Last weekend we took a little getaway trip to the Big Island. (For those still confused, no, I do not live on Hawaii. I live IN Hawaii, ON Oahu. The most populous island, but not the biggest. Straight now?) After coming out of a really stressful summer, we realized that we hadn’t been on a trip just the two of us since, well, we couldn’t remember. Certainly not since we’ve been here. (OK, I just had to check and it was April 2013.) We decided a few days in a hotel with A/C and without barking dogs, yelling neighbors, and musty everything would do us good. Not to mention some fun Hawaii activities.
Three days was all we could spare since I felt too guilty to skip out on work Monday since that’s the only day I work right now. So we headed out early Friday morning for what was to become my 2nd favorite of the three days. We vegged out around the hotel pool with a stack of magazines and ate Cheetos on the bed. (Cuz that’s how we roll.) That night we had a great dinner of local Monchong fish in an old plantation-style restaurant. Delish!
On Saturday we got up early to pick up our kayak for a morning on Kealakekua Bay (aka where Captain Cook landed when he “discovered” Hawaii.) We saw a pod of spinner dolphins but they kept their distance. When we jumped in to snorkel we couldn’t believe how clear the water was. 80-100′ visibility of clear blue water with such vibrant fish life.
It was like we were in a giant aquarium
That’s Dave waaaaaay down there. See how clear it is?
On the way back across the bay the dolphins came pretty close and hung out awhile doing a little tail slapping, lots of spinning up out of the water, and what turned out to be dolphin sex. Watching them (spin not procreate) was enough to make me giddy and just laugh and clap happily. That fun was just the beginning for the day. Later we boarded the dive boat for an afternoon dive and the evening manta dive. I’d never seen a manta ray and was really excited to see them that evening. We got lucky and spotted a few on the afternoon dive as they cruised by.
My first manta ray!!
Happy divers in the sunset
I honestly thought that the night dive would be similar, with just more mantas swimming by. I tell ya, I have never been so happy to be so wrong. The dive that night was one of the most amazing experiences. The mantas fed on the plankton that our flashlights were attracting, and they would swim directly at us and then swoop up and away at the last second. They even came from behind so they would appear right above us and be swimming away in front of us before we knew it.
It was like a manta disco!
I squealed and laughed for the whole 45 minutes. (Well, there was that one shriek when I looked down and saw a much despised eel slinking around me as I sat on the ocean floor. I do NOT do eels.)
Check out the video that Dave took. (That’s me in the bottom right.) Amazing!
We got up early the next day to drive over to the other side of the island for more adventures. Ziplining through the trees at a botanical garden was a great way to spend a morning.
Then after exploring some nice waterfalls,
Hawaii’s tallest free-standing fall
we were actually so tired from the past two days that we parked in a quiet waterfront park and napped. Like homeless people. But I loved it. (I blame my muscle relaxers, which I needed to take after awaking that morning to an unmovable neck due to staring straight up for 45 minutes the night before. Oh the prices we pay for amazing experiences.) We were then rested enough to carry on and head up towards the volcano. There was a winery on the way so of course I checked it out. I really do think it tasted like lava ash. Well, it smelled like it anyway. Then we headed to a big crater with glowing lava. We had packed a picnic dinner so we stretched out in the car (it was getting chilly, we weren’t just weirdly attached to the rental car, I swear) and ate while we waited for it to get dark enough for the glow to be really cool.
On the 2 hour drive back home, we headed through the middle of the island up Mauna Kea which is the highest summit in the state. Not only was the clear view of the stars absolutely stunning, we were tickled watching the outside temperature drop to the high 40s. Now I know that’s nothing special to y’all heading into the Polar Vortex, but the sheer amount of sweat we have been experiencing here on a daily basis made the chilly temps such a treat.
And then it was up the next morning so we could fly back in time for me to get to work at noon. Quite a little happy trip :-)