After three months here, I am happy to report that we are loving life and the (almost) daily adventures Oahu provides.
We’ve survived a tropical storm, a centipede in our bed, hiking with toddlers, and countless trips to the beach.
Though chores still need completing and toddler butts still need wiping, daily life here is vastly more exciting than our lives on the mainland. Some of it has to do with attitude – we try not to waste weekends being lazy, and actively seek out things to do rather than just settling for a walk in the neighborhood – but mostly, we have Hawaii’s lush landscape and fabulous climate to thank.
The weather here is as incredible as you’ve heard it described. Our side of the island (windward side) gets both rain and sunshine every day, and temperatures are in the mid 80s this time of year with an almost constant cool breeze. Winter won’t be much different, as temperature only varies by about 6-10 degrees from summer to winter.
Morning starts at 6am as the roosters literally crow outside our window, and Brett gets up for work. Because of the time difference between here and Boston (where his company’s main office is located), Brett’s morning starts early in order to maximize time zone overlap. Though this may sound inconvenient for Help Scout, Brett’s only one of many employees who work remotely and his company has been happy to accommodate his new schedule. And with such an early start time, there is also the a huge perk — Brett gets off work by 3:30 almost every day.
I get up with the kids at around 6:30, and get everyone fed and ready for the day. Brett originally envisioned a quiet workplace, with me spending every morning and afternoon playing with the kids at the beach. Realistically, we spend most mornings at home. I do chores, work with Carter and Pierce on preschool skills, and take a daily trip to our neighborhood pool or playground. After lunch, the kids nap, I try to prep for dinner, and we all wait for Brett to finish work between 3 and 4.
Most evenings, we do one of the following options:
Complete a short hike (Lanikai Pillbox and Makapuu are two of our favorite easy hikes)
Or we complete shopping chores, like running to Costco or Target.
As fun as our evenings tend to be, weekends are what make life truly incredible here. Friday nights, after the kids are in bed, we usually plan out the weekend.
Wading or kayaking out to Chinaman’s Hat (Mokoliʻi) – my personal favorite
Chinaman’s Hat is an uninhabited island in Kaneohe Bay, which is about a 15 minute drive from our house. During low tide, you can walk/wade a third of a mile through the ocean to reach the island. The kids and I sit in a big inner tube, and Brett graciously pulls us through the water. My brother Kevin (who is living with us, in case you didn’t know) pulls a tube that holds our supplies for the day. When the tide is high, we load up our 3 person kayak and paddle to the island. I hold the boys in the middle, and Brett and Kevin provide manpower.
Once on the island, there are tide pools filled with fish and crabs, gorgeous views of the Koolau Mountains across the bay, a small beach, and rocks to climb. You can also hike/climb to the top of the island. We always pack a lunch and stay until we have to head home for naptime.
Exploring North Shore
Perhaps the biggest change that seasons bring to Hawaii happens on the North Shore. During summer, the water is calm and perfect for snorkeling, swimming, paddle boarding, or kayaking. Once winter comes, it will be a prime surfing location with enormous waves.
Because it takes almost an hour to get there from our place, we try to spend the entire day on the North Shore. There are awesome food trucks, picturesque surf shops and galleries, a paved hike that ends at a waterfall, and multiple beach options.
Summer’s calm water has provided us with hours of entertainment at Turtle Bay, Sharks Cove and Three Tables, where we snorkel and wade in shallow water to see fish, crabs, sea urchins, etc. Carter and I especially love going to Laniakea Beach, where large sea turtles lay in the sand to sun themselves, and there are huge lava rocks to climb. We usually end the day by going to Waimea Bay, where you can cliff jump and enjoy a sunset, or by heading to Sunset Beach (name is self explanatory).
Though crowds of tourists are unavoidable here, this bay offers the best snorkeling on the island. The coral attracts schools of tropical fish, and offers hours of water exploration.
Much as I adore the ocean, my favorite thing to do here is hike.
Manoa Falls is a wet, sometimes muddy trail, that leads to a beautiful waterfall. It’s not too long, and so long as Carter isn’t whining about mud, he can hike most of it on his own.
Lanikai Pillbox is a dry, short hike with stunning views the entire way up.
Diamond Head is well known, not super difficult, but packed with tourists. It rewards hikers with a gorgeous view of downtown Honolulu and the coastline.
Pu’u Ma’eli’eli is a trail we can literally walk to from our house. We only attempt this one if it hasn’t rained in awhile, otherwise it’s nearly impossible to do with kids because of steep, muddy hills. When it’s dry, it makes for a very fun hike with gorgeous views from the top.
Makapu’u is a paved trail that offers one of the best views the island has to offer.
In the future
There are dozens of other hikes still on our to-hike list, but Brett’s been dealing with a strained hamstring since we arrived and shorter hikes are better during his recovery.
We also plan to kayak out to a few other small islands, and out to a sandbar that’s in our area.
When funds are available, we plan on purchasing a stand up paddle board. We will spend time in calm waters learning how to not fall off of it.
In October, we will be heading to Kauai with Brett’s family for our first interisland hop. We will vacation with them there for a week.
****My next blog post will hopefully be Q and A style, with questions from friends and family. If you have any questions for us, post them and I will do my best to include an answer in my next post!***