I have now been in Honolulu for over a week, and thought that I had better update the blog, in case everyone thinks I have “gone native” and am permanently surfing off Waikiki beach. At the moment the only surfing I have been doing has been looking for weather on the internet.
The day after I landed in Honolulu was July 4th, but the celebrations were fairly muted, as the Americans are a pretty hard-working lot and many of them can still be found working on a public holiday. Nevertheless, I was invited to an evening celebration where an abundance of fireworks was set off over a period of a few hours. I was a bit concerned about the noise but the host and most of the guests turned out to be from the police department, so there were not going to be any arrests for disturbing the peace there....!
I am taking advantage of a few days stay in Honolulu to have Romeo Tango serviced again. At the same time there are a few items which could do with attention and I have decided to have them attended to and take advantage of cheaper spares prices in the USA. This has meant a longer stay than planned and I am now several days behind schedule. My time is my own, however, and I feel that I may be able to make up some of this time as I travel across the USA – I was hoping to contact and meet up with various old friends but I have been unable to contact them all and, as a consequence, may decide to cut out one or two stops along my planned route.
I have made new friends, however, first of all with the engineers who are dealing with Romeo Tango, and also with a local pilot, Willie, who has made two round-the-world trips during air rallies in the 1990’s. Willie owns a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza and a twin-engine Cessna 421. The Bonanza has just had a new engine installed, so I accompanied Willie on an hour’s flight a few days ago, and we took some temperature and other measurements to make sure everything was OK. This flight enabled me to have a pilot’s eye view of Pearl Harbor, Wheeler Field, and other famous sites in the Honolulu area. The day after that, Willie took some friends and me on a flight in the Cessna 421 – we flew to the neighbouring island of Molokai and flew along the northern shore where there are some spectacular cliffs. They are taller than the white chalk cliffs at Dover, and not as sheer, but are covered in vegetation right down to the sea.
There is a bus company (The Bus) in Honolulu and I have taken advantage of it to see some more of Oahu (the island where Honolulu is situated). There is one service which leaves Honolulu and goes right up the east coast to Turtle Beach at the north end, and then back down via the west coast and the centre of the island. I got off at Turtle Beach (a resort) and spent half an hour there for a quick look before catching the next service back. All in all, about four hours which cost – wait for it – all of two dollars! A bargain if ever there was one, with some nice views of beaches and surfers along the way.
I will update this entry in a few days. My best guess for the crossing to California is Wednesday/Thursday 16/17 July.