The island of Oahu, part of The Hawaiian Island archipelago, is home to one of the most popular surfing hot spots in the world: The North Shore. It’s here where you’ll find crisp turquoise waves in the summer, practically made for surfing, that attracts surfers from all over the globe. The pristine coastline introduces the tropics of the island north, where jungles climb mountains and food trucks rally along Kamehameha Highway that steers along the island coast. We had all day to explore the northern stretch of Oahu that would eventually lead us to the mysterious Event #5. I know what Event#5 is but I’m not exactly sure what it is.
After a wild morning with Galapagos Sharks, our plan was to coast the North Shore, visiting as many beaches and food trucks as possible. We didn’t know which beaches or places to hit, so we just stopped at whichever one caught our eyes. This was ‘winging it’ in every sense of the word and it was exactly what we wanted. We drove by a site called Waimea Valley where a short and easy stroll through a heritage jungle will lead you to a waterfall you could freely swim in. We went there first.
I was at this spot 12 years ago and before we weren’t required to wear life jackets (I could be mistaken though, my memory is horrible). Fast forward to the present, life jackets were required by everyone. I didn’t understand why until we tried to swim towards the waterfall. The force was strong!
The beaches on the North Shore were the best. We went to about three or four different ones and spent a good chunk of time at each of them. The first one was at Sharks Cove where I tried out a travel hammock I received as a gift from a friend, just before I left on this worldly conquest. While the others went to explore the coves, I took a much-needed nap in that super comfortable hammock.
The next beach? Turtle Bay. In order to get there, we drove through a hotel resort and walked right up to the waters filled with tourists, but still oh so nice.
Another beach? Why not? This time we drove just a few kilometers east to Sunset Beach. The name was fitting as we did not a single thing but rest our eyes and relax on the sand and hammock. It was absolutely perfect.
The majority of the day was spent beach side and searching for food trucks. My favorite beach of the bunch? Shark’s Cove. I didn’t even get into the water for that one. The hammock sold me. Truly being lazy. But, the laziness was about to end–we still had Event #5 which took place during the night hours. What could we possibly be doing at night? I knew the answer (for the most part) but I kept the others in the dark until we arrived at our destination.
Event #5 of 8 – Lunar Legends SUP
Stand up paddle boarding? I never tried it, let alone in the dark. I found a place that has standup paddle boards with colorful lights attached underneath where you can cruise through a Polynesian jungle using the moon as your guide. Sounds amazing right? It takes place at the Polynesian Cultural Center, just a few kilometers east of the beaches we visited.
As neat as it sounded, I wasn’t sure exactly how it would turn out. Would there be a lot of people doing it? Was standup paddle boarding going to be easy or difficult? What’s the actual jungle like? The website said there was some surprise at the end of the tour. What was the surprise?! I had many questions that were answered that night, thanks to our humble guide that would lead the four of us along with about six others along a man-made river through the Polynesian Cultural Center. The river was only three feet deep. So if you fall in, it wouldn’t be so horrendous.
We each were given a life vest and chose a board to stand on. We first had to kneel on it and then use the single paddle we had to hoist ourselves up. It wasn’t as difficult as I’ve heard it could be but then again, this river was the calmest imaginable.
By the way, night shots are difficult for me, especially while trying to keep my balance on a wobbly board so sorry for the grainy images. This is what I’m working with!
The lights under our board complimented an already unique environment as we peacefully coasted (and purposely rammed into each other) along the river. Once I got the hang of things, my new goal was to knock the others into the water by bashing my board into theirs. We paddled towards small waterfalls we could go under by choice. No one wanted to get wet, but it was my mission to shove someone’s board underneath a fall and with success I was able to get Katelin. Karma hit me instantly when Sean shoved my board and instead of keeping balance, I fell into the river. Thankfully it was on the warmer side.
The tour lasted for about an hour. As for that “special surprise” at the end…there wasn’t one. It was probably those waterfalls. The tour ended with another woman falling into the river when she couldn’t find her balance on the board. I wasn’t the only one to fall!
The Lunar Legends was nice, but I would have enjoyed it more if it was just my group. A few of the other paddlers in our group slowed us down and hampered the whole “Polynesian” part of the experience because one of the ladies had difficulty even standing in the beginning. This also was my first time with a stand up paddle board and personally for me it was meh…
The others enjoyed it though and that’s what really mattered. Five of the Eight Extraordinary Events down, three more to go!