Former Traveler intern Catherine Pearson is on her way to explore Australia, but she stopped off for ten days in Oahu, Hawaii on the way. We're not going to suggest it was only for the purpose of taking the Lost TV Tour—no, she's not nearly that obsessed . . .
Recognize this beach? It's the crash site in the pilot episode of Lost.
As if Hawaii didn't have enough
reasons to visit, Oahu offers one more: the Lost TV Tour. I was at a
wedding in Honolulu when I heard about the chance to see where they film my favorite show, so I booked the next available
slot. Big Kahuna Hawaii gives options ranging from two-hour off-road
adventures to exclusive private party tours.
I chose Hawaiian Escapades' regular Lost TV tour, eight hours of
scene-spotting, hiking, and swimming with a vanful of fellow Lost
fanatics from around the world. Our crew hailed from Macedonia, Saudi
Arabia, and the mainland U.S.
As soon as all 12 of us had squeezed in the vehicle, our guide gave us the good news: The Losties are going back to the island. And the bad news: They won't need their tents anymore. So, the crew has taken them down, a major disappointment for tour-goers.
"We come for the tents only!" one of the Macedonians said and jokingly demanded a discount. It didn't help when the list of what we wouldn't see grew. The polar bear was computer-generated, as were the palm trees on the Waianae mountains (the range shown from a distance on the island). The hatch was stored away as a prop and the Others' pier was on the other side of the island, too far for our eight-hour trek.
But what our tour lacked in tents, it made up for in conversation. Stories of cast sightings, guesses at filming dates, and analysis of Sayid and Jin's dismal attempts to speak Arabic and Korean, respectively, filled the drive time. We glanced out the window to see Hawaii's glass-walled convention center, or "the Sydney Airport," on our way to Mokuleia beach, "the crash site." Appearing much more narrow than usual, the beach resumes its familiar width when the concrete barriers are gone and sand covers the road. The plane wreckage, the crashed plane where Boone meets his demise, and stacks of the Losties luggage are stored behind a chain-link fence down the road at a later stop.
Some sets are a bit more permanent, such as the Others' compound, YMCA's Camp Erdmen. The village of yellow cabins appear more mustard than lemon due to a filming lens. But there's no need to look inside the cramped quarters, as those scenes were filmed in studio. A Dharma Initiative symbol on the no-smoking signs in the recreation room is about the only evidence of the show's presence in the camp.
"Nigeria," aka the parking lot of the old sugar mill in Waialua, appeared smaller than expected, like most of the sites. But the coffee and chocolate samples were a welcome break that held us over till lunch: paper-platefuls of shrimp and rice fresh from the window of Macky's shrimp shack. The truck itself appeared in Lost as the shrimp stand where Sawyer shoots a man in Australia.
For those of you on whom my references are completely lost (pun intended) there are some non-TV elements to the tour as well (we had one such supportive spouse with us, who seemed thankful for that fact). The day's highlight is likely a chance to swim with sea turtles off Papailoa beach, which is on the same beach as the survivors' now tentless camp site. Attentive, we lined up at the orange plastic fence protecting a strip of private beach and listened as our guide pointed to a sandy space, explaining where Sawyer's tent stood and that Juliet took out Jack's appendix over there. Needless to say, the giant gentle turtles boosted morale for the entire group.
We kept our swimsuits on for our next destination, Waimea Falls, where Kate and Sawyer dive for the missing briefcase and then sit on the nearby rocks to briefly discuss Kate's past. The bleacher-style seats opposite the chilly pool were convenient for tourists and fans, as it became evident by the end of the day, that was precisely all we were. The open casting call is complete, filming has resumed and so has the chance of star-spotting for future tours. For those, like me, who make it through the tour without such a vision of Jack or Kate, take heart. Lost will reappear this winter with ample chance to say, "I've been there!"
Read More: Lost fanatics (of which there are a few on our staff) can get a fix during the long breaks between seasons by checking out the "Dispatches from the Island" blog, written by Jorge Garcia, who plays Hurley on the show. Jorge has been traveling a bit this summer, and has some great posts (and photos) from Ireland, Disneyland, and particularly, Paris.
Photos: Catherine Pearson