Stu and Tracy woke us at 5am to say goodbye as they headed off with Pete and Becky to Fiji. It was very sad, as normal, because we never know when the gang would be reunited but we were comforted in the knowledge that we would see them in a week's time.
After going back to bed for a couple of hours we woke and began packing to move a couple of miles down the road into the Fagan's shack. Rick and Gaz looked thoroughly miserable as they pulled on their jeans and trainers in preparation for Britain's autumn weather and we silently breathed a sigh of relief that we were not leaving paradise just yet. John and Lucy kindly came to fetch us and we said goodbyes to the Archer's, the McEwen's and our boys before moving in to our temporary home for a couple of days.
After lunch we all jumped into the car and drove East towards Kualoa Ranch to discover LOST. The Fagan's decided to participate in the Bus Tour of the Ranch whilst we jumped onto ATV's (aka Quad bikes) and it was awesome! I got told off for reckless driving, which I know won't come as any surprise to many of you, but the guy in front was SO slow so I accelarated out of a couple of turns and skidded a little to liven things up. Isn't that what quad bikes are for??
OH. MY. GOD!! I've never been so star struck by locations before!! We pulled up to a WWII bunker, which was used in the movie Pearl Harbour. I haven't seen the movie but inside the bunker they had photographs of lots of scenes of all the different movies and TV shows that have been filmed in this area over the years. Most notably Jurassic Park, Godzilla and Lost are the big names but I was surprised to learn that some of the African scenes from ER were also filmed here.
The Lost locations we visited included Hurley's Golf Course, the Hydrogen Bomb Tower (minus the hydrogen bomb of course) and the hill where Hurley pushed the VW Campervan down the Hill. We also saw Godzilla's footprints, although they had been filled in so that they were only a couple of inches deep in order to stop the cattle from falling in, and we also saw a couple of locations where scenes from Jurassic Park was filmed. They are currently busy filming a new series of Hawaii Five O and we had just missed "Jin" who had been there that morning shooting.
It was great fun whizzing around on the Quads and in such a beautiful place. You could really appreciate why Hollywood continue to use the Ranch because it is really versatile and can provide so many different locations for a wide variety of scenes. It doesn't hurt that it's a good place to live in the interim either! It also offers a lot of privacy as none of the tours can access areas where there is filming taking place. They were busy building a set for a new movie called Battleships, although filming hadn't started yet. Not sure how that's going to work as it is based on the game??
Once we had finished we all went and found a little restaurant in Haleiwe for some yummy tea. Dan was very adventurous and had a Tuna steak which he thoroughly enjoyed and I splashed out also and had Scallops (well if you can't eat good seafood by the sea where can you??)
We woke early with heavy hearts as today was our final full day before leaving Hawaii. We set out in the car for the East Coast but got slightly lost and ended up going to the most Eastern part of the North Shore to Dillingham Airfield and Mokuleia Beach. However, this was no bad thing for Dan and I, can anyone guess why?? Anyone?? OK, I'll tell you, it's because this is where the original beach scenes for Lost were filmed! It is here that the Boeing 747 was taken apart to make it look like a real airplane crash, and it had a few people fooled as well. When Lost mania hit huge crowds of fans flocked here to try and sneak glances at the cast so the producers changed the location of the beach scenes to a more secluded spot. So, Dan and I had lots of fun walking up and down the beach trying to spot at what camera angles certain scenes were taken. The beach was surprisingly narrow and it's amazing what you can do with computer graphics. We will have to watch the whole thing again from the beginning and see if we can spot where we were (any excuse!)
We had a lovely picnic of Banana and Crisp sandwiches (the boys re living Namibia 1994) in the picnic area, with lots of juice mango and pineapple for pudding. Once we had had a quick wash in the sea we headed back down the road and stopped in the little town of Halewe where Dan had been previously for an icecream. Next door was a wonderful little shop, filled with housey things like beautiful painting and photographs of the sea, jewellery, coasters, etc and we all spent a small fortune buying things for home, which John and Lucy kindly agreed to take home for us.
After quickly stopping at foodland for tonight's meal and dropping it back off at the house John and Lucy took us to Kawela Bay, which was in between their Shack and Turtle Bay Resort. They had seen Turtles swimming there the last time they had been so we went to try and see if there were any around today and we came across another couple of Lost locations, yahoo!! This time Dan and I found the "jungle" woodland used in the third episode when they were running from the cockpit to the Banyan Tree to hide from the smoke monster, and then we found the actual Banyan Tree as well. It was huge, and no computer enhancements were used here, you could fit the entire cast and crew inside that tree!!
So pleased and so starstruck we went and found some Turtles to play with and our afternoon was complete. Even the jellyfish stings didn't spoil our fun (thankfully they weren't the Portuguese variety). Dan and I walked over the headland to a stunning view of our previous home, Turtle Bay and another gorgeous beach.
After stopping off to see Grandma as Maisie called her (the lady who worked at the Fruit and Veg stall) and picking up some fresh coconuts and sweet corn for the bbq we headed back to the Shack to do some last minute washing and packing. John cooked a wonderful chicken perfectly on the hot coals, which went very well with tortilla and salad, and my corn was a good accompaniment.
Everyone woke feeling utterly miserable at the prospect of leaving this magical place (even if we were moving on to equally amazing destinations!) The morning was spent packing up and loading a very full car before making our way one final time along the North Shore coast to the West. We stopped off at Pipeline to see the location of the World's number one Surfing Competition which is held annually in November. The beach was deserted due to lack of waves but ironically the water was too rough for three year olds to have a swim so the boys had a wander along the beach and tried to imagine what it would look like with 15 foot waves and onwards we drove.
We stopped a short way down the road at Pupukea Beach, also known as Police Beach. Again, it was very quiet and the water was quite choppy but we also managed to have a swim. Dan and I then walked down the beach and came across a huge turtle sitting out of the water on some coral whilst munching away. I ran back to tell John and Lucy what we had found and John and Maisie came to investigate. Dan and I walked further along the shore and came to a very familiar scene, yes more Lost locations! Yippee!! We located the beach woodlands where the beach camp kitchen and store were and we burnt our feet trying to walk along to a section of beach which jutted out where the raft was built and deployed into the water, with headlands in the backdrop. How very exciting!!
We walked back to join the Fagan's and pack up our belongings to move on again. We bought some lunch in Haleiwe and after eating our fill we waved goodbye to the North Shore and headed down the Highway to the Southern coast. Still we couldn't quite let go so we stopped one more time, at Ewa right next door to Pearl Harbour and had a final swim before we all had beach showers and washed away the Hawaiian sea salt for the final time. Once we were all clean and dressed for the flight, the Fagan's all in jeans, leggings and long sleeves we went in search of some food in Honolulu.
We got to the airport with plenty of time and John took the car back whilst the rest of us tried to squeeze our wet beach things into our bags. We temporarily went our separate ways to check in, and we were able to join the "Expert traveller" queue as we took more than two flights a month and we knew the protocols and had everything ready, SO much quicker! In the departure lounge we had a final drink before bidding the Fagan's goodbye. It's hard to believe the next time we will see them they will be a family of four and Maisie will be an older sister to a three / four month old baby. We wished them the best of luck and a safe flight home.
Our flight was unremarkable, very smooth and quick. It took two hours less than our outbound flight and on top of that we were a further 40 minutes early, landing at 4am in smelly, cold, boring Los Angeles.
Dan and Elles xx