It’s been a good long while since this blog hosted anything other than dead cat memorials and since Steve and I have been able to take a vacation. Those things, by the way, go hand-in-hand.
But we have finally been able to get away for a much-anticipated, and long-delayed, Hawaiian vacation.
I didn’t do TOO much planning for this vacation, at least not to the degree of previous trips, and we both agreed to have a few days that were not packed full of activities, which would allow us some time to rest. Our first day in Kona was one of those days.
It began relatively early, at least far as the clock said since Hawaii is 3 hours earlier than California. After a light breakfast, we headed out for snorkeling at Kahalu’u Beach Park. This is a really great place to get used to snorkeling again. It’s been 4-and-a-half years since I last tried to swim and breathe with my face underwater and it usually takes me a few minutes to get used to it again. It was important to me that we go snorkeling today because we have a night snorkel trip reserved for tomorrow and I didn’t want my first time back in the water to be at night with manta rays (hopefully) flying all around me. I’m happy to report that this time it was a pretty quick process, and I was swimming with the fishes (in a good way) very quickly.
The other great thing about this beach is that the green sea turtles love it, too, and I LOVE green sea turtles! I could spend quite a long time watching them soar through the water and munch on algae. I’m sure they’re all like, “whatever, if you want to watch me chew my breakfast, your life must be pretty boring, but do what you want”, but I just can’t get enough. It took about 30 minutes in the water before I spotted my first turtle. I started swimming behind it, following at a respectful 3-4 feet. In the distance, I managed to hear Steve calling my name. I quickly looked up to see that he was trying to wave me over for another turtle. I motioned that I was following my own, and headed back under to watch him find breakfast.
Unfortunately, we had gotten to the beach just as high tide was starting to come in and the waves were getting very choppy. This made all of my picture taking a challenge. The fish were moving, and I was being moved by waves, with my camera-holding arms going in a different direction from my fish-and-turtle-viewing eyes. My turtle had also decided to set up for his algae buffet fairly close to the sea wall. I didn’t feel comfortable staying to watch him long as the waves kept wanting to push me closer to the sea wall, so I left him to his breakfast and made my way to shore, happy in the knowledge that I had remembered how to snorkel and that I’d gotten to see a green sea turtle on my first day here.
Steve and I spent the rest of the day visit some of the local markets and shops, making a couple of small purchases, but also starting a list of things we might want to come back for once we’d taken stock of all the different ways we could be lured into spending our money here. When we were last here in 2010, I had remarked about how many shops had been closed. Well, the economy has certainly picked up in Kona and there are very few empty storefronts to be seen.
Speaking of being lured, we were drawn to Don’s Mai Tai Bar after hearing about their 10 different kinds of Mai Tais. The main restaurant was way too expensive, but we sat in the Breezeway Lounge with access to the bar menu and had a lovely evening. We very quickly decided on the Tiki Taster flight of 4 varieties of Mai Tai, along with a few appetizers to share. I approached the flight of tasters the way I usually do a selection of foods, leaving what I anticipate will be my favorites for last. Even as I went into this routine, I realized it may not work very well with these beverages. Who was to say if I would be able to fully appreciate the final drink by the time I got to it? That said, I do believe the last 2 were the best.
We got really lucky with our seating and were able to watch the entire sunset and linger by the ocean while enjoying our chocolate lava cake dessert.
It wasn’t until after we’d placed our dual orders for the flights of Mai Tais that we realized they also had a flight of taster mojitos, too. But that’s okay, it just means we may be heading back for a repeat performance sometime this trip. And we won’t have to share those either!