We love our friends Pat and Kazumi, and we enjoyed every event that was held in their honour. But once our whirlwind tour of Oahu for wedding-related activities ended, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. We could now slow down the pace and feel like we were all actually on vacation. Pat and Kazumi would stay on Oahu while Matt and I, and Joe and Clare, would move on to explore Maui. Pat and Kazumi would join us a few days later.

We spent our final day on Oahu taking it easy. We returned to Snappers for a late breakfast. After breakfast, we finished packing our things and checked out of our hotel. We had a leisurely lunch at Ala Moana Center and then made our final preparations to fly to Maui.

For this part of the trip, we made very different choices. We had chosen different airlines with different routes and different hotels. Despite all that, we would still be spending a lot of time together. There was a free shuttle that linked our area to theirs. There was also a well-marked foot path between the two locations. Fantastic!

Our flight to Maui was with Mokulele Airlines. They weighed our checked luggage, and then they weighed us and our carry-on luggage. We were asked to hop up on the baggage scale, one at a time, and they recorded our weights. The TSA screening agent chatted with Matt while he was going through security. The agent recognized the Dainese logo on Matt's t-shirt and cap. Yes, the agent was a rider. =) We boarded a small aircraft with a 10 passenger capacity. It felt more like we were joining a small tour group for a tour of the islands! The scenery was stunning as we took off from Oahu. The flight itself was about 40 minutes in duration. We arrived at our accommodations after a short cab ride and unpacked a little. Once we were settled in, we took a stroll along the marked path towards Joe and Clare's. We walked around Whalers Village, a nearby shopping centre and waited for them to arrive.  We eventually met up and had dinner at Leilani's on the Beach. We discussed our plans for the next few days until Pat and Kazumi would join us again, and then parted for the evening.

The next day, we all spent time doing some much needed laundry. Then, Joe and Clare headed to our area to join us for breakfast at Castaway Café. We had decided the night before that we would spend the rest of the day being lazy and having some much deserved beach time. Despite the fact that we had been to a beach wedding and we were in the vicinity of Honolulu's Waikiki Beach every day while we were on Oahu, we had somehow managed to be too busy to spend any time enjoying any beaches! Well we would certainly indulge in the amazing weather, sand and surf now! We packed up some items to spend a day at the beach and then set out for Joe and Clare's area. We settled ourselves on the beach. We soaked up some sun, we bobbed around in the ocean, and we had a great time. We eventually packed up and freshened ourselves up. We decided to try a restaurant called Star Noodle for an early dinner. The restaurant's dishes were quite tasty and reasonably priced. After dinner, we went for coffee. Going for coffee, as it turned out, was far more difficult than we had anticipated. We had forgotten to take into account that the U.S. celebrates Columbus Day (or Discoverer's Day) on the same day that we normally celebrate Thanksgiving. After a frustrating exercise of driving around in circles, we eventually found an open coffee shop and indulged in some caffeinated beverages. Tomorrow's adventures will involve more driving. A lot more. 


North Shore

We decided to explore the North Shore of Oahu by car as a day trip with Joe and Clare. We had a quick breakfast, picked up some snacks for the road, and then set out to see the sights. We had already seen a small portion of the North Shore since the wedding ceremony location was a beach in that area. The roads along the coast were rather twisty; we noted that it would have been an amazing ride on motorcycles. Perhaps we can return one day and do that. =)

We drove along Kamehameha Highway and stopped a few times along the way at some scenic points to stretch our legs and take some photos. One of the interesting laws in Hawaii is the public is allowed access to all beaches. Technically, there are no private beaches, even if you own beach front property. So as we drove along the North Shore, there were pubic access walkways at regular intervals between the private properties. 

We stopped for lunch at Fumi's. Fumi's is one of the famous shrimp trucks found on Kamehameha Highway. We actually ate at a brick and mortar location that was a short distance from the original truck. Matt and I shared an order of spicy garlic shrimp and lemon pepper shrimp. Joe and Clare shared orders of spicy garlic shrimp and garlic and butter shrimp. I think we can all agree that every dish we tried was fantastic. After lunch, we enjoyed a giant shaved ice with local flavours (Blue Hawaiian, mango, and coconut).

We stopped briefly at Waimea Valley Visitor Center and looked around a small section of the botanical gardens that surrounded the Visitor Center. In addition to the plants, we saw some local wildlife causing some mild havoc amongst pedestrians and vehicular traffic. Some wild birds (peacocks, chickens, roosters, and various ducks) were strolling around without a care in the world. It caused some amusement as they would amble along in the parking lots in front of cars, effectively holding up traffic. 

We continued along and then drove past fields of pineapples. At first we thought we were driving past fields of aloe plants since the crowns of pineapples and the leaves of aloe plants have very similar shapes at a quick glance. But then we spotted signs for the Dole Plantation and it dawned on us what those plants really were. We couldn't pass up an opportunity to visit the Dole Plantation. We had a stroll through their garden, their gift shop, and had a quick look at their world famous Pineapple Garden Maze. A large board listed frequently asked questions about pineapples. Did you know that it takes 20 months to grow a pineapple?? We were all amazed by the information on that board. We sampled some Dole soft serve pineapple ice cream and browsed through their gift shop before continuing on our way.

We finished our exploratory drive and returned to Honolulu. We completed our day by having dinner at a restaurant called House Without a Key. This was our final night on the island of Oahu. Next up: Maui!



A trip to Hawaii would not be complete without attending a luau. Pat's family made arrangements for everyone to experience one called Chief's Luau. It was very well organized. They had all sorts of informal pre-dinner activities that allowed the attendees to experience different aspects of Polynesian culture. A few of the activities included headband weaving, spear throwing, and hula lessons. A welcome ceremony was performed and then it was on to dinner. Although we weren't wowed by the food, it was still a decent representation of some traditional Hawaiian dishes. Some of the dishes were poi, lomi lomi salmon, grilled mahi mahi, purple sweet potatoes, and taro buns. Musicians and drummers entertained us as we ate with live music. 

When dinner was winding down, the show began in earnest. Male and female dancers demonstrated traditional dancing from the different Polynesian nations. The highlight of the performance was the fire knife dancing. As it turns out, the Chief is actually a world champion fire knife dancer. This was a fantastic experience and I would definitely recommend it. 



Our Hawaii adventure started six months ago when our friends Pat and Kazumi got engaged and decided to get married in Honolulu. How could we say no to an opportunity to visit Hawaii under such happy circumstances? ;)

Although the total flight time was well over 10 hours, we adjusted to the time difference fairly quickly. We arrived on Tuesday evening and settled into our hotel. We went for a nice stroll for a few hours with another couple of friends who were on the same flight and staying in the same hotel. Despite the late hour, we still saw plenty of people roaming the streets of Honolulu. 

On Wednesday, we started by having breakfast at a nearby restaurant called Snappers. The local birds were quite bold. We saw some of them hop onto a neighbouring table and attempt to steal food right off a patron's plate! After breakfast, we explored Ala Moana Center, the largest shopping mall in Hawaii. It is also the largest open-air shopping center in the world. We browsed the many shops and enjoyed a nice lunch at the Nordstrom Café. Matt had a fanastic arugula and shrimp salad and I had an ahi tuna poke. In the evening, we attended a dinner hosted by Pat's family at Gyu-Kaku Waikiki. It is a Japanese BBQ restaurant. The concept of a BBQ restaurant is that plates of sliced marinated raw meats are provided and you cook it yourself on a grill at your table. The dessert: s'mores. Very whimsical. 

Thursday was the big day, the wedding day. The majority of the guests boarded a shuttle bus to the ceremony site while others drove themselves. The weather was perfect and the scenery was beautiful. We all watched as Pat and Kazumi said their vows on the beach in both English and Japanese. It was very touching and intimate. The most hilarious moment was Kazumi announcing after the wedding certificate was signed: "Now he's allll mine!" Everyone laughed and cheered. The reception was held at The Beach House in Moana Surfrider Hotel. The dinner was a delicious four course affair that ended with a trio of desserts and a slice of wedding cake. Although there was talk of going out after the reception ended, we didn't have the energy and bid the rest of the wedding guests good night.

This morning we attended a brunch hosted by Kazumi's family at Pikake Terrace in Sheraton Princess Kaiulani. It was a unique mix of traditional North American brunch items and Japanese breakfast items. The highlight for us was the delicious and very fresh local tropical fruits. After brunch, we browsed some more shops before returning to our hotel to prepare for the evening's festivities: a luau.   


Militant Repurposing

In addition to the visual aesthetic that obviously attracts me to abandonements, one of the things I enjoy about this hobby is having the opportunity to learn a little bit of history about the places I visit and be able to see visual evidence of a site's previous use.

This particular complex was built in the 1800s as a fort, it was then used as a barracks, prison, and even a military hospital.  While exploring here, if you're observant, you'll definitely see traces of each of these uses.

Militant Repurposing


High Pressure Shooting

In most of the urban explorations I have done, the experience is generally quiet, calm, and with a minimal amount of stress.  This photo was taken under conditions exactly opposite to that.  After spending most morning dodging security patrols my group found ourselves in this jet propulsion test chamber shortly after the said patrol rounded up a few explorers.  At this point, highly on edge, being able to focus on creating the photograph I wanted was quite a challenge.

As on you can see by some of my gear being visible in the frame, I was only partially successful!  While not a great photo in and of itself, the personal story that goes along with it for me will make it a lifelong memory.

High Pressure Shooting


Building The Matrix

Building the Matrix


Primary Colours

Awesome classroom in a school that's currently undergoing renovations.  Thankfully I managed to get a good glimpse of this place before it's fully repurposed.  While it's not necessarily evident from this photo alone, this was arguably one of the most symmetrical places I've ever visited.  For someone who's a bit OCD, it was fantastic.

Primary Colours



Two hallways, 4 adjoining rooms, and several windows.  Now, if only I'd been able to find a lonely chair...



Silent Study

This former veterinary school will be converted into residential suites.  I can only imagine how amazing the suites will be with the massively tall ceilings and huge windows.  The architectural details that were common place for non-residential buildings will make for a very unique place to live in.

Silent Study