Here are a few pictures. The picture above is the manta ray experience, which I'd recommend to all friends who go there. You float, hanging on to a surfboard, with snorkel and goggles, and then they turn on an LED light. This is at night. The light attracts phytoplankton, which is dinner for the manta rays. They come up and do somersaults with their mouth wide open, taking in the phytoplankton. The mantas are 8 to 16 feet wide. Big. And they come up right next to you. Totally amazing experience, like nothing I've ever done. My sweet wife surprised me with this as a gift.
Whale watching was nice. Humpback whales, swimming in pairs. March is still Hawaii whale season, and I really wanted to get out there, at least once, to watch. We saw a bunch. My photography skills are lacking.
Our condo was terrific. We stayed at the Kona Reef. The photo right below is the view from our lanai. We were walking distance to town, which made it really fun.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park included a hike through a lava tube! Short, but how often do you get to do that? We didn't see hot, red lava--maybe we should've tried harder. We did hike across a crater, and visit the main volcano. We also went down to Hilo, and had a wonderful lunch, and visited the local stores.
Friends Mike and Fran were there for part of the time. So awesome! I hiked with them to the supposedly green sands beach. There's a picture or two below. We have lots of green algae beaches in the northwest that are much greener, so consider me unimpressed. My favorite part of this was sharing the walk with Mike and Fran, which had a sort of desolate, bottom of the world kind of feel, looking out at the blue sea. On their final day, we also got to visit a Kona Coffee Farm and a Macadamia Nut Farm.
In a previous post, I mentioned that I ran the Brewfest 10k in Kona. Gosh, that was hot, and I was slow.
What more to say? This was one of my favorite vacations ever, and I want to go back, because there is much left to explore, and because it's Hawai'i.