Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ko Olina "A Place of Joy" - Ulua Lagoon 4

If you've ever wanted to feel like you were visiting a luxury hotel resort, {without having to pay upwards of $400 per night} then you need to visit Ko Olina!

Hubs and I were looking to check something off of our Hawaii Bucket List, and at random choose to visit
Ko Olina for the day.  We couldn't have made a better choice! And the nice thing is, we can go back any time without a fee {except perhaps parking, which I'll get to later on}.


How To Get There:

Take a drive along the H-1, going towards the Leeward side of Oahu {signs will say Waianae}, just past Barber's Point and Kapolei. Take the KoOlina exit, and just follow the road. A "security guard" will wave you the "shaka" sign {Hawaiian's use it to convey the "Aloha Spirit"} as you continue on. Drive past the entrances to all those high-priced resorts, and turn right onto Waipahe Place, towards the marina. Go to the end, and turn left into the parking area. If you are lucky {and more commonly, if it's a week day and not a weekend}, you can snag a free parking place. {If not, pay the $10.00 fee for all-day parking at the marina parking lot.} Secure your belongings into the trunk, never out in the open. It may be paradise, but you don't want to take any chances.  Oh, and here's a map to make it a little easier!

Now, the free fun can begin! We took our own beach chairs, towels, etc. and easily staked out a spot. Because it was a weekday, it wasn't very crowded. This is the lagoon called Ulua that the "locals" use, and so we saw families, and Mommies with "keiki" {kids}, but just a sprinkling of obvious tourists.

We applied our sunblock, and allowed it to dry for a few minutes while we scoped out the lagoon. Hubs had brought his snorkeling gear, but it was obvious that only the mask and snorkel would be needed.  The lagoons are man-made, fairly shallow, and have virtually no waves. This makes them perfect for beginning snorkelers like ourselves, and also for those keiki -- they can easily splash and play in the water without fear of being knocked over by a wave.

Once in the water, we started seeing fish right away, but mostly as we moved out toward the rocks. Be careful! I bumped my big toe onto a rock, and ended up with a scrape.  We had fun trading the mask back & forth to watch fish; I got some exercise, too since I could actually swim instead of being bounced around by waves. It's like being in a big, salty swimming pool.

After we had enough time in the water, we took a short walk along the natural shoreline. I snapped a few photos of the dramatic waves as they crashed on the lava rock.

We returned to our chairs, re-applied the sunblock, and settled in for a little reading while we let our swimsuits dry off. Hubs alerted me to a Green Sea Turtle lazily cruising around the outside roped off area. Unfortunately, since I only had my phone with me, I wasn't able to capture a photo of this wonderful creature.

If You Plan on Visiting Ko Olina:

1. Use sunscreen. You don't want to ruin your vacation memories by flying home with a sunburn.
2. Bring chairs, a towel or a blanket. The resorts provide those things, but this is the locals lagoon.
3. Invest in some water shoes, if you can. Walmart even has them from about $10 and up.  I really could have used them to prevent getting my toe bashed! 
3. Bring a camera! Get one of the underwater kind, if you can, and have those fishies say "cheese"!
4. Learn the proper way to use the "shaka" sign, and also how to say the name of the Hawaiian State Fish: Humuhumunukunukuapua'a. You'll likely see some of them out there in the lagoon, and you want to know how to greet him properly! {Actually, you can just call him "Humuhumu" for short, Brah!}

Let me know if you've visited Ko Olina, or Oahu, or the state of Hawaii -- or the USA, um, well Ah, how about just leaving me a comment if you liked this blog!

Aloha,  Juju

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