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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

What are the odds???!!!!!

Day 25/138 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. Day 1 in Oahu, Hawaii.

We finally docked after 6 long sea days in Oahu, Hawaii, Pier 2, at 7:50am. The Neptune stopped moving at that time, which of course, woke us up!

Side thrusters getting us into position at the pier.

The Carnival Miracle that had been alongside us most of the way to Hawaii beat us into port. The Carnival ship was north of us, which was experiencing rockier seas from L.A. to Hawaii, so I’m glad we took our time to get to Hawaii! The Aloha Tower is featured in this photo too. The Aloha Tower was built in 1926 at an astronomical cost of $160,000 and originally it was a lighthouse.

Tugboats bringing in a cargo ship into the harbour in Honolulu. Just past the cargo ship is Sand Island, where the US Coast Guard Base is located in Honolulu. We heard ‘Reveille’ being played at 8am as sound travels across water, so we knew that there had to be a military base located close by.

We had a quick breakfast on our balcony and got ready to catch the 10am shuttle to the Ala Moana shopping mall which Viking was running for anyone not doing an excursion today.

There was no doubt where we were today as all of the signs on the ship were clearly indicating where we were and what to bring with us.

Our plan was to take the shuttle to the Ala Moana shopping centre with our golf clubs, and then find the famous Aloha shirt store for Richard. Luckily the mall had just opened at 10am when we arrived.

Not a bad caddy, carrying two ’Sunday’ bags on Sunday. If he really wanted a job he could have ‘looped’ for a pro golfer at the Sony Open today which was being played in Oahu at the Wai’alae Country Club! We had thought about trying to change our tee time from today, til tomorrow, and then go to the Sony Open for the day, but with tomorrow being a holiday, we may not have been able to find a tee time at the course we wanted to play, so instead we stuck with our original plan.

With more than 350 stores at the Ala Moana Centre, we thought we would have difficulty finding the original Aloha shirt store, but luckily as soon as we walked through Macy’s and into the mall, we found the store!

Kahala, the Original Aloha Shirt Store since 1936.

Luckily the store was not busy so we were able to put our two sets of golf clubs down on the ground, while we shopped around for 2 perfect Aloha Shirts for Richard

After trying the cotton shirts on, we decided to err on the larger sized shirts, for fear they may shrink a little. Glen, who looked after us today, gave us a great trick for washing these Aloha shirts. He said that we should button them up completely to the top, for washing and then hang them up on a hanger, fix the collar and then let them dry. Kalaha was founded in Honolulu in 1936 by George Brantiger and Nat Norfleet. At the time they established Kalaha, all aloha shirts were made to order out of Japanese kimono fabric. Kahala was the first company in Honolulu to switch to factory manufacturing with the intent to export and wholesale aloha shirts. Kahala is the oldest operating apparel company in Hawai’i.

Watching Glen package the two Kahala shirts we purchased for Richard today, was a pleasure. The painstaking way he wrapped the shirts and how they fit perfectly into the craft paper envelope, to then slide into the paper bag, was worth the trip to the store! I can’t wait to see Richard in these beautiful Kahala aloha shirts!

If you take an XL, order a 2XL, as they are meant to fit loosely, and the cotton shirts are the originals and still made in Hawaii. Free shipping if you order 2 shirts.

I left Richard parked on a bench while I whipped around the mall shopping for 45 minutes. The stores were very busy, so busy in fact I had to abandon some potential purchases in lululemon because of the lineups! At 11;30am, we headed back down to the area where the bus had dropped us off, to grab an Uber to the golf course. We found that Uber was much cheaper than Lyft for some reason, so an Uber was our ride today.

While we were heading to the golf course Richard was closely following the Buffalo Bills game vs the Miami Dolphins. With 2 minutes left, the Bills were only winning by 3 points. When we had left the cruise ship, we were watching the game and the Bills were leading 17-3. Yikes. There were a few tense minutes as we waited to see what the final score would be! We live across from Buffalo, so we have a soft spot for the Bills, although Richard is a Cowboys fan and I like the Bucs and K.C. both because of Brady and Mahomes!

We arrived at the golf course after about a 34 minute ride. The course we had chosen was not close, but we knew it would be worth the drive!

Ko‘Olina Golf Club is one of Golf Digest’s Top 75 Resort Courses in the U.S. The course was built in 1990 by golf course architect Ted Robinson. Ko’ Olina features exceptional water features, multi-tiered greens, large landing areas and a moderate length. From 1990-1995 Ko’Olina hosted the LPGA’s Hawaiian Ladies Open, and from 2012-2019 hosted the LPGA LOTTE Championship. Michelle Wie West developed her championship calibre game at Ko’Olina. And our own Canadian LPGA champion golfer, Brooke Henderson won the LOTTE Championship back to back in 2018 and 2019.

The LPGA in 2022 moved the tournament to Hoakalei Country Club in Ewa Beach, Hawaii. When we mentioned the new location of the LPGA tournament to our Uber driver, she was mortified saying that Ewa Beach has contaminated water and the locals never swim there. Good to know. We won’t be going to Ewa Beach anytime soon!

After checking in at the pro shop, and shopping in the pro shop (the clothes were just too cute to resist), I headed over to the snack shack to pick us up some sandwiches for our golf cart. Richard hit some balls at the range, while I was doing the shopping.

As I was about to get into my cart I heard “Ruth”! Now I do not know anyone on Hawaii, unless they arrived on the Viking Neptune, so hearing someone call my name on a golf course we have never played before is a very strange thing! What are the odds that I knew someone at this golf course?

The odds are pretty good! It turns out that these folk are all members of the Clublink golf course in Georgetown, Ontario, Canada that I belonged to for the last 18 years, up until January 2023! And the odds are stranger yet, because they are here in Hawaii, on vacation and they had the 1:10pm tee time, directly behind our 1pm tee time. Crazy odds indeed!

Ko means ’fulfill’ and Olina means ‘joy’, so the name Ko’Olina means ’the fullment of joy’! We were really looking forward to playing Ko’Olina Golf Club, because we had visited the course before almost 5 years ago when we were in Hawaii for Richard’s 60th birthday. We had lunch one day at Ko’Olina and wished we had known how beautiful the course was, and had booked ourselves a tee time. So today we would finally find out how beautiful this course was!

Hole 1: a long uphill par 5.

2nd hole - a par 4. We started to get rained on, when we were playing this hole. Luckily the rain only lasted 4 minutes!

A red crested cardinal on the golf course today, with absolutely no fear of the golf cart.

A black swan preening himself at Ko’Olina Golf Club this afternoon.

We were really enjoying the golf course and the pace of play was pretty good at 2 hours 5 minutes for the front nine. As we were going to the 10th hole, I snapped this photo of the 18th green from across the water.

What a stunning finishing hole! A long par 4 across water with not a lot of room to bail out!

The 10th hole with the Disney resort in the background, across the street. How fitting to have a Disney resort in Ko’Olina and to see what I saw next!

A Mickey Mouse bunker! Just like the Mickey Mouse bunker at the par 3, 6th hole at the Magnolia Golf Course at Walt Disney World, Florida! With so many timeshares and resorts in the Ko‘Olina community it is no wonder that they would pay tribute to Disney with this bunker.

Unfortunately my new Iphone 14 Pro Max battery died after we played the 10th hole, so Richard took the rest of the photos on the back nine and there is no way I’m waking him up to get the photos for the blog. I will post some more of the signature hole - a par 3 on the back nine tomorrow because it really was a stunning golf hole!

The stunning, very difficult par 4 finishing hole. I couldn’t use my driver off the tee, because I would have been in the water, then the shot over the water, to the green was too long for my 3 wood, so I had to ‘bail out’ to the right just in front of the green. I ended up making a 5 on the hole, but I think that’s the best I could have done, given the length of the carry over the water. I ended up shooting 42, 43. Not bad, but a tricky course and somehow, I’ve gained length off the tee (I had a 212 yard drive on one hole and it was not downhill), and I hit long into every green and I know my yardages on each club. Oh well, score was not important today, because we enjoyed a stunning golf course and I think I could handle a few more rounds at this course!

Rather than Uber immediately back to the Neptune, we opted to stay and have a drink at Roy’s tiki hut bar and restaurant overlooking the 18th hole. Ah…a Hawaiian mai tai after a long day on the golf course! The edamame as a snack after golf were a nice free treat too!

We caught our Uber back to the Neptune, and after a 35 minute drive, headed back to the ship.

The caddy must be exhausted! At least the bags are pretty light!

We ate dinner at the World Cafe around 7pm and then came back to our cabin to figure out our plans for tomorrow. Our E-bike rental is scheduled for 9am, so we need to take another Uber to GOGO Rentals to pick up the bikes, and then we have a list of places to visit for errands, and hopefully we will get to do some sightseeing and find some neat places to eat! The back onboard time is 5pm tomorrow, so we have a lot to ‘cram’ into our day. Its time to sign off now, so I can recover from this busy day and I wonder who we might run into tomorrow in Oahu, since the odds of meeting people we know are pretty good it seems!

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