Saturday, August 15, 2009
Hawaii Day 7: Dolphin Encounter
I woke up rested after ten hours of much needed sleep. After a cereal and papaya breakfast (and a few ginger capsules for me) we drove back to the place we had scoped out earlier for kayak rentals. We rented from a colorful gentleman who told us all about another customer he had, also from Washington, who had given him the best "bud" he had ever had. Fabulous.
We paddled across the bay-- it was sunny and gorgeous and I felt happy in every inch of my body and soul to be in the peaceful ocean, so clear we could see the bottom even in these deep waters. About half way across we found ourselves surrounded by a pod of at least 20 dolphins, all within a few feet of our kayak. There were other kayakers and snorklers already there, and we considered getting out to snorkel, but it was deep water, and we had a camera with us and we weren't sure we could get back in the boat without tipping the kayak. So instead we floated and admired the dolphins-- I had my camera that doesn't have much zoom with me (I wasn't going to take the expensive SLR camera in a boat!) but it almost didn't matter because the dolphins were that close. (I wasn't fast enough to catch one spinning but it's very fun to watch-- they jump out of the water several feet in the air and spin around).
We continued our paddling across the bay to Captain Cook Monument. We snorkeled here last time we came to the Big Island with my parents, only last time we hiked in-- it is about three miles straight down and the hike back up nearly killed everyone but Marc. I wasn't particularly excited about that hike again and I'm glad we kayaked because we never would have seen the dolphins otherwise. The snorkeling here was good, not great, although we did see a Manta Ray. We timed our snorkeling perfectly-- we got in just as a large boat of tourists was leaving (man they were loud too-- shrieking to each other across at least 40 yards "Bob! Bob! I saw and EEL! BOB! AN EEL!" As we got out three more giant boats, with at least 100 people total all coming to snorkel arrived. We were very relieved to get away. Before we left the bay I practiced getting in the kayak from in the water. I somewhat ungracefully flopped myself onto the front of the kayak and then eventually got turned around in my seat--without flipping the kayak on my first try, to the amusement and applause of a bunch of locals on the shore. Unfortunately, by the time we kayaked back across the bay the dolphins moved on, so we never got to climb in the water with them. It still makes me laugh though, that people were paying $200 to play with non-native dolphins at the Hilton, while I was out in the ocean seeing them just as close for a $25 kayak rental.
After we returned to shore, we ate lunch at Island Lava Java, the restaurant where we'd checked email the day before. I had a fantastic big salad. M ordered a burger but complained it was flavorless. I didn't feel too bad since the day before he'd had two great burgers while I had a weird mis-mosh of not so great lunch. We walked around Kona doing a bit of shopping, and started a quest to find chocolate covered Kona coffee beans, since we decided we wanted to stay up late on our last night in Hawaii. We went to many stores and could not find them-- other than at the Donkey Balls place which only had ones with milk in them.
We also decided we wanted to take a suitcase full of fruit home. In order to do this we needed to make space. First I called Hawaiian airlines, which told me they thought it would be fine to take fruit on the plane. We had bought life jackets before we left in case we snorkeled in rough waters but we never ended up using them. So we found a UPS store and shipped the jackets home (which just arrived yesterday) to make space.
We drove North to spend the afternoon at the Four Seasons again. We found two reclining lounge chairs under a tree at the ocean's edge. It seemed perfect-- staff brought us fresh towels and water and we lay happily reading for awhile. The wind kicked up and was rather strong-- I not only got cold, but actually started getting a little nauseated (it doesn't take much with me!) by the wind rocking me back and forth. I got up and moved to a lounge chair near the pool while Marc stayed at the ocean's edge. Nearer to the hotel I had constant refills of water (it was orange infused today) and it was much warmer. We stayed again until the sun started to go down and then continued our quest for chocolate coffee beans. We tried a coffee shop, a local grocery store (where we bought ketchup, beer and spam! Yikes). Marc decided he needed a haircut before going back to work so while he got cleaned up, I tried Longs Drugs and finally found what we were looking for- dark chocolate covered kona coffee beans with no dairy and no high fructose corn syrup.
On our way back we saw lots of drunk people weaving in the dark, and a fire truck and police cars at a nearby hotel. Back in the condo we saw boats and helicopters searching the water-- I really hope they found whomever they were looking for.
For dinner I made eggs and potatoes (I made Marc make is own spam). We had a late dinner around 9pm, all the while eating those coffee beans. I still felt like I was on a boat, and was light headed and kind of out of it. After dinner we swam in the pool and had it to ourselves, before returning up stairs to deal with the giant packing mess.
Despite all the coffee beans I fell asleep before midnight, exhausted.