Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mike And Tami Return To Honolulu

Michele's cousin Mike and wife, Tami, returned to Honolulu last Saturday aboard the Ruby Princess  cruise ship.  Happily, the ship was berthed at Pier-10, only a half-mile away from our building, so we had a bow-on view of the huge ship.

Saturday morning, February 20th.  The Ruby Princess at Berth-10, center of the photo.  Click on the image to see a close-up

Mike's cousin, Beverly, was also on the cruise, along with her husband Joe, who just happens to be a very talented golfer.  Prior to sailing from Los Angeles, Mike inquired if I might be able to set-up a round of golf for Joe (and myself) so that he could experience the game in Hawaii for the first time.

Mr. Joe Pastore, of the great state of Rhode Island, posing on the 2nd-tee at Mamala Bay Golf Course with Diamond Head in the background.

I was all over that!  A tee time was secured and at ten AM, I picked Joe up at the pier and we were on our way to the course.  Joe was not only a very good golfer, he was as kind and friendly, too.  We're both 66-years old and Joe, just like me, took his wristwatch off the day he retired and hasn't worn one since.  Who'da thunk we would have so much in common!  We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon at Mamala Bay, though he thrashed me on the course, taking all the money.  If I may illustrate:  On the back nine, he hit a perfect baby draw to the green of a 298-yard par four!  Three dollars was the friendly wager and from the very first hole the outcome was never in doubt.  He was too gracious to collect, so I assured him the money would be placed in a hermetically-sealed mayonnaise jar until they return to the islands.  And, who knows...with the interest, he could send a grandchild to college!  I should also mention that Joe paid for my round!  Mahalo Sir!

Our day ended at the Halekulani Hotel's open-air restaurant and lanai, "House Without A Key", where Mike, Michele and the rest of the cruise gang were already enjoying the sweet Hawaiian music and umbrella drinks, waiting for sunset.  No green flash, but we were more-than-compensated with the Hula dancing of beautiful Kanoe Miller.  The link will take you to a YouTube video of her dancing.  She stopped by between sets to chat with us and pose for photos.  Soon, dusk turned into a beautiful evening and it was time for the cruisers to head back to their ship.  It was a wonderful visit and we're looking forward to their next trip.

Old dopey me...I forgot my camera, but Michele got this shot of Tami and Mike at their return to the  Halekulani for sunset.
 
Two days later, a good friend and former co-worker of Michele's came for a visit.  Henriette was here last year and it was nice to see here again.  We kept her pretty busy, including a hike to Makapuu lighthouse, a day at Kailua Beach, a day strolling the shops and sights of Waikiki and a sunset dinner/whale watching cruise aboard the Makani.

Henriette with Makapu'u lighthouse.  It's an easy hike on a paved trail, with plenty of places to stop and spot whales below.  Michele and Henriette took our binoculars to bring the whales and the island of Molokai even closer.

Henriette ready to board the Makani.  It's quite a large catamaran, certified to carry 72-passengers.  Our cruise was much less crowded with only about twenty people aboard.

The First Mate working to raise the mainsail after leaving Kewalo Basin harbor.  She would push-off and her weight would lift the sail as she returned to the deck.  A most-impressive effort.  She used the winch for only the last couple of feet.

View of Waikiki from a few miles out.

Henriette searching for whales.  It could not have been a more beautiful late afternoon and evening.

Michele really enjoyed our first time aboard, too.  The boat was very comfortable, but we still felt like we were on the ocean.  Dinner was very nice, too.  It was served buffet-style and available whenever we felt like eating.  Drinks were also available, including umbrella drinks!

A seabird rests aboard the lighted Honolulu entrance beacon.  Notice the solar panels providing power for the light.

Never far from the airport, a United plane flew over the boat.

Not surprisingly, a whale put on a show for us.  That's Diamond Head in the background.

A group of paddlers taking a break on their way back to Ke'ehi Lagoon.  To the right, you can see both the Star of Honolulu and the Navatek on their sunset/dinner/whale watching cruises.

A closer view reveals some ladies enjoying the sport.

Henriette enjoying the view of Diamond Head at sunset.

And, speaking of sunset...

This is the famous Royal Hawaiian Hotel, mostly in the shadow of the Waikiki Sheraton.  This photo is a large file, so if you click on the image, you can see the people in the water and get a better look at this wonderful building.

The Star of Honolulu and an airliner at sunset.

Henriette and Michele at Buzz's restaurant at Kailua Beach.  We stopped in for lunch after swimming and body surfing.  The people at the far table had us puzzled as they took multiple photos of a brass plaque on the wall.  After they left, we were able to read that it's the President's Table!  In addition to  Barack Obama and family, Bill and Hilary Clinton have dined here, as well.

Henriette at the Moana Surfrider Hotel in Waikiki.  Her and Michele had lunch and a beverage at the Banyan Bar on her last day with us.

Her last night with us, we treated her to sunset and dinner on our lanai, followed by the short ride to the airport.  As we say, "Aloha Oe Henriette", or until we meet again.

For those blogger pals who have expressed concern for my health due to the lack of posting recently, this post should make it clear that I'm not ill, just tired!  :))

Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, February 5, 2016

It's The Variety Hour

Here are some photos taken over the last few days.  The usual subjects, but every day is a little different here.  Hope you enjoy the show!

Thought I'd begin with a whale.  Wel-l-l...more like a whale taking a breath, with folks on that small boat enjoying the show.  I'm too cheap to invest in a better camera and these post-sunset photos don't do justice to what we see with the binoculars.  A few days ago, we watched a whale do several fin slaps.  It was quite something to see!

Here's the whale's back as it dives.  These photos were taken at dusk, at an estimated distance of three miles.

After a practice session at the Hickam AFB golf course, I stopped before leaving the base to get some shots of Mamala Bay.  The water color was simply stunning with the sunlight sparkling on it.  This is the base marina and you can see a couple enjoying a quiet lunch beneath that great shade tree.

A Japan Airlines plane taxiing to the reef runway.

A United airliner about to taxi over the tunnel I'll be driving through shortly.  I'm quite happy to wait.

Taken at breakfast on February 4th, notice the workers on the crane platform doing something to the bow of this Matson container ship.  Click on the image for a closer look.

Bye-bye.  A tanker departs Honolulu on the azure sea.

Sunset on February 4th.  Not bad! :)

A decent-sized tanker parked at Berth-10 today.  Can you find the two crewmen?  When you do find them, you'll have a better sense of the size the this ship.

Several streets in Chinatown were closed-off this afternoon and will be clogged with revelers until ten PM tonight.  It's one of the many Chinese New Year celebration events.  We went last year, but to be honest, the relentless firecrackers and drumming and cymbals gets old pretty quick. 

You can see the firecrackers going off and the lion dancers having fun with the crowd.  Notice the man enjoying the show from the roof top.  Watching from the lanai is a little lazy, but we avoid the smoke from all those firecrackers.

These people took advantage of what may be a parking garage to watch to action.

See all those red (or pink) ribbons laying in the street?  They're all firecrackers!  The entertainers are working their way down the street and will soon arrive at this intersection.  With all the noise and smoke, there shouldn't be a single evil spirit left in Chinatown tomorrow!

Couldn't resist the giant panda in the center of this photo.  Michele couldn't resist and walked down.  She remembered the panda from last year.  Another gentleman picked the perfect viewing location among the solar panels on this roof.

Sunset today, February 5th.  Clouds created this "change of pace" sunset. 

This photo will wrap-up today's variety show.  Hope you all had a good time and be sure to drive safely on your way home.  Oh...It's a Hawaiian Airlines plane arriving with another load of visitors eager to spend some time in Paradise. :)) 

Have a wonderful weekend!