Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | January 3, 2012

Solo in Kona: My Hawaii Adventure Day #6

Good evening!  Another day over, for my adventuring at least, and another blog to be begun and ended before I give in to the call of my glorious king-sized bed.  I sit finishing my sparkling wine, left over from New Year’s Eve, as I write and reflect on the day.

The shore, as seen from the catamaran.

It was a morning not as well-begun as I’d have liked.  I’d phoned to arrange a wake up call last night, but for some reason or another, it didn’t go forward.  Fortunately, I’d set a second alarm as back up (I’m paranoid, but for good reason), but it did cut a half hour off the time I’d had to eat.  I went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast then; it was a buffet breakfast, which worked out well. I didn’t have to wait on service or anything.  No lingering over coffee, but at least I didn’t miss my activity.  And the brave little birds came quite close as I sprinkled pastry crumbs near my table, which was lovely, though I ran out of enticement before I thought to bring out the camera.  Next time, perhaps!

I was booked for a morning snorkel, which left from Keauhou Bay.  It’s a bit of a way from my hotel, so the activities desk had booked a cab to pick me up as part of my activities set up.  It arrived on time, and so did I.  The drive was nice, and since we went the opposite direction from which I’m used to travelling, I noted a little beach area that I plan to explore tomorrow. Once I’d been dropped off at the Fairwind office, where my catamaran would depart from, I checked in easily enough.

Underwater cameras are fantastic!

I also made the decision to take a gamble and buy a digital underwater camera. It was small and economically-priced at $45, a far cry from what I’d see advertised elsewhere.  It’s not perfect, by all means, but I’m happy to have made the purchase.  Even though a good half my pictures were blurry, a number did turn out smashingly, particularly since I’ve never used an underwater camera before.  I got about 70 shots one it without even a memory card, so consider my purchase as having paid off.

Once I’d checked in, I made my way outside for the line to collect masks and snorkels.  There, waiting in line, it just so happened was Narinne, from the volano tour. It was nice to see a face I recognized and to have someone to chat with again.  The cruise out to the cove where the catamaran would moor so as to explore the reef was about a half hour’s sail.  I didn’t get to the bow of the boat on time to see the humpback whales that surfaced briefly, nor did any dolphins turn up, but it was a delightful sail.

I think this is an Angelfish, but am terrible at ichthyology. Pretty nonetheless!

Since I’d only been snokelling once before, I stayed for the how-to briefing.  I did need help with my mask the first time – in trying to tighten the strap to make sure I had a seal, I made a mess of things.  Fortunately, the Fairwind crew was helpful and got me set up.  I took my underwater camera and was on my way.  I also took a floatation belt, so that I didn’t have to worry about anything except taking my pictures and breathing through the tube properly.

The reef is quite different from the one I had seen while snorkeling in Mexico.  At the reef in Mexico, there was all sorts of seaweed and flowy vegetation, like the thin, brittle-looking leaves that waved gently with the underwater currents.  Here, there is a different sort of terrain. It is much more lumpy and textured with coral. There were also lots and lots of fish, of all sorts of colours, though I think the bright yellow dominated quite a bit.  I liked the colourful little things, and the ones that flicked of silver.  I’ll admit the bigger ones creep me out a little. I like to look at them, but I don’t want them coming near me.  I swam for quite some time, then got out to take the lunch break.  I had a hamburger (so could have saved myself the repeat if I’d held off on the craving the night before).

This black crab, a little smaller than the palm of my hand, suns himself on the rocks.

Once my towel and I had dried a little, I put my flippers and mask back on, and went back in the water for the last half hour or so.  My camera had no more pictures, so I swam unencumbered this time.  It was nice to do that as well.  I saw more fish, including a school that seemed to be letting people swim amongst it rather than darting away.  I swam alongside it for awhile.  Alongside it, and not in it, you’ll note.  I just couldn’t get up the brave to risk one of them touching me.

I got back on the catamaran when the all aboard sounded, and stood in the sun for a while to dry off as we sailed back.  I also spent some time inside, where I had a Mai Tai, then went up to the top deck awhile as well to see if I could see some whales. No luck.  I think I shall just have to book a whale watching tour on Wednesday.  My taxi met me at the pier, so I waved goodbye to Narinne and went back to the hotel.  After a brief stop in my room to use the bathroom and dropped off some of my things, I padded down the block to the ABC Store to replenish my supply of sunscreen.  I think I managed to avoid a burn today between frequent applications of sunscreen, putting on my cover up, and taking periodic breaks to go inside.

Once I had my 30 SPF stock again, I made my way to the salt water lagoon.  I hadn’t bothered to change from my swimsuit, so I took off my flip flops and went in the water.  The bottom was rocky and, since it is a lagoon that is fed by the ocean, there are creatures in it, like sea urchins.  This made me a bit worried for my feet, so I put my flip flops back on before returning to the water.  I paddled about for a bit, then got out with the intent to lie on the lava rock wall to dry off, since all the chairs were occupied.  The sight of the little black crabs changed that plan.  I took a few pictures as I stayed standing to dry off.  I did not want those things coming near me if I was still enough to fool them into thinking I was a rock!

My pretty plumeria lei.

After I’d taken some pictures, I went to lie down by the pool, figuring correctly that there might be a chair free for me.  I draped my towel to dry, reapplied my sunscreen, and pulled out my Kindle to finish reading “Jane Eyre”.  I sat in the sun for about an hour, taking care to rotate.  At about ten past four, I decided that I needed to take my sun break, so came back up to my room.  I had a shower to wash the salt water from my skin and hair, then reapplied sunscreen before getting dressed for dinner.  (Can you tell I’m trying to be more vigilant after my cruise misadventure?)  I put on a pretty dress and my lei, housed in the fridge so it will keep until I go, and headed to the Lava Java Cafe.  I had a coupon for 50% off an entree ordered between 5 and 6, as a result of booking my tours at the Expedia desk in the hotel.  Since I was hungry, this was a good time to go.

The Lava Java has no license, though you can bring your own wine, so no fancy Hawaiian drinks.  Instead, I sipped water as I read and watched the sunset, and at my delicious dinner.  I ordered the Macadamia nut and coconut crusted catch of the day, a buttery fish whose name I cannot remember and couldn’t have spelled regardless, set on top a fennel and pineapple risotto with some seasonal vegetables.  It was extraordinary.  Worth every penny even without the discount.  After dinner, I decided I wanted dessert.  Even though there was an egg nog creme brulee (and I love creme brulee), I decided to try something a little different (since creme brulee is hardly uncommon).  I ordered a latte to drink with my lime cheesecake with a ginger crumb crust, mango coulis, and fresh pineapple.  It was heaven. The service was also quite good, the waitress very friendly and attentive.  An overall positive experience.

Dinner done and the sun set, I made my way back to the hotel room, to put away the plumeria. And here I sit!  My evening is going to end early once again, though I think I shall write a few postcards before I truly call it a night.  Tomorrow will likely be another short entry.  My grand plans include working on my tan.

Until tomorrow, aloha!

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