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I know, I’ve been horrible about keeping up lately. Forgive me. 🙂 First things first. The trip to Hawaii! OMG it was amazing. I totally didn’t know what to expect but it was nice and very relaxing. Our host, and my friend Rick, was so great and made the trip that much better by being such a great tour guide and a wealth of information. He really went all out helping us see and do anything we wanted. We stayed in his guest room but he also has a lovely AirBnB if anyone is going in the future. No seriously, it was gorgeous. And apparently, the biz is growing there so the rates were exceptional. I was shocked how cheap it was compared to the over-priced hotels. Anyway, I digress… We had a great view of the beach from our patio and it was so relaxing. The morning birds annoyed Shawn a little but I loved them.
I didn’t realize how big the main island was. It’s huge. Granted, I didn’t do much research but I always thought of Hawaii as being small and tiny. I remember Oahu being much smaller. I also didn’t know that it was mostly undeveloped. Oh there are a couple big cities with a few small towns scattered about but the big island as a whole really isn’t that developed. I couldn’t get over that part the whole time we were there. lolol Rick made sure we got to see a lot of local culture and history and helped us find all the things we wanted to do.
As you can see from the album of pics, we got around! We could have done and seen so much more but we didn’t want to spend the whole trip driving in a car all day. We had to cut some of the site-seeing short so we could squeeze everything in. We decided before we left we wanted to do a luau, see the volcano (and lava), and go snorkeling. Obviously, we wanted to spend some time at the beach as well. It was Shawn’s first time meeting Rick in person and they got along great. I also got to meet the famous Bubbles (Rick’s bulldog) as well as Freddie and Elvis, their other 2 dogs.
We did the luau first and it was ok. We had fun but would probably skip it in the future. It was a good, ‘yeah we did it‘ event. The next day saw us driving to see the different sites, and waterfalls. Rick was our guide again and took us to several great spots. We stopped at a local gay owned cafe in Hilo for lunch. All the driving really drove it home how big the island was. Rick made sure we stopped for malasades, a local pastry. We got lucky the day we visited the volcano as you could just barely see active lava in the pit. The whole experience was awesome and a tiny bit unnerving. The steam vents were probably the part that creeped us out. The idea of walking around on top of a volcano active enough to continuously spit out steam from the ground gives you a moment of pause. hehehe The plant life all around the crater felt almost primordial. It was a serene and surreal environment. I loved it! The lava tube was also eerie. You could see the lines cut into the rock from the flow of lava as it churned thru the tube at lord knows how much speed. Just being in a massive tunnel created by flowing molten rock was awe-inspiring. I think having been to the volcano itself before visiting tube helped a bit. I think the impact of what we were seeing was made ‘real’ by having just seen the vents and actual lava.
We saved the best for last. The last day before we flew out we went snorkeling. OMG what a great experience! I’ve only ever been snorkeling off the beaches of Galveston when I was a kid. It was no where near the experience of being in a coral reef.We even saw a whale on our way to the cove. It was literally in front of the boat and they had to stop. hehehe
I was a bit out of sorts at the very beginning. We got in the water and for whatever reason I couldn’t get my breathing sorted properly. It only took a few minutes to adjust but I remember feeling weird and a little irritated it might ruin my experience. After a few minutes of practicing, I got the hang of it again and I think the old muscle memory kicked it. Shawn was originally a bit nervous as he’d never been at all. However, he seemed to grasp it right away. His only trouble was getting used to the fins. We both opted for little float belts as the water was pretty deep around the boat. I hadn’t been actively swimming in ages and I was a wee bit concerned I’d get tired too soon. As it turns out, we probably could have skipped the float belts. The fins were fine. Shawn got the hand of his as well.
Swimming around the coral and seeing all the amazing fish was amazing. It was like being in a tank at the Aquarium. So much diversity and most of the fish ignored us. The tour group offered lunch on the boat and I opted to hop back in the water after lunch. Far fewer snorkelers meant more fish! There were a ton more fish casually swimming in/out of the coral the second time. I cruised around the whole cove. It was by far the highlight of the trip for me. I’d be doing it here if the water wasn’t so damn cold.
We lounged on a beach for awhile after the snorkeling trip. I didn’t spend much time in the water as my eyes seemed to have trouble adjusting. I think I might be developing low tears or something. I simply could not keep my eyes from burning every time I got a tiny bit of salt water in them. It was never a problem for me when I was younger. Having had 2 eye surgeries might have impacted me as well. Regardless, it made playing in the water a struggle. The beaches are much more rocky on the big island and finding smooth sand is a hot ticket for beach goers. We drove out to a couple of remote beaches and even those were very busy. I still had fun relaxing in the sand. The funny part is we barely got any sun. We were both afraid of getting burned so we stayed covered in SPF spray.
That’s it in a nutshell. It was great to see my friend Rick and his family. We socialized and caught on on things. The dogs were a treat as well. Seeing Bubbles madem