When I stepped onto the white sand of Kaanapali Beach, I knew I would never want to leave. When the cool breeze brushed my face, I instantly felt relaxed. The ocean waves broke so delicately. “Shoo,” the water comes up. “Whoop,” the water is sucked back into the large ocean, like the work of a vacuum cleaner.
“Are we there yet?” I continuously chanted on the flight to Hawaii.
When we arrived, I felt like I was in another world. We were in Honolulu, Oahu, which is the largest city in the world, claims the Discover Oahu website. The island was a bit commercialized, but still magical.
“Hawaii has more skyscrapers than I thought it would,” my sister said.
My whole family was battling the jet lag of a six-hour time difference, but we still drove to Ko Olina, where the Disney Aulani Resort and Spa was located. I had seen commercials for this resort, but I never could have possibly imagined that I would actually visit. There was a beach, a water park, and the best food that I had ever eaten. My family spend the entire next day in Oahu at Pearl Harbor, the Dole Pineapple Plantation, and the Polynesian Cultural Center. On the way to Pearl Harbor, I saw the largest windmill ever. In fact, the Discover Oahu website shows that the windmill is “the world’s largest wind generator!” When we arrived at Pearl Harbor, we learned that we wouldn’t even get to see the U.S.S Arizona because we would have had to line up at 6 am to purchase tickets. However, we did get to see the Pearl Harbor submarine and museum. After this experience, my family went to the Dole Pineapple Plantation. We took the Pineapple Express, which traveled around the entire plantation. We could see coffee plants, lemon trees, pineapple bushes, and so much more. When this part of the day concluded, we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center, where I attended my first luau. Oahu was so exciting, but we had to leave for the Valley Isle.
The first activity we participated in on Maui was zip lining. The course overlooked a tropical garden, with mountains in the background. The first course was a bit scary, but the sensation flying eased my nerves. For each different course, our instructor, Ray, told us to pose differently, with back bends or lying flat. Although zip lining was spectacular, my favorite activity on Maui was an eleven-hour tour called, the “Road to Hana”. We stopped at beautiful beaches, breath-taking gardens, and countless waterfalls.
Our tour guide said that the journey had “617 hair-pin turns and 56 narrow, one-lane bridges.”
My favorite part of the “Road to Hana” was a Hawaiian National Park called, Black Sand Beach. We also went to a white sand beach and a red sand beach. According to the iTrip website, “black sand is created by the islands’ pulverized lava rock…(and) coral and shells help to create white sand.” Next, red sand is also made from lava, “however its creation is due to iron-rich content.” After five days in Maui, we headed to Kauai.
When my family got off the plane, we went to the Island Helicopter Tours building, where my favorite part of the entire trip occurred. During the hour-long flight, my family saw canyons, bays, waterfalls, and numerous mountains. The large canyon, Waimea Canyon, is nicknamed “The Grand Canyon of Hawaii”. In fact, “the highest waterfall is in Waimea Canyon, falling 800 feet,” claims the Kauai Fun Facts website. My sister and I sat in the front, so we got the best view. The water was so blue. The mountains were so green. Everything was just so beautiful. After the helicopter tour, we grabbed a bite to eat under the Lahaina Banyan tree. “The tree stands more than 60 feet tall…(and) is the size of a full city block,” claims the iTrip website. After this unique experience, we went to the beach.
When we arrived, I jumped right in the warm water. When I looked to my left, I saw Maui smiling at me and to the right, I saw Niihau waving hello. As my sister, my dad, and I were enjoying the ocean waves, my mom went on a beach walk, in search of beautiful Hawaiian shells and sea glass. When I got out of the water, I went to go find my mom and see if I could find any Hawaiian treasures. My mom showed me this perfect shell that she found, but it had gunk all over it. She scratched at the gunk, but it wouldn’t come off, so she put the shell back and thought nothing more of it. I then got back in the ocean. When we left the beach, we checked into our little hotel; the Hilton Garden Inn. The Kauai Fun Facts website shows that, “Kauai’s building code dictates that ‘no building shall be taller than a coconut palm.” This is why the hotel was only two stories tall. The next day, my family attended a craft fair. There were beautiful yellow and orange shells being sold. According to the Hawaii website, they are called sunrise shells because the colors on the shell are “akin to what you would see during an actual Hawaiian sunrise.” They were the most beautiful shells I had ever seen. My sister, my mom, and I each bought one. The booth owner told me that the shells were rare and are mostly found at depths of 10-30 feet under the ocean. When we arrived back at the hotel, my mom went onto Google to see images of what other sunrise shells looked like. To her surprise, the shells are not as beautiful when they are first found. In fact, they have gunk on them that has to be taken off with a special solution. According to the Sunrise Shells of Kauai website, the cleaning process has five steps. First, the shells are soaked in a chemical to be cleaned. Secondly, the shells are hand-scrubbed “with a stiff wire brush.” Next, a dental pic is used to remove any excess dirt. Fourth, the shells are dried and finally, mineral oil is rubbed onto the shells.
“Kaza!” my mom said, “look at this!”
After reading this online article, my mom realized that she found one of these special sunrise shells, at the beach the day before. She had found a Hawaiian sunrise shell! I still cannot believe that my mom found one of these shells. It is so rare for them to wash up on shore. My mom and I were both a mix of angry and excited because even finding a Hawaiian sunrise shell is rare. Lastly, I’ve heard that if you are meant to have a sunrise shell, it will find you and a shell found my mom! Although keeping the sunrise shell would’ve been splendid, not many people can say that they found a Hawaiian sunrise shell, at all.
In closing, my trip to Hawaii was amazing. As I got on the plane to go home, I waved goodbye to what Mark Twain called, “The loveliest fleet of islands that lie anchored to the ocean.”