end. Swimming is allowed with a lifejacket (provided for free) and there are life guards on duty. My brother and his wife jumped in and swam to the falls. Johnnie and I will do it next time :)
We live on a beach but it's still nice to go to other beaches from time to time for a different view, different sand, and different weather. My brother and his wife had a couple beach days to themselves, going to Waimea Bay and to Magic Island, and we took one family trip to Bellows AFB Beach. Bellows has the most gorgeous turquoise water, beautiful scenery, and the softest baby powder sand. Cameron had a blast playing in the sand and knocking down the sand castles.
On our last day together we took them on a tour of Ford Island to see the Pearl Harbor memorials (USS Utah, USS Oklahoma, USS Missouri, and USS Arizona) and then drove through Hickam AFB to have an oceanside dinner with a view of Diamond Head. It was a lovely day that ended with a sad good-bye at the airport. We are thankful that they were able to make the trip to visit us while we are stationed here.
We had such a fantastic week with them and wish they could've stayed longer! We have plenty of photos to help Cameron remember this time with them.
"'Ohana means family - no one gets left behind, and no one is ever forgotten."
~Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, Lilo & Stitch