I can’t believe my Hawaii blog series is coming to an end! It was such a dream to experience the Pacific Ocean and the gorgeous Hawaiian island of Oahu. It was like visiting another world… the towering green mountains, the sparkling turquoise waters, and the delicious food (Loco Mocos are my favorite breakfast meal ever now!) all make Hawaii such a colorful place full of adventure. To my sweet bride Luisanna, I will always remember your hospitality as you opened up your home to us! You made our dreams come true! When I was a kid I used to say I wanted to be a world traveling photographer… and people thought I was dreaming too big. Well, whether this dream lasts one year, five years, or fifty years… I lived it. And I lived it to the fullest!!! Hawaii was a check off the bucketlist and SO much fun to experience with a best friend while I’m still “single” and lacking serious responsibilities! Hopefully Justin and I will come back together someday soon!

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Seeing the Byodo Temple by morning light was something on the list that I knew we had to do. It was smaller than I had imagined (don’t know why I thought it must have been so massive, because the real life version is pretty big itself lol) and it took us a few minutes to figure out how to get back here but once we did, it was gorgeous! The birds were chirping, the bells were ringing, and… the leaf blower was a blowin’. It cracked me up!! Besides the loud sounds of lawn maintenance, it was a peaceful morning!

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I tried to hold the temple in my hand. Fail.

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Obviously, there were lots of Koi fish.

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I took my shoes off and took a picture by Buddha! And then I rang the bell because… well I’m really not too sure why.

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Later that evening after the most epic paddleboarding fail ever (in the middle of the OCEAN during a STORM), we went for a whale watching tour… but I saw more whales during my shoot at Makapu’u than I did on the tour I paid $60 for!!!

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Oh well… we still had fun!

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The next morning we got up super early to go see Pearl Harbor. I had heard that it’s hard to get a ticket if you don’t show up before 8am… so we tried our best to get there when the gates opened! And we were successful! We spent 45 minutes wandering around the memorial grounds and the museum before our boat ride time to the Arizona Memorial. It was perfect!

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They have actually made Pearl Harbor into a really gorgeous place to walk around. I learned so much about World War II in just the 30 minutes we spent inside the museum!
We also got to see remnants of a torpedo that struck one of the ships in the harbor that morning… so crazy.

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This is the Arizona Memorial! It was actually really beautiful and had such a modern look to it even though it was designed in the 50’s!

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It looked brand new!!! If that wasn’t enough to trip me up, I had forgotten that one fun fact that the USS Arizona is STILL LEAKING OIL. 70+ years later. What?!?! I knew this, but it’s one thing to hear it and one thing to see it. Like, there is constantly oil coming up from under the water. In an almost steady stream. It’s insane!!!

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Our last few days in Hawaii, we spent at Ko’olina Lagoons (because it’s on the sunny side of the island and it’s the prettiest place ever) and one day, we saw a monk seal in the lagoon! She had lost her baby that week and was hanging around in the lagoon because she was sad and confused. It was seriously heartbreaking! She just moped around and refused to haul up on shore, which is what monk seals do during the day. It blew my mind to remember that animals have emotions just like we do… and it was so cool to see such a beautiful sea creature up close!!

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We made sure to do Tantalus Drive before heading home. Our third to last day we drove up the windy drive and stopped for the picturesque views of downtown Waikiki… so worth the ear popping!! :)

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Also, we hiked to see this waterfall when I had a fever and I was just a tad upset to discover that it was actually pretty dry at the end of the mile hike. Anyway. Moving on…

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This is where you should park if you ever find yourself driving around Waikiki! The parking lot behind the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort is paid (reasonably pricing) but also has a good handful of free spots! We used this boat harbor as our home base every time we drove into town!

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Our second to last day, we picked up my friend Cory to hike Diamondhead, go snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, and do Waikiki by night. I had so much fun hanging out with a Virginia friend in such a gorgeous place!!! Such fun memories to treasure!

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We spent this last night on the town bar hopping and checking out the most amazing infinity pool at the Sheraton. Talk about breathtaking. It was the perfect ending to our amazing Hawaiian adventure. Aloha, Oahu… until next time!

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