Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oahu - Day 3

Wednesday was a nice, chill day. The cadets and other wives would be flying in that evening, so we decided to make it a time-filler day (since we only had one bought-and-paid-for scheduled activity).

If you ever go to Oahu, you HAVE to hit the flea market and Aloha Stadium. The market is open on Wednesdays and the weekends, but the weekends get kinda crowded so this was a perfect day for us to check it off our list! Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the market. It is a bustling, busy swap meet that wraps around the outside of the entire football stadium. They have everything there. There's food, fresh produce, clothes, jewelry, souvenirs of every kind, and specialty shops/items. This is the BEST place to get all of your souvenirs for two reasons: (1)pretty much anything you can get on the island, you can get at the swap meet and (2) it's usually cheaper there and/or you can barter with the sellers. Linda and I both had a small list of people to shop for, so we set out looking for our special gifts. Linda bought some pretty necklaces for the ladies she works with and I think she bought some hair flowers. I bought shell leis for all the cadets and wives, a wonder skirt for myself and Jessica (awesome friend that's letting us stay at her place until we find a new apartment/house), a few hair flowers, and new island dress to wear to the airport to pick up the guys, and a mini djembe (hand drum) for Gabriel. Linda loved the market and we made it around the WHOLE STADIUM. That was a big deal for me because I had never accomplished that in the many times I had gone before.

After we were done shopping, we headed home to drop off our goodies and then we were off! Headed to Waikiki to board a boat that would take us to our dive site.

That's right. Dive site. We booked a submarine tour of Waikiki, yo!

Pan of Honolulu/Waikiki/Diamond Head from our boat ride.

Normally, I avoid Waikiki like the plague. Only dumb tourists go there. And it's mostly just the ones staying at the huge hotels in downtown Honolulu and Waikiki. The whole place annoys me. Crawling with a bunch of rich people and their spoiled kids. (No offense if you are/have been one of those people and/or spoiled time, I encourage you to explore a little!) And it's really not even that great of a beach. BY FAR not one of the best or prettiest on the island. It's super crowded too. Ick. I just don't like it. The sad thing is, Waikiki is what a lot of people picture when they think of Hawaii. But that's far from what it really is. Waikiki is the fake, commercialized version of Oahu and it upsets me that people vacation there and never leave their resort area. There are so many better beaches/places to see and things to do that sit on a towel on the beach where your hotel resides. Ugh. Anyway--back to the awesome part.

We got to ride a freaking submarine.

View from the boat: passengers boarding the small submarine.

First, you board a boat that takes you out to the dive sites. There are two. One is for the "premier" (aka way better, holy crap package) and the other is the standard, which is still pretty cool. We got the holy crap package, of course.

On the boat, headed out to the dive site

Showing off our premier boarding passes

Our awesome crew! L-R: Boat driver, Sub Pilot, Tour Guide. They were all hilarious and made the tour even more fun!

I have to tell you, this was a pretty neat little adventure! We saw TONS of fish, lots of pretty coral, and some sea turtles. We could have seen some sharks, but the giant freaking schools of trevally fish chased them away (our guide said that if sharks were like lions, trevally are like hyenas...). There are two shipwrecks and two sunken planes as well! How stinking cool is that? I took a bunch of pictures, but nothing can do it justice if you don't see it with your own eyes. Plus, the deeper you go under water, the more colors you lose because you have less sunlight to aid the spectrum. (Nature shows cheat with special lights that allow you to see more colors.) Just know that it was amazing. 

Inside the sub! Clockwise: Looking out the top before they closed it so we could dive; our pilot in is control room/cab; monitor showing us how deep we are; Linda looking out one of the port holes.

Some of the stuff we got to see--again, crappy pictures will never do it justice!

I am now part of a small group of people - only ONE TENTH OF ONE PERCENT of the population of the world has gone this deep into the ocean. I think we got to about 108 feet at our deepest point. Cool cool cool!

I was able to get a video of the small sub surfacing after our tour. You can also see it diving after a new set of passengers were loaded...

After our deep sea exploration, we headed home to rest and clean up our rooms (since the guys were flying in that night, I would be staying at a hotel with McKay for the rest of my trip, so I wanted to get my stuff together, vacuum my room and wash my sheets and stuff for my mom) and rest and nurse some sunburns and then get ready to pick up the boys.

I was SO excited to see McKay! Before the trip, he had been gone for a few days at a battalion FTX. I got to see him for ONE night and then had to fly out the next morning. So aside from that one night, I hadn't really seen him for like a week and I was kinda bummed that I didn't get to share the experiences of our first three days on the island with him. Their flight from the mainland was delayed, so we weren't expecting them until about 9:30. 

A couple of the guys and Hubby and the airport, excited to get on their plane to Hawaii!

At 7:30 I hopped in the shower and then started getting ready when we got a phone call. They had landed. An HOUR early. I was so pissed! I wanted to meet them all with leis when they got off the plane! DAMN YOU, DELTA!! So my little lei surprise was totally ruined. And I did NOT look as cute as I wanted to to go pick up my hubby after not seeing him for a while. Boo!

Anyway, we headed to the airport and lei'd everyone at baggage claim. Blah. Linda had to keep circling the airport because they wouldn't let her stay in the pick up area while we waited for Major Reim to get their rental van. There was a huge mix up with the rentals (they rented a 15 passenger van and a suburban from base, but they would only have the van at the airport and would have to pick up the suburban on base.....when they got there, they were given the suburban...) so we had to make a trip or two from the airport to the hotel to get everyone in the same place....and I kinda got a little turned around while "guiding" everyone to the Navy Lodge....*ahem*...

We finally got everyone to the lodge and most just crashed in their rooms. A handful of us went to Anna Millers and got some food--they were starving!

Late night meal at Anna Miller's

It was a crazy evening, but we all made it to where we needed to be. McKay and I booked rooms for everyone at the Navy Lodge on Ford Island. Yep. You heard me--historic Ford Island. The center of the attack on Pearl Harbor during WWII. Right in the middle of THE Pearl Harbor. So cool. The guys were totally geekin' out about it and everyone was in awe of the awesome views we had. Super neat. The couples all had their own rooms. When we booked, there were only suites left (darn!), so that's what we got! McKay and I pretty much had half of the second floor in the main building. Apparently, we were really lucky because the suites there are usually only reserved for Admirals and other super high-ranking military officials. I'm not gonna lie--it was pretty swank. Again--no pictures...what's wrong with me??

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