Fishing trip and Snorkeling at Captain Cooks Cove

On Saturday (22 Oct 2016), Dad and Lisa took us all out on a big fishing trip along the Kona coast! Everything was set for success. We even saw a HUGE fish in the water and tons or large bait fish jumping to avoid becoming a meal!




We went looking for the Marlins, but ended up with nothing on the hook.

That's a HUGE hook!
That’s a HUGE hook!


However, we had a great day on the water and enjoyed snorkeling in the crystal clear water at Captain Cook’s cove!

Absolutely gorgeous!
Absolutely gorgeous!
Captain Cook's Monument (actual British soil)
Captain Cook’s Monument (actual British soil)

Active Volcano!

21 October 2016

Getting to see the active volcano at the Big Island’s volcano park was amazing. When the sulfuric acid steam cleared, you could see the bubbling lava in the caldera of the volcano! Luckily for us, the wind was blowing in the other direction so we weren’t choked by the fumes.


The volcano is surrounded by an ancient forest of giant ferns.




Hidden among the ferns is a large lava tube, which was super cool to explore!


We had a great day exploring Volcanos National Park!

Swimming with Giant Manta Rays

October 20th, 2016

The family packed into the minivan and we drove to the small harbor by the Sheraton Hotel. Right outside this hotel is favorite feeding ground for Manta Rays, since the hotel decided to put up large spot lights along the cliffs so their dinner guests could watch the waves while whining and dining. It just so happens that krill are attracted to these lights and the Mantas have taken a liking to the particular conditions and come back day after day to feed.img_0198

Once the big boat was secured in place, we donned snorkel gear and wetsuits and slipped into the dark water. There was a long ladder-like structure that the tour company had mounted spotlights on, shining down into the water (about 30 ft deep). We all took ahold of a rung along the edge, rested our ankles on a floaty noodle (so we didn’t kick the fish!), and waited awkwardly for the stars of the show.


Other tour boats were also present so we could see their beams lighting up shafts of water not too far away. Seeing the fish and krill dart in and out of the light to catch the accumulating krill was something, but it was nothing compared to when the Mantas soared into view from the depths!!! It’s hard to take a good photo in the dark, but here are a few. Check out the two videos below too!

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They look like they are flying as they flap through the water, and they ARE HUGE! They flip upside down and scoop the water close to the spotlights to get the most amount of krill possible. They were so close to our faces they bumped into our masks!!

Manta Ray Video close up (62 MB, 27 sec): pa200018

Manta Ray Video distance (33MB, 16 sec): dscn5520


When you’re sick in bed, the boys will bring home dinner!

The cold hike in the rain confined me to the bed with a box of tissues, but I was determined to rest up. The allure of snorkeling with Manta Rays later that night was enough to keep me there when the boys announced they were going out hunting! They loaded up the snorkeling gear, Dad’s traditional Hawaiian sling pole spear with a rubber band, and a fishing knife and headed off to the the nearest State beach (where it’s legal to spear fish).

I awoke to my ecstatic brother bursting into the room– “I knifed it! I knifed it!!”

The astonished laugh of my husband filled the room as Dom told the story of their hunting adventures that day… He had cleverly smashed a purple sea urchin (which are destructive to the reef) and put it on the end of his long fishing knife. As the enquiring fish came in for a closer look, his quick reflexes prevailed and he stabbed it right through the tough scale armor of a brown unicorn fish!

Lukas had also managed to spear a blackish blue trigger fish with the traditional spear! He said it was extremely difficult since the fish reacted to the sound of the stretching rubber as if they knew what was coming! Plus you had to aim a bit in front of the fish since they are swimming!

Catch of the Day
Catch of the Day

When they set to cleaning the fish, we were all surprised at the texture of the scales of the fish. It almost felt like armored thick sandpappery leather skin instead of scales. Their triumph of actually catching the fish by hand dulled their sense of guilt for killing the pretty reef fishy…

We grillled the fish on the BBQ with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. The brown unicorn fish had nice flavorful meat. If you are wonderingly about the black fish… we didn’t cook it… since it gushed out brownish gook when they were cleaning it out and it stunk to high heaven!!(Lukas: “this FISH is 90% poop!!”)


Definitely not mangosteen…

On our hike in the rain we picked up a fruit that we thought was an unripe mangosteen. We excitedly attempted to open it at the breakfast table the next day (since we didn’t have time to wait for it to ripen), but it’s thick skin put up a good fight and we had to get out ‘the big knife’. Imagine our surprise when we saw this neon colored sticky GOO… looks Dangerous to ME!!

Definitely not unripe mangosteen...
Definitely not unripe mangosteen…

Anyone know what this thing is??

Road trip!

Early in the morning on the 19th of October, Lukas, Dominic, Gary, and I all piled into the mustang and headed up the cost to take the saddle road over to the Hilo side of the island to hike!


As we cruised up the coast in the Hawaiian sunshine, we passed plains of tufts of waving grass growing out of the lava covered coast and wondered at the strange small cone-shaped mountains hinting of eruptions past.

Our goose bumps forced us to put on the car top as we increased in altitude on the steep incline. The temperature steadily dropped from a balmy 82F to a chilly 64F on the way to the misty crest of the saddle pass between Mona Kea and Mona Loa. A torrential downpour commenced and the wind shield wipers worked frantically the entire way down the mountain.

We were determined to reach Rainbow falls that we had seen on the AAA map, and thankfully the rain turned to a threaten of a drizzle as we pulled into the parking lot.



On the way to the top of the waterfall, we found an absolutely enormous banion tree. The boys tried to swing from the hanging roots like Tarzan and I found a bunch of passion fruit!

We all made it out to the top of the waterfall:




After rinsing the mud from our tennis shoes, it was time for our next hike. We searched for the trail head to no avail, and in desperation asked a local for directions. He gave us directions and mentioned he was on his way by the place and invited us four to hop into the back of his pick up truck and he would drop us there! Hah! Nice guy!

Despite the rain, we thoroughly enjoyed our hike- collecting guavas, finding wild orchids everywhere and eating lunch by the river.

Wild Bamboo Orchids
Wild Bamboo Orchids


Dom's favorite plant that closes its leaves when touched!
Dom’s favorite plant that closes its leaves when touched!
Palm trees everywhere!
Palm trees everywhere!
Tons of guava trees- small yellow ones, large yellow ones, large pinks ones, and tiny red strawberry guavas!
Tons of guava trees- small yellow ones, large yellow ones, large pinks ones, and tiny red strawberry guavas!

Drenched, we hopped into the car, cranked up the heat and began our drive around the south side of the island. What a great way to scope out where we wanted to come back to during the rest of the trip, and to experience several of the 10 microclimates on The Big Island.

Gotta get WET!

After finally arriving in Hawaii, we were itching to get into that warm tropical water!img_0044

We picked up our Mustang rental and cruised to the house our family had rented in Kona.


As soon as the sun was up the next day we headed out to snorkel along the Kona coast of the Big Island.

img_0050 img_0053We were rewarded with a huge eagle ray that cruised by us on the outside of the reef. Lukas dove down and got a great video that I’ll upload later when we get to a computer! Here’s the still:



EAGLE RAY VIDEO (18MB, 9 sec):  dscn5274

Check out these wild sea urchins too: