We left San Francisco as scheduled on the evening of 30th January to start our journey to Hawaii. We were scheduled to arrive in Honolulu on Feb 4th at 8am. On the 31st on the 12 noon announcement, the captain made the 12 noon announcement that we would be ‘thrashing the waters’ to get to Honolulu as quickly as possible as we has a very sick passenger onboard. He then also asked for everybody’s attention. The patient required blood, so he asked that anyone who had their blood donor card with them, was well and was either O negative or positive and willing to donate to make their way to the excursion desk where they could be processed. A lot of people made themselves available and the ship carried on.
The following day, another announcement was made, this time asking for anyone who was in the blood group and well, and was willing to donate to make their way to the excursion desk. It transpired that the sick passenger had 26 pints of blood donated through the 31 Jan-3rd Feb. We arrived in Honolulu at 23.00 on the 3rd February. Unfortunately the only passenger allowed off was him as their was not any security staff to allow us to get off. The patient was then taken away in an ambulance.
So, as scheduled I got off the ship in Honolulu on day one, February 4th. We had another overnight stay, so I had planned to go to the airport and pick up a hire car that I had pre booked through holiday extras via my personaliser on P&O. I got the taxi to the airport (after struggling to get and uber – that’s another story!) The taxi driver asked me what hire car company I needed to go to, so I checked the paperwork, but there was no company listed and also all it said was to collect at the airport, so I just asked the taxi to drop me at the car hire rental desks and I will see if I could find out what car hire company I was booked with. I approached the Avis desk, and the lady checked the booking on their system and on Budgets, but no joy. She couldn’t see anything having gone through my paperwork either. I just asked her how much it would be for a car hire until midnight tonight and I rebooked through them. I had no other idea how I could find out what car hire company the car was booked thorough so decided to sort it out when I return. Anyway, I collected my hire car and proceeded back to the ship to pick up two friend, Brendan and Rob, who were going to join me on a trip to the Kualoa Ranch and on a tour around the northern part of the island.
Kualoa is a 4000-acre private nature reserve and working cattle ranch, as well as a popular tourist attraction and filming location on the windward coast of Oʻahu in Hawaiʻi. It is located about 24 miles from Honolulu, and 32 miles from Haleiwa. We were requested to arrive one hour before, but due to the mix up with the car, we got there just about 25 minutes early which was fine. I think the reason they requested you get there earlier is so that you spend money in their shop as I really couldn’t see any other reason to arrive one hour early!
The description of the tour we chose from the website of Kualoa Ranch is as follows:
“Experience our familiar Ka’a’awa Valley, known as Hollywood’s “Hawaii Backlot,” to see where over 50 of Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster movies and TV shows were filmed, including even some of the 1960’s Elvis classics. Hop aboard a vintage school bus and take a photo of yourself at the infamous Jurassic Park fallen tree, find Godzilla’s footprints, see the Windtalkers battlegrounds and visit several other locations including the famous “penguin” road site from 50 First Dates,the road site from You Me & Dupree, the house structure from Mighty Joe Young, and numerous Hawaii Five-0 and LOST areas, like Hurley’s golf course! You might even see a filming in progress! You will also stop at an amazing WWII army bunker, built entirely into the side of the mountain range. There you’ll find movie posters, props and memorabilia from lots of the movies filmed at Kualoa through the years, as well as marvel at the Kualoa WWII artifacts and exhibits”.
We certainly saw everything from above and it was a really nice tour. We drove passed a derelict sugar mill and some hidden bunkers and upto Battery Cooper. Coast Artillery existed as a distinct branch within the Army since 1901 and as a combatant “line” arm after 1920. Its stated mission was to protect fleet bases, defeat naval and air attacks against cities and harbors, undertake beach defense while acting as army or theater reserve artillery, and provide a mine-planter service (more information from a website by clicking the link above)
As we walked further around the bunker, we then came across rooms filled with memorabilia and props of many of the programmes filmed.
Coming outside was a fabulous view of a beach the bus driver and tour guide called ‘Rainbow Beach’.
Carrying on the tour, we went through lots of pretty land and onto places where the films were filmed. Our next stop was a spot where in Jumanji, they are being chased by a large animal (elephant I think) and into the trees and there was a team member recording people running and cgi-ing in the elephant chasing them. I can’t run, so didn’t do this. There was also a big log from Jurassic park. This location was used for lots of different programmes. Maybe you recognise from some films! Please comment if you do!
We carried on around the tour and came to Hurley’s two hole golf course (from Lost).
Here is a few more photos of the ranch. It really is a beautiful place.
Just as the tour was ending, we went passed some old traditional Hawaiian buildings. They all had different heights of brickwork, which is apparently to do with hierarchy – the hire the brick base, the higher the status of the family members living there.
So the last visit of our tour was to see the pigs that were wild but they contain them now (I am presuming for the safety of visitors. One thing that was pointed out, is that all animals on the ranch are protected and can’t be hunted, so that was nice to hear.
We then had a quick drink and snack in the café and then left to do our tour. I had purchased an app on my phone called ‘Shaka Oahu’. It was a round the island guided tour. Once downloaded, it used GPS so you didn’t need data and as you passed certain points, it told you about the area and what was in the area to visit. It was a really good app and we stopped at several of the beaches on the way round. We were running out of daylight, so we just stopped for photos until the sun set. The tour also too us past the Dole pineapple plant (again – didn’t visit at it was 6.15 when we drove by and it closed at 5.30pm). Here is some photos from the beaches we went to while following the app route. The North Shore really is a beautiful place to go. If you visit Hawaii, definitely consider hiring a car and driving. No need to worry about toilets, they are at every beach (some are just port-a-loos, but that’s better than none!). I also found driving the road easy as the max speed is 45mph and most roads just 35mph, so its a slow drive.
The next day, I got up early and caught the courtesy bus to the local shopping mall and had a walk around the shops (I didn’t buy anything, which will please my husband!). Took a photo from the Mall (it was really hot even at 10am!). I think it was the marina!
I then got the bus back to the ship – we had to be back on board by 11.30am ready to depart for our next port. A couple of images taken from the ship.
We left Honolulu at about 12.30pm (I think there was a few passengers who didn’t make it back on board, so missed the boat).
Honolulu was great – still lots to see there, so will return again soon, I hope!
Onwards now, our next scheduled port is Pago Pago and on the 8th February, we will cross the equator. My next blog will be about that and an update on our ports as, yet again, the captain made and announcement on the evening of the 8th February that is affecting our next port!