It always slows down near the heavily trafficked beaches, which are very popular in the winter when the surf is much higher in the North. It's not a road to take when you are in a hurry.
Saturday we went to the 1,800-acre Waimea Valley Nature Park near Waimea Bay. I've always wanted to visit it, but I happened to notice in the Honolulu paper that they were having their "Grand Reopening" on Saturday, called "Pulama O Waimea: To Care for and Cherish Waimea." The park has gone through a variety of owners over the year--it used to be an adventure park with cliff diving and ATV riding, etc., which must have been a completely bizarre thing in such an beautiful and historically significant spot. Then it was owned by the Audubon Society for several years, and now it's run by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
I really enjoyed seeing the Hawaiian botany, and we enjoyed some great entertainment on the upper lawn (where Nicholas had a nice nap in the shade). They had some demonstrations of Hawaiian crafts, as well. The least-favorite part was eating our picnic lunch near the entrance area, where we were accosted by female peacocks, and one of them actually grabbed part of Nicholas' lunch out of his hand!! Some of you might be aware that Mike had a nasty peacock incident as a child, when he was pecked in the chest by an aggressive male!
I had read in our trusty guidebooks that Waimea Falls (at the end of the park) has a lifeguard on duty and facilities to change into swimsuits...so we came prepared. However, once we reached the falls we saw the signs warning "slippery rocks," "rocks falling," and "do not enter the water if you have any open sores," because of leptospirosis, a disease spread by rats. Ugh! That's all I need to think about, rats going into a body of water, to keep me out! Apparently an average of 44 people a year contract leptospirosis in Hawaii. It didn't stop tons of people, though, from swimming in the water. Although the lifeguard lectured everyone before they could enter the water, one bozo was trying to climb up the waterfalls anyway. There's one in every crowd!! We sat on the bleachers (which I suspect were erected back in the "cliff diving" days of the adventure park) and watched. Kieran was ready to jump in, but we made the safe choice of keeping out of the water!
On the walk back, I tried to capture the beauty of the park in photos, which don't quite do it justice...
When we're not on the beach of being tourists, we are glued to the Beijing Olympics! Mike's been very excited to observe Britain earn a record-number of medals this year.