We had a great time on The Islands. We swam in the open ocean with a pod of untrained dolphins, we visited Pearl Harbor, we boogie boarded, kayaked, and swam in the warm ocean. We gloried in the greenery and the flowers. One of the funnest things we did was spend an afternoon at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu. They bring young people from all the Islands of the Pacific to Hawaii to go to college, and they have the opportunity to work there to pay their way. We sat and watched as boats came along a canal with performers on them, doing native dances from the various islands. We saw these hula girls coming and briefly wondered if the girls still know how to really hula. Shortly after they started, Liz commented, "These girls have it figured out." and they did!
I wish we had photos of the dophins. At one point, I thought about getting some waterproof cameras to take with us on the boat, but I didn't carry through, and I am actually glad, because it would have distracted us from watching them. There was a pro photographer with us and she was selling DVDs with photos and videos of the whole thing for $55, which I wish we'd bought. Anyway, one of the cool things with this pod was that they had several small calves, including one little fellow who sadly had a bite cut in his side from a shark. The rest of the pod must have rallied around him to beat other sharks away after that. He seemed to be doing fine.
Our last day on the Island we visited the National Tropical Botanic Garden. It was great, but there was a curious fountain there. It looks kind of tame at first. It is a long (about 40 yards), narrow fountain with alternating narrow and wide areas, and the whole thing drops a total of only 2 inches. The water flows into it at a constant rate, but as it passes along it starts a wave action and the water pulses as it leaves the fountain. You have to have a lot of money to build a fountain for the novelty of having it pulse at one end, but it was way cool.
They filmed part of Jurassic Park there, including the scene where they are snuggled into the roots of a big tree and then find hatched out raptor eggs on the ground as they leave. I saw the very spot where the eggs were - it is right under the hand of the park guide who is pointing off to the side. The trees have grown some since that movie was made. There are places where you can follow the roots up to the bole of the tree and are hidden from everybody unless they are right in front of you.
A hundred yards away, they filmed part of Pirates of the Caribbean IV where Captain Sparrow and friends waded across a little river to invade a pirate camp. They start out in the bamboo grove you can see on the right side of this photo, and end up in a clearing on the other side. In that scene, you briefly see this distinctive coconut tree leaning across the river.