We started our day with the much-anticipated snorkeling trip to Hanauma Bay. I'd gone here last year, but snorkeling with someone else is way more fun than doing it on your own.
We saw tons of colorful fish, alone and in schools. Our favorite was a giant Redlip Parrotfish. It looked like this, only way bigger - at least the length of my arm. We could hear it gnawing on the coral. We also saw a sea turtle swimming in the coral, and a bunch of surgeonfish in all different colors. The Achilles tang surgeonfish was the best.
I eventually got cold and came out to read on the beach. Diana went back in and swam around the rocks in the middle. She says that spot is even better. Another fish she particularly enjoyed was the lagoon or picasso triggerfish. In Hawaiian these triggerfish and reef triggerfish are all called "humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa" which is one of the longest Hawaiian words. The reef triggerfish is the state fish of Hawaii, but diana thought it was the lesser of the two.
As the sun began to set, we left the bay to get lunch. I was on a mission to eat raw fish every day of our trip, so we went for sushi. We ended up at Kozo Sushi a nondescript sushi spot near the bay. It didn't look like much, but it ended up being the best sushi of the trip. The Spicy Ahi Nigiri was fantastic - it was like a roll but the rice was at the bottom of each piece and the pieces were packed with spicy ahi and creamy sauce. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
We took the sushi to go and drove up to the Lanai lookout. It was wonderful - just the cliffs, the rocks and the ocean. The waves drowned out the sounds of the highway behind us and gave the impression of complete isolation from the world. We even saw a bunch of whales in the distance.
After the sun set but before darkness came, we snuck a quick look at the Halona blowhole. The tide wasn't right so it wasn't as impressive, but we did see mist and even a few jets of water come out of the hole.
On the way home, we stopped by at Kozo to pick up more sushi. We also hit up Leonard's Bakery for some Malasadas for desert. A malasada is like a donut, but there's no hole in the middle. They had several flavors. We liked the sweet-and-sour one the best, especially because we ate it immediately and it was hot and soft. Here's the rest of our dinner:
Before going to bed, we got some intel from our AirBnB host about the location of Ratchet Sound, a mysterious and secluded area that the locals don't what people to know about. There are several posts about this place on other blogs, but none mention the location, and we really wanted to find it. It turned out that our host is a competitive canoer and she knows the coast very well. She told us that these rock formations only appear in one area of the island. So next year, we'll have to investigate.
We added Shelley to our group and went to see Pearl Harbor. It was kinda cool, but not that great. We went out on a boat to the USS Arizona memorial - a small memorial built on top of the sunken ship that blew up during the attack and killed just about all of her crew. There was also a good movie and several exhibits about the day of the attack that describe how everything went down.
After Pearl Harbor, we went looking for a Japanese-style temple that we caught a glimpse of from the highway. We thought it was the Royal Mausoleum, but it turned out to be the Sanju Pagoda. The temple itself was cool. It was very quiet and there was a river nearby. It had a very jungle-y feel to it. But it was closed and we couldn't go inside, so we didn't spend much time there.
For lunch, we went to Sushi and Bibimbap. They had giant rolls that took me at least two bites a piece to eat, but the quality was not as good as other sushi places we'd gone to in the last few days. We ate on the Honolulu beach, then met up with Venose & co and threw around and swam some.
After the beach, we went to the airport to pick up Butter, Furf and Raha. We checked into their hotel (the tiniest hotel room I've seen in a while), then went to a bar in the mall for happy hour and dinner. We drank Mai Tais, then migrated to a different bar for better beer. There we met up with Jared, Dono and Mellen and chatted for a few hours before heading off to bed.
Met Bhavin and Castle for breakfast at Town. We were planning to do the Three Peaks hike after breakfast, but it had been raining all night and the trail was probably super muddy, so we bailed. Instead, went shopping in Waikiki. I got a straw hat and board shorts, Furf and Butter bought their next year's worth of shopping. Diana also wanted to get board shorts, but none of the mens shorts fit her well and the women's shorts all suck.
After a few hours, we headed to Kona Brewery for lunch/dinner/happy hour. Pretty much everyone from Philthy was there - the guys team and the girls team. The Maui crew was back and Dusty was finally in from his 30-hour airport adventure. Here's our table - all AMPers:
We hung out for a few hours, then went to the campsite to set up our tents. After tent setup, we hit the fields for registration and partying. Nothing too memorable to report, but that's mostly because my memory is terrible when I'm drinking.
At night, it was super windy and rainy. The tent did well for a while, but the wind was blowing the rainwater up the side of our rain fly and through the zipper into our tent. We moved some stuff around, bailed on the tent and retreated to the van to sleep.