We were fortunate enough to spend a week in Hawaii whilst on our honeymoon. We stayed in Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. I have wanted to visit Hawaii since I was a small girl growing up in the nineties after my Great Aunt and Uncle went. They bought me back a cute pineapple necklace, t shirt and bag. I absolutely adored their gifts and I think I still have them kicking about somewhere today!
When Phil and I first started talking about our wedding and honeymoon as teenage dreamers about nine years ago, I mentioned how much I would love to go to Hawaii. It’s quite a long journey and when you add up the flights from London and the hotel etc, it’s actually quite an expensive trip. Weddings in themselves are quite expensive, so I’m very grateful that we managed to go.
We actually landed up flying there from Las Vegas as we planned a West Coast tour of the United States. The flight was around six hours. I didn’t realise quite how far Hawaii is. I’ve always thought that it’s just off of the West Coast, which it is in theory. It’s also only 7-8 hours from Japan and Australia. There were a lot of Japanese tourists and I only saw a British family once during our stay. It was in Hawaii that I felt furthest away from home (obviously I was, but you know!).
When we arrived, I imagined it would be like an unspoilt deserted island with little wooden shacks and people walking around in Hawaiin shirts with flowers adorning their necks whilst sipping on coconuts. The reality is that Waikiki is actually quite built up (although there are plenty of fun shirt wearers). The beach has a backdrop of skyscrapers and concrete engulfs the coastline. You can still see the rainforest if you look behind the man made jungle though. Despite the human invasion, Waikiki is still absolutely beautiful. Nobody can deny that the beaches are incredible and the sea is so clear that you feel as though you could be in an Evian advert. As much as I was initially disappointed to see such huge buildings towering over our idyllic honeymoon setting, it was actually okay. It was better than okay. It was incredibly convenient. You see Waikiki’s beauty hasn’t been killed off by homosapien invasion. Waikiki is very much alive. We struggled terribly with jet lag whilst away. We were barely used to being eight hours behind the UK when we thrusted ourselves to Hawaii, throwing us a further three hours behind what we were almost used to. This meant that our timing was a bit odd and we would be very awake quite early or quite awake very late. This doesn’t matter in Waikiki Beach. You can go out early in the morning, indulge in an early morning Starbucks treat and be greeted with people, with life. Likewise, the shops and restaurants are buzzing into the late hours. You want a new outfit at 9pm? Not a problem. Dinner at 10? That’s okay too. Eighty percent of Hawaii’s population reside in Honolulu. That coupled with the huge amount of tourists means that the sky scrapers are a necessity in ensuring that needs are met. I totally get that. Plus, if you do fancy a more laid back, untouched approach to your trip, you can always go for a little drive where you will be met with tiny villages and miles of agriculture.
We used our time in Hawaii to relax and just enjoy each other’s company. Our entire trip had been meticulously planned almost down to the minute and so it was nice to explore at a leisurely pace and just embrace what Honolulu has to offer. We did book our shark swim before we set off though, as I wanted to research the company we were choosing and secure a slot as in the height of summer things can get pretty booked up. We opted for North Shore Shark tours who are an established company with lots of experience. This was very important to me if I was going to throw my body into shark infested waters. Especially as I am not the strongest of swimmers and am certain I cannot out swim a shark back to the boat. I used trusty Trip Advisor to source out the companies with the best reviews. I would highly recommend checking anywhere you aren’t sure about on Trip Advisor as it is so easy to use and provides a wealth of information.
Hurricane Guillermo was expected to touch down whilst we were in Honolulu and also on our shark swim day! News reports of how awful the hurricane was going to be were in full swing and I was a little terrified. I even thought about stocking up on necessities such as Pain au Chocolat and M&Ms (as long as you have chocolate everything is fine right?!). Fortunately the hurricane didn’t live up to the forecasters expectations and turned out to actually be a short rain shower in the morning. Not too dissimilar to often rainy London. This thrilled us as we could continue enjoying our adventure and our shark tour was scheduled for the next morning. We organised transport through the shark tour which made our journey there really easy and pleasant. We were picked up from the Hyatt Regency with a couple of other thrill seekers. One of the other passengers was a lovely girl from Brisbane who it turned out I had quite a bit in common with. We had a natter in the car and before long it was time for our encounter with sea predators. We were warned to take anti sickness tablets beforehand, which is something I never normally do before boarding a boat. I am very lucky that I don’t suffer from motion sickness (a fact I once bragged about over dinner, citing that my brain was ‘too intelligent’ before somebody pointed out I was holding my knife upside down – awks!), so I’m not used to popping pills. Poor Phil often feels seasick when we are on a boating adventure, sadly even a couple of the pharmacy’s finest anti sickness tablets didn’t help him out. The sea was particularly choppy the morning of our swim thanks to cheeky Guillermo which resulted in poor Phil feeling particularly poorly. That didn’t stop us though as we still readily hopped into the shark and whale infested waters upon command (second group!). We were all quite jovial on the ride out, peering over the side to spot our new oceanic friends.
Pre swim selfie!
At first our only worry was the temperature of the water. We were four miles off of the coastline and although on land it was a delightful thirty two degrees, I was rather concerned that the water would not reflect that and would leave me regretting wearing a couple of pieces of minuscule fabric instead of a wet suit. I needn’t have worried though as the water was absolutely gorgeous. It may surprise you that I wasn’t scared of going into the cage and being surrounded by fishy friends. I did have a moment when I saw a few over the side of the boat though and it all felt very real. We were in the cage for around twenty minutes, dipping underwater to spectate the wonderful Galapago Sharks. It was incredible to see them in their natural habitat. It was such a beautiful experience watching these creatures swim wild and free in the ocean. I did spend a lot of our experience being battered against the cage as the sea was so excitable. This was the most terrifying part of the whole trip. A few times one of my limbs would be forced out of the cage through the (rather large) bars. I’m not going to lie, this did freak me out a little and I decided to hang out near the ladder so that there was more of a barrier for my poor limbs. Obviously I’m not a sharks natural choice of food, but if it’s hungry and my leg is hanging out… Well let’s just say that’s a risk I didn’t fancy taking. We were so lucky to have such an amazing shark encounter, there were so many swimming around us of all shapes and sizes. It was truly incredible. Soon our time was up and we were reeled back in and onto the boat and driven back to Waikiki with our GoPro footage and our new memory. I have put a video up on my channel of our swim. Excuse the rough edit – I was jet lagged and in a hurry! You can check it out here.
I loved the Hawaiian lifestyle and vibe. It was great to see people enjoying being outdoors so much. Hawaii also has a thriving wildlife which is just fantastic. We loved shopping. Everywhere from market stalls with local produce to high end designer shops. Waikiki has it all. Before long we were hopping on a plane to Los Angeles, leaving the chilled out vibe behind us. We have vowed to return to Hawaii, although we will spend more time there and hit up the other islands as we have heard that they are just perfect.
Until next time Hawaii x