Wrapping Up 2011: More Notes From Hawaiian Cruise


Port of Honolulu

Before I begin to add posts for the new year I thought I would share a few more highlights from the Hawaiian Cruise my sister-in-law and I took in November. I already talked about our bus tour with Leroy J. on the big island of Hawaii, so now am moving on to our visit to Oahu and the port of Honolulu.

We docked in Honolulu around seven-thirty in the morning; Faye and I had a leisurely breakfast in Horizon Court and watched the comings-and-goings of the passengers leaving the ship for their early morning tours and sightseeing expeditions. Our scheduled tour aboard a submarine was only due to queue up late morning so we didn’t have to rush.

Finally it was time to leave the ship to find the lineup for our tour…and a little while later we boarded our bus, drove through Honolulu and stopped at Waikiki Beach. On this trip there was no Leroy J. in command; instead the bus was driven by a friendly looking gentleman who didn’t display the same gift of gab as Leroy…but he did get us to the drop-off point safe and sound and was waiting for us when we disembarked (is that the right word for climbing out of a submarine?) and arrived back at the bus with wind-blown hair and sand between our toes.

Me on the beach at Waikiki

Waikiki Beach is as gorgeous in real-life as it is in the pictures I’ve seen. The sand is warm, the breeze is refreshing and the water shimmers in the sunlight. I could have easily plunked my behind down on that beach for awhile if I had brought a bathing suit with me and if I didn’t have a paid prior commitment to descend one hundred and ten feet below the water’s surface in a tin can full of sweating glowing tourists…but I digress…

We walked along a path at the beach until we reached a partially shaded dock. There we waited for our boat tender to pick us up and transport us to the open water where the submarine was hiding cruising under the waves with its belly full of rubbernecks.

The sun’s rays were strong and our pale Caucasian body casings were not, so Faye and I found seats on the dock and  applied more sunblock to our pasty white skin even though we were already covered in so much lotion that we kept sliding out of our chairs. I felt like a sausage being deep-fried in grease.

Our Submarine

Soon it was our turn to board a boat and head to the approximate spot where it would meet the sub. The tourist subs don’t have periscopes to see what is above and around them so they release bubbles to the surface and once the boat crew spots the bubbles they advise the sub captain if it is safe to surface or if there are ships or perhaps sharks too close. (I added the part about the sharks but if I was the captain of a submarine I would want to know if there were sharks around me before I surfaced from my tin can.)

No ships or sharks were close to the submarine this day so everything was good to go. We watched the sub rise out of the water and waited as its load of passengers climbed onto our boat for their return trip to land. Then everyone with red tickets (including us), climbed aboard the sub. I have unpredictable knees that tend to give way without a moment’s notice but I was able to descend the ladder to the submarine’s cabin without any difficulty and I breathed a sigh of relief when I stood on two feet again at the bottom.

The tour operators knew exactly how many bodies they could squeeze comfortably fit into their vessel in the molded seats that look like rows of bums strung together, but I think they forgot to take into account that bodies (including mine) don’t come in one standard size. Hips and bums can range from tiny ‘I-only-need-a-quarter-of-my-seat allotment’ all the way to ‘I-may-as-well-go-straight-back-up-that-ladder-right-now-and-I-want-my-money-refunded’! But the submarine’s crew just kept saying, “One seat each, folks…one seat each. There’s room for everyone if you only take one seat each.”

Picture Courtesy of Faye Hicks

No way was this going to happen…we ended up jammed together like lovers parked at Lookout Point and there wasn’t enough room between us to even take a deep breath. Not fun, but at least the submarine was air-conditioned, so the crowd finally stopped suggesting mutiny complaining and began to look out the portholes as we descended deep into the water.

We watched fish swim right up to the windows and stare in at us while we stared back, and we maneuvered around sunken ships and planes that had been strategically placed in the ocean to form artificial reefs which became home to sea turtles and various other marine life.  Overall, we had a pleasant tour and I am glad that I paid my money to go. I wouldn’t necessarily do it again, but I’m that way with many new adventures that I try out. Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt.

Diamond Head

When the submarine finally rose to the surface we climbed back up the ladder and onto the boat that transported us back to the dock on the beach of Waikiki. Once again we had the sun on our skin, the wind in our hair and the breathtaking view of the island of Oahu ahead of us.  Paradise indeed. When we docked Faye and I knew we had to at least put our feet and ankles into the water that was beckoning us, so we did. It was surprisingly cool, or perhaps it felt cool because we were so hot…but it was lovely and if we had more time we would have gone for a walk along the beach, perhaps saunter over toward the famous Diamond Head that we could see from the beach.

But time was limited for us that afternoon so we boarded the bus and returned to the ship. I was certain I could hear a cold drink calling my name…

Next stop on our cruise tour: snorkeling on the island of Kauai. Stay tuned.

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13 thoughts on “Wrapping Up 2011: More Notes From Hawaiian Cruise

  1. Sounds great, except for being squished together. Was there a narrator during the tour or did you just look through the portholes?

  2. I live a mile from the beach (in Maine) ~ it doesn’t look anything like the white sand and blue sky on Waikiki Beach! I am so enjoying a trip to Hawaii via your travelogue… and winter is the best time to go. Thank you Sylvia!

    1. Carol–I know what you mean…I’m not too far from the ocean here in Atlantic Canada, either, but it looks nothing like the beaches in Hawaii! Wish I was there again right now. Thanks for reading my blog; I always look forward to your thoughtful comments.

    1. Hi, Old Girl New Tricks–yes, as the snow just began falling again here I am realizing how much I truly dislike winter days now…there is something to be said for warm weather and sunny skies. I may have to look through all my travel pictures again today to handle the next few months of cold. Although I guess there is something to be said for curling up in front of a warm fire with a good book on my lap…hmmm…so many choices…

    1. Hi Linda–it didn’t really feel closed it except for all the very-close bodies beside me…but you’re right, the beach is calling my name today as I look out my window at the snow covering the ground and my car…

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