Tomorrow we're shooting the wedding of Tommy and San at the Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu. EXCITED doesn't even begin to describe our feelings! We've had the chance to enjoy this wonderful island for the last couple of days and I thought I would do a few posts similar to the Key West posts from last week about all of the things we've seen and enjoyed.

This is the view from our balcony. INCREDIBLE!

We chose to stay at the Waikiki Marina Resort. This was somewhat confusing at check in because it's a hotel that's actually inside of another hotel named Ilikai. The Ilikai is featured in the opening credits of the classic show Hawaii Five-0. Just after the shots of the rolling waves and the quick snaps of the city shoreline, the hotel they zoom in on as Jack Lord strikes a pose is the Ilikai.

How funny is that! The hotel looks exactly the same today on the outside - White with bright turquoise balconies, but the rooms were all recently renovated and they are beautiful! We have a full kitchen with granite counters and floors, a nice sitting area, and super comfortable bed. And the amazing ocean view is the cherry on top! We can watch the surfers doing their thing from early morning well into the evening.

Heading to Pearl Harbor to visit the USS Arizona Memorial was first on our list.

We were able to get there early enough to get tickets for the first boat out to the memorial. Tickets for the memorial are FREE and usually gone for the day by noon, so the earlier you can get there - the better.

A quick history brush up on Pearl Harbor: The USS Arizona is one of the battleships sunk during the attack by Japanese imperial forces on the morning of December 7th, 1941 in Pearl Harbor. This attack led the United States to their involvement in World War II.

The sunken remains of the ship still lie in Pearl Harbor, with 1,102 of it's 1,177 sailors entombed inside. Because it lies in water 30-35 feet deep, several parts of the ship can be seen from above water and large portions of the full length of the ship can be seen through the water below.

The small white dot in the middle of the photo is a buoy that marks the front of the Arizona

And the buoy in the middle of this photo marks the end.

The ship still holds 500,000+ gallons of fuel and it releases approx 2 gallons of oil a day which can be seen on the top of the water.

The memorial was dedicated in 1962 and the guides (who are men and women from both the Navy and the National Park Service) are wonderfully informative and we really enjoyed our visit to Pearl Harbor.

Next, we made our way to the Dole Plantation.

We took a ride on the Pineapple Express which is a mini train that takes you through the fields and gives you tons of information about the land and how Dole became what is is today. From the train there was a beautiful view of the mountains.

This is a row of Sugar Cane. There were many other things growing in the fields other than pineapple. The dirt in Hawaii is a bright rusty red color because of the high amount of iron-oxide from volcanic ash.

These little babies sure are a labor of love! All of the pineapples are planted and picked by hand. It takes 20 months after planting for it to produce its first fruit, then 15 months to produce its second. After that, the fields are knocked down and new crop is planted.

Of course we walked out with a bag full of pineapple flavored goodies - I love pineapple!

After the Dole Plantation, we made our way further North to Hale'iwa. It's a small surf town with shops and restaurants. We were bound for Giovanni's.

This is a famous Shrimp truck serving a plate of shrimp scampi and rice. There is another Giovanni's truck on the North Shore which is the original. This is the best $13 you will spend! Again, I'm not much of a seafood lover, but nothing beats this stuff!

When we first showed up this place was packed! but by the time we were done our lunch I was able to get a picture of the surroundings. This place is definitely a must see (whether this one in Hale'iwa or the truck on the North Shore). You won't be disappointed!!

Here are a few more shots of the beach from our balcony. We've been waking up by 4:00-4:30 Hawaii time because of our east coast time clocks - and it's so peaceful and beautiful that early in the morning.

That's it for our first day in Hawaii. Here's a preview of our night at the Paradise Cove Luau - All of the details from the Luau will be coming soon. Beautiful real orchid Lei's and fantastic food!

Jesse and Rob are getting married in July and we met with them a few weeks back for their engagement session. It was such a beautiful morning - no humidity with a nice breeze.

Navy blue is one of their wedding colors so Jesse wore a super cute navy sundress to match their theme. Isn't it adorable?

They have a very similar story to ours of how they met. And their significant dates for their wedding are super similar to ours too - but opposite. Todd & I were engaged July 31st, and that's their wedding date. Jesse and Rob were engaged November 14th, and Todd and I were married November 15th (close enough!) we thought that was pretty cool.

So in love...

They're such a cute, fun couple!

Jesse is going to make such a beautiful bride. I can't wait to see her in her dress.

We had a great time photographing Jesse and Rob and getting to know them a little better. Stay tuned for their wedding this summer!
We really enjoyed our time in Key West and are anxious to get back there and try more of the wonderful restaurants we didn't have a chance to visit. Before I get to the details of day 2, here is a sneak peak from Serena and Dan's beautiful island wedding on Saturday.

We spent most of Friday enjoying the island life of Key West visiting the docks and the beach.

This particular marina had about 15+ floating houses - like the ones you see in Seattle. Rather than a house boat, your house is literally tied up in it's spot at the marina and there you live...and float. What a fun and unique lifestyle! I have always been intrigued by the floating houses in Seattle, but never knew they were popular in Key West as well.

We had breakfast at Turtle Kraals which was fantastic! Our table was right on the dock and we watched the boats going in and out while we waited for our food. It was such a beautiful morning. This photo was taken while sitting at our table - such a great spot!

Just before our meals arrived, Todd said "Look behind you at the paratroopers". Before I turned around I said "you mean parasailers?". Key West has a naval air station based on the island and when I turned around there was an enormous navy cargo plane with 15 to 20 paratroopers gliding below it who had just jumped out of the plane!!

Here is a close up of the above photo. How cool! This happened twice during our breakfast. There were so many wonderful things to see right from our little table!

Todd ordered the Biscuits and Gravy, and I had the Banana's Foster French Toast. Both were DELICIOUS! We highly recommend this spot for breakfast. Wonderful view, nice atmosphere, and excellent food.

This is the front yard of one of the beautiful island homes - incredible!

I just loved the colors of this house. I could have taken a picture of every house on every street. Each one was unique and beautiful.

We hopped in the car and headed towards the actual southern most point in the US. There is a big marked buoy where you can pose for a picture. There was a long line of people waiting to snap their shots and there was no place to park nearby - so I snapped this photo of a nice family enjoying their southern most picture while we drove by.

and here is the drive by snap of the neighbouring southern most house.

A few blocks over, we parked the car and headed for the beach.

We walked out on a long pier to enjoy the sea breeze and the gorgeous water. It's the most beautiful mix of dark and light turquoise.

I always like to collect a shell or two when we go to the beach, so I kicked off my sandals and started my search.

SIDENOTE STORY: When I was younger I travelled to Treasure Island, FL with my family for vacation. On our last morning there my dad, brother, and I were collecting some seashells in our little plastic buckets. I hit the jackpot!! A starfish! I was beyond excited that I found it myself and it was all in one piece. I tossed it in my bucket and kept searching for more. Little me went on my way happy as a clam and to my horror the starfish that was in my bucket was still alive and moving! I threw my bucket high into the air and lost all of the shells I had spent the morning collecting. I still love collecting shells, but now wiser me knows that if I see a shell that's all in one piece with no broken parts it usually spells trouble!

Right by me feet in the tide was a big shell. My first thought was SCORE! But then a red flag was thrown. I bent down carefully and picked it up already expecting a creature to jump out at me - and there he was!! Inside the shell was a squirmy conch

We snapped a few pictures, and then I tossed him farther out into the water where he could live happily undisturbed.

That evening we wandered the streets of old town where we shared some fresh cut french fries. They were really tasty! They came from an outside stand just a few steps down from "The smallest bar" on Duval St. Which is literally - the smallest bar. About 10 people were cramped into a space no bigger than a telephone booth sized crook between two buildings.

The busy streets look so pretty at dusk.

We really enjoyed our time in Key West and I'll be posting more photos of the wedding soon. I hope these Diary posts were some fun eye candy as well as ideas for where to visit there from what we enjoyed most!