Shark’s Cove

20190511_101117

Part of the Pupukea Nature Preserve, Shark’s Cove is an amazing place to go snorkeling from April to September. The North Shore is better known for surfing in the fall and winter months, but in spring and summer, the waters are calm enough to visit with the turtles and fish.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There is a paved parking lot above Shark’s Cove, and there are restrooms to change. There’s even a bit of a makeshift shower (outside) where you can rinse sand off your flippers and out of your hair.

The path down to the water is dirt, but it’s not too steep so it’s pretty easy to get down it. Everyone leaves their towels and car keys on the rocks, and the instance of theft is very low.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The entry point is rocky, so you’ll want to have boots. The currents can be strong, so longer fins are advisable as well. There are some tide pools to play in, and those are great for kids. However, in the deeper water, you’ll find a rocky landscape full of caves.

If you dive, this is a great place to do some swim-throughs. Just make sure the passages you choose are wider than you and your gear!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On the right-hand side (if standing in the parking lot facing the cove) there is a turtle cleaning station at the mouth of the cove. This is where surgeon fish come up and eat algae and parasites off sea turtles’ shells. That makes this an ideal place to see turtles.

Just remember: You’re not meant to get close to them. They are endangered, and you should never feed or touch one. However, Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are magical to catch a glimpse of.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Makapu’u Coastal Pools

20190514_090625

If you are already doing the Makapu’u Lighthouse Hike (which is amazing,) you might also want to take the dirt path from the parking lot over to the coast.

It’s a dry walk, and it was dusty in June. I recommend lots of water, and possibly a snack. On the upside, it’s not a hard walk because it’s completely flat.

20190514_091532

Sometimes the locals go there to fish, so beware of stray hooks and lines. Also, remember that the waves break on the rocks! Keep your distance. People are sometimes swept off the ledges, and the sea is very rough in this area so you could get seriously hurt.

It’s really more about sitting at a safe distance and watching the waves splash over the rocks. I went at low tide, so I managed to see a few fish and some crabs.

20190514_094231

That was fun, but I was very wary of not stepping on any wet rocks. If the rocks are wet, waves are probably breaking on them. So, steer clear of wet rocks.

Overall, it’s worth the walk if you’ve already done the lighthouse hike and you have some time leftover. However, I wouldn’t brave the crowded parking lot just for the coastal area, because there are prettier places on Oahu that are less crowded.

20190514_092800

Makapu’u Lighthouse

start of trail

When I heard about Makapu’u lighthouse, I thought it was just a trail with some ocean views and a lighthouse. I had no idea how spectacular it really is. The ocean views are amazing and varied, and it’s a big pay off for a very easy hike.

Let’s start at the beginning: The gate to the parking lot opens at 7:00am. That’s the best time to go, because otherwise you will have to wait for a spot or try parallel parking on a busy highway, and neither of those things are much fun. I recommend getting there right when the parking lot opens.

south coast view

This hike it always busy. As far as I know, it’s the only paved trail in Oahu so I can see why it’s crowded. It’s an easy hike, you don’t have to worry about mud or bugs, and it’s really a very short climb.

Once you park, walk to the trail head. You’ll see a dirt path going off to the right. It takes you to some rather unimpressive rocky beaches, but you may as well check it out if you have time. Bring lots of water, though. It’s hot and dry on that path.

the trail looks like

The paved road goes straight up, and that is the Makapu’u lighthouse trail. There are no bathrooms, so stop somewhere before you hike. There are trash cans though, so you have no excuse to litter. As you walk up, stop at each of the vantage points and read the signs that tell you about what you are looking at.

When you get to the top, you can look down on the lighthouse. Unfortunately, the trail to the actual lighthouse is closed to the public because it’s very dangerous. However, you can see it from the side as you climb the trail, and then from above when you reach the top of the trail. Hopefully that’s enough to satiate your desire for lighthouse views.

lighthouse from above

Personally, I think the vistas of the South coast and the East coast of Oahu are far more exciting that the lighthouse. They’re well worth the short climb.

Note: There is also a sketchy path along a dirt cliff that goes to tide pools (from the whale-watching lookout,) but I wouldn’t recommend that unless you are an advanced climber. Even then, in my opinion, the payoff of a few small tide pools isn’t worth the risk. You can see better tide pools at Ka’ena Point without putting yourself in any danger.

Anyway, definitely do the Makapu’u Lighthouse hike. It’s awesome.

better east coast view

Favorite Pictures So Far

Since I got here I’ve been to a few pretty places, so I thought I’d share pictures!

ala moana with cruise ship
Ala Moana Beach

 

view from kailua
From Kailua looking at the mountains

 

after sunset
Sunset over Pearl Harbor

giner and temple in backround
Byodo-In Temple
north shore at angle
Looking down the North Shore
from Pali lookout
The Pali Lookout

 

that beach tho
Irequois Point
the trail looks like
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
better east coast view
East Coast looking towards Waimanalo
Lanukai Beach
the crater
From the plane
manauwili falls
Manauwili Falls
Hanuama Bay
20190414_082151
Passion Flower

 

 

those waves tho
Ka’ena Point

The Unitarian Church of Pasta

I want to talk to you about something that is ‘on my noodle.’

In case you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, I highly recommend The New Testament of The Flying Spaghetti Monster; Dinner 2.0.

The book is available for free on the church website, and you can download it in PDF format from there.

The Prime Carbohydrate tells us of delicious wisdom in the bible, such as how the lowliest Spaghetti-O is as important as the fanciest Tortellini, and how thou shall punch Nazis.

His Noodliness The Flying Spaghetti Monster also has a Facebook Page, and you should “like” it to enjoy His Noodles of wisdom.

Yes, this whole book and religion is satire, but it’s witty and charming. I am sure you’ll enjoy it!

Unitarian Church of Pasta
His Noodliness The Flying Spaghetti Monster

Hanuama Bay

Hanuama Bay is by far the most well-known snorkel spot on Oahu. Everyone is told that it is the place to go if you want to see fish here.

Now, I will say, I saw a lot of parrot fish there and I had a good time. So, there’s that. However, I will also say that it was one of the most crowded places I have ever been.

As I tried to snorkel, people were constantly wadding by and kicking up sand. Everywhere I looked there were so many people. The fish are not spooked by this, and that’s great. However, it does make for pictures that aren’t very clear because of all the sediment in the water.

I think this is a great place for people who do not snorkel regularly. This is because you pay $7 to get in and that money goes towards conservation. You also have to watch a video about how you should not touch the animals or the coral, and I think tourists should have to do that.¬†However, if you’re a regular snorkeler, it all feels a bit boring.

The park is free with military ID, but even if you are military I still recommend you bring money. I wish someone would have told me that. See, there’s a shuttle that will take you down to the water and back up the giant hill after you snorkel. However, I didn’t know that, so I had to walk.

I saw signs for food up at the top, but they ask that you not bring food down to the beach so that liter can’t get into the water. However, I still saw plenty of litter in the water.

There are lockers, but I left everything in my car and just left my flip flops on the beach. No one stole them. I think we should all have a crappy pair of flip flops for this purpose.

The nice thing about a place with crowds is that there are amenities. The showers and bathrooms are good to have, and the little trolley looked great as it passed me while I walked up.

It’s too crowded for turtles of sting rays, but that’s okay. Sometimes it’s just nice to see pretty fish. This is a good place for that, as long as you don’t want pictures of them.

Oh, and don’t forget that there’s also a parking fee. I’d say just bring a $20 bill per person in a plastic bag, and you should be good to go.

Byodo-In Temple, Hawaii

One of the neat places to go in Oahu is Byodo-In Tempe.  If you need an easy day with no big hikes or difficult swims, this is a relaxing place to go.

Now remember: It’s a Buddhist temple and many of the people who go there are devout Buddhists who are going to make offerings and pray. Therefore, you want to keep your voice down while you are on the temple grounds and be respectful, like you would in any church.

The temple is a replica of an ancient temple in Japan, and it was established on June 7th, 1986. The temple was commissioned to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to come to Hawaii.

It’s $4 to enter, and like many places here on Oahu, you’ll need to bring cash. There are more than a few spots that don’t accept cards.

On the side of the temple you’ll often see vendors who set up and sell all sorts of beautiful works of art. If you need a souvenir for someone back home, this is a great place to get it! The temple shop also sells gorgeous art and Buddhist statues and prayer beads.

However, my favorite thing you can buy there costs $2, and it’s the Koi food. You can feed it to the swans, the koi, or the birds. The temple is a mecca of adorable life, and koi food is perfectly safe for it all.


The pair of black swans were a gift from the country of Australia. I’ve heard there is a peacock, but I’ve never seen it. Both are birds that can be dangerous though, so don’t try to chase or touch them. It’s best to throw the food to them if you want to feed them.

When no one is around and feeding them, I think the koi are fabulous to just sit and watch. They’re very peaceful fish.

Remember to keep your eyes peeled as you are walking around. The first time I was there I almost didn’t notice the turtles sunning themselves in the pond behind the temple, and I missed the frogs entirely.

Also, the flowers are different in every season and all of them are spectacular, so keep an eye out for them. There’s anthurums, hibiscus, irises, ginger, and so much more.

I recommend bringing coins to offer at the various shrines throughout the temple grounds. Even if you’re not Buddhist, it can never hurt to put some good karma into the world.

You may want to bring a few dollars for traditional offerings too like ringing the temple bell to ask the gods favor or making an offering of incense to the statue of Buddha inside the temple.

There are bathrooms behind the gift shop, so if you feed the birds, be sure to wash your hands afterwards. They are wild animals, and wild animals carry all kinds of diseases.

I let the little ones come fly into my hands because I wanted to be snow white, but that’s just me.

Byodo-In Temple in Temple valley is on the rainy side of the island with spectacular mountain views and the occasional rainbow on rainy days. There is very little parking, but in my experience you can find a spot even on a busy day. I’ve been on both a weekend and a week day, and the crowds were about the same.

As always, remember to wear sunscreen when walking around Oahu. It’s not on the equator, but the sun is harsh and you can get burned in only a few minutes.

I went with friends, but it’s definitely a place that I could see myself going alone as well. There plenty of spots to meditate and reflect a little. However if you have kids, maybe don’t bring them. A peaceful Buddhist temple is not a good place for children unless they are well-behaved. Remember: It is a church. You want to be respectful of the people who are there to worship in peace.