We made it to Honolulu, and even more importantly so did all of our bags and equipment!
The journey was a true adventure, but we were really impressed with Alaska Airlines service when it came to excess baggage (for some reason, 9 x $50 bag fees = $220…) and Art’s Dodge Caravan for getting us and all of our gear checked in. Thanks to Art for driving us down!
We stayed in a hostel on Waikiki Beach for a couple of days until our rental room becomes available on July 5 (today). It has been awesome to get to know the island and explore. We drove around the entire eastern half of Oahu Tuesday, stopping periodically to walk on the beach and suss out potential dive sites.
Dive sites have five requirements:
- Free parking near the beach
- Easy beach access (i.e. you don’t have to climb over giant rocks or go down 1000 steps)
- Relatively calm (or potential to be relatively calm)
- Near a gap in the reef crest that we can swim through
- Scientifically interesting
Good news is that we found quite a few likely spots! We also found a number of friendly turtles, beautiful views, and delicious Hawaiian shave ice.
Bad news is that the hostel subsequently lost our rental car key. I called this a blessing in disguise, because it meant we were confined to Waikiki Beach for the 4th of July so didn’t really have any change to get work done. Instead, we took the opportunity to pretend that we were here on holiday like everyone else.
The highlight was watching crews of locals fill up enormous inflatable toys with beer coolers and swim them out through the surf to a giant flotilla of partiers. About 60% of them made it successfully, but plenty of groups provided excellent wipe-outs for our entertainment.
We celebrated Independence Day in high style with classy takeaway Thai food (the bill was double what we would normally pay for take-out, but we are new here and didn’t know any better) in Ala Moana Beach Park where we could hear a live concert, watch the moonrise, and most importantly enjoy the awesome fireworks show.
Today we move into our first month’s accommodation, a rental room in a house, and also move Simon’s hydrophones into a lab. Tomorrow we are back to real ‘work.’ For this first month, that will mostly be computer based, but we’ll also be testing equipment and protocols for the research cruise in August.
And we are happy to report that the hostel is being very nice and has called a locksmith to open the car and make a new key, so we should be on our way soon 🙂