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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.