Paradise Cove

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ko’Olina Resort is one of the more famous resorts on the Leeward side of the island (that’s the desert side.) It’s a big place that is reserved for hotel guests, but there is a small parking lot that is open to the public.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Paradise Cove is very shallow, but there is break in the reef that you can swim through. DO NOT do this if the ocean is not calm. The break in the reef is small, and swimming in and out is hard.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I like to snorkel first thing in the morning. There are two reasons for that:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1. It’s not like when I lived in Guam. It’s very crowded here. It’s better to go early before the tourists and everyone else is up. The crowds scare away the turtles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2. The turtles swim into the cove to eat algae off the rocks in the morning. It’s nice to catch them during breakfast. Sometimes you can even see them crawl up onto the rocks to get at the algae.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s really a very shallow spot so I recommend trying to go at a time when the tide is high in the morning. Snorkeling is all about watching all the factors like weather, tide, surf height, and jellyfish. Make sure to check everything before you go.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Manuawili Falls

As you know, I’ve moved from Guam to Hawaii and I’m trying to learn about the island. The hiking here is so much nicer because it’s not tropical heat all the time. It’s cooler and there are breezes. So he’s some stuff about Manuawili Falls.

This is another hike that has a lot of mud if its been raining. It’s along a river, so there’s even more swampy areas than on the Likeke Falls trail. You definitely want bug spray.

Go early. Drive there when it is still dark, and do the hike right after sunrise. This is because there is no parking lot. You put the name of the waterfall into your GPS, and it takes you to a trail head in a neighborhood. The little bit of street parking that is available goes very quickly, so you want to be the first one there.

 

In addition, this trail is pretty clearly marked except for the first part. First you walk along a raod and come to a sign that tells you to go up into the trees on a small path. Do that. Then, you go up beside a road, and it seems like you should go down onto the road. But, you just keep going straight into the trees and over the hill. Then you’re on the trail. It’s easy to follow it from there.

You will notice little paths going off from the main trail. Those are formed when it’s VERY muddy and people walk along the side to avoid sinking in to the mud. They all join back up with the main trail, so no worries about getting lost.

Once you cross the river, it’s all stairs. It’s a good workout for your butt. Go up, and then down, and then up again, and then down again.

In the end, you’ll get to a river again, and have to cross one more time and then do some rock hopping. I recommend either bringing water shoes in your pack, or just wearing them the whole time. Because, for the last part, your feet are probably going to get wet.

When you finally get to the waterfall, there is a pool to swim in. If you want to swim in it, bring a towel and try not to get it in your eyes or swallow any. People have been known to get leptospirosis on this hike because rats, wild pigs, and other animals urinate upstream and the bacteria stays in the mud and water. So no barefoot hiking, and no swallowing the water.

It’s a pretty place. I just sat on a rock and watched the water for quite a while. Since I did the hike early, I was the only one there and I had the place to myself. I hear that later in the day it really fills up.

On the way back when the sun came out, I got to enjoy the views more. It’s almost as amazing as the view from the Pali lookout, and it looks over the same part of the island (towards Kailua and the Marine base.)

It’s a harder hike than Likeke Falls because it’s full of stairs. Bring a snack and a half gallon of water, and definitely be ready for mud.

Electric Beach on the Leeward Coast

The Leeward Coast of Oahu gets a bad reputation because it is the desert side of the island, and so it’s not as pretty on land as it is on the rainy side.

However, I think this reputation is undeserved. The water is always calmer there, and the visibility is always better because there is less sand and more rocks (so sand doesn’t get kicked up into the water.)

You can find Electric Beach by putting Kahe Point into your GPS. However, this will take you to a park which is the second left after Ko’Olina. You want the first left after the 93 passes Ko’Olina and joins the coast.

You will know you’re in the right place because you’ll see a power plant coming up on the right, and a small building (which is bathrooms and showers) on the left.

Once you park (get there early or it will be full) you walk down to the small patch of sand just past the bathrooms. Sometimes the waves can get kind of high, but it’s fine once you get past them.

Swim out and slightly to the right. You’re looking for the line of rocks that are piled along the bottom. You want to follow them.

At the end of the rocks are two HUGE pipes. Warm water from the power plant comes out of these pipes. Fish love this, and so do things that eat fish!

I’ve seen a sting ray and lots of turtles, but people have told me that they saw dolphins, and other larger sea life.

For those who are afraid: Remember that sharks are nocturnal so you’re not likely to see one during the day. I’m telling you this because when I took my friend, she heard “lots of fish and things that eat fish” and she immediately got worried about sharks.

Sharks are terrified of people and they don’t want to hurt you. They do bite surfers sometimes, but that’s only because a surfboard looks like a seal from underneath and they think they’re seeing food. They have historically always let go once they realized they didn’t have a seal.

So please, don’t be afraid of sharks.

This is the view looking back towards shore from the pipes. You probably won’t be the only snorkeler there since it’s a cool spot. It’s often kind of busy.

I recommend long fins, since the current can be bad sometimes. Because of the current, swim to the right (assuming you’re standing on shore facing out) if you want to look at some of the rocks and coral around the area. If you go with the current (left from shore facing out) then you’ll run into some pretty sharp rocks and it’s best to avoid those.

Anyway, always be careful and don’t swim out past the pipes because the currents are too strong. Check the weather to make sure there are no storms coming, because rip tides get stronger when a storm is coming, and it can get pretty dangerous on all the beaches when that happens.

Be safe and have fun!

 

Lanikai Beach

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve been trying to get out and see as many beaches as possible since I moved from Guam to Hawaii. Oahu is a beautiful island, and it will take a long time for me to explore it all.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One of the most famous beaches is in a town called Kailua; it’s called Lanikai Beach. Off the coast of the beach, there are two islands you can kayak to. They are a bird sanctuary, and tours are offered. However, it’s a little dangerous to swim to them (since it’s past the wave break.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I only went as far as where the waves break. It seemed wise since I’d been warned about currents and rip tides.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So far, this is the beach with the most coral. It’s shallow for hundreds of feet out, and the corals are beautiful. (Though you can see evidence of bleaching- same as everywhere.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Unfortunately, Lanikai is very sandy. This means the water quality isn’t often as good as it would be in a rockier place. The day I went, the visibility was only about 15 feet, and I wasn’t thrilled with it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I saw three turtles. Two sped away pretty quickly. Maybe it was too early (it was shortly after sunrise.) But one let me swim with it and take some pictures, which was cool.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are showers nearby at the Kaulia Beach Park, but I went to Lanukai Beach specifically and there are no amenities there. I suppose you could drive over to Kaulia Park after you swim, since it is only about a half mile away.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There is no parking lot, but your GPS will take you to a neighborhood that has street parking available. There are no lockers. If you don’t have a car key that is separate from the key fob, I suggest getting a keypad door lock for your car. Snorkeling in Hawaii is great, but it’s not a good place to hide your key somewhere on your car.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Anyway, if you’re here on vacation, make sure to check out Surfline to make sure the waves are not too high, and to also check the jellyfish report. As always, be safe!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Favorite Photos

It’s only six weeks until the move, and I can feel myself getting more and more nervous as we get closer. I am looking through photos of our time here on the island, and feeling more nostalgic than I thought I would.

I think the big takeaway for me is that anywhere can feel like home if you live there long enough.

Anyway, I thought I would put together some of my favorite pictures so you can see what these last four years on Guam have been like. Being away from friend and family like we are, I know that pictures are one of the only things that makes anyone feel connected to us anymore. It’s hard to believe I left my home ten years ago after graduating ASU, and I have been so many places since…

I miss you all.

Larry the turtle
A green sea turtle.
Jenifer DeLemont
The waves washing up on the beach.

 

plumeria
Plumeria flowers on a tree by our house.
stormy day
A storm closing in.
clouds
I loved the clouds over the ocean. I am going to miss the ocean view.
orchids
Ground orchids on Mount Lam Lam.

 

Green Sea Turtle
A green sea turtle in the morning.
sun set
Just another sunset.

 

pond
A pond on a sunny day.
rainbow is epic
The ocean is so beautiful.

 

a bite
Dragon fruit, which is one of the awesome fruits that grow here.
power plant
An abandoned power plant.

 

aweome sunset
The sunset over the ocean, which is always awesome.
Gun Beach
Gun Beach.

 

kitty
A kitten at the animal shelter.
FB_IMG_1490245695342
Under Two Lovers Point looking at Tumon Bay.

 

coconut crab
A coconut crab.
all the pink
Another sunset.

 

cocnuts in a row
Coconut juice being sold.
Ocean
A typhoon offshore made the ocean look churned up.

 

Passion Flower
My favorite flower, a passion flower.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since we moved to Guam for what started as a two-year tour (and then got extended twice.) It feels like such a short time since I was packing up to leave South Korea and stay with my mom in Oregon while Rich went to school in Mississippi.

Somehow, four years flew by, and it’s time for us to move on. As I sort through all our clothes and possessions and get them ready to be packed, I remember all the things we have learned since we moved here.

For example, we hardly knew how to swim when we moved to Guam. Now, we’re both great swimmers.We learned to scuba dive, too. After much study, I think we know the names of all the fish on our reef, and a lot of the coral as well.

I learned about coconut grabs, huntsman spiders, and tropical flowers. I also got to find out a lot about the Chamorro people who are native to Guam. I watched Proa boat races and learned to eat reef fish.

We did some volunteer work painting the local animal shelter. I’m allergic to dogs and cats, but I still care about them. We learned a lot about the unique challenges that islands face when it comes to ecosystems. (We also got to pet lots of animals.)

Guam has been fun. We’re really going to miss it. However, I am sure that Hawaii is going to be great, too! I can’t wait to love it.

Jenifer DeLemont
Just a picture of me.

 

Around the Island

This is just a post full of pictures from around the island.

Jenifer DeLemont
A rope swing a San Luis Beach which you can only get to at low tide.

 

best yellow tree
These trees are covered with flowers every spring

 

Jenifer DeLemont
Me in downtown Tumon

 

good view
Tumon Bay, where I live on Guam

 

single flower
A single plumaria flower

 

Jenifer DeLemont
Sunset over the ocean

 

orchid tree
Flowers on an orchid tree (one of my favorites!)

 

reflection
Clouds reflecting on the surface of a pond by the port

 

Marina
Gab Gab marina

 

Jenifer DeLemont
Just a dreamy sunset

 

 

Schools of Fish at Gun Beach

One of my favorite things about being the ocean is being surrounded by schools of fish. I love when they are swimming all around you like thousands of butterflies dancing on the wind. It doesn’t happen very often.

Fish School
Eating algae off the dead coral

On Gab Gab reef I see a school of Convict Surgeon fish now and then. At fish eye I saw some other surgeon fish once. However, most of the time there are not fabulous schools of fish swimming around me.

Schooling fish
Surgeon fish swimming past me

I am pretty new to life in the ocean. I grew up in mountains in California, and then in the desert in Arizona. I have not had much opportunity to even be near an ocean. When I was, it was usually a trip down to Rocky Point where we just splashed in the waves a little.

Fish Schooling
Bump head parrot fish schooling

When I put a snorkel on for the first time and saw what was under the water, it was amazing. I went from someone afraid to swim to someone that never wanted to do anything else again. I fell in love with the coral, and the fish, and the turtles.

Fish Schooling
Convict surgeon fish swimming by

Of course, then summer came and the coral bleached. I looked into it and found that the coral has been bleaching and dying off a little more every year. I started to look at what I had thought to be rocks, and realize that it was actually dead coral. Now, I have come to realize that my time being able to appreciate the ocean is short. There is simply too much CO2 in the air and water, and all the coral planting in the world can’t save our reefs.

Jenifer DeLemont
My favorite picture of surgeon fish schooling by me

I regret not having the chance to see them before they began to die. More than that, I regret that there will probably be nothing left to see in my lifetime. It’s a tragedy that has left my husband and I sobbing on a beach more than once when we really saw how bad it is.

fish schooling
I saw this kind of surgeon fish last time I was in Oahu

However, there are still schools of fish sometimes. There are still manta rays and turtles sometimes. There is still beauty to see, and I am grateful and I feel privileged to have that opportunity. Between this blog and my YouTube channel, I am doing my best to share what I see. I know that not everyone gets the chance to see the reefs, and I hope that I help them connect with the ocean and the animals and plants that live there, even if it is from afar.

Jenifer DeLemont
My favorite shot of the convict surgeon fish

The ocean is a beautiful place, and I wish that we could save it. That said, I know scientists have said that it is too late. I know that they have said we surpassed the levels of CO2 that will melt the polar ice caps. I know we are already in the middle of a massive extinction (the Holocene extinction.)

fish schooling
Feeding frenzy

However, anything you can do helps. Life often finds a way when no one thought it could, and if we reduce the amount of plastic that we use and try to consume less as a species, some life in the oceans might survive. Whatever you can do, please do it. If you can afford to put Testla roof tiles on your house, do it. If you can buy and use cloth bags for shopping, do it. If you can stop buying single use products, you should.

fish schooling
Schools of fish swimming by me

We should all be doing whatever we can, even if it’s not enough to save every species of coral and fish. If we can save anything, we have to try.