Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kona 2011 - Day 4

Akasha was still crashed out this morning, so I decided to take a little walk around the resort before it got too hot. I was totally amazed to find this herb garden just waiting for the picking! I took some fresh basil to put into an omelet!
Mmmm, plumeria.
Some interesting tropical flowers along the walking path.
This is the view from the jacuzzi. There are these weird juxtapositions like this all over this coast. In this case you have the resort golf course right next to this Hawaiian archeological site!
And there was another preserve site right on the grounds of the hotel!
Some views of the preserve, which was dedicated to Lono in case you can't read the sign. :)

These bright yellow birds were all over, usually in pairs. The kids loved them.
I stopped to look at these flowers and then was like, whoa, huge mantis! Can you see it...?
Can you see it now? (LOL that was for my friend Nicole).
Orion especially liked these double palms that were growing in several spots on the property.
Got back and decided to take some shots around the condo. Here is the awesome master bath with huge tub:
There is a pineapple motif throughout, and the kids have been having fun going around and counting them all, so I thought I should get some pictures of them!

Here is a typical scene if we aren't going anywhere. Minecraft never sleeps.
Akasha all ready to go out hunting caches with me.
I had looked at the map the night before and planned a little loop South of the resort. The first one I got was at a kayak rental place, and I got soooo many mosquito bites! The weird thing was they were tiny little things I could barely even see! I thought I remembered them being huge in Hawaii.... Dangit! So out came the bug spray I brought with me in preparation for the next stop....

There was one cache I wanted to get more than any other on this trip, but when I fired up my GPSr... it wasn't in there!!!! What, are you kidding me? I think I got so caught up in reading about it, I forgot to download it when I was done! Well, it sounded like such an interesting place, and the description of how to get into the area was pretty detailed, and I was fairly sure I remembered where it was on the map, so I decided to go for it, even if all I got to do was see it. Turned into a great caching story and I got to feel like a rock star. :)

Found the gate to the right of the store just as promised...
Went down the cool mossy steps...
And headed down the trail, complete with wild chickens Akasha was wild for herself.
Sites along the trail:
And made it down to the cemetery... only to find out it was pretty darn big! Um, there is no way I am going to find this cache, so I am just going to look around and take some photos. Maybe something will jump out at me....
Lots of these plaques with writing on them.

This was the only one I saw with little offerings on it...
... and nearby something caught my eye. Could it really be right there...? Lifted something up and OMG, cache in hand first place I actually looked!!!! So I brought it over to a flat area to check it out and sign the log. At this time is when I also looked down to notice.... WTF?! I am covered in mosquitoes!!! OK, apparently the natural crap I bought DOES NOT WORK! So at this point I am dancing around, trying to keep moving so they will stay off me while I put back the cache. What a site I must have been. What a bummer too as I would have liked to hang out here longer. But poor Akasha was getting eaten up too. So we hightailed it out of there, me carrying Akasha, and damn, it is uphill on the way out, but I kept up a fast pace.

Phew, back it they gate it was way less buggy, so we paused to take a couple cute shots. Akasha was quite sad we never caught up to any of the chickens, but she got over it.

And now I have a confession to make - we went to the Target in Kona. Funny story - turns out my bathing suit bottom was totally, um threadbare. Ron had noticed it the day before at the beach. So I needed a reasonable replacement. But these pictures are too cute not to post and give away our dirty secret lol.

Later that day, the thing we were most excited about on the whole trip... a night snorkel with manta rays!!! And I didn't really think about it ahead of time, but it was a sunset cruise as well - bonus! The harbor at dusk:
Heading out to sea - AKA I really need to do something with my hair lol.
A classic photo...
I loved our captain. He was a pretty short guy, so used a cooler as a foot stool, which cracked me up for some reason - very no fuss, do what works - and he just FLEW across the water.
Here we are going at top speed:

We also saw some dolphin, but by the time I got my camera out, I caught about 2 seconds of them lol.

It's getting darker....
And just as we planned, close to a full moon.
The mantas were amazing. It was really hard to get any decent photos in the dark, but there was a professional with us, and we bought her photos and video. Now I just need Ron to collect them so I can share them - excited! The night started out slow - her was one of our first glimpes:
But by the end they were coming right up belly to belly with us! The lights we were carrying attract plankton, which is what they eat, and they do these beautiful graceful somersaults to collect the food. This is one of the best photos we got:
We also have some video I will post when I get it uploaded!

Editing to add some of the pics the photographer took. This was our group on the blue ring:

I put all our videos together in Moviemaker and made this:

And this reminded me I forgot to write about Lefty! That is the manta in these pictures. You can see how one of her fins doesn't open properly, which could impact how well she collects plankton. Turns out she was the first one to come check out the humans and their lights, and then lots of others followed. They now seem to totally trust that we intend them no harm, but we have Lefty to thank for this amazing experience.

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