Tale Of Two Forts| Casey & Ebey

Forts are all over Whidbey Island and a few are even state parks! Fort Casey was located close to where I was staying making it an easily accessible place to explore on an early crisp sunny morning and Fort Ebey just a fifteen-minute drive toward Oak Harbor.

Fort Casey:

_DSC0086

Fort Casey is located five miles from Coupeville next door to the Port Townsend-Coupeville Ferry terminal. The fort was established around the 1890s as a World War I coast artillery fortification to protect the Puget Sound at the Admiralty Inlet area. The fort was decommissioned after World War II and made into a state park.

_DSC0080

On a quiet morning, I decided to explore the fortifications early before the crowds. In relative peace, I explored the arm structures, battlements and the iconic large guns reinstalled after becoming a historical site.

_DSC0044_DSC0046_DSC0048_DSC0057IMG_3222IMG_3226_DSC0059IMG_3233IMG_3238_DSC0081IMG_3243IMG_3248IMG_3252

For some reason, I found this funny!

IMG_3242

The iconic Admiralty Lighthouse built in 1903 was not open at the time. Maybe when I return for another visit to Whidbey Island I will have to stop by.

_DSC0087


Fort Ebey:

Fort Ebey just like Fort Casey was part of the World War II coastal defense system with smaller battlements. The old fort has a lot of hiking trails and beach access to explore.

_DSC0102 - Copy

One such battlement had a series of tunnels to explore in the dark. With a flashlight and my phone, I walked around the dark rooms and passageways. I should have known that a walking around a dark secluded area would not be a smart thing to do. At one point when I was walking back down another semi-dark passageway, I caught a dark figure out of the corner of my eye off in a dark bunker. At first, I thought “oh hell! I saw a ghost.” But quickly realized it was a person and he was sorry to scare me, but I was already running down the corridor out towards light and to my car. This really should have taught me a lesson in not going to these places alone!

_DSC0105_DSC0110_DSC0112_DSC0114

After a scare just wanted to calm my nerves so I headed towards the beach to get some sea breeze. The waves were crashing in at an alarming rate. There were moments when the waves were huge, enough to boogie board or surf at one point.

_DSC0101_DSC0116_DSC0120

After what seemed like hours I headed back to my car and headed back to Camp Casey for a day of sunbathing at the pool.

 

Have you been to any of these forts? Did you find the Fort Ebey tunnel a little scary? Let me know in the comments!

Oahu’s Windward Coast Vacation | Days 12-15 (Last Days)

Updated: 12/2017

Day 12: Zip lining & Beach

Zipping through the palm tree tops! Three rides 1,200 ft! At first when I saw how far off the ground I was going to be, I started freaking out. I’m not afraid of heights, but it looked to be very scary. Now that I tried it, I will be doing it again. The morning started off with a down pour for five minutes, then cleared up long enough to take three rides down. The first two rides were with Mom , and then the last one was just me by myself. Once I got through the first one, I was fine to take the last two rides down. It was very short ride, and so I recommend getting at least more than one ride to really experience the zip line. I now can add this to my life experience list and hope to try out the one near home called Wild Life Trex near Seattle. The rest of the day was spent at the beach again just relaxing.

IMG_1070
zipping along

IMG_1076

IMG_1071
me zipping along

Day 13: Marine Base Crazy & Last minute stuff

Another relaxing day getting last-minute stuff done before we leave for home. Took on last trip to the Marine base to do some last-minute shopping at the Exchange. When I stepped outside the store I saw a new sign that appeared in front of the doors. Apparently the new base commander is trying to keep the unmentionable people from “polluting” the base and disrespecting the military environment. So just imagine the pictures you see on People of Wal-Mart website and you have a good picture of what was posted on this sign. These were the things that are not allowed to be worn when on base. I really could see why the commander is doing this and why he doesn’t like half-naked people walking around base when not in uniform. The whole time I was on base (even Bellows had a dress code in their commons areas) I never say anyone out of uniform looking like a bum.  I just go some Hawaiian theme stuff to take back to Seattle at the Exchange.

Relaxed on base for a bit and started to see Man of Wars washed up on the beach. Remembering there was a full moon when we got to Hawaii and five days later the jelly fishes started to appear, every time we walked the beach we had to make sure to watch where we stepped or else get stung by the blue tentacles. Later that evening we all went out with my cousin one last time to a small local pizza place in Kilua.  The place was busy with locals stopping in to grab a slice of pizza or a whole pizza for dinner. The pizzas are huge at Bob’s Pizzeria, and so a whole pizza can easy be shared with five people. I had two big slices which amounted to four small slices.

Now here is a funny story in a way to share….When we went to drop off my cousin at the Marine base, we did not go through the main gate as we have in the past, but he back gate where the housing is. A huge mistake because when we pulled up and my cousin showed his ID, the guard at the gate wanted everyone’s ID. Apparently there is a huge crack down at night due to a Marine sneaking a prostitute on base a few weeks back and getting caught. Also the guard in a moment of putting his boot in his mouth made it almost clear that he thought Nana, Mom and I were prostitutes! Nana and Mom felt offended, but for me I just though “oh thanks for letting me know I look like one.” As I was stating in above paragraph, the commander of the base is really on a crack down. We did drop my cousin off at his barrack without anymore trouble from the Marine Security Force.

Day 14: Sea Turtles

Our last full day in Hawaii. We did some last-minute shopping again and packed up our bags for our afternoon flight back to Seattle. Walked the beach one last time (ok a few times). While on one of our walks we saw a group of sea turtles swimming along the beach. A half a mile down there is a little cove where the waves are strong and the turtles get stuck in. All three turtles tried their hardest to swim back out to sea, but kept getting swept back into the rocks. At one point one came very close to some kids in the water and freaked them out along with the poor turtle. I believe the three turtles did get out when the waves calmed down a bit.

IMG_0393IMG_0400IMG_0406IMG_0409IMG_0407IMG_0408

While packing for the trip home, I realized I had bought a lot of Hawaiian food. Hmm…I think I will need it when friends come over for tea and a Hawaiian short bread macadamia nut cookies.

Day 15: Going Home

Going to the airport was crazy stressful adventure. Why? Because 1) my suitcase all of sudden put on weight, 2) security check point was a mad house and I thought for sure I was going to throw my shoe at TSA (Sea-Tac has it down to a science), 3) USDA inspection line was crazy! Poor Nana had to be patted down because she set off the metal detector and her sleep machine had residue of liquid in it. Really just wanted to get on the plane and get to Seattle without anymore stuff happening. The flight was six hours as usual. The only crazy part was landing in Seattle after a huge windstorm came through. Overall, the six-hour flight went off without much stuff happening. When I left Seattle for Hawaii the temperature was 70 degrees F, when I came back it was 50 degrees F and a storm blowing through. Just shows how much the weather changes within two weeks of being gone. I still look at my phone’s weather app for Bellows to see what the weather is at the moment. I miss the warmth, but Seattle did have a wonderful summer with all the sunny hot weather we had. I can’t complain.

I really enjoyed my two-week adventure on Oahu Hawaii. I will of course return to the islands again in the near future. I think the next island to visit is Kauai or Big Island. I am glad I had the chance to see my cousin while he is stationed at K-Bay, and hope he has a great time while there.  I loved not having to do all the touristy things this time. I really got to see the island from a different perspective. I know now all the main freeways, and know which major highways lead to where. Great to stay somewhere other than Waikiki for a change. I really got to see the beauty of the island without the sky scrapers in the way. I still would love to hike up Diamond Head since I did not get the chance this time. I guess I will be making a return visit again.

Mahalo for reading about my adventure in Hawaii! Hope you enjoy Hawaii really soon.

IMG_0384

Disclaimer: All links are for reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive or am paid for promotion on products mentioned in this post.

Ohau’s Windward Coast Vacation| Day# 11 (Punch Bowel & Hawaiian Plantation Village)

_DSC0262_edited-2

Updated: 12/2017

Now at this point you may have figured out I have some connection to the military. I grew up with its presence in my life, and it has shaped a part of me. I have great respect for the military and those who sacrificed for this country. A few years ago I had the chance to visit the USS Arizona Memorial and USS Missouri with a choir group I was in high school with. This time I wanted to visit one last dedication to the Pacific Fleet.

Eight years ago I visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, “Punch Bowl” with the choir group I was with. I never had the chance to step off the bus and take a closer look at the memorial part, but looked out a tour bus window as it hurried through the cemetery. Now on a stormy gray day in Hawaii, I had the chance to see it without the tinted glass. When we were there, it had a very quiet peaceful stillness that made the whole experience worth while.

_DSC0265_edited-1
Tiled battle Map
_DSC0264_edited-1
Lookout over the Cemetery
_DSC0290_edited-1
Angle of Freedom
_DSC0267_edited-1
Chapel Dedication Wall
_DSC0291_edited-1
Memorial Wall

From one end to the other, the tile maps detailed all the important campaigns from WWII to Desert Storm. Each representing all branches of the military involved in these key battles. Chapel was filled with flowers dedicated to all those whose grave is only known to God, and a dedication to took place a few hours before we arrived. On the outside walls are the names of those who’s remains were never found, buried overseas, and those who remain missing in action or prisoners of war. Each name represents the cost of freedom and cost of sacrifice one makes for country.

Later that day we headed to the Hawaiian Plantation Village Museum. I will admit this, I like anything historical since every car trip with my Granddad resulted in stopping at least one historical marker or attraction along the way. But for some reason I found this place a little boring. I don’t know if it was just the tour guide or I was getting tired of the slow pace of things. This don’t mean I would not recommend it to anyone because I believe it is still a place to visit. To fill you in Hawaii is multicultural identification has its roots in sugar plantations of the early 1800s. Up until the 1960s the sugar plantations of Hawaii thrived (think back to Dole Pineapple Plantations). In the 1800s to the 1960s plantation owners recruited Chinese, Filipinos, Europeans, Puerto Ricans , Native Hawaiians, Japanese, and Koreans into working for the plantations. The museum tour showed the many different distinctive houses each generation of plantation workers and their heritage had. Also showed how each plantation was run depending on what its main crop was. Most of the volunteer tour guides has some background in the sugar plantations. Ours had parents who worked in the fields, and he too had worked for the same sugar plantation as his parents did. He said many generations of plantation workers worked until the closing of sugar plantations in the 1960s. Some had six generations all worked for the same plantation.

_DSC0260_edited-1IMG_0589IMG_1060IMG_1036IMG_1059IMG_0596IMG_1061IMG_0594IMG_0591

Disclaimer: All links are for reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive or am paid for promotion on products mentioned in this post.

 

Oahu’s Windward Coast Vacation | Day 7 (Valley of The Temple), Day 8 & Day 9

_DSC0213_edited-2

Update: 12/2017

Confused? Looks as if I made a short trip to Japan when really this temple is in Hawaii. I came across this little known tourist attraction when researching for things to do. The temple is called Byod O-In Temple and it’s a replica of a 10th century Buddhist temple in Uij Japan. This temple is in a Memorial Park/ cemetery where all religions are represented.  For six dollars per a person (CORECTION: The Byodo-In- Temple charges $3.00 per a person now.), you can tour the grounds and take pictures. The settle is very peaceful and looks as if you are up in the mountains in Asia.

_DSC0182_edited-2
Me ringing for good luck
_DSC0181_edited-1
Iron Bell of good luck

Ringing the large iron bell at the temple is something to do for Buddhist believe  ring the bell is to cleanses the body, mind, heart and soul of negativity. By one gong of the bell, negativity is swept away for a long a prosperous life ahead. Buddhist use it as a way to bring good luck. Well I wanted some good luck for myself, and so I rang the bell. Black swans are supposed to be keepers of surprises and keep the negativity of spiritual world in check. Plus I have never seen Koi fish as huge as the ones living at the temple. My goodness they are huge!

_DSC0210_edited-1
Koi and a black swan

Inside the temple is a Buddha shrine where offerings, and incense are burned. The massive Buddha statue in gold leaf dominates the room. This picture doesn’t even begin to describe how ornate the inside of the temple is. Even going bare foot out of respect was not so un natural as it would seem if this place was in a colder environment.

_DSC0202_edited-2
Buddha shrine

Before lunch we all head back to the Marine Base to pick up some more supplies for the coming week at the Commissary. This time the place was not as much busy as the first time we came. A few months back I came across an article on how civilians are upset at how the military families have lower food prices for groceries. They called it the Ketchup-Gate. Honestly people, I don’t understand the uproar?! Meat prices are maybe dollar cheaper than civilian grocery stores, and that is for select cuts of meat. Just think of it this way, most commissaries are on military bases outside the US is places where there is no standard grocery store, or local food prices are much higher of worse rationed! Most military personnel do not get paid nearly as much as they would in the civilian world. Lower your rank, the less money you make. Also there is a 3% surcharge tacked on to the bill to keep the commissary going. So think of Safeway tacked on a 3-5% surcharge on your bill along with any food tax you had to pay. You would no like that would you?

Nana has this little saying, why not have dessert first. For most of the vacation the justification was to have dessert first, then have whatever else last. On our way back from shopping at the Marine Base, we all stopped in for an ice cream at the famous ice cream shop Dave’s. Dave’s is famous for their had made ice creams, and is ranked one of the best ice cream shops on the island of Oahu. Unfortunately they do not make the passion fruit or pineapple ice cream. But their Coconut Macadamia Nut ice cream was delicious  as ever. As you can see, there is a theme going here. I have found to like coconut and macadamia nuts mixed together in a form of a desert. How this came about is still unknown to me. After a shop for pure sugar, it was time for some surf and sand at Bellows.

IMG_0311Day eight was just relaxing on the beach and resting from a wild night with my cousin the previous night. Later after going to the Valley of the temples, I was taken to Waikiki for a night out on the town. I partied at Rum Fire Bar and danced into the wee hours of the morning at Moose’s Bar. I had to spend some a day recovering from a hang over and realizing even in my mid twenties, I just cannot go too wild anymore.

Day nine we all headed in the afternoon back into Waikiki again for our last chance at anything we wanted to do there. We walked through the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center to beat the heat. I will tell you this, the beaches in Waikiki are a lot hotter in temperature than the beaches around the island. As soon as I stepped onto the sand, I thought my feet were going to burn through my sandals after walking on a path for a few minutes, I just wanted to find some shade or a cool spot to be in. I do believe with all the concrete and buildings all around, there is more heat being generated, and while the rest of the island is cloudy, Waikiki/ Honolulu is sunny.There is no wind blowing either unless at night.

I did tour through the famous International Village Market Place before it is shut down for good. Apparently by the end of October, all the shops have to move out so developers can tear it down and build a hotel on the spot. Sad to see one of Hawaii’s old attractions being destroyed just so more profitable venture can take its place. I’m very glad to visit this iconic spot while I was here! Just sad (CORRECTION:The old International Village Market Place is no longer after the summer of 2013. As of 2016 a newer version of the International Village Market Place has been completed and the stores are more up scale then what was there before.). I wished I had bought something there just for the novelty, but after going from one store sell Hawaiian wear to another with the same stuff, I just could not being myself to do it. Nana did find something humorous among all the touristy nick nacks.

IMG_0346
Obama License Plate

Then back to Bellows to cool off and relax on the beach again.

Disclaimer: All links mentioned in this post are for further reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive nor am paid for promotion of any products mentioned in this post.

Oahu’s Windward Coast Vacation | Day 5 (Hanauma Bay) & Day 6 (Mini Golf & Pali Lookout))

Updated: 12/2017

One thing about waking up early in Hawaii is the sunrises. The reason why I can roll out of bed so early for Hanauma Bay. Waking up before 7am to arrive at this very popular touristy spot is almost a must if you want to avoid the crowds and the tour buses/groups. Arrive well before 9:30 am or right as the park opens at 6:30am. So here I am awake and ready to go snorkeling!

_DSC0123_edited-1
Hanauma Bay from the top
_DSC0125_edited-1
Hanuama Bay

I rented my gear from an off site vender (Bellows AFS $10.00 for the whole set), other than that, you either bring your own or rent from the site itself. The parking was so cheap! A dollar cheap! But what really dings you, the admission price of $7.50 for an adult.  I can understand why change a price for entrance, the park is a conservation site.  After we all paid we all waited with other people for the video they show every one who enters the park outlining what the whole coral reef is and what you cannot do while snorkeling, swimming or scuba diving in the reef. The worst part of the video, knowing people are going to do it anyway because as Nana pointed out, people who do not have a grasp of the English language and watching the demonstrations of what NOT to do, will not understand. Believe me, I saw it happening!

_DSC0128_edited-2
Ready to snorkel

After a walk down the steep hill to the beach, we staked out a claim under a shady coconut tree to put our stuff. At this time there was not may people down on the beach, so I decided I need to get in the water and start snorkeling before it’s too late. I went out with both parents around a section of the coral reef. I am amazed at how you can just enter the water, lay on your belly, put your head in the water and see underwater! Now you can probably guess, this was my first time snorkeling. I saw huge fish swimming past me, huge coral, some creature stuck to the coral looking like a human brain, lots of species of coral, and yes you guessed it, sea turtles. On my first try my mask kept fogging up to the point I had to un-fog  it multiple times with my own spit. Then I was having  a hard time breathing through my snorkel tube since water kept going in, and swimming with the flippers was a challenge. Eventually I figured out how to snorkel. I would do this again next time somewhere else in the Hawaiian Islands. Around 11:00am we decided it was time to go and have some lunch. At this point the beach and water had become very crowed. We all forked over $1.25 to ride the trolley back up the steep hill. At this point I was tired and did not want to pack all my stuff back up the hill.

We had lunch at the park’s picnic area that overlooked the beach and water. As soon as the food was unpacked, all the park’s feral chickens made a B-line toward us. As you see, no shame for a chicken.

_DSC0130_edited-1After a picnic lunch, we parked up and left to drive along winding coast highway back to Bellows AFS. Along the way we stopped at the Makapuu Point Lookout. Oh my goodness this is a postcard perfect look out! The lookout towards the windward coast line, and the tropical blue water. This is a breath-taking view to see. There is a lighthouse by the same name on the side of the cliff. I would love to come back and hike up to see the place (every night at Bellows, I could see it off in the distance). The rest of the afternoon was spent getting ready for our dinner date with my cousin.

IMG_0549
Makapuu Lookout
IMG_0550
Makapuu Lookout

IMG_0548

IMG_0552
Family

My cousin is stationed on Oahu at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay. Earlier that week my cousin’s “gunny” gave him permission to give us a tour of the place where he works  (a rare thing in this day an age). The whole family had the opportunity to meet his team, and see what his everyday job on base in logistics. Seeing him in action was very cool. It is amazing the last time I saw him was eight years ago when he was just a little skinny kid his older brother use to beat up, and now he is all grown up in a military uniform. I feel old just typing that! Also seeing more of the base then just the MCX (post exchange) and the Commissary. I will have to say, it is hard to pick out some of the guys when all of them are in uniform because they all look the same. Also like most active base, the base had the semi-desert feel to it.

Buzze’s Steakhouse in Lanikia . This place is where Nana, and my cousin had gone to the last time Nana was there for vacation. The place has a beach theme to it, with seating inside and outside. The menu is very limited to steaks, seafood and salad.  At first I could not find anything appealing except Teriyaki Chicken with rice. All meals come with the salad and fruit bar option. The favorite item at the salad bar was the mint cucumbers. My cousin raved about trying them and I have to say, they are pretty darn good! For desert my cousin and I split an Almond Joy cheese cake. OMGoodness! It tasted just like an Almond Joy bar! I would give the place an eight out of ten because even with the cool atmosphere, I think there needed to be a little more options on the menu for the steaks and seafood (I think this time the menu did not have any seafood on it).

IMG_0291The next day we all just relaxed and stayed on the beach and surrounding areas of Bellows. One major event was mini golf or as I call it put-put-golf on the Bellows mini golf course. For an hour all of us played a fourteen hole mini golf. Now I would like to say the game became competitive and there was throwing golf clubs around, but my family is pretty tame when it comes to these kinds of things (except Pit, oh boy this game gets very competitive!). For $6.00 for a mid morning game of golf (how do people find golf relaxing? I find it stressful) we went around the course hitting brightly painted golf balls through, under and even over obstacles that represents each of the Hawaiian Islands. Oh dear….I’m bad at golf and not much better at mini golf either. There was no score being kept, but Nana had all of us beat. Overall I had quit a good time laughing at myself trying to hit the ball into the hole. I know I will never be playing golf in the near future, and hope who ever I end up marrying will understand I should not be allowed on the “green” at all. I’m dangerous with a golf ball apparently.

IMG_0301
Family
IMG_0302
Us girls
IMG_0300
Me put-putting

After lunch Mom, Nana and I took a little trip up to Nu’uanu Pali Lookput in the Ko’olau Mountain range over tunnels of the Pali Highway. The lookout has a panoramic view of the Windward Coast, the Marine Base, Nu’uanu valley, and the spectacular view of the tropical blue water.

_DSC0151_edited-1_DSC0154_edited-1_DSC0159_edited-1IMG_0307_DSC0150_edited-1

As you can see from the pictures, it is very windy up there with strong trade winds. At one point when taking a picture of where the old Pali highway use to be, there was a huge wind tunnel effect.

After the little trip to Pali Lookout, I needed to have a few things washed at the laundry. Right by the small Post Exchange store is an outdoor laundry room. All I have to say is, the washer and dryers here work a whole lot better than the piece of crap of a stacker laundry machine I have in my apartment! While there sipping on my soda, an Airman (Air Force guy) drove up and bought a six-pack of beer at the Exchange. Then thirty minutes later, he was back for a pack of cigs. Then an hour later back again for another twelve pack of beer and two cartons of cigs. It must have been one of those hard duty shifts at the guard gate to need to buy 18 cans of beer and three packs of cigs! Then again, there are days where I need three cans of coke-a-cola to get through the day. After fresh laundry folded, I headed back to the cabin to relax from all the snorkeling I did the day before.

Disclaimer: All links mentioned in this post are for further reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive nor am paid for promotion of any products mentioned in this post.