We are staying on Oahu’s North Shore with Mike’s brother and sister-in-law. It’s a time of tears and remembrances (Mike’s mom passed away last month), but also of laughter and telling stories around the kitchen table.
The North Shore is busy – – TOO busy for someone like Mike – – who remembers the old days when there was no traffic and he had surf spots practically to himself.
Now there’s a surf contest every time you turn around,
and the daily surf lineup is fierce with competition for a wave. (I used to think surfers were mellow before I met Mike. Ha!)
Traffic, which is one way into Haleiwa and one way out, single lanes – – (unless you’re willing to drive the looonng way around the island), is snarled and tempers flare. I’ve sat for an hour trying to go from Haleiwa (Ha-lay-ee-va) to Foodland, and that’s normally a 10–15 minute drive. The world is getting smaller, there are more and more people, and Hawaii is no exception.
As if the waves aren’t enough of a draw, there are the whales. We had all walked to the beach for sunset, lawn chairs in tow, and the sun was a brilliant orangey-red thanks to the VOG factor (volcanic organic gas). Riveting–until we noticed the whale puffs to our right…then it was like a tennis match – – faces swinging left to sunset, right to whales, back to sunset, not wanting to miss anything.
We had all swung right when two very large whales broke the water surface and did a perfectly synchronized double-breach, mid – air. Like 4th of July, the crowd oohed and ahhed. It was as if we were at Sea World watching a dolphin show, but with huge whales, in the wild, with no trainer. Mike said he had seen a double- breach maybe 30 times in his entire life in Hawaii. I had never seen it. What a special moment. No photo of course – – and if I’d had my head glued to a camera I wouldn’t have truly experienced it.
Then there are the weddings (and engagements) taking place on the beach… Flashes going off from large professional cameras and processions of barefoot dressed – up bridesmaids and beaming brides.
Lastly, the dogs, who frolic with circles of friends in the water, on the shore, and sometimes in a conga line. I half expect them to dance, they are just so darned happy to be Hawaii beach dogs.
So if you come to Oahu’s North Shore, be sure to pack your patience – – particularly if you have your heart set on the famous Matsumoto’s shave ice. The line is always out the door!
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