Thursday, January 10, 2008

Back to the BIG Island, Kona!

by Guest
A big mahalo to my hubby for writing this post! He's much more humorous than I am so this post is a fun read. I just have little things here and there to add and I will do so in purple. :)
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Joyce and I are swapping seats today. I'll be doing the posting and she'll be the audience for a change. ^-^ I ramble a lot more, so be glad I don't do this too often. She'll have to step in and backfill this post with pics tho. Thanks Bong!

So lets see, where to begin. Kona is on the northwestern side of the Big Island (we had visited Hilo on the northeastern part at the beginning of the cruise). The biggest difference for this port was, well, there really wasn't a port. We had to be tendered from the mothership by little boats over to the docks. Reason being, the shelf is too shallow for the big boat to get close to land, so it has to anchor outside in the deeper parts.

This is one of the tender boats. The photos below may be a bit grainy because I captured these from a video we took while waiting on the deck. The 2nd photo is of Luke narrating in the video.

Since we didn't get a car for Kona, we were fine waiting in line to get tendered. We walked around on the deck; it was another perfect sunny day!

The wait wasn't so bad at all. Save for the guy in the wheelchair that took a while to get loaded in, things went smoothly. The canopy of the little shuttle boat was semi-open, so you could feel the cool sea spray come in from the front. The 5 minute ride wasn't bad at all, we even got to see some dolphins ride along next to us. About 4 or 5 of them were swimming next to us on the left and followed us for a bit into the dock. We didn't get any pics tho, there were too many damn people standing up and blocking the view.

Once there, Joyce had enough sense to ask the lady at the information booth for information (yours truly would've just wandered around and walked all the way). Our plans for the day, I guess I should say plan since there was only one item, was to snorkel! We had purchased a matching set of snorkel gear before the trip and were dying to use them to their full potential. The lady told us several options and we had a snorkel spot in mind from the LP book. Joyce pressed on with questions about free options and it was then that the lady let all the good tidbits out. There's a little trolley that goes back and forth the main strip on Kona, it goes from the dock to some shopping mall. In between those two points are all the good beaches, hotels, and other touristy stuff. Just think of those trolleys at San Francisco and you'll have the general idea. She also pointed out the best snorkeling spot, Turtle Bay, and where we needed to get off to reach it. So with that new bit of info, we changed our destination. All we had to do now was stand around and wait for the free trolley to take us to the free Turtle Bay.

Once the trolley showed up, the strangest character we met on this trip made his debut. I'm talking about the driver. Man, this guy was funny. Kinda like a pissed off black woman, except he wasn't black and he wasn't a woman. Nope, this was a native Hawaiian and he had zero patience for stupid tourists. Several people asked questions about this or that, but after he ripped into them, no one else dared to raise their hands. He also went on several rampages about crappy "Made in China" trinkets the tourists buy and where they needed to go to get real Hawaiian stuff. He commented on how Turtle Bay was the BEST snorkeling spot in all of Hawaii, even better than the famed Hanauma Bay on Oahu, which charges $5 per adult to enter. Seeing that the trolley service was free, we didn't care about his rough edges, we liked the driver's attitude and dropped a few bucks into his tippy cup to show our appreciation.

Once the trip started, I was glad Joyce had found out about this because walking would've sucked ass, about 4 miles worth of ass sucking. We passed by several open-market spots that we marked for the return trip to the boat.

When we finally arrived at Turtle Bay, we didn't have much trouble finding a spot on the crowded beach. We laid out our stuff and whipped out our gear.

Right away, we learned something. Shallow coral areas are nothing like soft sandy beaches. Our pampered feet got battered and cut just walking out into the water. Now we were wishing we had some diving slippers or fins. Still, we soldiered on out and saw tons of fishies! Too bad we didn't have an underwater kit for our digicam. Seriously, there were all sorts of fish everywhere. Imagine the fish communities of the Great Barrier Reef or something (on a much smaller scale of course), there was life everywhere. Joyce grew tired of getting smashed against the rocks and skinning her knees so she hopped out and spent time on the sand. I, however, stayed out floating around following fishies and mastering the art of snorkeling. I would be paying for this the rest of the trip though. My back got fried! Joyce just left me out there to die. =[

I did head back and got something to eat and took this picture of Joyce.

We then headed back into the water and this was when Joyce saw a turtle. His shell was about the size of a large pizza and he was just flying along, oblivious to our presence. I had seen one earlier, so this could've been the same guy, but I'm not sure. Regardless, this made Joyce's day. She was all smiles after seeing her turtle.

As Luke mentioned, too bad we didn't have a case for our camera to take under-water pictures. However, I found these 2 of Flickr, which pretty much show what we saw as well.

If you look closely at your browser window, you'll notice the favicon for this site is now a turtle. We made this from a picture we took of the hotel at Turtle Bay.

After we were all snorkeled out, we hopped back on the trolley and headed back. We walked around for a bit and headed for a market we had seen earlier. I dunno, all the stuff there looked like all the other "Made in China" stuff we had seen before, but whatever. The best part for me was when I found a stand selling rambutan.

We picked up a bag and walked over to a nearby rocky spot to enjoy them. I love this stuff but have only enjoyed the canned variety. So this was a huge treat for me. Joyce had never had any before, so she was pleasantly surprised after popping a few into her mouth. As the last of the red rambutan husks were thrown away, the conclusion to our Kona trip rapidly approached.

Hand-in-hand, we trekked back to the docks to be tendered back to the ship. I'm not sure what we did after we got on board, but I'm sure it involved a hot shower, a whole lot of eating, and some sleeping. Another wonderful day!

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This is one of the videos I took while Luke was snorkeling. The beach was crowded with families and kids that day, but I didn't mind! I saw my turtle!!


1 comment:

  1. The day at Kona was one of my favorite days. It was great seeing all the fishies and that TURTLE!! I will never forget it for the rest of my life. I still remember, Luke and I were hand in hand snorkeling and I saw the sea turtle right in front of us. I used the other hand to point at it and that was when Luke saw it too. Yup! What a great day!

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