Sunday, December 30, 2018

Day Nine

We spent Friday visiting the Captain Cook monument from quite a distance.  You can kayak a good long way in fairly open water or hike an unrelenting arduous trail to see it up close and personal.  We looked at it from the edge of the bay.  It is the small white obelisk in the middle of the photo.  We also watched the pot smoking locals trying to catch some fish for dinner.

The bay where we stood. 

There were remnants of a sacrificial temple on the grounds.

Morgan found a tidal pool to cool her heels in.

Saturday was back to the Waikola for Dolphin Quest for the kids.  We took some time to walk around some more.  We passed the wedding chapel and approached the grand staircase we had just walked down but from the other side.

The kids and I posed with the Dolphins!

A beautiful sculpture on the grounds.

Then it was time to swim with the Dolphins.  

Afterwards we met up with the others for lunch.

We all headed for home to start packing and getting ready for church.  After church we cleared out the leftovers for "what's for dinner."  I took a bag of groceries to a neighbor, emptied the remaining containers, left condiments and other unopened things for the next tenant, washed the beach towels, started the dishwasher while packing our suitcases.  Pat, Kelly and Cassie left for the airport, they flew to Phoenix that night and Larry and Kristin were leaving Sunday night about the same time.  They have to vacate by 11 am so spent the day in a king sized cabana at the Waikolia Hilton until dinner, then off to the airport for their flight home.  We have 3 nights on Oahu before we leave.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Manta Ray

II promised to share stills of the very short video Pat made of the manta ray that swam so close to them.  He did what they call a belly roll.  Swimming by then turning over exposing their underside.  Like whale flukes, their bellies have distinct markings that allow tracking and naming of the Rays.  If you submit a clear belly shot that has not been identified, you get to name it!  I already had a goat named after me by my brother Dan!  

Here is a better shot of the line they held on to keep their face in the water.

Day Eight

Ted and I started visiting the Big Island back in the early '90s after our first cruise visit in 1985 for our 20th wedding anniversary.  He is a Hilton Honors member and during his work years had Platinum status that gave us great benefits.   We could stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu, Turtle Bay Hilton at Oahu's North Shore or the Hilton Waikoloa north of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.  We tried a Marriott condo on Maui once and the Marriott Waikoloa another time using points.  But we always returned to the Hilton Waikoloa.  

A hotel room (much less 4) just wouldn't be cost effective at any hotel so we found the condos we are in now.  I would never hesitate to recommend these 3/3 beautiful residences for a larger group.  But we wanted the newbies to experience the Hilton Waikoloa Resort.  Bill, Larry, Sam, Morgan and Cassie had never been there.

The kids were in awe when we entered the main lobby.  There were 8 trees decorated in the colors and flowers of the 8 major islands.  The size of the trees showed their position in the line up.  These were the only Christmas decorations we had seen anywhere but church.

We ran into a gorgeous peach colored cockatoo and were allowed to have him sit on our arm.

We had learned there were day passes, available a week in advance if room allowed.  Then we learned we could rent cabanas and confirm our plans at any time.  So we rented four cabanas which gave us 8 chaise lounges in four cabanas, cold bottled water, a USB port, Popsicles, a safe and a pool boy named Conner!  We felt pretty special!

We went swimming, used the slide, swam and snorkled in the lagoon with turtles.  Morgan was so happy to see so many turtles up close and personal.

We headed to Buddah Point to watch the sunset before heading home.

It was an exhilarating day but exhausting.  Dinner was pizza, sandwiches and leftovers followed by turning in right after.  

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Day Seven

Everyone took off in different directions and did their own thing on Wednesday because we had a big evening planned.

Kelly and Cassie went into Kona to shop, Bill, Kara and the kids went there too and the Kona Farmer's Market.   Morgan got a new dress and a hand carved turtle.  

Ted and I spent a quiet morning while I did some laundry and then we went to the pool with Kristin.  Pat had stopped by and had lunch with us and eventually he, Kristin and Larry went to the pool.  However Ted and I had returned by then to our condo to fix dinner.

At 4:00 everyone came to our place for pork tenderloin cooked by Ted on the grill, roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, applesauce, chopped salad and fruit salad.  We are trying to clean out the refrigerator before we leave!

At 5:00 we headed to Keauhou Bay for the Mantra Excursion.  Seven were swimming, four of us were riding along!

In the shadow of the Sheraton designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. 

Waiting to sail as the sun set.

Morgan and Sam in their wetsuits

Kara, Bill and Pat coming aboard

The line up - Pat, Kristin and ride alongs Kelly, Cassie, me, Ted.  No one told me to smile!

The brave, holding on to their raft.  The lights attract the plankton which attracts the manta rays.

Kara, Bill, and Morgan coming out.  They had one manta ray do a complete belly roll in front of them.  Pat thinks he has a shot of it on camera.  If so, I will share it.  

They were exhausted from hanging on and cold!  After taking off their wetsuits, drying off and putting on their cover ups, they had hot chocolate to warm up.  It was another interesting adventure!