Manta Rays and other adventures
So its now the year 2019 and I am FINALLY getting back at the blog. The blog I left off on in 2016! Yikes! Let this just be an example of, while what started out as fun idea to journal about my travels it soon became work. It felt like a chore trying to keep on it. Also with a lack of wifi in Hawaii and a poor cellular plan it was hard to post often. I have learned from all of this though. I am aiming to make shorter posts and not be as long winded as I have been in the past. Shorter stories is my goal and not giving you all every single detail of my journeys. Just the important stuff! Alright! Onward! As I am currently living in Alaska and I have some major catching up to do before I can start posting about my Alaska adventures!
Back in Hawaii in 2016 I was making lots of friends! This by far has been one of THE best times I spent on the Big Island. Making friends and settling in a bit more was THE way to go. One way I made friends and I kind of hate to admit it but I used Tender, a dating app for those who don’t know what it is. I did something with that app that very few do. I used it to make friends not boyfriends. It worked. I just wrote in the about me part that I wasn’t on there for a date and for the most part it worked like a charm. This photo above was taken by my friend Ryan who I met off that site. He is now married to an amazing lady.
Nothing special about the photo above other then it’s just beautiful! Nature and industrial combined.
One morning Zoe and I planned a fun SUP outing in the bay right off the main drag in Kona, Ali’i drive. While we were out I met these 2 ladies. Nishi on the far left who is from Canada, near Banff and the other lady I am friends with on FB but I am spacing her name so I can’t even look her up on there! This day was magical. We had dolphins swimming around us for hours. They were just playing while we watched with fascination and eventually it was like they were our pet dogs, playing at the park as we were still aware of them but we started to share stories and get to know one another.
The Big Island can be a more difficult island of the Hawaiian chain to explore. Not for everyone but for those who haven’t been or have and found it difficult, know this! As you drive around the Big Island (BI) it may often look like there is not much to see other than jagged lava rock and the ocean just past it. There is so much more! The photo above is a view that can actually be seen right off the main highway, just west of the Kona airport. It’s a lava tube. It is common to drive by and see a car or 5 parked on the side of the road with the passengers out exploring the tunnel, inside or out of it. This is what you want to look for as you drive the BI. Look for cars parked on the side of the road. If you don’t see any reason why there should be cars parked there, chances are you need to hike in a bit. Usually what you will find is a beautiful hidden beach. The BI just makes us think that there aren’t many beaches there where in fact there are many!
Here I am (yep! captain obvious!), just inside that road side lava tube wearing the best lava hiking attire. Take note! Swim suite, swim suit cover up dress and locals - the very best slip’ to ever walk this earth. They should make me an ambassador because this is the only sandal I wear.
Meeting Nishi out in the bay with dolphin’s circling us wouldn’t be the last time I saw her. We met at the Kona brew co. on one of her last nights in town and she brought a friend that she had met. Nishi and I keep in touch enough that I know we will meet again soon. Either back in Hawaii or in Banff, Canada. A dream destination of mine.
This photo was just to good for me to not share. Jesse and I were hanging out at his place one day and he was trying to teach me to slack line. At one point he found these chameleons, a male and a female that were in his yard. He placed them on the slack line and i captured this greta moment. *No creatures were harmed in the making of this photograph.
Ryan and I spent a solid day hiking around near the ocean and exploring areas like this. I believe it is called the queens bath. This particular spot where he is sitting and in the below photo he has jumped down into it. A very unusual but sacred sort of spot. I wouldn’t have spent anytime in the water had he not been with me.
Adventure partners are the best! Locals who know the area and are up for exploring make for an even better adventure partner! I’m thankful for my path crossing with Renee’s. She was clearly on to something good when she decided to use the Tender app to find friends and not partners. Passing that solid information on to me was one of the best things that could have happened to me on this particular trip.
This place was so much fun! I’m not 100% sure I could find it on my own again but I have an idea what roadside area we pulled off at and hiked back into.
And then there was this lava cave we explored. Yes, the sign reads “Entry into this cave is prohibited by law” but a couple of things, all great things in Hawaii are off limits it seems. I’m not saying everyone should do the things that are off limits. I’m just saying don’t disregard something because it is off limits. Give it some good thought instead. If you do decide to go ahead with something that’s off limits, BE RESPECTFUL of the land and the area. I will 100% deny that I encourage you in any way to do something if you area jerk and litter or vandalize or whatever mischief you get into.
Back in that prohibited lava cave was something out of this world. It’s a little hard to see here but there was a water channel that followed all the way back. It didn’t look very deep but it was hard to say for sure. There were burned out tea light candles that lined the walls in every nook and crevice on either side of the cave. As I followed Ryan all the way to the back of the tunnel he shined his light upon a small opening of cave that dropped into the water. The opening seemed big enough for one person at a time. He proceeded to tell me a story about how he and his buddies from a dive shop had gone back there once and they all dropped down thru that hole with scuba gear on and went on to explore. One of the guys almost ran out of oxygen and as he came up he took his last breath of oxygen right as he surfaced! Talk about a greater being looking out for you! And NO THANK YOU! I’m all for scuba but not jumping into that tiny little hole and especially not after hearing that story. Maybe i’m not as adventurous as I thought I was.
If you have never been to the BI then you haven’t experienced the cuteness of these wild goats that cover the island. Much like chickens and roosters do on the Hawaiian islands. They really do make your drive around the rock much more enjoyable.
I did some house work for a few guys that Zoe connected me with. They needed help cleaning and organizing their place before their landlord showed up to inspect. One of the guys paid me, one picked up some groceries for me at costco and the other hooked me up with some island excursions. He sold tours and party of his job is to do the tours so he’s better at selling them. He is also able to bring a guest. I was the lucky guest. a few times. We did the night time Manta Ray snorkel and I actually ended up doing this with him 2x. The first time just he and I and the second time was my next visit to Hawaii, a year later with my friend Shelly from Australia.
It was a truly amazing experience and it’s highly ranked as something one should do when visiting Hawaii. I will second that! If you have the opportunity, DO IT! If I recall correctly The first time I did it there were 2 to 3 Manta’s swimming around us and the second time only one. They are beautiful creatures! They glide thru the water so peacefully, as they glide they’ll sometimes flip onto their backs and gently brush across your body while you float on the surface of the water looking down at them.
This light shinning into the ocean from the Sheraton Hotel has been a thing for around a decade if not longer. After some time it was discovered that the light was attracting Manta Rays! But why? Because the light attracts plankton and the Manta Rays feed off of this. People started scuba diving at night here, just to see this feeding process and be amongst theses gentle fish. Soon after this became a tourist attraction where local guides were cashing in on this experience. Like I said before though, it is hands down worth it! This coming from a frugal traveler and yes I went twice, both times paid for except tip but I can honestly say I’d pay to do it.
Do remember to tip your guides though! Tour guide income depends on tips. Think of a guide as a server at a restaurant. You are tipping them 15 to 20% and all they do is take your order and bring you your food. Tour guides are educating you and tending to your every need for the full duration of your experience. They do just a little bit more for you… okay a lot! more for you than a server does and I have held both of those positions. A server and a tour guide. it’s amazing how many people don’t tip or tip chicken scratch. Either tip 15% to 20% of what you paid for the tour or think of it this way, an okay/good tour $5, a great tour $10 and excellent tour $15 or more and this is per person! Not per family. Come on people don’t be stingy! If you can afford to go on a trip you can afford a few more dollars to put towards the long hours these guides put in to educate you.
What you are looking at in the image above, in the water is 2 flotation devices that have lights shinning from them into the water. This tour company can safely bet that Manta Rays are in the area because of the Sheratons giant spot light. So they go just out from there, in the ocean and toss flotation devises with handles all the way around them into the water. There are lights on them that will attract the Mantas over while the tourists lay in the water, hands holding onto the float, faces floating downward into that vast marine world below.
Bringing a waterproof camera or go prop to capture moments like this is never a bad idea.
Morning surf session spotted on a Sunday morning walk with Zoe along "pine trees" beach
I’m a foodie! Always have been, always will be! I can just say that my taste in foods has matured as I have advanced to higher levels in life. I love to seek out foods that are unique to the areas I am in. The above photo is from Big island brewhaus, it’s a wonton poke taco and OMG! it’s SO freakin’ amazing! If I remember right it’s on the happy hour menu? I think! Regardless, just go there and try it!
One Aloha Shaved ice co. at the King Kam mall in Kona is another must try. I have always loved shaved ice, especially with ice cream inside but as I have found a taste for healthier foods and not so loaded in processed sugars, I have grown away from this island desert. UNTIL… I discovered One Aloha! They make all of their syrup flavors from pure fruits and use only the best ingredients keeping all of that processed garbage out. The shaves ice here tastes AMAZE-BALLS! So clean and so pure! The absolute best!
Zoe celebrated her 50th birthday while I was visiting. She is a true inspiration to me, a person I seek advice from when I feel stuck in life. She had her birthday party at Kahua Ranch just outside of Waimea. This was a view spot as he headed up the mountain to the ranch. You are looking at the edge of the island where the ocean meets the land.
Zoe, her son Suede, Corbin and his dad, Dave who is Zoe’s brother at Zoe’s birthday dinner. Dave and Corbin live in Washington when they aren’t on the BI visiting Zoe.
Zoe, her friends d Karen and I after dinner. This was and is a great place to visit if you want to experience a taste of ranch life while visiting the island. This is after all the island that is home to Parker Ranch. One of the nations largest cattle ranches.
Suede, dancing with his mama Zoe here. He’s a grown young man now days and he’s going to live a life full of adventure because his Zoe leads by great example, that’s for sure!
Ending this post with a beautiful sunset complete with palm trees. Seriously, palm trees add so much more to a beautiful sunset! Where I am currently at in Skagway Alaska we don’t have sunsets unless you climb to the top of one of the mountains that surrounds us. We are to surrounded by mountains to see the sunsets and I’m in Alaska and during the summer… the sun takes forever to set if its going to set at all. Crazy! Everyone should experience this.