Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Big Island Day 6

Today was an eventful day, to say the least!  We were exhausted from the ER visit the night before and had to wake up early to be at the harbor by 7am for our dolphin excursion with Kona Ocean Adventures.  Karl was able to come with me on this one.

As we were getting out of the car to walk over to the boat at the harbor, I was shutting my door and I shut the car door on my thumb.  My thumb was stuck in the door jam because the door was shut all the way and it hurt pretty bad by the time I finally was able to get the door open to get it out.  I was not in good shape.  It was humbling to have so much pain come from the tip of your finger.  It reminded me of when the doctors told me when I was pregnant "come into the hospital when the pain is so bad you can't talk through it" and I used to think "what does that even mean????" and then I had Dean and figured it out.  I took a bunch of advil and went to the gas station and got a giant cup of ice to ice it as it had swelled up huge and was turning purple and black, especially under the nail.  By golly, nothing was going to make me miss those dolphins!

I was able to suck it up and do the dolphin excursion anyway.  The dolphins come into the Kona coast in the mornings after going out at night to feed to rest in the warm safe waters.  So our boat will come up on a little pack of dolphins just chilling in the water, and we all put on snorkel gear and just glide into the water quietly and just coexist with them.  It was beyond amazing.  It was probably my favorite thing we did on the trip.

Us on the dolphin excursion
These were spinner dolphins so they were about 5 feet long and occasionally just jumped out of the water and spun in the air.  They also surfed in the wake of our boat.  For a while we just drove the boat in and just chilled and watched the dolphins from the boat.

Dolphins right next to the boat
So amazing and darling!
Swimming in the boat wake!
More dolphins
I was able to get in the water four separate times and snorkel with the dolphins.  On one occasion, I counted 23 dolphins swimming underneath me.  A lot of the dolphins had little baby dolphins that were able 2 feet long swimming right next to them and they were SO cute.  A really cool thing was when you would get in the water, you could hear the dolphins clicking and talking to each other.  When it would get louder you knew you were getting closer to them.

More cute dolphins
Swimming with us!
Me on the boat
Karl on the boat
The 4th time Karl took pictures of me going in to snorkel with the dolphins.
I am a practical old person now who doesn't want to get sunburnt so I wore shorts and a shirt.
Me snorkeling to find some more dolphins
On the boat, we had lunch and stopped at this awesome little beach that is only accessible by hiking a mile over lava rocks to get to this pristine white sand beach or by boat.  We anchored the boat and Karl and I swam over to it and body surfed for a while.  That is another one of our favorite memories from this vacation.  We weren't very good but had some good laughs and enjoyed the beautiful beach that we had all to ourselves.  For lunch the crew had a white pineapple, which was the most amazing fruit I have ever tasted. I found out that they are pretty scarce on the island and hard to find in stores because the farmer's that grow them keep them all for themselves since they are SO good!

After lunch we were driving back to the harbor and dolphins just came up to the boat and were swimming with us for a good 20 minutes.  I leaned over the front of the boat and took these pictures, I was probably about a yard away from them.  It was incredible.

These dolphins were like a yard away from me.
They were precious just swimming with our boat.
More swimming
Diving down
Right outside the harbor, the captain of the boat took a little detour to show us the natural blowhole that occurs.  There were all these giant lava rocks and he drove the boat right up close to show us how the water goes up in the blowhole.  The current was pretty strong and the boat was going up and down and rocking a lot, so the captain put the boat into gear to high tail it out of there when the engine to the boat stalled.  He kept trying to turn the boat back on but it wouldn't start.  A really awesome and potentially dangerous situation had turned into a crazy panic situation.

The captain was yelling into the radio for another boat to come rescue us, the boat started slamming against the rocks making these horrible grinding noises, and the 8 of us on the boat are now throwing ourselves against the rocks to push the boat away from the sharp rocks.  People's hands and feet were bloody.  We were lucky and a little zodiac that we passed at the mouth of the harbor came right over and pulled us out with a rope.  The captain jumped in and found some stuff had clogged up the propeller and we were able to drive back to the harbor but it was a scary 30 minutes!  Karl loved it.

After we got back into the car, Karl drove me back to the hotel and went to a dentist for his poor teeth.  As I was back in the hotel my thumb was hurting worse and worse and I was unable to relax, touch it or be nice to Karl.  Karl decided to take me to the insta care.  I was unsure of what they were going to do for me exactly (if it was broken, there wasn't much they could do for a thumb tip) but I stopped caring.

We went over to the urgent care and they saw us and the Dr. told me that it was a massive hematoma and that she needed to drain it and that afterwards I would feel so much better.  I liked that last part so for the  next 90 minutes (no one is in a hurry in Hawaii) she drilled a hole in my nail and squeezed tons of blood that had pooled in my nail out.  She was right - I felt SO MUCH BETTER (after).  Karl and her had some great talks about medical care on the island.  I wish I had a photo now but at the time was not thinking clearly.  $300 later we were able to go back to the hotel.  Oh well, there's no price on feeling good.

We went out to dinner that night at Rays on the Bays which is the restaurant at the Sheraton and watched the sun set since we were both feeling better.  This was another really wonderful dinner where Karl and I got to just enjoy being in a beautiful place and have some really great uninterrupted quality time together.  I took some pictures with the 5d while we were waiting for our table.

 photo IMG_0482a_zps18183bac.jpg

 photo IMG_0486a_zpsab1dc7a1.jpg

 photo IMG_0490a_zps7efb77b6.jpg
This is the place where the manta rays swim at night:  photo IMG_0493_zps87b96906.jpg

 photo IMG_0501a_zpscb1f7a40.jpg

 photo IMG_0510a_zpsbf418476.jpg

 photo IMG_0512a_zpsef2f419d.jpg

Big Island Day 5

Today we checked out of Turtle Bay and drove around the other side of Oahu to the airport.  It was great to see a lot of the island by just driving around.  Here's some pictures from the drive.  Next time I stay on Oahu, I'd love to rent one of these little houses on the North East side of the island - it was like a lush tropical jungle with the ocean right across the street.

These are pics from outside the car window as we are driving from the North to the East to the South to the Honolulu airport.

It was like a luscious jungle.

Palm trees and ocean

I want to stay in these houses!

So gorgeous
On our mini flight (aka the space shuttle) over to the Big Island, we were on the plane with a giant group of French kids who were on a summer camp thing from France.  I guess Europeans have different style/fashion sense than we do.  I couldn't get over this pair of pants that I saw.  I snagged a picture of them at baggage claim. By the way....I am in love with the Kona airport.  It is basically a series of mini huts.

Best Airport EVER

After the flight

These pants are basically a baggy sack down to her knees just on the back section...
After snagging the rental car, we drove over to the Sheraton Kona and checked in.  I loved staying here because the Sheraton gave us 50% off because Karl is a firefighter/EMT!  It was so wonderful.  We got an amazing ocean front room for a very good deal.

Around the time we checked into the hotel, Karl's teeth started to hurt really bad.  Karl got an immuno-suppressant shot before we left to help curb any flare ups he might have on this trip...the only problem is if you get sick at all then your immune system is not ready to fight away any infection.  This has happened to us before with his teeth, poor guy.  He was feeling so sick he was not able to come with me to the manta ray excursion that we had scheduled for that night.  So, I was independent and went by myself!

I really missed Karl but the excursion was incredible!  I booked spots for us with Kona Ocean Adventures and at 6pm I got on the boat and had some food and watched the sunset in the middle of the ocean.  Which was incredibly beautiful.

The pinks and reds are out of this world
Me on the boat
We also learned a lot about the manta rays we were going to see (for instance, the 2 16 foot manta rays that show up are named Big Bertha and Vicky).  They also answered my touristy question "Am I going to see sharks in the water?" (answer: no) Once the sun went down, we got into wetsuits and snorkel gear (all provided) and the 5 of us and our guide grabbed hold of a floating surfboard thing with flashlights shining down in the water and paddled over to the spot where the manta rays come at night to feed on plankton.

So we would look down in the water and then a manta ray would swim by.  It was very humbling because they are HUGE.  The ones I saw were about 8-12 feet wide.  One that was probably 10 feet wide started doing barrel rolls underneath me.  It was probably about 5-10 inches away from my stomach.  I was happy that I was not screaming like the girls on the floating surfboard next to us with a different group.  I LOVED seeing the manta rays.

Another cool thing about the Sheraton is that the manta rays congregate in 2 places on the Kona coast: 1) the place where the dive boat took me and 2) outside the Sheraton Kona.  I could walk out onto my lanai at night and look for a while and see a few manta rays in the water.  What an experience.  We also saw dolphins swimming one morning!

After I got done with the manta rays, Karl picked me up and was feeling so yucky with his abscessed tooth(s).  When people say everything closes by the evening on the big island, they mean it!  Things were closing up at like 5 o'clock!  We went down to the Kona ER.  It was teeny tiny!  They didn't even have beds, they have these weird chairs from the 70s.  I took a picture of Karl but I will not post it here to preserve his dignity.  Plus I think you aren't supposed to take pictures in a hospital and I was announcing "Hello i'm a tourist!"  Got some antibiotics and went back to the hotel and crashed.

Oahu Day 4

Day 4 on Oahu!

I got a recommendation from one of my best friends Megan about getting a groupon with Island Magic Catamaran in Waikiki.  I was so excited to do this excursion.  The catamaran takes you out to Turtle Canyon, a place where turtles go to get clean I guess with the natural filtration system in the reef there and the little fishies that clean stuff off their backs.  The catamaran provided all the snorkeling stuff, took a bunch of photos of us in the water (and gave them to us for FREE), caught an octopus and let us hold it, and helped us find turtles to swim with!  I didn't touch any turtles (illegal) but it was amazingly incredible and one of my trip highlights.  The turtles were SO SWEET and coming up for air and swimming around and it was awesome to be in the water with 200-300lb turtles swimming around.

Ready to see some turtles!  Who is that guy photobombing in the background?
Look a turtle!!  The turtles were so smart and funny.
I would see a big group of snorkelers all huddled around something.
Then a bunch of turtles would pop up for air like 20 yards away from them.
Snorkelers in love
I saw so many of these guys and it was so cool and awesome!
The guy in the water with us caught an octopus and let us hold it!  It was really sticky and cool.
Yeahhhh dog
Us after snorking....we are very white.
We stopped at Matsumoto's today and got a shave ice.  Pineapple coconut strawberry with ice cream and condensed milk! It is so good!

I was too afraid to try it with "the beans".
We drove into Waimea Valley but didn't get out due to incremental weather (ie too hot for Karl haha).

Waimea Valley out of the car window
We also went on a walk around the beaches at the resort that evening and I had fun bringing the 5d and taking pictures on my very own "photo safari."  Karl and I walked maybe 1/4 mile and found ourselves alone on a beach and so we sat down and watched the sun set.  With this picturesque landscape, I was extremely inspired!

 photo IMG_0436a_zps00d1a9c6.jpg

 photo IMG_0443a_zps40b09e98.jpg

 photo IMG_0447a_zpscf25bfa8.jpg

 photo IMG_0458a_zps3637d6c5.jpg

 photo IMG_0469a_zps27007afc.jpg

 photo IMG_0473a_zps41c76b95.jpg

 photo IMG_0475a_zpsc15ecf8b.jpg

 photo IMG_0476a_zpsdce64ac7.jpg

 photo IMG_0477a_zps4afe4070.jpg

 photo IMG_0478a_zps61450a5d.jpg