Sunday, July 19, 2015

Day 11, Seahorse Farm!

After a lot of debate, we finally opted to buy tickets for a tour of the seahorse farm just north of Kona.  They were really expensive, so, we weren't sure it was worthwhile.  It was cool to see the sea horses, but, definitely not worth the price.  On top of that, it was like every schmuck on the island was there that day!!

The main purpose of the facility is seahorse conservation.  But, they also raise them to sell for aquariums.  We did learn a lot.  It turns out that seahorses mate for life.  So, if you buy a seahorse at a regular pet store, chances are it was separated from it's mate and will eventually die of a broken heart...literally!!  The girl giving the tour said that they put the seahorses in these big barrels when they are young and as they grow they will choose a mate.  They can tell that's happened because every morning the pair will wrap their tails together and go for a morning stroll around the barrel.  Cool huh!!  When they want to breed a certain type of seahorse, they will separate out the best specimens and put them in their own tank in hopes that the best of the best will "hook-up" and begin mating.

They have these metal grates at the bottom of each barrel for the seahorses to hook on to like they would plants in the ocean.

At the end of the tour, everyone gets to "hold" a seahorse.  One of the employees comes around and helps hook their tail on your hands.  It was pretty cool for the kids.

Even Liv got to hold one and she was ecstatic.

We did take the opportunity to stop at Da Poke Shack one more time, yum!!!!  I opted for seaweed salad and edamame salad to go with my poke.  Unfortunately, something wasn't quite my friend and I ended up covered in hives!!  Have to be more careful next time we eat there!!

We went back to the hotel and had a nap and a leisurely afternoon!  I took pictures of some flowers and we spent the evening in the pool!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Day 10, Another Condo Day!

We figured after our trip to Volcano Park, we needed another down day.  The kids just loved hanging out at the condo.  Dave and I felt like we needed to be at the beach so as to not waste the day, but, I think the kids would have been happier just staying home every day!!

Liv LOVED the pool and even was willing to swim in the deep end long as her brother was close of course! ;O)

Liv eating her favorite...nem'n'nems...I've got to get that on video!

We went up the street for some fun treats after dinner.  Dave picked this unbelievable peanut butter and pretzel bar concoction that they make in the deli, I chose Shortbread Cookies with a Lilikoi "thumbprint", and the kids each chose a cupcake!

We stopped at A-Bay to watch the sunset.

 and for the kids to eat their treat...Owen's getting to be quite the photographer!

I'm glad we stopped!!  It was BEAUTIFUL!!  We opted to stay off the water this time because it seems that on the Big Island, you either choose a condo on the water or you have air conditioning.  It is so muggy there, we were just miserable the first time without AC.  But, not being on the water, took away from our relaxation and our sunsets!!  I think this is the night we came to the conclusion that this just isn't our island...we will try Kauai next time...

Looking for crabs after the sun had set...

Day 9, Volcano Park

So today is Lava Man, we have to find somewhere else to be ALL day to avoid the chaos.  We were up and gone by 7am (racers arrived any time after 5:30 and first race was scheduled for a 7:30 start).  We grabbed breakfast in Kona at Island Lava Java.  It was good, but, super overpriced ($16 for eggs benedict and $13 for pancakes) and their "customer bathroom" was shared with what seemed to be EVERY other store on Alii Dr., disgusting!!!

We headed out from there on the windy (read curvy not blowing hard) road that twists and turns on these tight curves for the majority of the 97 miles from Kona to the Volcano park.  Unfortunately, my son is as big of a puker as I am and after stopping repeatedly every few miles, I ended up giving him the front seat and I sat in the back.  So, now, we were both sick!!  Hahaha!

We decided to stop and check out this beautiful beach called Whittington Park to try and walk off the nausea.  It was amazingly beautiful and looked like the perfect place for a picnic.  They had all kinds of seating areas and outdoor grills.  But, I'm not sure it would be worth that drive just for a picnic and the waves were just crashing here.  There was a small section though that was protected by a natural rock wall that looked like a good place to snorkel.  In fact, there was one guy snorkeling with his dog...the dog seemed reluctant, but, the dude seemed to be trying to teach him how to swim in the ocean.  I'm not sure that's something a dog needs (or wants) to learn!!

The kids did some racing to stretch their legs on the grassy picnic area.

Just past the park area is what remains of an old dock that was apparently destroyed in a 1948 tsunami and never repaired or replaced.  Kind of pretty for some reason.

Just beautiful here!!

We reluctantly got back in the car with Dave's assurance that the road "straightens out" the rest of the way...ummm I beg to differ!!!

We hit the park right at lunch time which was unfortunate timing.  So, we ate at the only place available, the Volcano House restaurant is in the historic hotel built in 1846.  It's recently been refurbished and you can actually rent rooms there now.  Although, our first week there, the volcano was so active, they actually had daily updates on the air quality and visibility was often sketchy.  I'm not sure I'd want to stay any closer to the source of the problem!!  Anyway, the kids shared a pizza which was absolutely horrific and borderline inedible and  Dave and I each had a burger which wasn't bad at all.  Then it was off to explore.

I'm not at all interested in the volcano aspect of the park, but, love all the flowers, listening to the birds here, and just enjoying the rainforest aspect of the area!  Check this one out, it looks like fuzzy berries and then these red needles explode out of them.  So beautiful and they grow right in the lava where you can't imagine any life existing, let alone thriving!
We opted to do the half-mile hike to the lava tube through the forest.  The path looks down over Kilauea volcano and is just amazing.  Right as we got started, it started to rain, but, it was this weird mist rather than raindrops and the foliage was so thick, once we got on the trail, we couldn't feel the rain any more!

I was fascinated with the enormous ferns along the trail and how they rolled out to form the leaves.

At the end is the paved and lighted lava favorite kind, haha!

To assure I'd never have to go back, I agreed to drive another 19 miles down the side of the volcano to the coast to see the arch.  Beautiful!!

Dave and I were fascinated how the two types of lava (Pahoehoe-the smooth bubbly kind and A'a which is almost like a lava gravel) flowed on top of each other and kind of intermixed here.  You'd think it would be one or the other...not both.  It was kind of beautiful in and of itself.

Poor Livi Bug missed another nap today...

We rolled into Kona right before sunset and Owen needed a bathroom.  So, we stopped at Turtle Beach (Keahou) and watched the sunset for the first time on this trip.  It looked like rain had just rolled through before our arrival so, the clouds were low and didn't allow for a very impressive one this time, unfortunately.

We ended the day with a quick trip to Safeway and then back to home base!!

Day 8, Success at Spencer Beach!

The winds are calm today and we had no plans, so, we decided to give Spencer Beach another try!!  Both kids were reluctant and wanted to hang out at the condo instead.  But, that seemed like such a waste of an opportunity!!  So, we forced them into the car and headed up to the beach.  There were quite a few more people here today than yesterday, but, not really crowded.  Seemed like lots of locals celebrating different milestones though!!  The water here is so calm and so beautiful, it's just amazing.  However, I'm pretty sure there are lots of homeless camping here still, but, clearly they lay low and clear off the beach when it's busy.

Liv picked out some ponies at the store yesterday and had a blast burying them in the sand and digging them back up.

Owen took his boogie board out to lay on.  The waves are so calm they didn't even wash him up on the beach, so, the board made for a good floaty instead!

Even Liv did some boogie boarding...the kind with no body parts in the water, hahaha!!

We spent a few hours at the beach and then headed back to the condo for a relaxing afternoon and some time at the pool.