Monday, August 9, 2010

Honolulu Strikes Back

Honolulu knew that I liked Hilo better. The city lulled Jenny and I into a false sense of security with an awesome concert, a great day of diving, and a beautiful snorkel spot, and then BAM!! Honolulu got the last laugh: Jenny and I got sunburned over about 85% and 70% of our bodies respectively (I guess it could be worse for me at least). I'll spare you the graphic photos, and instead dwell on the fun parts of the weekend...

Jenny and I left Hilo at 7 AM on Wednesday morning for the short hop over to Honolulu, and we arrived at the Hawaii Conservation Conference (HCC) at about 11 in the morning. After sitting through a few talks we checked into our hotel, found an awesome used bookstore (yay books), and then met Pasha for dinner. Thursday was another full day of the conference, which to be entirely honest wasn't as interesting as our earlier conference in Hilo and became harder and harder to remain interested in... Here's a pretty picture from a few blocks away from the convention center- not that we skipped out on any part of the conference to get this or anything.



Thursday night Jenny and I went to a Mute Math concert, certainly the luckiest part of the trip. The music scene in Hawaii is understandably lame (unless you like reggae or ukelele), but in a fortunate coincidence, one of my favorite bands happened to play their first (and probably last concert) in Hawaii at a small venue in Honolulu called the Pipeline while I was in Honolulu- an opportunity way too good to miss. If you haven't heard of them, Mute Math is a fairly poppy (what a strange word) alternative rock band who puts on a great high-energy live show. In case you're interested, check out their hit, Typical: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XVWR-5fiG0. It was a great show: the bass was loud and the bassist was good, their balance was on, they played my favorite song which is an obscure track off of their old cd, and the singer jumped into the audience and, I'm just saying, he grabbed my hand. Just saying.





The conference ended Friday (woo), and Jenny and I moved from our hotel to Pasha's floor, the very same floor from my first stay in Honolulu; it was a sweet reunion indeed. A shout-out to our gracious host:



We went to sleep pretty early so that we could get up for our dives Saturday morning. Jenny isn't certified, and I hadn't scuba dived in 9 months so we all went on two 40-ft deep beginner dives off the eastern edge of Oahu. It was great to dive again, and we got to see turtles, moray eels, a dragon scorpionfish, a crown-of-thorns, and a handful of other rare endemic fish. Below is our dive site with Koko Crater in the background.



We finished off Saturday with a stop at Leonard's, THE place for Malasadas on Oahu. Malasadas are perhaps the most valuable creation of the Portuguese, a ball of dough deep-fried and covered in sugar that can be then be filled with cream. I ordered a Malasada stuffed with coconut cream. Happiness ensued:



Sunday we got up early and headed snorkeling at Haunama Bay, the best snorkel spot on the island. The place got packed, but fortunately the 400 or more people on the beach never ventured more than 60 feet from shore, so we had the reef crest all to ourselves. Conveniently, the reef crest was where everything interesting was: octopi, turtles, a zebra eel, triggerfish, and a bunch of other interesting little creatures. The saddest part of the day (and trip) was realizing that although we snorkeled for about 5 hours, our sunscreen apparently only lasted for about 2. Doh. Haunama Bay sure was pretty though:



We got back to Hilo late Sunday night and started getting ready for the week ahead, during which Tad (the head researcher) will be here, and Jenny and I will be undertaking some new work. More to come on that soon, meanwhile, we'll be recovering from Honolulu's wrath.



P.S. The strangest sight of the weekend by far was this enthusiastic stranger I ran into Saturday afternoon:

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