In the slipstream of the President

President Obama was in Hawaii at the same time as us. Alright, so we didn’t hang out with America’s most famous Hawaiian, but we did visit Hanauma Bay several days after he and his family snorkelled there.

The reef is in shallow water and you can see the marine life easily. It was like watching an underwater circus, with shoals of fish weaving back and forth. The offset is that you have to be very careful about not destroying the coral. There is an information hut with snorkel hire.  It also had several big boards with pictures of sea life so that we could identify the sea slugs and the butterflyfish underwater. Or even the humuhumunukunukuapua’a, the reef triggerfish which is Hawaii’s state fish. Bit of a mouthful.

~ Spotted Cow

 Hanauma BaysnorkellingFish chartView of Koko Crater from Hanauma Bay

All kinds of strange plants

After our aborted attempt, we visited the Koko Crater Botanical Garden on another Honolulu day out. It was delightful and leisurely and it wasn’t as crowded as the trail to the top of the crater. In fact, it wasn’t crowded at all. The botanic garden is stretched out across the crater floor and with the crater heights forming the walls, we felt like we had a Green Kingdom to ourselves.

In the loop walk, we saw all kinds of strange plants – one that looked like a star fish, another that looked like a green spaceship with orange protrusions, bulbous boabs, hairy monster trees, giant odd pods. My favourite was the cactus garden. It had a medusa cactus, big as a van and super spiky, that looked like it was out to get you.  And stalactite cacti, extra thorny, which hung down from tree branches.

I’m making up all the names because there were few signs. Enjoy the pictures. They are a mere subset of what we saw.

~ Spotted Cow

Hairy monster tree plant with tongue spaceship flower star plant cactus Koko Crater Botanical Garden

And when they were up, they were up

Koko Head Crater Trail.  It has to be said, we didn’t intend to walk this trail. It was New Year’s Day in Honolulu and the Koko Crater Botanical Garden was closed.  So, instead of walking around the crater floor, we decided to walk to the top of the crater. It turned out to be a far more strenuous morning than we had planned.

It’s about a 1km walk to the top of the crater on a disused tramline, and it is very steep.  The less fit folk probably enjoy the views on the way up more because you look out to the bay when you need to take a rest. The faster folk power up the steps like mountain goats. There are 1048 steps and the steepest incline is the final stretch toward the top.  It made me think of the Grand Old Duke of York nursery rhyme – “And when they were up, they were up”.  You keep thinking you’re almost at the top, but the stairs seem to stretch forever.

~ Spotted Cow

Koko crater tramline

Koko crater trail views Koko crater trail view