Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hawaiian Champion

This is another post with me gushing about meeting a celebrity that no one else cares about... We arrived in LAX and were waiting around, only to run into former UFC Lightweight Champion BJ "The Prodigy" Penn, who is Hawaiian. He had lost his fight the night before, but he still agreed to pose for my daggy fan photograph, which I really appreciated.
Hangin' loose with The Prodigy
I was fully pumped for the rest of the day...2 UFC fighters on one holiday!! Such nice approachable guys, considering what they do for a living. It's not every day you meet the greatest lightweight fighter in history. Mahalo, BJ! So excitement!!!

Hawaiian Sunset

Well we made it!! This is the last leg of our trip before returning home to Perth and some semblance of reality.

It was so great to see the girls after 7 weeks with no familiar faces. The house is great, right on the beach as advertised. We can see the lookout tower for Waimea from where we are. No big waves on the North Shore at the moment though, that's for Winter time.
After dinner last night in Haliewa, we jumped in our spa! This is the view from our lounge room.
We all had a great night's sleep, well, Kristy is still sleeping ;) and will be off in search of food and then waves today!!


Cold San Franciscan Nights

A quick journey back in time... to foggy San Francisco. I learned that locals never call it San Fran, or Frisco. That's a big no no. It's 'the City'.

So we spent an expensive couple of days here. The Fairmont took the gratuities to the next level and things were quite disgustingly expensive. But enough about that.

One of the highlights was the Tonga restaurant where the centre of the floor is occupied by a big, rectangular pool, into which it periodically rains! Complete with thunder and lightning! The band plays - on a little board in the middle of the water!

We went out to Alcatraz which was a great trip. The audio guide was really interesting with speaking from past guards and inmates. There was a lot more to the Island than I thought. The movies always depict it as a barren rock with a prison on it. Turns out that there was a whole community living on it. All the guards, their wives and families. The kids used to catch the ferry across the bay to go to school. What's more there were gardens, happily tended by the inmates all around the grounds. Whoda thunk it? It sure was windy though!

A little windy on the ferry.
The island was originally used by the military.
Harsh weather here
Its now also a bird sactuary
There had buildings for manufacture, power supply and a morgue during military years.
Inside the prison block
These cells that got sunlit were sort after
Recreation area
Golden Gate Bridge

Monday, August 30, 2010

Aloha from Hawaii!

We have arrived safe and sound and were collected very conveniently by Jo and Kristy in our swish rental car - another Ford Escape!
We have found our fab house on the North Shore and have established that there is Wifi. With the necessities now out of the way, we are off to find FOOD!

Photos to come, OBVIOUSLY. :D
It's so great to be reunited with friends and Hawaii, at first glance is BEAUTIFUL!
After dinner its spa-time under the stars and embarking on THE SEARCH tomorrow.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Santa Cruizin

Our very excellent accommodation overlooks the pier, Cowell's Cove and is walking distance to the boardwalk. Score! Above is the view from our terrace.

This is our retro kitchen. The pictures are for you, Jess, as I'm thinking you'll love it. 
Before the mist/fog rolled in!
With our room we managed to score free passes to the boardwalk which proved to be terrific fun. We went on the bumper cars, a few zany rides with lots of lights... I went on the Giant Dipper, a rollercoaster built around 1911. I screamed my lungs out the whole ride.
Bumper cars
Looking like a tourist from... San Clemente??
What's a night at the boardwalk without fairyfloss?
The highlight of the night was most definitely the Buccaneer Bay Mini Golf!! 18 holes of hilarity! The course had canons going off periodically, pirate animatronics, moving obstacles to get the ball through and even some blacklit, fluorescent holes. Sadly, we both came in around 20 over par. :S
One too many rides on the Tsunami?

The next day we checked out the wharf and found some sleek friends.
They are smelly and noisy but very cute. They are very sociable and spent most of the time barking and growling while they all got comfortable lying on each other in the sun.

We found our way over to steamer lane which was pretty serious. I didn't think it was breaking because you can't really see it from our side of the bay. It wraps around the northern point of the bay. With the current swell direction, the guys were taking off into the cliff, so a bit of a critical take off and some agro going around.
There was even a kneeboarder out! Serious wavage. A steep take off, a few barrels and a lot of kelp.
Young guys timing the cliff jump in between sets.

After finding such serious waves we needed some serious food. We found: pizza the size of my head. So good!

 We then checked out some of the other breaks, south of the main drag. What we found was a lot more chilled out and conducive to a relaxing surf. The Hook, so called because of all the kelp that gets caught in leg ropes and on fins, and Pleasure Point. I'd read about this place in Caught Inside, but didn't know what to expect. It looked pretty nice. Loooong rolling waves. There were even three peaks scattered across the bay the spread people out.
Pleasure Point
Before heading up to Santa Cruz I shot out here for an hour or so. The waves picked up with the incoming tide and the sets were really fun. A nice vibe out in the water and a seal to boot.
The stairs ...
Scored a 9'4 McTavish epoxy for this break and a wetsuit which was 5x4x3mm! That's serious neoprene! Although I think the water was pretty balmy compared to Morro Bay.
The fog which rolled in about 4pm the day before lifted while I was out to reveal the blue sky :) The previous evening, people simply surfed in the fog!

Next stop, San Francisco!!

Big Sur-fing at the Rock

Pismo Beach was a cute, if slightly bogan town. We left bright and early, armed with directions from our hotel dude, in search of some local waves. We checked out Shell Beach, which wasn't happening, but the next stop up the road, Morro Bay was the payload!

Plus, check out the view!
Morro Rock
Tadashi Suzuki Board!
James with a Robert August board
We literally surfed straight out next to THE rock.
The water was freeeeeeezing! Apparently around 15C. Hands and feet were burning the whole time we were in the water. The swell picked up with the outgoing tide and it was super fun. I'm now able to control where I sit in the wave a lot more and we've been enjoying surfing on mals!

Eventually we had to tear ourselves away, return the boards and get underway! The drive was spectacular! It took about 4 hours through winding, cliff top roads.
The countdown
We stopped briefly in Big Sur proper which was a dappled collection of shopsv hidden amongst the trees next to a little creek. Camping here would be magical. The visitors pictured below had an interesting way of getting amongst nature.

It was great to see this rugged coastline. California has been really diverse, and we've only scratched the surface, keeping to the coast.