Kona, Hawaii – Day 3

Day 3 – 20th January, Wednesday

Ocean Power Rafting + Snorkeling

My day started at 5:45am, such an ungodly hour! I had to set 3 alarms to get my butt outta bed. If I am ever up so early, it is usually for a race (which I usually dread). But today, I was excited. I signed up for the Ocean Power Rafting and Snorkeling excursion.

IMG_2858After packing all the necessary and unnecessary stuff, I went down to the lobby to board the shuttle bus that was scheduled to leave at 7:15am.

IMG_2866The port.

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It was a 45min drive to Honokōhau Bay, where we boarded our rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB) / Zodiac-type rafts made famous by U.S. Navy SEAL teams. There was a bus load of us and we had to be divided up into 3 different groups.

IMG_2868My group had 12 awesome people under Captain Dave.

IMG_2870Briefing – the Dos and Don’ts.

IMG_2871Off we go!

This excursion would cover 14 miles between Honokōhau and Kealakekua Bay. It was a slow drive out from the dock before the Captain went full speed with the rafts. We were travelling at about 30-35 miles/hour. Sports car of the sea?

IMG_2908Safety rope! As long as you have one foot under it, you’re SAFE!

IMG_2883Spinner Dolphins!

 

IMG_2887Our final destination was Kealakekua Bay for snorkeling. But we had many stops along the way whenever we spotted spinner dolphins and pilot whales!

IMG_2919Can you spot the pilot whale?! It went under our raft!

IMG_2922YES, we came UP CLOSE and PERSONAL with them! It was so amazing. They swam towards us gracefully and showed off their flipping/rolling/splashing skills.

Just look at him playing around on his back!

DCIM102GOPRO The sun was high up in the sky and shining in its full glory. But it was a bit chilly. The speedy and nimble raft went against the wind which countered the heat from the sun.

DCIM102GOPROThe wind was so strong, I felt chills running down my spine and goosebumps started popping out. I actually enjoyed the warmth from the sun whenever we stopped to view interesting marine life.

IMG_2932After cruising the waters along Kona coast for about 1 hour, we were at Kealakekua Bay!

DCIM102GOPRO DCIM102GOPROThis bay is actually a National Marine Park and apparently, one of Hawaii’s finest underwater preserves.

DCIM102GOPROWe were NOT allowed to go on land or to stand up while snorkeling. Standing up would mean that you MIGHT be standing on corals and that would kill them.

DCIM102GOPROAfter gearing up, I jumped in! The waters were so pristine, visibility was far and wide. A bit scary and breathtaking at the same time.

DCIM102GOPROFuzzy.

DCIM102GOPRODecided to switch to my goggles because I wanted to dive a little deeper.

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The waters were nice and warm. I thought it would have been FREEZING COLD!

DCIM102GOPRO DCIM102GOPROI had a lot of fun paddling around, swimming around the fishes and corals and drinking mouthfuls of salt water!

DCIM102GOPROWhile we went snorkeling, the Captain prepared our snacks of fresh fruit, cookies, crisps and drinks.

DCIM102GOPRO DCIM102GOPRO

DCIM102GOPRO DCIM102GOPROWe spent an hour or so at Kealakekua Bay before heading back to shore.

IMG_2952On the way back, we stopped at coastal lava caves, ocean geysers and sea grotto. The Captain was also sharing a bit about the history and ancient Hawaiian legends.

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IMG_2964Sandwich and Coffee.

After the excursion, we arrived back at the hotel at about 1:30pm. We were given $30 to spend on lunch! I had a sandwich to-go as I wanted to shower and eat in the comfort of the hotel room.


Kahua Ranch – Dinner

We had little time to rest before we had to dress up to go to Kahua ranch for dinner. The ranch was about 45mins-1hour drive away, so we had to be at the lobby by 4:45pm.

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IMG_30349 inches of rain a year(just outside our hotel) and 45 mins later……

IMG_3042120 inches of rain a year! Hawaii has many MICROclimates!

We caught the first bus to Kahua ranch! We were greeted by Big John who was one of the owners of the place. Before dinner, he shared a bit about the history of the place.

IMG_3040Kahua ranch means the beginning or the foundation as it was one of the few places that was established during World War II.

IMG_3041  IMG_3046It was started by 2 families over 8500 acres of land!

They aim to provide: Value, Productivity and Beauty.

IMG_3047 IMG_3049So picturesque.

IMG_3050They have over 2000 cows! It was interesting to learn about high intensity rapid grazing (Not HIIT :P), how they keep cows in a smaller closure to sustain the land, rotational grazing and skip grazing. You should hear the logistics of how they ship the cows – Cow-tainers, cruise ships and boarding 747s. Crazy!

IMG_3052IMG_3077He was SUPER friendly. Very good with people.

IMG_3062 IMG_3054 IMG_3067Arrrrrr!

He also talked a bit about some of the animals that were brought into Hawaii by accident and how they changed the entire ecosystem.

IMG_3069 IMG_3070The sunset.

IMG_3074 IMG_3089Where we had dinner.

IMG_3090After that, we had a lovely BBQ ranch dinner (with live country music) followed by some cowboy activities – line dancing, hot iron stamping, smores making, horse shoe throwing, a fire place and star gazing.

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Hot iron stamp!

IMG_3092The BEEF was so good!

IMG_3094 IMG_3095The founder of my Mom’s company (DDI), Dr. Bill Byham. We sat at the same table 2 nights in a row. We’ve met before and he is always so nice to my mom. Very interesting man and at his age, he is still VERY sharp! Scary.

IMG_3100The fire place.

The highlight (for me) was STAR gazing! It was pitch black so we could see the glittery sky.

Day 3 was very tiring with back-to-back activities!

Day 4 was a little better……

Wait for it!

xoxo

 

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