"Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, That started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship."
~Opening lines of Gilligan's Island theme song
My brother picked me up at the airport and took me out to dinner. He told me that he had rented a boat for a trip in the morning. We stayed up way past midnight laughing and talking. Morning came too soon. I am not a morning person. My brother knows this. I should've known my brother. But I blame the sleepy haze that made me forget those important little details when it came to my brother. He was a morning person. He sometimes whistles when he gets up...like he did that morning...bastard! He had to wake me up twice. I grumbled, got up and had some breakfast: Apple Jacks and milk.
I'm not a breakfast person. I don't remember the last time I even ate milk and cereal. Months? I'm not the type of person who buys milk either. As I munched on the crunchy sweet, cold goodness of breakfast cereal, I listened to my brother going on and on about our planned boating. He had also invited some friends from school that I hadn't seen in years!
We packed some food, some sunscreen, some towels, and filled the cooler with ice and alcoholic beverages. Then we took our stuff and drove an hour out to the other side of Oahu, to Kaneohe Bay. It was a beautiful drive, with the windows down, I saw clean highways, vibrant tall trees that covered even some of the towering mountains. Through the tunnel and down the other side of the mountains, we came to Kaneohe Bay.
(Click on the pics for a bigger view)
We met up with some friends that I haven't seen since celebrating the Holidays/New Year 2000 in Las Vegas :) Since then, one of them has become an instructor at a military base, another performs in a Polynesian dance tour, and rest were making a great living in paradise. I thought it was hilarious during the boat ride when my brother pointed out Coconut Island, better known to pop tv culture as Gilligan's Island. Imagine, being in a boat with a professor and an actress passing by Gilligan's Island! Luckily, there was no rich couple with us, or I'd've had some serious misgivings about our little trip. Gilligan's Island, Ahoy!
Coconut Island is now a research facility for the University of Hawaii.
My brother introduced me to some of his other friends. There were 10 of us in this boat my brother was steering. He also pointed out Chinaman's hat, another famous island, most notably from Adam Sandler's film, 50 first dates.
After a pleasant 15 minute ride out, we came to our destination, the middle of Kaneohe Bay.
It was high tide, but over the vast stretch of sandbar, the depth of the water was only 3 to 4 feet! When we got closer to the sandbar, my brother shut off the engine, and I jumped into the water to tow the boat into a safe area. Wow, did that cool water feel so good on my body! We dropped anchor and set up a picnic. Then we turned up someone's mp3 player on speakers and started a game of water polo with a beach ball; some people took out a kayak and started paddling. After an hour, other people started migrating towards our location and an impromptu party started that lasted for 6 hours, with food and alcohol flowing freely, revelers dancing, others tanning.
At one point, I got back on the boat to reapply some sunscreen, with the help of lovely local girl who arrived on a different boat :) Talk about the Aloha spirit! I stood there and looked at the clear, cool blue waters of the bay; then I gazed further out towards the dark, blue Pacific, where the waves were bigger, the water much deeper. A gentle, cooling breeze blew softly upon me, like a kiss from the goddess Poliahu, welcoming me into her lands, and I thought, wow, I'm really here.
I was woken from my reverie when I heard my brother laughing out loud next me. I asked him what was so funny, and he replied, "Dude! You look whiter now than when you first went in the water!" I looked down my chest and laughed; he may be right.
When the party was over, it was late in the afternoon. One of the locals invited us over to a nearby park when we returned the boat. So after walking to a local store to get some more food, we joined our new local friend and started a barbecue at the park, complete with volleyball and frees bee games.
Hours later, the sun began to set and my brother thought that it was time to head back home. Saying aloha to our new (and some old) friends, we packed up and drove back through the mountains. After a refreshing shower and a quick change of clothing, we headed out to Waikiki. We went to the Hilton Hawaiian Village, where my brother said I would enjoy a show. The Polynesian show began with conch shells trumpeting, followed by the loud hypnotic beat of the drums. The entertainment was fantastic, but my brother said, "That's just a preview. Wait til we go to PCC".
PCC is the Polynesian Cultural Center on the other side of the island, an amazing park full of Polynesian villages and food and exhibits and dancing. My brother would be right. And the fireworks at the end of the Hilton Hawaiian Village show was fantastic; even more amazing is that they do this weekly, open to the public, right on the beaches of beautiful Waikiki. I enjoyed the fireworks show, sitting on a lava lava (sarong) on the smooth sands of Waikiki, surrounded by my brother, friends, and a lot of other people who were out to enjoy the fantastic Hawaiian night.
When the fireworks show was over, the air was filled with thunderous applause. We went back home, changed our clothing, and headed out to go clubbing down on Waikiki. We met up with some friends, made some new ones, and danced the night away amongst other tourists and locals.
I can see Waikiki's appeal. It was like Las Vegas at night. When the party crowd comes out, sounds of music and laughter fills the cool air; and the sailors (and soldiers) fill the streets and clubs; and just cruising the wide sidewalks with friends means meeting new people, enjoying fun drinks, and sharing funny stories and good times. It's an incredible place. I wouldn't mind being shipwrecked in a place like this. I wouldn't mind at all :)