Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kona 2011 - Day 6

Warning! Huge post ahead! This was a long day!

I really wanted to make sure I got a chance to snorkel at Kahalu'u since it was so close to our hotel and supposed to be one of the best spots on the island, so I decided to head over by myself early, before the kids were even up! And I am so glad I did! Wow, it was amazing!

Here is the entry area - looks so unassuming. :)
Then you look under water and bam, fish everywhere! And SO much variety. I took about 100 pictures lol. Here are some of my favorites:

The colors on this one were amazing. Wish I had got a better shot.

This one had these amazing subtle colors. Picture doesn't do it justice!

Came across this little group and shot a picture before I even noticed who was down there under the rock.... Do you see it?
A moray! Glad I got this shot because when I got closer he popped back in.
Just when I thought I had seen every kind of fish, I would see another new type. These guys were a trip.
And then I spotted this guy! He had a crazy, long, forked tongue and was using his mouth to move really big rocks. All the fish moved stuff around with their mouths - never realized how handy they were that way - but this guy seemed stronger. I got video footage of him as well that I will add later.
I only spotted a few puffers. They seemed shyer than the other fish, and stuck close to the rocks and hid when I got near, but I did capture this little one. They are so cute!

Phew, totally like being in another world! When I got out, I stopped to talk to a Hawaiian guy who was working on an archeological site that was an old royal bathing area. What a character he turned out to be! I told him about some of the reading I had been doing about Hawaiian history, and he thanked me for taking an interest in his people, but was quick to say most of the interpretations are wrong. He started telling me the correct version of the Captain Cook story, which had to do with him first coming to the island during peacetime, and then returning during wartime. That was an interesting concept as I had always thought it just meant "if at peace or war", but it turns out the year was divided into sections, and all the tribes agreed to peace at certain times, kindof a time out lol.

We also talked about the surfing stone, where you are supposed to knock to bring up bigger waves. I said, "Does it work?" He narrowed his eyes and said, "Of course it works. Why you think people gonna stand around knocking on a stone if it doesn't work?" Ha! He rocked. But the most fascinating things he talked about were the stories passed down through his people that say the Samoans came from Hawaii, and not the other way around. He told me they were carried there by a series of tsunamis, and that there had been a recent archeological discovery of bones on one of the volcanoes that date back much earlier than they thought there were people there, so they are getting proof now. Really, who am I to argue with historical story tellers?

So speaking of history, next on the agenda was to go see a petroglyph area (and ahem, get the cache there). Ron had no interest, so I went with just Akasha. It was a longer drive than I realized AND a longer hike AND super hot! So we ended up in a bit of a rush as we had a snorkel trip on a boat to make it to later. Thanks be that Akasha was really into walking, because I am not sure I could have carried her all that way in that heat!

Some petroglyphs they had sitting out at the trailhead:

I thought these figures looked to be surfing. What do you think?
On the trail. There were lots of rocks embedded in the dirt, and Akasha fell a couple times, but dang, she was a trooper!
Coming on to the main area from the trail:
The area was a large flat expanse. We were there at the worst time for photos, with the sun directly above, but you get the idea.
I brought this travel bug that wanted to see the world, so I had to get a photo of it here. :)
There were several spots right on the trail that had petroglyphs as well. They were marked with these rings so people would hopefully not step on them.
Lots more here, but you can't really see them. :/
Akasha at the cache. Hmmm, what's under these rocks?
Another view of the area.
On the way back, I had passed this cool metal dragon sculpture a few times and finally grabbed a photo. You can also see and example of how people "write" things on the lava with white coral.
We all made it to the boat in just the nick of time! I was really excited we found this company, Fair Wind, because every other tour I found didn't allow kids under about 6 or 7. This boat was family friendly, had slides and jumping platforms, great set ups for kids to view fish, like boogies boards with viewing windows and all sorts of flotation devices AND a bar lol. It basically had everything you might want. :)
There were these little nooks you could stand in out at the front of the boat. Orion really enjoyed them!

Akasha looks thrilled to be in this self portrait lol. Also on the second level you can see a bunch of kids. Our trip happened to include a class full of local kids from a Hawaiian language immersion school! Listening to the teachers talk to them was so fluid! And they were so sweet and nice to our kids!
Orion climbing up the ladder to the top level.
Sails! The boat was pretty as well. :)
Orion in his new swim shirt, getting ready to hit the water. They had stairs all the way into the water. It really couldn't have been easier! There were even families on this trip that couldn't swim, and they were patiently helping them in.
More fish, taken by Ron this time. :) Our destination was Kealakekua, which was a deeper area than I had been in that morning, but still lovely!

This was a really cool fish, but so interesting to see the difference in clarity!

Long but lovely day. Here is Akasha, ready to go out to dinner in the outfit picked out by Grandpa Jim. It fit right in. Notice the mosquito bites all over her legs. :/

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