Saturday, January 17, 2009

Kona Vacation: The Wrap-up

If anyone has been following my posts about our Hawaiian vacation, I'm sorry to leave you hanging. The combination of a spotty Internet connection and a desire to actually experience the vacation rather than merely blog about it limited my posts while we were on the island. And unpacking, catching up with work, and general exhaustion prevented me from finishing up until now.

On Friday the ninth we went on a whale-watching cruise aboard one of the Body Glove boats. This is the time of year when humpback whales come to the waters off Hawaii to make little (well, relatively little) whales. Hence the numerous whale watching excursions heading out into the bay.

During our three-hour cruise, we ended up seeing only one humpback

but we got a great look at a pod of melon-head whales (one of those critters that, like a killer whale, is sorta a whale and sorta a dolphin) which, the guide said, were rarely sighted in that area.

After the trip, our wanderings brought us to an oddity: The Starbucks in Kailua Kona -- which, by the way, doesn't serve Kona coffee.

The next morning we went on a snorkel trip on the Fair Winds II. We had initially been booked on a trip to an area where we had never snorkeled; but that trip was canceled, and we went to the place we snorkeled the last time we were at the Big Island: Captain Cook's monument.

But we had no complaint. The crew took good care of us, and we had some great snorkeling. Amy saw a moray eel, and we both saw numerous tropical fish, including some huge parrotfish. Plus, during the trip, we saw about four humpback whales, including a mother and calf -- several more than we saw on the whale watching cruise.

Sunday morning brought the only storm we had during our stay -- a two-hour blow with 30-knot winds and heavy rain. During the storm, we saw two men snorkeling in the choppy waters directly off the rocky outcroppings of the shore. The two men managed to make it up onto one of the outcroppings. One man ran and sheltered behind a wall while the other was still struggling to pull himself up onto the rocks. If they were friends, I hope the friendship ended right there.

After the storm was over, the weather was beautiful. We rode our bikes back into Kailua and dropped them off at the rental place, hit the local Hilo Hattie store for souvenirs, and took a last amble through town.

That afternoon, we watched the sunset from the resort's pool area. We saw the sun go down in a perfectly clear sky -- and as it disappeared, we saw the green flash.

We finished up the day at Bongo Ben's for dinner, and then reluctantly packed.

On Monday, we drove the 100 miles back to the Hilo airport, and flew home after a great vacation.

Farewell, Hawaii. We will be back.

You can find more of my photos from the trip here.

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