Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hawaii part 2 -- swimming with sharks, North shore beaches, and a little surfing

Warning: there are a LOT of pictures in this post.  Read at your own risk:)

We stayed on the Southwest side of the island but we drove up to the North Shore almost every day.
Love that place and the small-town feel.  

We spent some good time at Haliewa checking out the surfers.
 The big kids were itching to go, and Lu was just itching for some beach reading time.
There's my kind of gal :)

The first day we went up there the surf was kind of wild so we decided to try Waimea Bay (one of Dave and my favorite spots).
The surf was crazy there too.
 So we sat and watched the experienced surfers do their thing.
 Claire morphed into a mermaid:

 ...and dug and dug.  And dug some more.

The big girls caught some sun:
 Lucy was pretty enthralled with her book:
But oh how Dave and Max yearned to get in that water.

The big kids felt like the surf died down enough at one point to try their hand at getting in, which was a bad idea (one that lacked the permission of their parents) and they sure learned their lesson!  

As we packed up to head to the next spot a big family came and approached us who turned out to recognize us and they were doing the same thing: soaking up family time before their son left on his mission...on the same day to the same place Max is headed.  Is that crazy or what?
Yep, next month those two will be in the MTC studying Mandarin like nobody's business getting ready to head to the Taiwan, Taichung mission.

We ate up some tacos from the North Shore Taco Truck...



I've got to be honest and say these were fine, but nothing to write home about.  I was sad the "Elephant Truck" (Thai food) wasn't open the day we were there...I had heard so many good things about it.

Then we headed to check out the size of the waves at Pipeline.
Massive.

We basked on that beach for a while too, then headed back to Haleiwa to get some Matsumoto shave ice.
Now, I don't know if there's much that screams "TOURIST TRAP" more than that line up there...filling up the whole little square.  Are you kidding me?  We went to this place years ago when it was no more than a little hole in the wall and now there's this huge shop built around the concept.  A little crazy if you ask me.

But we were total suckers and stood there enjoying the ambiance.  I'm not a big fan of any kind of frozen desserts, but I must admit that that stuff did not disappoint.
...especially the kind with the condensed milk on top.

Mmmmmm.

Then we drove home with sunbursts chasing us through the sky.
...to the beach at our hotel where the kids and Dave swam to end the night...see those little dots out there on the right?  That's them.
There were some cool Hawaiian men cutting into coconuts so we could try some of the coconut milk:
And we watched the sun sink behind the ocean.


We had a little surprise up our sleeves for the kids.  We had heard great things about this little adventure we could go on, so we decided to take it:

The next morning we got up before dawn to go swim with some sharks.

Yes, that's right.

Not the jumping-in-with-bull-sharks-or-great-whites kind of swimming with sharks, the much more tame kind, just the kind where you are pretty protected in a cage and you can just watch them, but it was pretty awesome just the same!

See that cage on the back of the boat?
That's what we got to hang in.

It was such a gorgeous morning.

Lucy had quite mixed emotions about this grand endeavor.  We had told her about it the night before and she had decided it would be pretty cool, but by the time we got on the boat she was definitely having second thoughts.
Serious contemplation going on right there.

But with Dave and Claire at her side it didn't take too long to turn her around ;)

We watched as the first group had their turn.  Sharks started coming up like crazy.
I guess when they hear the engine it's like a Pavlov effect because they associate engines with food.
It was kind of fun to watch for a little while from the back of the boat.

Then it was our turn.



Ready or not, here we come.
Max was the first one in and last one out.
He loved that thing.  Grace was second most excited.

See those sharks in the upper right corner of this picture?:
They gave us a good show.  There were a bunch of them swimming around and we just got to observe.

...that is, when we weren't trying to help Lucy see them and keep her mask on.  I probably put that mask on like 45 times and her eyesight isn't the best to know where to look but it was SO FUN when she saw "Gus" and "Betsy" (we took to naming them:)

Everyone came out all smiles.
Something we won't soon forget I'll tell you that!

Ok I have to run so I'm going to have to finish up my thoughts about surfing later today!

To be continued...

25 comments:

  1. I love when there are lots of pictures! Swimming with the sharks what a fun memory to have. Looks beautiful there.

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  2. You are incredibly lucky that there were lifeguards present and that the life guards were also safe after getting into the water.

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  3. Oh goodness! I almost could have written this post myself from our last spring break :) (except for the sharks! We didn't do that but will have to next time!) I can't be for sure where you stayed, but from the pictures we stayed very close to there - and drove to the north shore. We contemplated the waves for a long time as well, and just as my husband was getting ready to go in - the life guard came barreling down on his 4-wheeler. I have a great picture of him talking to my husband saying "no way - you're not going out there" So glad they do their job.

    And then there's the tacos and shaved ice. And did you try the corn fresh roasted? oh my. So good!

    So glad you were able to have such a great trip!

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  4. Oh goodness! I almost could have written this post myself from our last spring break :) (except for the sharks! We didn't do that but will have to next time!) I can't be for sure where you stayed, but from the pictures we stayed very close to there - and drove to the north shore. We contemplated the waves for a long time as well, and just as my husband was getting ready to go in - the life guard came barreling down on his 4-wheeler. I have a great picture of him talking to my husband saying "no way - you're not going out there" So glad they do their job.

    And then there's the tacos and shaved ice. And did you try the corn fresh roasted? oh my. So good!

    So glad you were able to have such a great trip!

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  5. Seriously? Way to ignore the rules yet again, Shawni. After all, they don't apply to you and your family, right? Wonderful lesson for your children. It is just plain dumb luck (emphasis on DUMB) that no one was seriously hurt. Never mind your kids, you obviously didn't care about that - but did you ever think that the lifeguards could have been hurt while trying to "rescue" people who should know better? I am appalled.

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  6. In your defense Shawni, I know you were probably trying to convey that is wasn't smart to go into the water! But I'm sorry, maybe it was your wording, but I just can't beleive how naive you come off. "They were strong swimmers, right? What could happen?"..really. I really like your blog, but you have really opened yourself up here for some huge criticism. Good luck!

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  7. I agree with Laura Lane. Shawni, I'm sure your intentions were in a good place, but this post is just SO off. It comes off as flippant and almost amused by behaviors that are both ignorant and life-threatening. Ignoring well provided, posted and intentioned information from professionals about the safety of your children is not something to chuckle about. I used to life guard and it's mistakes like this, made by people who think they know better, that often result in tragedy. Keep in mind that your child's mistakes also but the lifeguard in danger by having to enter unsafe waters. I really encourage you to rethink how you address this post...

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    1. I appreciate you guys for letting me know how this came off...I wrote it quickly last night, and certainly didn't intend for it to come off as something to chuckle about. It was a bad judgment call from some teenagers who learned a big (and kind of scary) lesson. I have changed the wording so as not to alarm anyone else. If I made it sound like the lifeguard was in danger I apologize as well...in actuality he only went far enough to yell at them to get back to shore. Luckily he was trained to do that well!

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    2. I beg to differ, Shawni - before you edited the post it read like this:

      "one (of the lifeguards)SWAM OUT TO RESCUE THEM SINCE THEY HAD STARTED TO BE CARRIED AWAY BY THE STRONG CURRENT".

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  8. I love picture filled posts! Thank you-
    Man- haters gonna hate.....Your family, your vacation, your decisions! Thanks for sharing!

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  9. No one is hating here, fan-girl. Just words of wisdom addressed to where there clearly is none.

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    1. Chillax people. Always choose kindness, even in the face of disagreement. No need to use judgement and harsh words. I would have jumped in the waves too. I wouldn't have cared if my kids and husband jumped in as well. If you don't agree with what she does, then don't do it yourself. Don't worry about what she does and just look for good things to say. No need to give harsh words and judgement to a person you don't even know. Just makes decisions that you would do based on what you think is right and let others do the same. Always choose kindness and express kindness.

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    2. The only trouble with that "live and let live" attitude is that Shawni puts it out there for the world to see, and unfortunately - imitate.

      Just look below - several (I assume) younger women who "love" Shawni (weird) and want to be like her when they grow up.

      So, yeah, you and Shawni - and whoever else feels that they know more than the authorities, and who want to ignore verbal and posted warnings - go ahead and endanger your families.

      Just be careful when bragging about it, and minimizing it publicly. You could end up indirectly responsible for something really bad.

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    3. I get where your coming from Unknown. I respectfully disagree. This sweet lady is not writing for anyone but herself and her posterity. She has allowed us to view by making it public. She is not soliciting anything. Anyone at anytime can take or leave what she writes, it is her own. If others read of their own volition, that is their responsibility and they are to blame for whatever choices they make. Just as am I for seeing or hearing others do something and letting that influence my choices. She is not a "public" figure, a head of State, a person in a position of authority or responsibility. Just a genuinely kind person who is "sharing" her life and her choices about her family. So again, take it or leave it. What she does is her choice, we are merely observers who do not and simply cannot have the entire picture in order to make an accurate judgement on what we read. So, be kind and take what you read as just that, something that you have read that you can then make your OWN judgements. But there isn't ever a need to relay harsh comments or judgements, really there isn't.

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    4. I know. But some people don't have the emotional where-with-all to make their own judgements and decisions. They just see their idol, Shawni, doing something and say, oh wow, I'm gonna do just what she did. Sad but true.

      This comment is below:

      "Literally was on the same vacation (and same shark tour)! just a week after your family was there and I SO WISH I could have met you because 1. I want my cousin to marry your son, mainly so that 2. I can meet you and BECOME LIKE YOU ONE DAY." (Caps mine).

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    5. Surry,

      I am not unknown.

      I don't hate her, her family or the lifeguards. It's not about hating but not wanting to read about a tragedy that makes people comment about safety when we see disregard for the danger signs and ocean swimming or cliff jumping or overloading boat sitting. Some of us first thought of charity with concern when we read about the Nepal quake. We do care. We like these people. Some of us have first responders in our family. We are seeing things from that place. We don't want a knock on the door because someone failed to do what they were supposed to or have to live with the rescuer who couldn't manage to pull the person from the water in time. Its devastating but part of the job. It's not a parenting character flaw. In the moment a person can be obvlivious. Someone not there seeing the photo is coming from a different perspective. All she sees is the cute kids and maybe remembers their embarrassment of being told to get out of the water. She has been contributing to parenting books her entire life. She is an example brought up when her parents write or talk about family. Most people are here to copy. When much is given much is expected fair or not. I believe the only harsh comments were actually directed to commenters. Not sure why the beating up in both directions among the commenters? 'Haters' and 'fan girls' are both mean words. Neither were directed at shawni. Why not read a comment a few times realizing that with text you can not determine tone or body language? Things may not sound 'negative' as often.

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  10. Love Elle's Cossie (that's what people in my adopted home state in Australia call them - swimsuits/swimmers etc). I love that CLaire is so comfortable in her swimemrs, and I bet that's the gymnast in her!

    I'm not sure I ever took the time to comment a while back, but I read your blog religiously (you even sent me a Book of Morman way back, to Sydney, Australia), and I dreamt I came and meet you all! It was amazing. You are such a beautiful family (from photosgraphs) but in person was just amazing. Just so it's not totally creepy (ok it might still be), I used to dream about Young House Love and meeting them too!

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  12. Love all the pictures, looks like so much fun!!! As I sit at work reading your blog, it makes me want to plan a trip to Hawaii so I can play on the beach! :)

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  13. I enjoyed seeing pictures of such a fun family vacation! I'm appalled at the negative comments. I think we have all been there when we have found ourselves in some sort of trouble and needed help. I'm glad you are all safe!! I hope you have some thick skin or pay no attention to those negative comments. Enjoy the time with Max and know that I am inspired by you and your family! We are about 10 years behind you with kids and it looks like you have so much fun with them as they get older. Keep posting Shawni! I feel like I'm working myself out of a job with my youngest almost 3. It's weird to enter this new stage of motherhood. Thanks for making the next stage look just as fun as this one has been!

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  14. Literally was on the same vacation (and same shark tour)! just a week after your family was there and I SO WISH I could have met you because 1. I want my cousin to marry your son, mainly so that 2. I can meet you and become like you one day.

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    1. PS. Small world. My cousin already knows your son and it sounds like you know the Christensen family really well already. Her name is McCall and she is the CUTEST.

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  15. Ahhh this all looks like so much fun! We took a last trip to Disneyland in October before my sister left on her mission in November. She is actually serving really close to you guys in the Mesa, Arizona mission (speaking Spanish) so if you ever see an Hermana Brown, that's my really amazing sis. :) So excited for Max and your family! It's going to be hard but you will LOVE the blessings and the spirit you feel when you read his letters and get pictures from him. Excited for you!

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  16. Here's a "virtual hug" for you, Shawni...some folks have nothing better to do than to criticize. I really just jumped on here (from your enewsletter) to tell you that, while all the pictures are lovely, the one of Grace with the pineapple is stunning. Oh, and I'm like Lou -- nervous to swim with sharks and always ready to be reading on the beach. Best wishes!

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