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  • Writer's pictureTerri Tomoff

Botanical Gardens to Luau on the North Shore - Oahu

September 4, 2023, Kahana Bay (State Park), the beginning of the North Shore, Oahu

Aloha! We've been rockin' and rollin' every day here to far.

A good vacation should go by in a New York minute, even while in New York. I’m betting it is safe to say that when in paradise with an amazing Aloha Spirit everywhere one goes on any of the Hawaiian islands, time rushes by faster than a New York minute, but perhaps more like a speeding bullet.

The days are careening ahead, and we are trying to catch our breath with built-in “easy’” time, which is comprised of beach time, snorkeling, and water, or people, watching.

Today’s full day started out at Waimea Bay and its stunning Botanical Gardens. Because it is Labor Day, we thought it might be closed from the online information, but aha, it wasn’t. Thank goodness we left Kahana Bay a few hours earlier to check it out and see if, on the slightest chance, it would be open to the public. I mention that because we bought (2) tickets for the Waimea Luau Show later in the afternoon, and those tickets include the Waimea Botanical Gardens for the week. But who goes back? We won’t, as there is so much more to see and do. If we had a couple of more days here…well, there would have been a possibility.

The fall back to a closed, beautiful garden would be morning beach time - and some snorkeling.

If you’ve been to these fine gardens on the North Shore, you know what I say here. It was pure tropical flora and fauna as far as the eye could see, along with cultural reference to the gardens and trees smooshed in for all to ooh and ahh. Oh, and one waterfall (smallish) that was ho-hum for me but a delight to many swim-suit-life-jacket-wearing guests in the water. Jodie and I opted out of that and instead leaned in more to the flowers blooming all over the place in a riot of color.

Once back at the entrance, we ran back to the car to change into Luau attire. We had a few minutes to spare before being ushered into the intimate show for three hours of the afternoon, including cultural activities and lunch, then the main Polynesian show. It did not disappoint. A local family runs it, and the cast and crew are smaller than the bigger productions, but we loved it just like that (it was Jodie’s first luau).

By late afternoon, and since we didn’t get into the water all day, on our way back from the North Shore to Kahana Bay, we made a swim stop at Turtle Bay/Beach. Good thing too. I got my wish of seeing not only one turtle but about a dozen, all very close to the water’s edge. Once I decided to put my mask back on and swim out a bit, like one stroke, I about ran into a huge turtle as we met face to face - about six inches from my mask. Yikes! I was not counting on that close encounter, but thrilled it happened. I promptly backpedaled as fast as I could, got out of the water, and called it a day.

A magical day of Aloha Spirit is now pulsating through my body.




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