While most of our labmates and bosses were going home two days after ICRS, some of my friends and I decided to extend our stay in Hawaii for another week to make the most of our trip. We spent two more days in Oahu before flying to the Big Island.
Our major lesson learned: touring the North Shore is more fun and much easier with a car. We considered renting a car for just the one day but weren’t sure if that was possible, and my companions didn’t want to join a tour group because of the added expense. We ended up taking TheBus, which meant that the trip from the Ilikai to Sharks Cove took 3 buses and almost 3 hours, while Waimea Valley back to the Ilikai took 2 hours. This doesn’t include the time we spent walking from Sharks Cove to Waimea Valley, as the #55 bus only comes every 30 to 45 minutes.
The bus route we took from the Ilikai to Sharks Cove consists of three buses:
1. the County Express Bus to Ewa Center, get off at the Alapai Transit Center
2. the #52 Wahiawa-Haleiwa bus, get off at Haleiwa
3. the #55 Honolulu-Ala Moana Center bus, get off at Sharks Cove
One of my main accomplishments during the Hawaii trip was getting to go around Oahu without sacrificing my time at ICRS (except for that one morning, but that doesn’t count because there weren’t any talks that I wanted to attend) and without a car (a bit inconvenient but doable). I’d like to thank TheBus for being reasonably on time, though the Android app could be more user-friendly and bus drivers were hit-or-miss in the friendliness and helpfulness department.
Going up Diamond Head was something we had to do early in the morning as we had to attend the conference and the hiking trail would be too hot later on in the day. The Diamond Head State Monument opens at 6am but because we missed the first #23 Bus because someone overslept, we got there close to 7am. Diamond Head gets over 3,000 visitors a day and we definitely felt that, as there were a LOT of people there even at 7am. If you have a car, it’s best to get there when the gates open.
Diamond Head’s original Hawai’ian name is Le’ahi, which means “brow of the ‘ahi [tuna] fish” (I included a tuna photo for reference). British sailors in the late 1700s called it “Diamond Head” because they thought the sparkles coming off of the volcano were diamonds and that they were going to get rich. Too bad the sparkly rocks were actually calcite crystals that weren’t worth anything (poor guys).
Photo by Robert Lindsell on Flickr
See? Diamond Head definitely looks like the fin of a tuna.
The plastic bottle in the photo holds 500 ml. My coworkers and I filled it up in the 2.5 hours we spent cleaning up El Nido’s beaches this morning as part of our Earth Day activities (yay Happy Earth Day!). Most of them were stuck in the cracks and crevices of the cliffs. Seriously. There is no good reason to leave your cigarette butts on the beach or anywhere else that isn’t a proper trash can. Be a responsible smoker. Did you know that in 2010, volunteers during the International Coastal Cleanup picked up 1.8 MILLION cigarette butts? Aside from being eyesores, cigarette butts are accidentally eaten by animals and release carcinogens into the water. I know someone who actually keeps his butts in his pocket if he can’t find a nearby trashcan. Another option would be to temporarily keep them in a plastic or glass bottle until you can dispose of them properly.