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Terry and Kathi were kind to take me to San Francisco Airport from where I flew to Hawaii via Seattle - very nice experiencing San Francisco and the bay area from the sky on a beautiful day; much less so with Seattle where it was overcast and raining. We were in Seattle 45 minutes early, which meant waiting 5 hours before we finally took off for Honolulu. After an uneventful flight we arrived 20 minutes late at 11pm and when I got my luggage the bike box was crushed - obviously being under all other baggage. Fortunately, there was nothing immediate to see on the bike but without a test ride it was impossible to tell if there was any damage. My host Kevin was kind to pick me up despite the late hour. I would stay with him and his wife Sue at their home in Kailua – both very good friends of Scott and Terry that I met on the sailing trip to San Juan Islands…

The next day I re-assembled the bike and did a test ride to nearby Lanikai Beach and still no immediate problems identified. My big concern was now if the frame was crooked but no bike shop on the island had equipment to measure it and without visible/documented damage Alaskan Airlines would not make a report. An airline obviously not capable of handling bicycles and even worse not willing to admit it: “I can’t tell if the box has been handled with care as I wasn’t there” the airport claims guy told me – well look at the box! I notified my own insurance company and with nothing more I could do, I went kayaking in the beautiful afternoon weather – down the canal in front of the house to the ocean and back.

During my stay in Oahu I did many practicalities including finding a couch in Sydney which was somewhat difficult because everybody receives countless requests every day. In the end however, I was lucky to find two hosts providing more than a week’s total stay, which was perfect as I have to do many practicalities before heading out on yet another epic journey around Australia. Kevin and Sue were great treating me like family including me in their daily lives – we had countless interesting conversations and they provided a great insight to life on as well as the history and development of Oahu. At a Saturday dinner I was fortunate also to meet many family members and some friends.   

Besides a number of kayak trips I also did a couple of bike rides around the island. One day I went 90k (55 miles) across the mountain range to Honolulu and back to Kailua along the southeast coast. When I headed out for Honolulu the morning traffic was mostly over with and there was a shoulder all the way except at the top through the tunnels where it got a little tight. It was an overcast day so not much to see from the Pali Lookout at 1.200 feet (and very windy), so I continued downhill to Honolulu which is all built up with little consensus in the architecture and no charm/ambience. I biked along the waterfront visiting some of the parks. The weather was still not great but a few times the sun peaked though the clouds improving the views - when the sun came out the colours changed drastically turning the sand golden and the water turquoise. I continued to Waikiki, which was incredibly touristic with its big hotels, condominiums and countless brand shops (reminding me of Miami). I passed by quickly heading through upscale neighbourhood Kahala before I reached a desolate and rugged stretch of coastline. As I reached the southeast corner it was very (head)windy and the dark clouds combined with the few sun beams created an interesting dramatic effect… 

Another day I biked the north and east coast. It was Sunday and Kevin was going surfing so I got a ride to Waimea Bay on the northwest coast from where I biked the 70k (43 miles) back to Kailua. The weather forecast predicted overcast and showers but luckily it was wrong. It turned out to be a beautiful day though with a strong wind from the southeast (to no surprise a headwind). Despite it being Sunday the road was not too busy and most of the way I had a decent shoulder. Along the way countless beautiful beaches – some were very busy while others were desolate… With the biking in Hawaii this Summer ended up at 8,000k (5,000 miles) and including last year the total trip is up to 21,000k (13,250 miles). 

All in all a great stay – however if I return I definitely want to visit some of the other islands to experience the great diversity of this island chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

 
 
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