Thursday, February 23, 2012
The day before, we'd called Mel's Taxi in Kona so that there would be a cab waiting for us when we got to the dock. We'd told the taxi service that we would be on the first tender off POA, but the driver got there sometime before seven and started calling us every five minutes to see where we were. At one point he even said he was just going to take another fare! That was pretty annoying, but T.J. assured him at that point that we were already on the tender and were just a few minutes away, so he was still there when we docked. It was a good thing that we'd reserved a taxi ahead of time, because when we got off the tender, there were only four or five taxis waiting, and those were taken pretty quickly. I'm sure they come at regular intervals, but if you are on a tight schedule, you might want to consider reserving one ahead of time.
The Seaquest boats dock in Keauhou Bay, about fifteen or twenty minutes from where the tenders dock. The cab fare was about $25 (+ tip) each way, so it was a bit pricey to venture out there. Seaquest's building was damaged in last year's tsunami and they aren't using it anymore, so when we got to the boatyard we wandered around trying to find where we were supposed to check in. Chris, our captain, was actually parked in front of their old building, and he was just checking people in out of the back of his SUV. We were the first to arrive, so after we checked in, we wandered around the boatyard a bit. There are bathroom facilities right there if you need to change, but other than that nothing of great interest. I decided to sit down by the water while we waited and was rewarded with my first honu (green sea turtle) sighting!
|Yellow tang about a thousand feet (okay, maybe thirty) below.|
|Hole in the roof of one of the sea caves|
|One of the lava tubes|
From what I've read, Kealakekua can get pretty crowded sometimes, but we were sharing the bay that day with only a couple of other small boats and several kayakers. It isn't easy to get to Kealakekua (you have to boat in), which cuts down on overcrowding, I think. I know the boats get annoyed by the kayakers dragging their canoes over the reef because that can destroy it, but I still thought the reef was in much better condition than most of the ones I've snorkeled in the Caribbean.
Kealakekua is also the home of the Captain Cook monument (Cook's famous voyages ended here when he was killed in a skirmish with the native Hawaiians), which people like to climb all over.
|Captain Cook Monument|
Along the way, Chris pointed out more sea caves and rock formations, like this one:
|See the face in the far left part of the rock?|
|Closer view of the face.|
|This is a SMALL shaved ice.|
|MoKuaiKaua Congregational Church (the oldest Christian church in Hawai'i)...|
|...and right across the street, Hulihee Palace, once a royal summer home.|