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No Step. Jump.

_HPP6807-2_HPP6827-2_HPP6840-2When we first considered Hawaii for a SwimVacation location, we assumed we would create a liveaboardĀ  style trip on a yacht. Instead, it turned into a land based trip after it became obvious that there wasn’t a boat here that could do what we needed and how great the land based activities are. Still, the original SwimVacation trip is yacht based, and it remains the core of our identity. Today we got back to that a little, and chartered a 55 foot sportfishing boat to bring us to two fantastic swimming spots, Captain Cook (Kealakekua) Bay and Two Step (Honaunau). Keeping things in the family, guide Ryan’s father is Captain of this vessel, the Integrity. It was a perfect day trip boat for us.

It took just 40 minutes or so of motoring to get to Kealakekua, compared to the 1+ hours it took by van the past couple of years. We jumped in at the monument built in honor of Captain Cook, who met his demise here after wearing out his welcome on this island. There’s a lesson here, so we only run 1 week trips.

Once in the water, we swam along the edge of the bay, along a dramatic cliff face and over some of the most beautiful coral beds. Guest Alison spied an octopus and we all stopped to check it out. It shoved its body under a small ledge, about 10 feet below the water, but it left its eyeballs sticking out to watch us. I wish I could do that, it would make parenting a little easier. Heather dove down to take a photo, and as she did, a second octopus revealed itself, shot an ink stream, and joined its mate under the ledge. This is one of the many reasons that open water swimming is awesome and pool swimming sucks.

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Captain Rob shadowed us at a perfect distance for the out-and-back swim. We ran into a huge bait ball and dove into it, morphing the school of thousands of fish into different shapes. Back aboard, we were famished. Luckily, our private chefs had prepared delicious sandwiches which disappeared in minutes. We motored to Honaunau, trolling along the way. Brandon is our deckhand today. He wound up in Hawaii after a 100+ foot sportfishing yacht he was working on sank off of Tonga. Way off of Tonga. He’s a great deckhand and I hope to see him again next year.

I guess I don’t need to refer to Honaunau as Two Step anymore; we don’t need the steps because we have a boat to jump from. The coral here is over the top. Guest Leslie and I had a stroke breakthrough here. She had been thinking about the advice the Thomas brothers gave her last night, and decided to change her kick. I had her simply stop kicking first, allowing her rotation to provide a natural, “free” one-beat kick. Then I had her add a second kick per rotation. Success! I love those moments. Heather took some time with each guest here to do swimmer portraits in her favorite spot. It always works out great with a dramatic sky against the backdrop of City of Refuge’s line of palms.

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Back at the Hale, most guests lounged around though I caught Paul and Alison going for a run. Cocktail hour was soon upon us, and, inspired by the sunsets here, I made up a drink called a Green Flash with the help of our culinary host Clare. Honeydew melon juice and vodka are shaken with ice and poured in a champagne glass, then topped with a splash of Perrier and a squeeze of lime. Refreshing. It’s Ken and Alison’s anniversary today, and we presented them with traditional leis as is customary here.

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Dinner was traditional Hawaiian luau food. Shredded pork and cabbage, lomi lomi, poi, roasted purple sweet potatoes with a curry sauce. Clare moved us with her explanation of the cultural significance of Poi. Lisa had found both a red and a white that both paired really well. Stuffed, sunned, swum, we drifted off to sleep, the power of the Pacific at our feet, the power of the volcanoes behind our heads.

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