USA Travel Diary Day 9 – Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Hanauma Bay sign

Today we’re going to Hanauma Bay – basically a drowned crater full of coral reef and exotic fish. It’s not easy (or cheap – at $25 a head) to obtain tickets; there’s a strict quota with tickets going on sale two days ahead at 7 am each morning and selling out in minutes. We have managed to score some tickets for today. To reduce pollution, they have withdrawn the bus route which used to service the reserve, so the only access is by private vehicle. Only in America would banning public transport be considered a pollution preventing measure. So, after breakfast we book an Uber and ride the 12 miles up the coast to Hanauma.

Hanauma Bay

Once we’ve attended a compulsory briefing, there’s a choice of walking down a short hill to the beach or catching a land train. Daughter no 2 says it would be lazy not to walk. But I determine to get my money’s worth and so we catch the train. We spend the morning swimming around amongst the coral, watching the fish. It’s really beautiful – a bit like swimming in a huge tropical fish tank, surrounded by fish of all shapes and sizes and colours.

Swimming in Hanauma Bay
Swimming in Hanauma Bay

Once we’ve had our fill of beach, we buy lunch from the beach snack bar. The picnic tables are surrounded by really tame herons on the lookout for snacks. We order garlic fries – basically chips covered in huge amounts of crushed garlic. Just the thing when you’re about to spend the next hour in a mask breathing in those garlic fumes!

Chip loving heron
Chip loving heron

A man on the beach told us that Lyft paid the government a huge bung to cancel the bus, so we determine to make it back to Waikiki by public transport. Google Maps says the nearest bus stop is in a mall just over a mile away. Google Maps neglects to mention that this means walking down a freeway with no pedestrian provision. In addition, daughter no 1 has suffered a wardrobe malfunction so I have to lend her my shorts. So I basically spend 30 minutes walking along the motorway in my (bikini) pants.

Thanks Google

Leonard’s Bakery Truck

We reach the mall without being run over or sectioned and stop at Leonard’s Bakery Truck for Malasadas (which are basically doughnuts) because my guide book says we should. I have to admit, Lonely Planet has a point. I get a Li Hing coated one (Chinese plum dried in a combination of sugar, salt and spices) – it’s so fresh it’s still piping hot and tastes amazing, even if it’s eaten at a bus stop, on the freeway, in the rain.

Leonard’s Bakery

We catch the two buses necessary to return to Waikiki and spend the remainder of the evening planning tomorrow’s trip – we are going to hire a car and drive round the island.

Koko Head viewed from the freeway
Koko Head viewed from the freeway

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