Cruise Stop – Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

The first leg of the cruise was four days at sea from San Francisco to Honolulu. We knew this from that start, and yet we still decided that booking an excursion to spend four hours on a smaller boat to go whale watching was what we wanted to do when we arrived. Weather in Honolulu was beautiful, sunny and warm with a gentle ocean breeze. We went out of the port and boarded the tour bus to take us to the Majestic, our whale watching vessel. I wondered if we would get a good bonus tour of parts of Oahu we hadn’t seen when we were here last summer. Good thing we weren’t counting on that because the whale watching boat was moored about 100 yards (as the crow flies) from where the Arcadia docked. The bus ride took a good 10 minutes though as it had to make a lot of left hand turns on busy roads. Everyone on the bus got a laugh out of that. Had we known, we might have all walked and raced the bus.

The whale watching boat – if you look in the left corner, you can see the top of the Arcadia!

Our boat headed out along Waikiki Beach and the views of the city from the ocean were stunning. Dan and I did spend a little time identifying places we had seen on our last visit, so we had a good idea of where we were. The boat went out past Diamond Head and we got to see what that looked like from the other side. We had hiked up to the top and looked out on the ocean in June, so it was fun to see the outside of the crater and look up at the people sitting where we had been.

Waikiki Beach from the ocean
People at the lookout at the top of Diamond Head – we were there 7 months earlier.

Once we got ourselves into the area below Diamond Head we started looking for the telltale spouts from the humpback whales. And we had some sightings! We were able to watch for several whales in the area, including a calf. There was also a bunch of Hawaiian spinner dolphins in the area and they obligingly jumped for us – alas, they chose to do it when neither of us had a camera ready!


We overnighted in Oahu, but were pulling out at lunchtime, so good thing we get up early. We took off exploring near the port and were able to see some tropical fish hanging out near the piers in the area. We also walked over to the Capitol area just to make sure nothing had changed since our last visit. We came across a local market happening that day and resisted buying some delicious Hawaiian banana bread – but just barely. As the ship was pulling out of port we were settled on the Promenade Deck enjoying the ocean when guess what? We saw whales!


Former residence of the Hawaiian Royal Family, now the Governor’s Residence.

“Every mode of travel has its signature mental aberration.”
Mary Roach, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

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