Makapu’u tidepools

7 01 2012

The first time I walked past the trail to the tide pools, I thought people must be crazy if they would dare to try to hike down… But after a long discussion with my friend about our next hike, I finally surrendered!

The trail begins along with the paved path leading up to Makapu’u light house. Almost at the top, right after the railing and signs telling about the humpback whales, the trail to the tide pools goes off the path and down the steep and rocky sides of the mountain.



The hillside down to the tide pools – seen from the path
Don’t do like me and my friend – don’t ask some buff guy on the parking lot about how long it will take to the tide pools and assume he is right (coz it will most likely take you twice as long); do NOT make your way down the “path” at the beginning of the fence, because it is barely a path and sometimes it is just lava rocks and gravel on a very steep hill-side; and don’t go past 4.30pm in the Winter, because you will do the ascend in the dark!
… aside from our small glitches… it was a great hike! when we finally made it down after an hour, we were standing in front of the dragon blowhole and since there were some waves that day, it gave us some great spurts!
dragon nostrils blowhole at Makapu’u tide pools

 As the sun was disappearing on us (you can see the sky is getting darker and more pink on my photos), we made our way over the lava field to the big tide pool where you can swim if you have time. When looking down we could see plenty of fish.

The big tide pool

 Unlike my other hikes, I would categorize this one as intermediate. Not because it is long but because the hillside can be difficult to walk down on because of steepness, loose rocks and gravel and because sometimes it seems like the path is disappearing. But if you are up for the challenge, have a better experience than me – hike no later than 3pm so you have time to take it easy down and up and enjoy the tide pools, and go down the hillside on the right place!




21 10 2011

I visited Australia for the first time with my mom in August 2011. We flew into Sydney and spent a couple of days there to get over our jet lag before heading out to Ayers Rock where we went on a 3 day camping trip with Adventure Tours around Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon. After the trip we ended in Alice Springs where we flew to Cairns to work on our tans, see the rainforest and scuba on the Great Barrier Reef. From Cairns we flew to Brisbane where we spent time with friends, had time to see a bit of the Sunshine Coast and go hiking in Springbrook National Park. From Brisbane we flew back to Sydney where we spent the rest of our time discovering the city and going on a weekend trip to Hunter Valley and taste wine.

In one month we experienced more than I can be bothered to write about, but hopefully my pictures will convey some of it for me!

Uluru at sunset.

sunrise at Kings Canyon.

Mossman's Gorge in Daintree rainforest.

diving on Great Barrier Reef - Saxon Reef.view over the coast north of Port Douglas


The Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park

Mariner’s Ridge

26 05 2011

Mariner’s ridge hike, can be long or short depending on your preferences. It is located on a ridge over Hawaii Kai and offers great views over the bay as well as the canals leading up to the houses with boats ancored in their yard.

The climb on this hike is steep on some places and can get a bit muddy ans slippery when it’s been raining, but it is not a difficult hike. As you are hiking you are passing through a needle forest and when you come to the ridge, a path can lead you over the ridge, through more forest and to connecting ridges. So you can make this hike short or long, depending on your preferences. If you choose the short hike, you stop at the top of the ridge and maybe climb the top of the ridge

 that is to your right as you come up on the ridge. if you are standing on the top, you have a great 360 degree view over Hawaii Kai, Downtown, Koko Head and lush green valleys and mountains.

The hike can be done in 30 min to the top and then adding the extra time if you want to continue over the ridge. Remember that you also need to get back, so 30 to the top and then maybe 60 min until you are back with your car.

When I did this hike, I was with my cousin and my boyfriend, and we brought snacks as we sat and enjoyed the view – it really is spectacular.

My CouchSurfing Experience

5 05 2011

Over the last 3 years where I have been a member of CouchSurfing, I have used it almost every time I have traveled. This has led to some great experiences, adventures and new friends. Among my CS experiences I have; surfed with an American guy in South Korea in a shoe-box-sized apartment, surfed with a couple in Syria who took be barbecuing next to a highway, been shown the nightlife in Reykjavik, hosted an Singaporean girl in Yemen and took her shopping, hosted an American guy in my home in Denmark and showed him my city in an evening, and hosted and attended several great meet-ups here in Hawaii. With all of these great encounters I have always been left with a sense of new-found understanding. If you stay in someone’s home, you truly get a real insight in that culture and your travels become enriched. When you are hosting, you get the opportunity to show someone what your culture is really about and show them the things that matter to you so they will learn more than what the guide books tell them.

My first CS experience was with an American guy who lived on a South Korean island where he taught English. I contacted him and we agreed that I could stay for 2 nights. When I arrived from Seoul, he met me at the airport and we went out to dinner where I told him of my plans to go scuba while I was there. He told me that he had a friend who was an instructor so the following day he took me down to see him and I went out diving with the company he worked for. my host took me to a micro brewery he had found in his city, a real hidden gem in Korea, and he gave me great pointers to where to go and what not to do while I was visiting. He was fun and had loads of great stories to tell and it never got boring. Although his place was very small, not a lot of room around the two mats on the floor, he made me feel at home and relaxed.

I have plenty of stories like this to tell, as do every couchsurfer. In order to illustrate better what I’m talking about, I made a video about couchsurfing and uploaded it to YouTube which this blog links to.

to see the video, click on the image.

The CouchSurfing Experience

5 05 2011

For those of you who have only heard about CouchSurfing from the media saying that it is a cheap way to travel, here’s an introduction to the real couchsurfing experience!

CouchSurfing is an international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals in over 230 countries and territories around the world. The mission is to create inspiring experiences; cross-cultural encounters that are fun, engaging and illuminating. It started as a way of staying with locals as a guest in their home when traveling, but now it also facilitates a growing array of activities and events. Couchsurfing’s vision is of a world where everyone can explore and create meaningful connections with the people and places they encounter. CouchSurfing was created specifically so that everyone can travel the world and partake in cultural exchange. Staying with a host is also always free, and CS terms of use prohibit hosts from charging surfers. Many surfers like to bring their hosts gifts or treat them to a meal as a “Thank you,” but this is not a requirement. There are infinite ways to reciprocate goodwill. CouchSurfing considers “hosting” and “surfing” to be of equal value because both are necessary for cultural exchange.

How it al began

 CouchSurfing is founded by Casey Fenton, Dan Hoffer, Sebastien Le Tuan and Leonardo Silveira and it launched in 2003. Casey came up with the idea of CouchSurfing because he had bought a ticket to Iceland for a long weekend and did not want to just stay at a hotel, so he emailed over 1500 students asking if he could crash on their couch while he was visiting. This lead to several people wanting to show him “their” Reykjavik, which led to an amazing and crazy weekend and he then asked his friends to found CouchSurfing with him.


How it works

As a member of the CouchSurfing community, you have a profile stating who you are, where you are and your availability to other couchsurfers. This availability can range from only being available for coffee or that you definitely have a couch available for travelers. On each profile page you will find the most important thing and what makes this work; you will find the references and friends of a person. After each couchsurfing encounter, normally you leave a reference or even befriend the person. This means that if you had a wonderful experience other people are more inclined to interact with this person or if you had a negative experience, you can warn other people. This reference system serves as a testimony to who this person is, when engaging with others and it makes it possible to find a person who fits your needs.

CouchSurfing is a unique example of a virtual community that enforces real life interaction with people all over the world, deepening our understanding of other cultures.

If you would like to read about my couchsurfing experiences click here.

Pill box hike in Lani Kai

3 05 2011

The Pill Box hike overlooking Lani Kai on the Windward side of Oahu, is a short hike with great gain. The trail is well-marked and although some of it is very steep and might be very slippery if it has rained, the view is well worth it!

Many have discovered this hike, so it is unlikely you will have one of the pill boxes to yourself for a long time. What amazed me when I was on it, was the number of Asian tourists in flip-flops and locals just doing the hike for fun, running up the hill and over the ridge… especially since I was sliding in my sturdy sandals and being careful with where I put my feet in order not to slip. If you would like a longer hike, it is possible to continue along the ridge pass both the bunkers.

This hike can be done in an hour or less if you are fast, but you might want to put aside more time for it, since the view over the bay is spectacular! and in the winter there is a good chance that you will see humpback whales. If there are no whales, just sit on the roof of one of the graffiti World War II bunkers, enjoy the sun and the snacks you wish you had brought:-)

Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay

20 04 2011

Last saturday Kenneth and I decided to go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. We had heard so much about and had never gone because the parking lot was full every time we previously tried. So this time we decided to get up early and go so we could get a parking space, find a place in the shade and get in the water before it got too murky from all the people swimming.

When we got there, we had to see a video about how to treat the bay. It contained things such as don’t step on the reef and don’t touch the fish and they even distributed translators to the people who couldn’t understand english, so that everyone would know how to behave. All of this seemed to be to no use at all though, because when we got in the water and began to swim out, we saw several people stand on the reef and even sit on it to take pictures…

The marine life however, was really nice. the reef formations were absolutely amazing and I could spend days to explore them, although a high tide would be preferrable, because otherwise it is quite shallow some places. There were plenty of fish, swimming in and out of the rock formations and also some there were just chillin’ and looking at all the tourists.

A downside to the bay is that it is awfully crowded. when we arrived it was fine, easy to find a place to spread your towel and not too many people in the water. When we got up from our first swim however, our towels had been completely surrounded (because we were under a palm tree) and the water had begun to get murky because of all the people. Also this is the first place I have been where salt water does not taste of salt but chemicals, which was pretty gross.

But in spite of the many tourists and the weird tasting water, we had a great day. Since pictures and words has a hard time doing the place justice, I made a video to illustrate my trip as well, seeing that live creatures are more fun to see live than described or on a still image (if clicked on, the image in the middle will lead to the video). I am afraid that my irritation over people not respecting the reef is shining through, but bear with me, it is actually really important to preserve marine life.