We arrived in Honolulu at the Ala Wai Harbor just in time for 4th of July festivities. We had arranged with the harbormaster to check in on July 3, including a boat inspection. These guys are serious about any boats planning to stay 2 or more weeks. We passed (thank goodness as who knows where we could go otherwise) and were assigned a spot on the cross dock (Dock X) for the next 2 weeks. We pulled right in front of a boat called Moments. We hadn't met but knew this couple had been cruising Mexico and we felt we knew them already through friends of friends. They immediately included us in their plans for 4th of July (it might have been that Dave made a deal to buy them beer in exchange for a spot in their fridge, works everytime). BBQ with friends, fireworks show, and a quick jig at the yacht club to end the evening festivities. Not so very different from the last 4th of July, spent in the Santa Barbara Marina. I can hardly believe we've been cruising for more than a year at this point!
The Ala Wai is the largest harbor in all of Hawaii. It was close to a mile just to walk from our spot at the X dock to the main street. The main street puts us right at Hilton Hawaiian Village, the start of Waikiki. Not a bad spot to be. A number of buses run through this area and we took advantage of this to explore the town.
First stop, Bishop Museum. This came recommended by the cruising guide and some other cruisers we met on Lanai. A great spot to start understanding the history of Hawaii. They also had a very cool traveling guitar exhibit. However, the star of the show was their planetarium where they had two short presentations on the Hawaiian night sky and the Wayfinders method of celestial navigation.
Feeling quite cultured we continued our metropolitan exploration with a trip out to Pearl Harbor. Knowing its one of the most visited National Monuments, we got up early to ride the bus, to get in line, to get our free tickets to the Arizona Memorial. Tickets in hand for the 11:30 boat trip we had a few hours to kill. Fortunately there are a couple other museums to choose from on site. Each of course for a price while you wait. We chose the Battleship Missouri. Definitely worth the cost, the history and memorial is worth a visit. We timed it right and made it back to our group gathering for our short film and boat trip over to the memorial. Unfortunately they had some technical difficulties and couldn't show the film and apparently it was blowing 40 knots so the boat trip was cancelled. (We're sailors and in my amateur opinion it was not blowing 40 knots, but who argues with the US Navy?). Anyway, lesson learned no more getting up at the crack of dawn for tourist activiities!
We also were able to get some boat work accomplished. There is a West Marine on the bus line and a large one at that! Dave climbed the mast to fix his very favorite feature of the boat, the roller furling that failed us on our way over from Lanai. That fixed we had plenty of time to watch more world class soccer. Congrats, Germany! What a great final game. We celebrated by exploring the bars along Waikiki... a mini bar crawl you might say.
After so much excitement we rewarded ourselves with a beach day. Picnic lunch packed, white sand, warm clear blue water. It couldn't be more perfect, unless you had a nice air conditioned hotel room with running water and a real bed. So we did that too! Happy Anniversary to us. I used up the remainder of my hotel points and we spent a lovely two nights in the Hilton Waikiki. The friendly guy at the front desk even sent us up complimentary champagne. 6 years is just the beginning of this wild adventure I call marriage. We look forward to many more.
Time flies when you're in the big city and we extended our stay just a little longer. Our savings accounts are diminishing and its time to think of where we'll land to make these grow. This was one of the deciding factors in coming to Hawaii and we think Oahu will be the best option for us and the Crazy Love (we have big plans for her). We started looking at apartments and neighborhoods just to start getting an idea of the area. We explored one of the local farmer's markets and stopped in China Town for produce provisioning.
Our neighbors on the B Dock (yes it connects with the cross dock, go figure) had a progressive potluck party. They were kind enough to include us transients on the X dock. It was fun to get to know some local boaters and a great way to end our first stay in Honolulu.
There are so many factors we're undecided on, its tough to begin making future plans. We have a few months to figure this out. We're off to explore more of Oahu and on to Kauai to continue our cruise of the islands. We plan to make our way back to Oahu in September to figure out our future here in Hawaii.