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1/19/2017 Whales

For the first time in quite a while, Top Web Comics was having issues so I did what I usually do in those situations and posted today's bonus comic here. There will be a regular strip on Monday.

In other news, I'm back in Virginia. My current focus is catching up on the usual post-trip things and preparing my spring classes (which start on Monday). Got a travelogue entry or two left though. Here's one for today and I'll try and finish it up on Monday.

January 14th (Sunday): Whale Watching
We had talked about going on a whale watching boat a few weeks ago but nothing ever came of it. But then my mom heard from some people who had gone and seen a lot of whales and decided we should give it a try. There's a lot of whale watching boats around, but we ended up going on The Star of Honolulu, which has been around for ages and also does dinner cruises. As a side note, whales only hang out in Hawaii for several months, coming down to get away from the cold winters up north. So if you want to see them, you have to time your visit
The weather was great. We set off and soon were treated to some great views of the coast. We actually ran into our first whale pretty quickly, and saw a steady stream of them from then on. The boat did a good job of following the whales around and the crew chimed in with some occasional whale and Hawaii facts. And, when there were breaks in the whales, I could always watch the parasailers. The boat also had a buffet (though we ate before we went), a few little Hawaiian culture activities, and was pretty kid friendly. That said, after getting Zack to sleep (which took a little doing), I spent pretty much the entire time up on the top deck looking for whales and enjoying the view. At two and a half hours, it was a fairly long trip, but didn't quite feel "too long" either.
While going on a larger boat is a bit more laid back than a small cruiser, it is more comfortable and allows for more amenities. If you want a relaxing whale watching trip, I'd say that The Star of Honolulu is a pretty good choice. They even give you a free return ticket if you don't see any whales. Connie, my mom, and I all enjoyed it and it was a nice way to spend one of our final days in Hawaii.



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1/15/2018 The end of the vacation...

Well, this is my last full day in Hawaii. Tomorrow evening it's back to Virginia where work and winter weather await. On that note, there will be no comic on Wednesday due to my travel schedule.

January 5th - 13th (Friday - Saturday): Taking it Easy
After packing lots of stuff into the week after New Year's, we ended up taking it easy for our last full week in Hawaii. We walked around, ate out, spent time at the pool and the beach, and the like. Just the kind of fun relaxing stuff that always made Oahu such a fun place to live. One highlight was watching the sunset (and the crabs) at one of my favorite spots on Waikiki Beach, which is always a nice way to close out a day. Another was burying Zack in the sand, which he really enjoyed. While I often like cramming in as much sightseeing as possible on my trips, sometimes it's nice to just take it easy, especially when I'm in a familiar area.
Actually there was one incident (which you may have heard about on the news) that involved an emergency alert sent out across the islands warning of an incoming missile strike. I was pretty skeptical from the start, but some people really got freaked out and everything ground to a halt for a little while. Turns out it was a false alarm, supposedly caused by someone pushing the wrong button. You'd think that the system would be designed a bit better than that but this is the Hawaiian state government we're talking about... Though, I could also think of at least a couple of reasons someone may have wanted to send out a false alert on purpose... What's worse is that, even though the government knew it was a false alarm almost immediately, it took them nearly 40 minutes to send out a new alert saying so. Supposedly, they didn't have the right software installed. Now, I don't know what their alert system is like but, as a tech guy, that sounds pretty dubious to me. Then again, this is the Hawaiian State Government (which, in case you didn't notice, I have a very low opinion of due to my time living here)... They're looking into ways to prevent something like that happening again, though it seems that the employee at fault (assuming the whole story is true) won't be getting fired, just reassigned, which seems a little light considering how much chaos he caused and how much worse it could have been. Anyway though, nothing really happened and that's that I guess.

Well, that's it for today. I will have a couple more travelogue entries before this wraps up, but they'll have to wait until I'm back home.

See you Friday!


1/12/2018 Zipping around

It's a Friday, so you can use the TWC button to vote and see the new bonus comic.

Time has really flown lately. Hard to believe my month in Hawaii is almost over. While it'll be nice to get home in some ways, I can't really say that I'm especially looking forward to the winter weather, or getting back to work. Anyway, for now it's back to the travelogue.

January 4th (Thursday): Climbworks Zipline Tour
I started doing high ropes and ziplines as a kid back in Colorado, but one thing that has changed since those days is the introduction of the zipline tour. Basically, instead of just doing one zipline, a zipline tour involves spending two or three hours doing a series of ziplines, usually with some other activities inbetween. The last time I did one was actually in Hawaii as well, but many years ago on a different island (Kauai). Zipline tours only came to Oahu few years ago but now there's two or three of them. That aside, my mom thought it would be fun for Connie and I, so she got us tickets as a birthday present of sorts.
Climbworks is on a farm on the north side of the island. My mom took Zack off to play, and Connie and I joined another couple and a Japanese family and set off for the ziplines. The first was a sort of intro line right by the entrance. Probably to make sure no one freaks out before starting the tour proper. After that, we hopped on an ATV and headed to the top of a nearby hill. From that point on, it was ziplines and walkways all the way down. Inbetween, there were a few talks about the farm (they grow bananas, tomatoes, and Vietnamese curry leaf) and the north shore in general, along with some obstacles (drops, climbs, and swaying rope bridges). I'm pretty used to these things, but this was only Connie's second time on a zipline. Fortunately, she did fine and we both had a lot of fun. The ziplines passed over forests, valleys, and the farm itself. One even went through a short canyon (though it's kind of hard to tell from the photo), which was really cool. I don't think this one was quite as good as the zipline tour I took back on Kauai, but that's a different island and the Climbworks tour is a lot of fun. If you don't mind heights, and are looking for something fun to do on the north shore, give it a try.
We finished up the day at the Kailua farmer's market, which is more or less on par with the Blaisdell one in regards to food selection. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area Thursday evenings.



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