Monday, February 28, 2011

Travels on the Big Island: Snorkeling with the Dolphins

Part 6
(View Part I—Overview)

Leaving Volcanoes National Park, we follow Highway 11 towards the village of Captain Cook and our next bed and breakfast.

Note: The village of Captain Cook is near the Captain Cook Monument, a white obelisk on British soil erected to honor the famed explorer killed on this spot in 1779. To visit the monument, you can kayak from across the bay or follow a steep hiking trail from the road up above. We did this hike in 1979, but skipped it this trip.
Along the way, we take a slight detour to visit Punalu’u Black Sand Beach. We are rewarded with seeing two beautiful Hawaiian Green Sea turtles sunning themselves on the black lava rocks.

Hawaiian green sea turtles at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

We find our way to the village of Captain Cook and the Areca Palms Estate Bed & Breakfast. The house sits up on the hill above Captain Cook and offers great views of the sea to the west. The breakfast is superb—we had a lovely quiche, fresh fruit, bread, juice, and tea or coffee. They have a two-night minimum, but we were able to stay just one night.

More Coral

Hosts Steve and Janice Glass helped us plan our snorkeling trip the next day and we selected Honaunau Bay (commonly called Two Step—because of its convenient two-step entry into the water) and Pu’uhonua o Honaunau (Place of Refuge), a wonderful cultural attraction.

I'm snorkeling!

The snorkeling experience was one of the highlights of our trip. We donned lightweight wetsuit tops that allowed us to stay in the water for over two hours. The coral was varied, colorful, with intricate structure. Deeper in the bay (beyond the coral and any good snorkeling), we saw many, many spinner dolphins. They generally kept fairly deep, but of course, surfaced for air. At one point, a frisky dolphin put on a show, jumping and spinning as if frolicking in a park.

Spinner Dolphins
Spinner Dolphins coming up for air

Unwilling to leave such a magical place, we came out for lunch, rested a bit, then returned to the water for more time with the dolphins.

Next: Body boarding in Kohala

1 comment:

Lara said...

The turtles look so cute.