Posts Tagged ‘big island’

Day 6

Sea turtles and submarines.

Sunrise over the volcanoes…a great way to start the day.  We were staying on the wrong side of the island for the full view (though the right one for sunset), but still it was pretty.  Then a walk along the beach, where we saw the honu, green sea turtles, which are native to Hawaii and enjoy eating the algae along the rocks as well as the cooler waters from the freshwater springs that vent out into the ocean.  They’re so beautiful and peaceful to watch.

Next was our underwater tour aboard the Atlantis submarine.  My husband pointed out that we’d been on the island (walking), over it (in a helicopter), and through it (lava tube).  Now we were witnessing it underwater, so we’d seen it from just about every angle imaginable.  The array of fish was amazing—longnosed and ornate butterflyfish, yellow tangs, silver dollar damselfish, parrotfish.  We learned that some of the white sand we’d been walking on the whole time came from parrotfish poop.   It’s true!  Much like owls don’t digest the bones of the animals they eat and excrete them in discrete little pellets, parrotfish can’t digest the bits of coral they ingest and so poop it out again.  One parrotfish can excrete a ton of white sand every year!

Unfortunately, except for the photos around the wrecks, none of our pics turned out very well, given the thickness of the porthole glass and other factors.  We bought the CD of our touristy picture taken before we got on the boat that would take us to the submarine because we were told it would have other pics of our submarine trip as well.  The implication was that they’d be of the ocean life, etc., but when we got it home, we were very disappointed to discover that it was only of the other passengers who got their pictures taken before we cast off, so be warned.  We saw two wrecks, our favorite, of course, being the Naked Lady (see story).

Overall, while it was pretty incredible being underwater in the submarine and Ty loved it, I’ve decided that I will learn to scuba, because I’d like to get a lot closer to everything than I can through portholes and the end of a snorkel.  Speaking of which, after shopping (because, you know, shopping) and tasting some more Kona coffee, we came back to the hotel and while the others rested, I snorkeled.  I didn’t go far or for long, because I knew I was supposed to have a buddy, but I’m glad I went.  The parrotfish, convict fish and some I wouldn’t identify were beautiful.  Of course, I’d used up the very last picture on my underwater camera just before the group of ornate and longnose butterflyfish swam right beneath me—close enough to touch, though I didn’t.  Then they turned around and swam back.  It was one of the high points of the trip for me.  I’m totally addicted to snorkeling, though my mask and snorkel leave something to be desired, and I’m definitely going to have to invest in much higher quality equipment.

The rest of the day was dinner, drinks, a live band in the hotel restaurant, more sea turtles and another amazing sunset.

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Hawaii – Day 4

Posted: August 20, 2012 in Uncategorized
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On to Kona.  The views from the plane just getting from Oahu to the Big Island were amazing (see slideshow).

We played the first day pretty low key, taking the historical tour at our hotel—the Keauhou Resort, which sits on the site of three ancient heiau (temples).  Sadly, on is accurate for one of them, which they’ll have to tear out the pool area in order to restore.  Restoration has already begun on the other two, using the stacked stone building technique—no mortar—which allows the water to flow in and out rather than offer a solid wall for its force to act upon, a much better method of construction for the location.  The heiau most directly out from the hotel was dedicated to royal ritual, introducing new heirs to the people, saying good-bye to royalty who’ve passed.  It also acted as a calendar, with a set of stones to orient the people on the time of year.  Since there’s very little climate change, planting, sowing, and all of that has to be determined by external factors, like the position of the sun, because while crops could be grown all year round, rotation and renewal were necessary for sustainability.  This is something our tour guide emphasized.  While the museums and historical videos will tell you, for instance, that something like 80,000 birds were used in the making of the royal feathered cloak, they don’t tell you that the bird catchers used a catch and release system, where they’d put a sticky substance on the branches of favored trees and take just a few feathers from each bird before releasing them, alive.  Now, I don’t know that it was always this way (Wikipedia says not), but it’s certainly nicer to believe than the alternative.

The Kailua-Kona side of the island has freshwater springs that are partly responsible for attracting many of the fish, rays and sea turtles.  We learned about how those who came to the islands could find fresh water by looking for the coconut and another tree that looked like a slender banyan but had a name starting with a p that I didn’t catch.  Both grew beside fresh water, and dowsing on the side where the roots grew thickest would be likely to lead to a spring.

It was a lovely tour, after which Su and I explored the tide pools while the guys napped.  Later, we had a lovely dinner (and some of us too many mai tais) in the lanai bar, which opened on a perfect and unobstructed view of the sunset.