After much fun in sun on the east coast of the Big Island, we made the huge 1.5 hour drive to the Kona side on the west coast. We were very tired from all our adventures on the east side, so we decided to take it easier on the west side. After all, we’d have a very long flight to Manila in just a couple of days. We had a lot of fun, nonetheless!
Snorkeling at Honaunau Bay
The Big Island has a ton of cool things to see and areas to explore. Being an island, a lot of those sights are underwater. We figured we would be missing out on a big attraction, so we marched over to the local snorkeling gear shop and rented one snorkeling set for each.
We drove down to what is supposed to be one of the best snorkeling spots on the island at Honaunau Bay, colloquially called “Two-Step” because there are a couple of steps that make it easy to go from land to sea.
Of course, “easy” is relative. For a couple of newbies like Ceci and me, it was far from “easy.” To begin, we struggled with getting the mask to seal. Interestingly enough, a mustache is bad news for a snorkeling mask (or really, any mask that is supposed to form a seal around your nose). I pulled on the adjustment straps, Ceci helped, but no luck. Ceci tried her’s on, but kept pulling her hair when she adjusted the straps. We were off to a bad start.
After a few minutes, we decided enough was enough. Hopefully, we did things right and we wouldn’t be getting a big snort of water when we inhaled to form a seal. It seemed pretty tight, so we went ahead and started making our way toward the two steps.
We slapped on our fins and walked slowly. But the sea water had made the rocks slippery and slimey, so we slipped a bit each time we tried to walk closer. After a few minutes of struggles, we were in the water.
I had a tremendously hard time getting my head under water without panicking and attempting to inhale through my nose. Each time I did this, I would breathe out, breaking the decent seal that I had formed and water rushed in.
I started practicing the whole breathing-through-the-mouth business above water for a few minutes until I felt comfortable. Eventually, I stopped panicking and got my first glimpse of some pretty cool sea creatures, fish, and reefs.
Ceci seemed to be doing ok, so we started swimming out into the ocean a bit more.
In the distance, we could see dolphins, and people happily swimming amongst them. Naturally, Ceci and I got adventurous and started swimming toward them as well. But, as I mentioned recently in another post, we learned that we are in pretty bad shape.
Things were stacked against us: we coudn’t get our masks to seal perfectly, we couldn’t quite figure out how to pedal with our fins, and we were not fit enough for swimming more than a few minutes at a time, especially while attempting to breathe through our mouths and enjoy the scenery.
We made our way to a small cliff where we would attempt to get out of the water. But getting out of the water ended up being more difficult than getting in! The slippery rocks were still a problem. And now we found that there were sea urchin hanging out in the nooks and crannies. It didn’t hurt a ton to touch them with our hands or feet, but it was certainly a bit uncomfortable.
Stumbling and falling, we made our way out of the water. Ceci slipped and scraped her knee a bit. Other than that, no major injuries to be found. Unless you count our egos..
After some rest, and some tending to Ceci’s scrape, we jumped back in. Determined to make it all the way to… well the goal would be the dolphins, but we’d settle making it back to the two steps and get out!
We made it to the steps. And we couldn’t be happier.
Snorkeling is not easy! But we shall not give up. There are supposed to be a ton of great snorkeling and scuba diving spots in the Philippines. Given the opportunity, we shall try again.
One of our last adventures in Hawaii was our mission to find Makalawena Beach. A quick search for the most secluded beaches on the Big Island gave us this gem (as well as mentioning Green Sand Beach). We decided to accept the mission and find the beach.
We took our rental car down an incredibly rocky, “unimproved” piece of road. This appeared to have been a road where the solidified lava had been flattened out, but not really much more than that. It was rough. But our poor little rental car took it like a champ.
Slowly, we made our way down what was supposed to be a “5-minute drive”. We spent about 25 minutes. Ceci joked that a dead turtle and her 80-year-old grandma were faster at that point than my driving. I did not laugh.
Once at the parking area, we started the rest of the journey on foot. Again, our Keens proved to be absolutely instrumental in yet another Hawaiian lava hike. The path started as a rocky unimproved path, similar to the drive from the highway to the parking lot. After about 10 minutes, we had to walk for a few minutes down a beach.
Unwittingly and for the second time in the same day, I chose the wrong path. After the short beach walk, you should stay on the beach path before the next portion. I chose to take us through the lava field where rocks were very large and it was probably more similar to rock climbing than hiking. Ceci was not pleased. Obviously, I acted like nothing happened. “I like to be challenged!”
Some ten minutes later, we rejoined the trail. We walked past a small oasis of palm trees and what Ceci called “the coconut cemetery” as there were hundreds of dead coconuts on the ground. We said a small prayer and were on our way.
About twenty minutes later, we arrived. Boy, what a wonderful sight! The sand was the whitest I’d seen. There were maybe 20 people at the beach, most of them seemed to be locals. We picked a spot and joined the fun.
We set up our beach towels and had one last Hawaiian picnic. We pulled out our chicken salad sandwiches and went to town. With that out of the way, we got ready and jumped in the clear blue water.
At this point, Ceci finally took my advice and figured out how to avoid being destroyed by the waves. By jumping into them in the form of a pencil, she was able to swim through them, rather than standing and being slapped in the face and belly (and again, fearing losing her show.)
After a few hours of fun in the sun, we went back to prepare our bags for the long flight to Manila that was ahead of us the next day.
Stay tuned for the upcoming Manila Chronicles, where Ceci may be making her big blog debut!
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