As my lovely friend Kayla had mentioned prior to me leaving for this trip... the likelyhood of me collecting an assortment of bracelets along our travels is not only likely but garanteed. You'll be lucky if you can see the skin on my arms by the time we come home. ;) Although, no bracelets have jumped out at me yet, as the perfect first bracelet.. until, one particular bracelet just happened to literally fall at Mike's feet. It must have been stuffed into Mike's bag when we were staying at my sisters house prior to leaving. What a nice surprise Leala. Thanks my little angel. So here you have it, my first bracelet. Don't worry Kayla, I am going to collect bracelets for you along the way and I expect you to wear them forever and ever and ever.
Day 8- We couldn't resist starting our day off with a delicious coffee and treat so we stopped off at Tin Shack to satisfy us once again.
Once our buzz kicked in we hit the road again, this time we drove through the center of the Big Island. We drove to a beach that locals gave us directions to. Down a hidden driveway and along a rocky road, the beach emerged. The heat was on another level this day! It didn't matter what sunscreen concoction we used, we both roasted in the sun.
While we were swimming in the ocean, we both got spooked by something large coming towards us.... we backed out slowly to try to see what it was... I backed out a little quicker than Mike. Turns out it was our favorite ocean friend, the turtle. Here he is coming up to say hello. He wasn't alone either, he had many of his friends exploring the ocean with him.
This beach also had a hidden treasure along the treeline. Caves along the earth filled with ice cold fresh water, no more than 15 feet from the beach, called Queens Bath. You could actually swim from one cave to another. They were pretty impressive.
From here we headed to an activity that we had been trying to arrange since we arrived on the big island. Diving with manta rays. It is ranked as the number 4 dive in the world. About 30 years ago, a bunch of divers were diving near the airport in Kona, which is located right off the coastline. When they were diving they noticed that the lights put in for the airport were attracting loads and loads of plankton. What eats plankton? Manta Rays. Huge ones. Once these divers figured this out, they exlpoited it and have been brining people there to see this amazing phenomenon ever since.
On our way to the manta ray site, we were lucky enough to play with some spinner dolphins in the water. Our captain made waves for them and they played in them like a couple of kids playing at a pool.
Unfortunately, our water proof camera broke hours prior to this.... and Mike's gopro was out of batteries. Luckily, we chatted up a nice mother and son and they promised to send us their gopro footage. This is the only image we managed to capture before our gopro died.
The experience was insane. The manta rays were bigger than you'd expect and they would do flips right next to us to ingest as much plankton as possible. At one point we had three fighting for their share. Definetely worth the money spent. We went with a company called Hang Loose, they were amongst the first discoverers, 30 years ago, and weren't overpriced like most other companies.
Day 9- This was our last day on the big island. We woke up early to do the crater hike at volcano before the sun got too intense. It is a 4 mile hike that has a 400 foot decline and incline. That faint line in the center of the crater is the trail we took.
If it wasn't for Mike the crater would have closed in on us. Phew, thank goodness he's so strong.
We were also able to walk through a real lava tube formed at one of the more recent eruptions. As you can see I get very excited when I see a good lava tube.
After our day at volcano we were dehydrated and hungry. We went to a natural foods grocery store in Pahoa that made fresh and healthy sandwiches on demand. I was in sandwich heaven.