Fly Down Under & Cruise Back Up - Spring 2018 travel blog

overlooking Diamond Head

HDR version

Honolulu high rises

our ship in port



secluded beach

wind tossed trees


distant light house

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay

lava and green




from the back


secret beach

Too bad the spectacular weather we had yesterday did not continue for today's photo tour. Our guide took us to many scenic spots around Oahu. We were surprised to discover how many of them we had visited on our own when we were here with a rental car. There are some spots like Waikiki that every tourist knows about and has to visit. When you are here for a while, you become aware of the beaches and parks where the locals go, which have a totally different feel from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu. Today the clouds were high enough that we could generally see what we could have been spectacular views, but despite my best efforts, my photos ended up looking moody and gloomy.

Before we left on this trip, Ken read a review of a new Lumix camera that had my name on it. I want my photographs to turn out as nice as his do, but I'm too lazy to put in the effort to make it happen. I want a camera small enough to fit in my purse, that has a long zoom lens, does well in low light situations, can take HDR (high dynamic range) photos,and has a large sensor that will record detail and vivid color as sharply as his large camera does. Ken spends hours working on his photos after he has taken them. To keep up with the pace on trips like this one, I'm lucky to have the time to look at what I've taken that day and pick out some photos to post. My dream camera was not available for purchase before we left. In Melbourne our hotel was across the street from a flock of camera stores. They did not have the camera either, but knew what they would charge for it before it came in. In Adelaide we were wandering around in a fruit and vegetable market that had a small camera store on the periphery. They had my dream camera at a higher price, but when Ken told them the Melbourne quote, they quickly came down. And I could get a rebate on the sales tax when we left the country. We had five minutes to buy it, before we went off for the wine tour. Drinking wine is not conducive to learning the features of a new camera and since then, I have only learned how to do what I already knew how to do on my old camera.

Our photo tour guide was retired US military. He had been based here and fell in love with Hawaii, an emotion easily understood. He talked quite happily about his life here, including his apartment which is smaller than our cruise cabin and costs him $1200/month. Photography is his passion and can be an expensive hobby. These days everyone with a cell phone is a photographer and it is hard to make a living in the field, especially when you want to get away from the grind and boredom of wedding photography. Ferrying tourists around to beautiful places and teaching people how to use their cameras more effectively is a great way for him to make a living, at least at this point in his life.

At the end of the tour he dropped us off at Ala Moana Mall, which confirmed the fact that while the Japanese may have lost their chance at Hawaii after World War II, they have conquered Honolulu since then, especially the retail space. In addition to a food court with restaurants that were familiar to us, there was a much larger food court for those from the land of the rising sun. Japanese signage was everywhere and many of the high end shops, clearly had them in mind. When we wanted to return to the ship we looked for the free shuttle bus, but all the buses we saw only had Japanese signs and we had to assume they were not meant for us.

We really appreciated having two days in Honolulu with time enough to do what we wanted to do without keeping an eye on the clock for the departure time. It would be nice if more cruise itineraries included more time in port, but the marketing department would probably object. When you are first shopping for a cruise, you are more likely to be wooed by all the places the ship stops rather than thinking about how much time you will actually be there.

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