So this time I went to Oahu, and this time I took Mick who had for a long time wondered what the fuss was about, and also seemed quite taken with the stupid travel arrangements. Oahu was the only major island in the chain that I had never visited barring a flying visit to connect from one flight to another for reasons long forgotten. Unlike previous trips which I booked in August, one of the few months of the year when Laysan Albatrosses are at sea, or once in March to Maui which has no Albatrosses, this was was pencilled in for April. And Oahu has a big breeding colony on its western tip. Finally!
- A seven day trip in mid April, leaving after work on a Wednesday to Budapest, and arriving on Friday late morning local time - Thursday was basically spent getting to Los Angeles. We left Hawaii late on Monday evening, overnight back to LA, with Tuesday morning spent birding there before catching an onward afternoon flight to London which arrived on Wednesday afternoon, and after which we had to return to Budapest via a back-to-back to complete the ticket. So whilst it took seven days only four of those were actually spent birding, the rest being travel. As you know I also enjoy the travel part, but it is a very long way away.
- Flights were on British Airways within Europe and transatlantic, with the flights to Oahu being with American Airlines. The pointless and wasteful hops to Hungary reduced the cost of the trip by approximately 60%. I'm not in charge of pricing, this is just what airlines do. Note that although far cheaper this is a pretty risky strategy, as had we missed the departing flight from Budapest we would have lost the ticket - you cannot just hop on in London. And back-to-backs also require an element of research and planning.
- Car hire via Avis I think, there must be some kind of cartel as all were priced the same. Naturally, and as this was Mick's first trip, we spent the cash and went for a Mustang convertible which was predictably wonderful.
- We stayed at Pupukea on the hipster North Shore, a long way from Honolulu, in a backpacker place where thankfully we got our own room. It's a far cry from the other side of the island and much more pleasant, albeit with a much higher crusty dude ratio. It was also a fraction of the cost of the chain mega-hotels down near Waikiki Beach.
- We visited five key birding sites on the island; the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline (south-east) around the Japanese Fishing Shrine for seabirds, the 'Aiea Loop Trailhead for endemics, Kahuku Beach, Golf Course and Ponds for general birding, the Kaelepulu Wetlands, and of course the famed Ka-ene Point for the Albatrosses. The rest of the time was spent chilling out, eating poke, snorkelling at Electric Beach, and generally remarking how lucky we were.
|The North Shore|