Hawaii 2007:
Day 5 - Kona, Big Island


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Hawaii 2007: [Day 1 - Honolulu, Oahu] [Day 2 - Hilo, Big Island] [Day 3 - Kahului, Maui] [Day 4 - Kahului, Maui] [Day 5 - Kona, Big Island] [Day 6 - Nawiliwili, Kauai] [Day 7 - Nawiliwili, Kauai] [Day 8 - Honolulu] [Day 9 - Honolulu]

Wednesday, August 1: After two days on Maui, we were back on the Big Island again, this time in the town of Kailua-Kona, but referred to only as Kona. This was a port reached by tenders. Tom and Debbie got up early (as Jill slept in) and went into town to see the sights.
We enjoyed the waves crashing along the sea wall for a while and peered down at the rocks below, which were covered with shells, snails, and crabs.
From there, we wandered down Ali'i Drive and passed by Hulihe'e Palace, which is now a museum of Hawaiian monarchy.
We stopped for smoothies at a mall along Ali'i Drive, then headed back to the beach. Our ship, Pride of America, was moored offshore.
Let's take a closer look, while showing you the goregous surf at the same time.
From the same vantage point, here's the view looking just to our right back at the dock where the tenders arrive from the ship, and where boat-based tours depart. Since Kona is home to the Ironman Triathlon competition, we weren't surprised to see swimmers training in these waters as well.
This rocky area had lots of tiny tidepools, so we took a close look at some of the ocean life around.
Soon, it was time to head back to the boat to wake up the sleeping teenager. Our cabin was on the top deck of cabins in this photo.
Our cabin, 12506, was directly in the center of this photo. A standard-sized cabin was just to our left, and an owner's suite (50% larger than ours with a hot tub on deck) was just to its left. We woke Jill, got lunch, then took a tender back to shore for our first shore excursion booked through the ship, snorkeling with Captain Zodiac.
We boarded our Zodiacs and headed south. The tour had barely started when we came upon a group of short-finned pilot whales. Our guides told us that this is not a common occurrence -- happening perhaps once in 15 tours.
There were probably 20 whales in this group, and we followed them for 20 minutes or so.
We saw several families of mothers with babies.
When we were very close to them, Tom held our underwater camera just below the surface and snapped photos. We were lucky enough to capture a few shots of the whales as they swam below the surface.
Our tour continued along the coast, stopping briefly to see the occasional blow hole.
We reached our destination, Kealakekua Bay, a marine sanctuary.
It is here that Captain Cook was killed and we laughed at the sight of yet another Captain Cook monument, since this is one guy who really doesn't seem to need any more. His name came up in nearly every tour we were on in Hawaii, just like it did in New Zealand the year before.
We jumped into the water as soon as we could get our gear on. Again, we passed on using our uncomfortable yellow flotation vests and opted for buoyant kickboards instead.
Our little yellow fish friends were everywhere, as usual.
Our guide told us that there were several species of fish that are found only in this marine sanctuary. The variety of fish was amazing, so we can certainly see how that is possible.
Here's a puffer fish. They are pretty shy creatures which makes them a little more difficult to photograph.
Jill took advantage of the opportunity to do more skin diving.
More fish and beautiful coral.
We saw more cornetfish at this location than we had anywhere else. We saw a large school of baby cornetfish when we were back in the boat later in our tour.
Back on the boat, we enjoyed a snack of Maui kettle chips, Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, water, and soda.
On our way out of the bay, we stopped to look back at the cliffs where the ancient ali'i (royalty) were buried in secret tombs by young boys who were then dropped to their death. The large mark on the cliff was caused by an accidental cannon shot during fairly recent ceremonies commemorating Captain Cook's first visit here.
Tom likes Hawaii!
Before long, our Zodiac was zooming along at high speed back up the coast to Kona, past this adorable tiny lighthouse.
We stopped to see more sea caves.
Groves of trees have managed to thrive on top of the rocky lava fields.
More sea caves carved into the rocky lava shoreline.
This site gave us the opportunity to marvel at the many layers of lava, each representing different lava flows.
We spotted a sea turtle swimming along.
More sea caves created by underground lava tunnels.
There was a large convention of black crabs on these black rocks. They're more visible in the larger version of this photo.
Madame Pele is the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes. Her face is believed to be visible in this rock formation.
We spotted spinner dolphins on our journey. This is a very common occurrence on this trip, but we were still thrilled to see them. Our boatmen told us that if we got a nice wake going on our boat, we might be able to entice them to ride the wake.
He was right. Spinner dolphins love to jump and play in the wake, and we had at least a half dozen dolphins following us. This is a once-in-a-lifetime shot that we were fortunate to get.
Make that twice-in-a-lifetime. In this shot, you can also see a few dolphins in the water behind this daredevil.
After that excitement, we were circled at high speed by one of the other boats, so we returned the favor a few minutes later.
Back in the waters of Kona, we watched this parasailer glide by with his green chute. That's something we haven't tried yet, but it does look fun.
We circled around our magnificent Pride of America before heading back to the dock.
Here's Kona, once again. If you look closely, you'll see Lowe's up on the hill. If you look even more closely, you'll spot Maersk in the parking lot. It was the only Maersk sighting we had in Kona, since it not a large container port.
That evening, Jill joined us for dinner in the Skyline Restaurant. At one point, members of the kitchen staff formed a small parade through the restaurant, singing and playing percussion.

As the sun set, we headed toward our last port of call, Kauai.

Day 6 >


Hawaii 2007: [Day 1 - Honolulu, Oahu] [Day 2 - Hilo, Big Island] [Day 3 - Kahului, Maui] [Day 4 - Kahului, Maui] [Day 5 - Kona, Big Island] [Day 6 - Nawiliwili, Kauai] [Day 7 - Nawiliwili, Kauai] [Day 8 - Honolulu] [Day 9 - Honolulu]

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