Monday, June 9, 2008

Big Island - Part 4 - Snorkeling Trip

Today we took a trip on the Fair Wind II charter boat to go snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay on the western side of the big island. What a great trip. It was similar to the trip we took out of Maui in April, but both trips had things that I liked about one versus the other.

Historic Note / Aside: Kealakekua Bay is where Captain Cook was killed on his third trip around the world in 1779, and there is a white monument on the shore where he was killed. The monument is surrounded by a fence made up of cannons and cannonballs with chain links hanging between them. This square patch of land is actually the property of Great Britain. The Hawaiians gave the land to Britain as a memorial to Captain Cook.

Captain Cook's Monument

YB was dancing on the bow of the boat on our way out to the snorkeling site. I turned on the camera and caught the last ten seconds of his dance.

Now that I watch it again, I suppose it's not that exciting of a video. I hope the grandparents at least enjoy watching it.

The snorkeling was awesome. Similar to the Maui trip, this boat offered boogie boards with viewing windows for kids to ride on.

YB riding his board and watching the fish.

As in previous snorkeling trips, I took tons of pictures of dozens of beautiful tropical fish, but I won't inundate you with a lot of those photos here. I thought just one photo to give you a feel for the visibility (clarity of the water).

Then I said to myself, "Self, still photos just don't capture how ALIVE the reef is. You should take a quick video snapshot." So I took a 30 second video of the reef to give you a feel for it.

The video certainly doesn't give you the resolution of the still photo above it, but still, I think all the MOTION of the fish really gives you a better feel of how much life there is on the reef.

Besides the extraordinary visibility and gajillions of tropical fish though, we had two big highlights today. First, I saw a spotted moray eel and got a pretty good picture of him, too.

Spotted Moray Eel.
(If you click on the image and look at the hi-res,
you can see his mouth and eyes).

Second, and the BIGGEST deal about today's trip, was that we got to swim with a pod of spinner dolphins. The boat crew explained to us that the dolphins were sleeping, and when they sleep they use half their brain to swim like a figure-8 pattern, breathe periodically, and keep an eye out for predators. This is the closest picture I got, unfortunately this was a pretty horizontal shot right after they came up for air, and there was a shimmer in the water near the surface from fresh-water runoff mixing with the salt water. The result is a little blurry image.

Spinner Dolphin Mommy & Baby

The whole pod of dolphins just kept drifting back and forth underneath us slowly and gently, and periodically came up for air. Here's a video I took of the dolphins drifting by underneath us.

Aside from the shimmer near the surface though, the water visibility was on the order of a hundred feet or more. It was good enough that YB didn't need the window in his boogie board to watch the dolphins swim back and forth underneath us.

YB watching the dolphis swim under us.

The boys watch the dolphins from back on the boat.

Overall, it was a great day. We made it back to the hotel in time to spend a couple of hours in the swimming pool before getting cleaned up for dinner. I'll write more about the rest of tonight later, but wanted to share the images from the snorkeling trip for now.


Caffienated Cowgirl said...

I don't know...I think YB's boogie is cute :)

E.P. said...

That's really cool getting to see dolphins. I bet the boys thought it was awesome, it kind of looks like it in YB's eyes.

great picture of the eel.