Hawaii has exceptionally nice weather all year around, so mid-November is as good a time as any to take an evening stroll along the beach. Avoiding the bustling crowds of Waikiki and determined to find a bit of tranquility, Rebecca, Selah and I decided to head to the western side of Oahu. On the westward or Leeward side of the island lies the quaint community of Waianae. The area is home to beautiful beaches, various sea-life, and real small-town living. Waianae is also a very tight-knit community and it once was home to the legendary singer, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.
Rebecca poses for a picture as Selah counts coconuts at the top of the tree.
The evening turned out even more beautiful than we had imagined. Along the way, I managed to capture some pretty fascinating scenes.
Rebecca and Selah standing between a rock and a hard place.
When I told Rebecca she would have to hike over that mountain to get to the beach, she almost didn’t want to go. Sure, she was carrying a baby but…. Joking!
My two girls looking pretty as a picture!
Although Rebecca didn’t have to hike over any mountains to make her way to the beach, she still experienced quite a bit of apprehension just getting there. Between you and me, the girl has a serious phobia when it comes to walking on sand. I am not making any of that up. Watching Rebecca walking on sand is similar to watching Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon.
I don’t know what it is about me and selfies, but I always come out looking like a deranged sociopath.
There is nothing I enjoy more than a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt. “Finders, keepers” is the law of the land and I scored a few amazing items along the way!
After a thorough inventory, I had acquired a green coconut, a cracked boogie board, some pretty coral, and a Hawaiian monk seal. Not bad for a 15-minute walk along the shore!
There are only about 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals alive today.
Rebecca had no problem with me keeping the coconut or the small chunks of coral, but she got all bent out of shape when I told her I also wanted to hold on to the seal.
A Hawaiian Monk Seal napping in the sand.
I asked Rebecca to give me one good reason why I couldn’t keep the monk seal, and she spouted off about ten of them. First of all, she said there was probably some sort of law against transporting an unrestrained, 500 pound sea mammal in the back of a Toyota Venza. I passed her my smartphone and asked her to point to that particular ordinance. She must have known there was no such law because she didn’t even attempt to reach for my phone. Rebecca then asked me if I was aware that a monk seal could eat upwards of 50 pounds of fish per day. I responded by reaching into my wallet and producing my Sam’s card, “Isn’t that just the sort of thing I carry this for?”
I don’t remember what all else Rebecca said, something about seals not being house-broken and them being really hard on carpet and furniture. Truth be told, none of it sounded all that convincing. Had she not told me I would be required to walk it and bathe it every day, I would have stuck to my guns and brought the seal home with me. Although it killed me to let Rebecca win in an argument, she had a pretty good point. Walking and bathing a 500 pound monk seal is a big responsibility; especially when I don’t even remember to walk and bathe myself every day.
On a serious note, the Hawaiian Monk Seal is an endangered species. It is the only seal native to Hawaii and several laws have been passed against harming, harassing or encroaching into the animal’s personal space. We were really lucky to get a glimpse of the seal on the beach; but as a general rule, any person in the animal’s vicinity should attempt to remain at least 50 feet away. Monk Seals can be very aggressive and it’s really hard to look cool when your screaming and crying, all the while being chased down the beach by one you got a little too close to.
A Wai’anae sunset in November
Although I couldn’t keep the monk seal, I managed to get some pretty spectactular sunset photos that I can share with all of you. While these pictures certainly don’t give the scene the justice it deserves, I think you will enjoy them just the same.
I love how I managed to capture that sea foam just as it came crashing against the rocks.
Only God could create a scene so beautiful as this!
That dark cloud coverage and choppy water has some sort of eerie effect on me.
This scene is one of beauty, sorrow, and everlasting peace. From the erected cross at this beachfront memorial, It is only obvious that some poor family experienced great tragedy here. Although our walk started out very light-hearted, we ended it on a rather sobering note. Looking now at this photo, it is a bible verse that comes readily to mind:
Posted in Adventurous Places, North America and tagged Hawaii, monk seals, Oahu, Wai'anae by Big John with no comments yet.
Just off the Mediterranean coast, in the Region of Murcia, is the Spanish city of Cartagena. In addition to its natural seaport, the ancient city of Cartagena was strategically important to both Carthage and Rome due its close proximity to rich silver mines during that period of time. From Carthaginians, to Romans, to Moors, the Mediterranean city of Cartagena has a very long and colorful history. Visitors entering the city today will find remnants of that glorious past in the form of murals, mosaics, and Roman ruins. Perhaps the most fascinating of all is the Roman theatre of Cartagena which was only uncovered in recent years.
The Roman Theatre of Cartagena was built between 5 and 1 B.C., at the times of Gaius and Lucius, the grandsons of Caesar Augustus. In the 3rd century A.D., a market was built over the theatre and then a cathedral in the 12th century. It wasn’t until the 1990s that excavations were begun to restore the site to its former glory.
After touring the ancient amplitheatre, my mind kept racing back to those glory days when I lived that life of a daring and dashing gladiator.
Big John in his glory days!
Big John standing at the massive theatre wall, reminiscing back to his Spartacus years.
Just recently, archeologists discovered completely intact cages that once housed gladiators and various animals.
Scenes of antiquity from the extraordinary history of Cartagena
Rebecca was rather upset when she found out she missed the gladiator show by a few thousand years.
I thought I had found the largest door in the city…
…but then she just had to go and one up me!
The town hall of Cartagena
Armed with my trusty iPhone camera, I was ready to hit the streets!
These buildings in the barrio were mostly false fronts!
Big John tries to flex under the mighty limbs of an old banyan tree.
…and there stands my beautiful Spanish flower!
I’m not quite sure, but I believe this kid is singing to a fish. I think that may be a warning not to drink the water coming from this fountain!
Cartagena has a history of bullfighting that dates back to the 13th Century. Although the city no longer hosts these events, bullfighting can still be found in other regions of Mercia and Spain.
I never knew there was so much beauty in the streets of Spain!
Under a canopy of ancient Roman ruins.
Much of Cartagena is still an active archeological site.
All of these ancient ruins reminded me of our fascinating trip to the city of Rome.
These bronze ladies are sharing spreading good news in the midst of San Sebastian Plaza.
San Sabastian plaza offers visitors an excellent shopping and dining experience.
Much of Cartagena’s beautiful architecture seems to be a clash between the Renaissance and modernist flair.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she had a thing for cops.
The walled remnants of an ancient fortress perched high on a Cartagena hill.
A statue of Hannibal Barca
Hannibal Barca was a general from Ancient Carthage who is widely considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. Much of Hannibal’s fame was gained in heavy combat during the Second Punic War.
Rebecca would travel all the way to Cartagena just to eat delicious tapas!
After miles of sightseeing through a city full of fascinating history, Rebecca and I were ready to enjoy one of Cartagena’s greatest treasures – her insanely good Spanish cuisine! Even the ancient Carthaginians knew the importance of throwing a good feast!
I hope our journey through Cartagena inspired you to pack those bags and embark on an adventure all of your own making. Thank you for visiting Big John’s Adventures in Travel and please feel free to explore more of my site.
Posted in Adventurous Places, Europe, Historical Journeys and tagged Cartagena, Spain by Big John with no comments yet.
Anybody who has spent more than a few days on Oahu will tell you that some of the best food on the island is found at food trucks on the North Shore. These colorful restaurants on wheels first began springing up around Honolulu in the 1970s. Back then it was mainly burgers, hotdogs, and the traditional Asian cuisine. Now-a-days, a person can satisfy any cravings from zesty street tacos to wasabi-flavored poke bowls.
Some of the best food trucks on Oahu are found on the North Shore, directly across the street from Shark’s Cove.
If Rebecca and I had to pick a favorite mobile eatery it would definitely be Aji Limo Truck!
All of Aji’s dishes are made with the freshest local fish and organic produce bought from the nearby Pupukea Garden Farms.
Don’t worry, the beers were all mine! This little mommy always plays it safe and refrains from consuming raw fish or adult beverages.
This California inspired dish consisted of Sashimi, rice, avacados, and salad…. Yes, it was every bit as good as it looks!
Rebecca had the Thai poke (only she had them throw the fish on the grill to make her meal pregnancy-friendly). This tasty dish consisted of fresh salmon, mango, cilantro, crispy coconut and coconut sauce over rice and organic greens.
Our friend, Foghorn Leghorn, decided to show up for dinner unannounced. He’s lucky I had a little extra corn to spare!
This truly is my happy place!
If tacos are your thing than don’t go far. You’re not going to find anywhere better than North Shore Tacos.
North Shore Tacos offers shrimp, fish, chicken, beef, steak, pork, and even a vegetarian option as well… Yum!
For a little slice of heaven right on the North Shore, come visit Jerry’s Pizza! He also has some pretty amazing subs, salads and desserts.
Get your surf lessons and rentals at North Shores Surf Shop
Your momma warned you never to enter the water right after eating… but then again, your momma has probably never been to Hawaii’s North Shore!
Rebecca thought it would be fun to hide her baby-bump behind this purple Hawai sarong.
I would probably be the scariest mermaid you could ever meet at sea!
Cars line the strip in front of shark’s cove.
Shark’s Cove is a popular tourist site for snorkeling and it is fairly shallow. The water does get up to 20 feet at the cove’s mouth and many scuba divers explore the areas just outside the cove. A few caves can be found around the cove’s northwest point, and to a lesser extent to the south. The area to the left of the cove offers excellent night diving. The origin of the cove’s name is uncertain, but sharks are not any more common here than other places on Oahu.
Laniakea Beach in North Shore
Probably one of the best places to sea a Hawaiian green sea turtle basking in the sun is at Laniakea Beach.
The Hawaiian green sea turtles arrives onto Laniakea Beach most regularly around lunch time. The sea turtles and I share that in common, since lunch time is also my favorite time to visit the area. But regardless of whether you’re coming to surf, snorkel, chow down, or simply bask under a Hawaiian sun, there is never a really bad to to visit Oahu’s fabulous North Shore!
Mahalo and happy travels,
Posted in Adventurous Places, Great Dining, North America and tagged food trucks, Hawaii, North Shore, Oahu by Big John with 3 comments.