Fishing in He’eia Fishpond

DSC03978A few weekends ago we took Connor fishing at the Heeia Fishpond.  It was very exciting because this was his very first time fishing.  I had never been to the He’eia Fishpond before either so it was a new experience for me as well.  DSC04117The He’eia fishpond is owned by Kamehameha Schools and maintained and run by the non-profit organization Paepae o He’eia.  The fishpond is generally closed to the public and they have signs like this all over the place.DSC04000For the record, no, we did not break into the fishpond.  Paepae o He’eia holds La Holoholo events  about 8 or 9 days a year that allow the public visit and keep any predatory fish they are able to catch from the fishpond.  Tickets to the La Holoholo events are $10 per fishing pole and the event lasts from 8 am to 2:30 pm.  Paepae o He’eia only sells a total of 60 tickets for each event, so Ev and his co-worker (and our friend from school), Wayne, were really lucky to snag 4 tickets each.
DSC03996When we first arrived we checked in and were given a brief tour and cultural lesson about the fishpond.  The He’eia fishpond is an 88 acre brackish water Hawaiian Fishpond in He’eia, Hawaii.  Historians estimate that there were nearly 400 fishponds spread through the Hawaiian Islands in ancient Hawaii but most have been destroyed and there are only about 40 left in Hawaii.  The fishpond were that it was built between 600-800 years ago and the wall is one of the longest fishponds in Hawaii measuring 1.3 miles.DSC04001Initially, when Ev first suggested taking Connor fishing at the He’eia fishpond, I envisioned the wall being this narrow pile of unlevel rocks that Connor could easily trip on and plop right into the ocean.  It turns out, I was overreacting because the wall was massive.  The wall was at least 8 feet wide in the area that we were fishing and it was solid.  What was even more impressive was that the entire wall was built without any mortar or cement! The wall was constructed entirely out of carefully stacked lava rocks on both edges and filled in with coral.  Amazing!DSC04035The wall supposedly narrowed as you walked further down, but we didn’t end up venturing that far from the beginning of the wall and stationed ourselves at the first makaha, which were these channels through the wall with sluice gates on both ends that allowed the brackish water from the pond and salt water from the ocean to flow in and out of the fishpond.   The sluice gates were made of sticks lashed together and their main function was to allow baby fish into the pond and to keep the adult fish contained.  There were a total of seven makaha in the He’eia fishpond.  DSC04015Another benefit of this makaha was that it also had a Hale Kia’i, a guard house that protected us from the wind, sun, and rain.  I think that this was probably the most comfortable day-fishing I’ve ever done.  The wall was wide enough that we were able to cart in folding chairs, a cooler and a bunch of toys to keep Connor busy and the makaha was large enough to provide a small space for Connor to play when he got bored of fishing.
DSC04009The tide was really low when we first started fishing, which made the makaha a perfect place for Connor to “fish” because at low tide the water from the fishpond is flowing out into the ocean and tiny fish from fishpond would gather near the makaha area.  We had Connor sit at the edge of the Makaha and gave him a straight pole with some shrimp for bait.  We had fun watching Connor try to catch the small fish.  Other than allowing us to put the bait on his fishing pole, Connor wanted to fish all by himself.  Most of the time, the bait would fall of his hook and Connor was pretty much just feeding the fishes.  DSC04019However, Connor was able to pull up a few fishes.  Here is a picture of the very first fish Connor has ever caught.  It was a Mamo (Hawaiian damselfish).   You can also see the makaha and the sluice gate in the background.  Connor also caught about four kupipi (gray damselfish) that day, but of course, they were not the predatory fish that we were supposed to be catching, so we caught the fish and then released them back into the water. DSC04024Eventually, the tide changed and the water from the ocean started rushing into the  pond.  The tiny fishes left the makaha area and Connor and I stopped fishing.  After that we spend the rest of the time watching the other people fish, and Connor played in the puddles.  He was covered with mud by the end of the day, but he didn’t care.DSC04066One of friends, Mer, was the best fisherman of our group.  She took home two Kaku (barracuda).
DSC04059We thought we were going to go home empty handed but at the very last minute, Ev caught also pulled up a kaku!  I missed the whole thing because I was inside the Hale Kia’i packing up our stuff when Ev caught the fish.  I was bummed that I didn’t get to see Ev pull up the fish but also really happy that Ev caught a fish and that meant we would get to eat fresh fish for dinner. DSC04107Although our group only caught kaku, some other people were also able to catch some decent sized papio and because we were fishing on private property, Hawaii state size limits didn’t apply and they were able to take home fish even if some of them may have been undersized.  When we got to shore, there was wash area on the dock where we were able to wash off our gear and clean our fish.  We were really happy not have to scale our fish at home in our tiny apartment.  DSC04125Ev’s fish ended up being a little over a foot long and it was just enough to feed the three of us for dinner that night.  Ev fried up the kaku with some seasoned salt and we ate our fish with poi and choi sum.  DSC04130Overall, we had a lot of fun and it was a bonus that we got dinner out of the fishing event as well.  It was a super fun (and exhausting) day fishing.DSC03984

Sea Life Park

Last weekend was another busy one for the family.  On Saturday, Connor had a playdate with the ever so cute Miss. Lily Paige.  Just look at how happy they were to be reunited once again:

They apparently have similar smiles 🙂

For this playdate, we decided to take the kiddies to Sea Life Park.  I haven’t been there in ages, so it was a nice to go again. Sea Life Park didn’t include Kamaaina rates on their website, but fortunately, my friend Tasha (Lily’s mommy) called prior to going and found out that the Kamaaina rate was $20 for adults and that Sea Life Park was having a promotion with L&L Drive Inn.  By bringing in an L&L Drive Inn cup, we got a 2 for 1 discount on admission into the park.  Kids under 2 are also free, so Ev and I ended up spending $20+tax for admission.  Score!
DSC08474After we went through the entrance, we made our way to the Hawaiian Reef Tank.  I remember that this tank used to have hundreds of colorful fish, sting rays, and sharks when I was a kid and this used to be my favorite exhibit at Sea Life Park.  So, I was a little disappointed to see the tank’s current state.  This tank is now used for the “Shark Trek” interactive experience where people can pay to swim with sharks, which explains why the tank is now mostly filled with hammerheads and other sharks instead of fish.DSC08486
On the bright side, I was told that the tank was being closed for renovations, which hopefully means that the tank will be improved in the very near future.  And, despite my disappointment with the tank, Connor didn’t know any better and still enjoyed looking at the sharks and the few other fish that were in there.
DSC08488After the Hawaiian Reef Tank, we visited the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle Lagoon.  I was surprised at how many large turtles they had in such a small space.  They probably had about a dozen turtles there.  Connor is very into turtles right now, and he had pointing at each one, and saying “turtle” “turtle” “turtle”!DSC08494From the turtle lagoon, we visited the California Sea Lion exhibit.  Again, I remember this exhibit having way more sea lions than what we saw in there.  Maybe we visited this exhibit at a bad time and some of the sea lions were in some back area, but there were only about 4 sea lions swimming around in the entire exhibit.
DSC08489After the sea lions, we visited the Discovery Reef Touch Pool where Connor got to touch a variety of sea creatures that are native to Hawaii’s oceans such as a clam, a sea urchin, and a baby Hawaiian sea turtle.  This was one of the park’s newest exhibits and it was very well done.  There was also an area where kids could crawl into a glass tunnel to the center of a fish tank and watch the fish swim from all sides of the tunnel.  Unfortunately, there were way too many kids in there when we went so we skipped that portion of the exhibit.DSC08508From the touch pools, we decided to make our way to the Dolphin Cove to get good seats for the Dolphin show.  We got there about 30 minutes before the show started so there were still some good seats available in the shaded area.  While we waited for the show to start, we ate some lunch and let the kids play around.  The show was entertaining and Connor got to see dolphins and a wholphin, which is an extremely rare hybrid born from breeding a false killer whale and a dolphin.  While such hybrids are said to exist in the wild, the Wholphin at Sea Life Park is the only one to exist in captivity.  In addition, unlike most hybrid animals, the wholphin at Sea Life Park was fertile and has given birth to three times.
DSC08532Shortly after the show ended, we headed for the Aviary, which housed approximately 300 cockatiels and lovebirds.  I’ve never seen so many birds in such a small area before.  It was madness.  Birds everywhere, and they weren’t afraid of humans either.  One landed on my head and another landed on Everett’s shoulder.  I’m glad the birds were smart enough not to land on Connor because I don’t know what he would have done.
DSC08529By the time we finished with the birds, it was just about Connor’s nap time, so we decided to call it a day.  Connor was so tired, he literally fell asleep in his stroller on the way to our car.
DSC08476I wish we were able to see more of Sea Life Park’s free shows and talks, but I don’t think the kids’ attention spans would have allowed for it. For example, we didn’t get to see the Hawaii Ocean Theater show, the Penguin Habitat talk, the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle talk, the Kolohe Kai Sea Lion Show, or any of the 3-D Theater & Reef Ranger presentations.

Sea Life Park is really pushing their paid interactive programs that include swimming and/or feeding dolphins, sharks, stingrays, seals and/or turtles. Obviously, Connor is too young right now, but perhaps sometime in the future.  Overall, I thought our trip to Sea Life Park was well worth the $20 we spent.  It was a beautiful day and the weather was just PERFECT for spending it outside.  Hopefully, they continue to have the L&L promotion, so we can take advantage of the 2 for 1 deal in the future.

Playdate with Alex

Last Sunday we had the honor of spending the morning and early afternoon with the Dvonch family on a Connor and Alex playdate.  We started off at the Aikahi playground in Kaneohe. Doris and Matt bought food from Masa and Joyce and we had a nice brunch picnic on the lawn.DSC08291After eating, Connor spent the rest of the morning on the playground. The Aikahi playground was by far the largest one we’ve been to with Connor yet. Fortunately, the toddler playground wasn’t that crowded and Connor was able to do his own thing (mostly climbing up stairs and sliding down the small slide) without us worrying about other bigger kids bumping into him on accident.
DSC08266It was a pretty good playdate considering that it was planned at the last minute.  On Saturday, I noticed that we didn’t have anything planned for the weekend, so I texted Doris asking if they were free for a playdate sometime that weekend.  She responded that Sunday was free and we arranged the playdate.  Well, little did I know, the day was suspiciously light for a reason.  It was apparently the NFC and AFC championships.  Oops.  Ev was less than pleased that I had usurped his day of football with a baby playdate.  Fortunately, the Dvonches invited us over to their house to watch the second half of the Denver/New England game.
DSC08308The Denver/New England game ended up being a really good game, so Everett was happy that he was able to watch the end of the game.  Connor was happy that he got to play with all of Alex’s toys.  Connor especially liked scooting around on Alex’s giraffe tricycle.  DSC08299Alex was such a good host and didn’t mind sharing all of his toys with Connor.  Although we tried to bring them together, Alex and Connor didn’t quite grasp the concept of playing with each other.  Instead, they played independently, next to each other, and repeatedly stole the toy each other was playing with.  Oh well, maybe next time. DSC08296
Ev was getting too comfortable watching football, and the Dvonches astutely kicked us out of their house before the Arizona/Carolina game began. Otherwise, Ev would have stayed there all day. Smart family.  Connor had a great time on his playdate and passed out on the car ride home.  All in all, the Alex & Connor playdate was a great success.

19 Months

January was another exciting month for Connor.


We enrolled Connor in a part-time preschool class at the YMCA from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. two times a week.  Since we don’t have  any children in the family and Everett’s parents watch him on the weekdays, we thought it would be good to put him in daycare part-time to socialize him.  It took a while for him to adjust to the other kids, but he’s  much better now.

Connor’s First Day of Preschool

After redeeming our Honolulu Zoo family membership last month, we have been trying to go whenever possible.  I think Connor went to the zoo at least 5 times this month.  While at the zoo, Connor discovered the playground and learned how to go down the slide by himself. Since then, he’s gotten pretty good at it.

We are currently on a mission to find the best playgrounds on the island.  In addition to the Honolulu Zoo, we’ve explored the Makiki Neighborhood playground, the ward playground, the Waikele Community Neighborhood playground, and the Aikahi playground.
DSC08171Connor said his first three syllable word – papaya.  He was so proud of himself, he kept saying it over and over. So far, he hasn’t said any words longer than three syllables.  We’ve been trying to get him to say two-word sentences like “bye bye nana” but it comes out “bye bye na…”  =DDSC08267

In other notable news, Connor is super into owls and buses right now.  There’s a house down the street from Everett’s parent’s house that has owl figurines in the lawn.  Connor wants to walk down the street to visit the owls everyday.

Connor also enjoys sitting in front of our bedroom window waiting for buses to drive by.  Fortunately, our bedroom window faces a pretty busy street so quite a number of busses drive by every morning.

Connor completed his first puzzle (Connor thanks his Aunty Na for the puzzle) and is able to stack blocks and rings all on his own. Yay!

I can’t believe another month has gone by and my baby is now 19 months old.  Here’s to another great month.

Happy Halloween!

For Halloween this year, Connor paired up with his pal Lily to form the ridiculously cute Flintstone’s couple, Pebbles and Bam Bam.  How adorable are they!?


I couldn’t find a suitable Bam Bam costume at any local costume store, so I ended up sewing one up out of four t-shirts (orange, black, brown and white), an elastic band, and a bag of cotton balls.  Not to toot my own horn, but I thought I did pretty well, especially considering my lack of sewing skills.


One strange observation – Pebbles is always in shorts, while Bam Bam is in always in an orange skirt. It worked for me since skirts are way easier to sew than shorts.  Tasha did a good job with Lily’s costume as well.


I was hoping that Halloween would be easier since it fell on a Saturday this year, but in some ways it actually made it more complicated.  We started our day at a UH football game tailgate.  Then, after the tailgate, we left Everett at the football game while Connor and I went to meet up with Natasha and Lily at the Waikele Premium Outlets, where we went trick ‘o treating from store to store.


One of my coworkers warned me that he took his son to Kahala Mall one year and it turned out to be the “worst decision ever” because there were so many kids that they spent majority of time waiting in lines after lines for candy.  I was a little worried that Waikele would be the same way but fortunately Waikele had just the right amount of kids and the shops were far enough apart that we didn’t have to wait in any lines.


I don’t think that Connor knew what was happening, but he made an awfully cute trick o’ treat-er.  Overall, it was surprisingly fun and we are already thinking about next year’s costume.


Connor Goes Swimming

DSC06702A few weeks ago Connor started swimming lessons at our local YMCA! The lessons are for 30 minutes every Saturday and runs for a total of 10 weeks.
Connor is in the Parent/Tot class, which is designed for children 6 to 35 months of age. The classes are conducted with the parent in the water with the child.   Most of the activities are done to well known nursery rhymes (humpty dumpty) or songs (wheels on the bus, hokey pokey).

During this 10 week session, there are a total of 5 children (including Connor) in the class.  Although children could be as young as a 6 months, Connor happened to be the youngest one in his class. Connor sure acts like the youngest one as well. While all the others were having fun playing in the water, my poor son just complained and cried for I’d say 80-90% of the 30 minute lesson. The only time he stopped crying was the few minutes of “free time” at the end of the lesson where he got to play with the floating toys in the water. Of course, Connor grabbed onto two balls and wouldn’t let them go until he got out of the water.
Overall, the class was very well-organized.  I just wish Connor enjoyed it a little more.   Everett thinks that Connor is fussy because he doesn’t like the blue floatation device that he’s required to wear and because the swim lessons are at a bad time (the class is during the time  at which Connor usually takes his morning nap).  I too wish the class was earlier in the morning.  Unfortunately, our class is the only Parent/Tot class they have on Saturdays.  I am hoping that as we keep going to these lessons, Connor will get more used to the water and will actually start playing and enjoying the water.  Otherwise, it’s going to be a long 10 weeks!