Friday, April 2, 2010

More of the Octopuses Garden...

Yesterday I went over to Kona for a mini-vacation. It is fun how driving just two hours puts you in another state of mind. That is one of the great things about living on the big island of Hawai'i, it is large, you really do not get island fever here. It is so diverse and has so many great things to do with various scenery, weather and opportunities. Yesterday it was rainy and cool (76 degrees instead of the usual 80) in Hilo, so driving across the island to the dry (also warmer and sunnier) side was a "no brainer". We have lots of great snorkeling places in and around Hilo, but I must admit, my favorite places to snorkel are on the other side of the island.
This post is going to be mostly photos from my dive, but first let me tell you about one of my favorite snorkeling locations. I have snorkeled all over the world, Fiji, Bonaire, Belize, Cozumel and many other locales. I have also snorkeled all around the big island. But consistently, some of the best snorkeling adventures have been at Kahalu'u Beach Park, just south of downtown Kona. The thing about Kahalu'u is that it has an easy entry, places for people of all levels to snorkel, the water is protected by a sea wall supposedly built by the Menehune.  Though it was built in ancient times and has deteriorated somewhat, it still provides protection and makes an excellent home for corals and reef fish. I see more variety of both of those here.
There are an abundance of parrot fish, convict tang, a few types of butterfly fish, porcupine fish, needle fish, puffers, needle fish, wrasses, hawk fish, Moorish idols, several kinds of angel fish, occasional interesting box fish and a few eels. I did see a small "Nemo" (clown fish) yesterday, but that is rather rare there. Yesterday, I encountered a Honu, a sea turtle. She was a juvenile and swam with me for about 100 feet. The corals here are in good shape considering the amount of people that visit this location. On some occasions that I have been there, volunteers educate visitors about how to navigate the bay without damaging the coral.
The really good snorkeling is about 100 feet off shore and beyond. There are some freshwater springs that make the water a little murky at the shore line. This is not a white sand beach, but a salt and pepper beach. There is quite a lot of natural shade on the south point of the beach. It is also close enough to the surfing side of the bay to get quite a show from shore. If the surf is not high, you can also venture out to the other side of the breakfront and find some larger fish.
The beach has good parking (especially if you get there early in the day or mid-day when the first round of people are leaving. Avoid it on Wednesdays that is when the regular cruise ship is in town. There are a full range of facilities here. Showers, restrooms, picnic tables with grills, a lunch truck with shave ice and rentals of all kinds of equipment. There is even a locker service for you to check your valuables and keys, though I have found this beach to be extremely safe.  The water is calm enough for children and beginners. This is where I usually take people who have never snorkeled because you do not face the surf issues that usually instill fear in first timers and yet they are guaranteed a great show of fish.
Here is another post I made about snorkeling at Mauna Lani and Richardson's Beach.  This one was from a previous trip to Kahalu'u. And this one is about our dive club which meets on the first sunday of every month at Richardson's.
In the picture below, see the honu (turtle resting on the bottom by the rock) In the next picture you will see her swimming along with me. It was great fun. 

Are you planning a visit to the big island? If so, drop me an e-mail and I would be glad to give you some other suggestions for what to see and do and where to dine!


Cloudia said...

Wonderful pics!

Great to see that my first Hawaii beach is still just as lovely.

Aloha from Waikiki my Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Lyndsey said...

Beautiful photos! I enjoyed all of them, very up close and personal! Thanks for sharing!

Susan said...

Great photos!

Jimh. said...

Those are gorgeous pictures! What kind of camera do you use? I was happy with Washington's diversity (desert, forest, glaciers,rain forest, beaches within 4 hour drive)I would love, however, to have warmer weather more of the year...but that's me, I guess. The only corals we get are those behind glass. We have a few in our living room, but I'd love to see them in the wild! Thank you!

noel said...

this is one of my favorite beaches for snorkeling the fish are not scared so they like to pose for the camera all the time...great post!

Devany said...

Cloudia... I remember that *character* in your book starting out in Kona. Thanks Lindsey and Susan.

Jim, the camera is an underwater camera by Pentax, Optio W60. It is waterproof to 30' and very easy to operate. It takes fine pictures above the water too, though I have a Nikon for that.

And Noel, you are right about the fish posing. These are not even half of the pictures.

Anonymous said...

Still not local yet...

Post could have been entitled "Takos Garden"

I like your posts when you go outside the "Food Boundaries" Well... probably because the ones you post on food make my stomach grumble and make me hungry... LOL

Devany said...

Tako... true. But the song fits the title using Octopus. Maybe I will never be local enough Damon.

Glad you like the posts that are outside of food... most of my readers are foodies ... so I do not stray often, but for beauty and passions.

pedalpower said...

This park is the first place I ever snorkeled in an ocean...only fresh water before that, as I'm a landlocked mainlander. Needless to say, I am hooked and will snorkel any chance I get now.

I too, love your posts...the food ones and the ones that stray!

Frankie said...

Love the pix! Made me feel like I was in the water myself, but it's too cold for me yet. So thanks for sharing these. Nice having you as a FB fren!