Hawaiian Vacation: October 2013

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Wednesday, October 9 - Day 3 on the Big Island

We had some time to kill so we decided to take in what was actually around our hotel. The hotel actually doesn't have much of a beach, but we did see what there was and also noticed there was a staging area. Many hotels offer nightly luaus and other such entertainment. Then it was time to hit the road.

View photos from the morning (11 images)

We found information about being able to take coffee farm tours. We set out to find the Mountain Thunder Coffee Company. We stopped in and found out that's not where the tour was, but it was sort of a branch location. There was however a video presentation and the exceptionally nice woman working there did take us just inside the gate to look at the coffee trees (which are actually more like bushes!) and tell us about the coffee making process. After saying goodbye to her and the various farm animals (and, duh, sampling some coffee) it was time to get back on the road.

View photos from Mountain Thunder (29 images)

Our only scheduled activity was a snorkel tour at Kaelakekua Bay. The place for snorkeling is actually not accessible by car; instead, you must set out from a park across the bay and kayak over to the snorkeling area. We had chosen Kona Boys for our tour company, right down the road from Mountain Thunder -- what a great trip planner we have! We met up at their shop to get our orientation information (and made it a point to get there in time to eat some lunch), then drove down to the bay. There is a monument to Captain Cook in the bay and it so happens to be where the snorkeling is best. There were only seven of us, including our guide, and we paddled out toward the monument. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the monument from the boat dock and on our way we got to see a pod of spinner dolphins in action! They breached and jumped and spun around right in front of us giving us a great show! They even came within about 10 feet of our kayak at one point!

When we figured the show was over we continued paddling to the monument where we got ashore and walked over to the jump off point. The snorkeling here was astounding! There were tons of fish to be seen all over the place. This area also happens to be where a freshwater stream enters the ocean. At the area of entry the water is much colder and takes on a sort of shimmering effect where the fresh and salt water mix.

After getting all tuckered out, we met up on the grounds for snacks and then got back into our kayaks. Our tour guide, John, shared some stories with us along the way and upon our return, then we all went our separate ways.

Neil had so much fun making the drive down to the meeting point that he wanted to get a video of it. Sucking it up, Ginger went along with the idea, ignoring the car sickness from all the curves. Turns out we got a pretty cool video in the end!

View photos from around Kona Boys and Kealakekua Bay (18 images) View underwater photos from Kealakekua Bay (25 images)

On our way back into town, we stopped at Gio's Gelato and Italian Pastry Shop. When we see a gelato shop, we simply must stop in.

After dropping off our stuff at the hotel, we walked down to Killer Tacos for dinner. It was about a mile walk each way but it was worth it!

View other photos from the day (6 images)