North Shore

Turtle Bay

On our last full day in Hawaii, Kathryn and I headed to the wilder north side of Oahu. The weather continued overcast, and the Pacific Ocean was sending plumes and spray across the beaches and rocks. Some of the parking lots had police tape around them to discourage access to the beaches.

Having left without eating breakfast we stopped at a place called The Spot, which was a series of trailers and shacks, one of which had souvenirs, tie-dye clothes, and hippie style jewelry.

When we arrived the young clerks were telling two guys who wanted to snorkel that they’d have to go to the western side of the point to avoid rough seas. The breakfast tacos with veggies filled us up, and the chickens looking for handouts drove us away.

Turtle Bay has become a private enclave – a pool surrounded by reclining white people being waited on by brown people. We learned from Mark that anyone may walk onto and use any beach on the islands. For the most part, though, the area offered rocks and a serious undertow. A couple of impressive blowholes erupted from the lava.

We drove back down to Kahuku where we found a somewhat sheltered area. Kathryn tried to rescue a crab that had stranded on the beach. It kept flipping onto its back and hadn’t made it back to sea by the time we left. We both got soaked to the knees by a rogue wave.

A misadventure at a roadside stand offering “cold coconuts.” The woman cut them with a machete that left blue discolorations. Plus they weren’t cold. We survived.

We took Mark to dinner at Hau Tree Lanai where we had hoped to view a sunset. Alas, the clouds hung on so we got just a tease – but a great view of the ocean with a few people braving the surf. In the middle distance lay a freighter that ran aground a couple of weeks before and is still awaiting removal.

We dined on the best fruits of the sea: crab cake appetizer, mahi in beurre blanc, salmon with a soy-ginger sauce. And we received magnificent service in an elegant setting.

On the return trip we talked about where Mother had lived when she taught at the University of Hawaii. I couldn’t remember the name, but as soon as Mark mentioned the Marco Polo I recognized the name. He said it had burned, that four people died, and some people are not back in their apartments.  It upset me and still does. She lived on the 32nd floor of that beautiful structure with the breezes wafting through the open air entry.  All I could think was – I’m so glad she wasn’t there when it happened.

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