Saturday, February 10, 2018

Hawaii 2018 Day 2 - Big Island (Meeting Wild Dolphins, Manta Rays, Humpback Whales)

Aloha again! Despite yesterday's strenuous lava hike, we were all up early this morning to make our way from Hilo to Kailua-Kona, which was approximately 1h 40min drive away. Snapped a few pictures of the beautiful views on our way there.

Me and LQ at the back

BF and JJ at the front

Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii 

Address: 74-380 Kealakehe Pkwy, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Contact: +1 808-325-1687

Reef & Dolphin Snorkel EcoAdventure

We have opted for Reef & Dolphin Snorkel EcoAdventure at USD 105 per person excluding: Sales Tax (4.166%), Harbor Use Fee (3%) & Booking Fee (5%).

Parking is free at the harbour. There is also a clean toilet available. We took the our essentials from our car and walked towards our boat. Before boarding the boat, we had to remove our slippers and store it at the boarding point. Besides the 4 of us, there were 2 other tourists on board with us too, which means there's only 6 of us! Almost a private charter! Hehe. Captain Jim and our guide Brooks greeted us and introduced themselves.

You do have to worry about getting your stuff wet, they have plastic boxes underneath the seats on board that you can place your belongings. Food and drinks are provided too. There is also toilet on board but it would be easier to just let it go in the wild while snorkeling. =P

Great weather today!

BF, Captain Jim and Brooks with the famous "hang loose" hand gesture of Hawaii

Once we set out to the sea, we spotted SO MANY wild dolphins!! One by one, we jumped off the boat and started snorkeling, swimming with the wild dolphins! It was exhilarating! They looked happy and mischievously adorable. A school of dolphins swam by us every few minutes, wave by wave, it was really cool to be in the same waters together with them!

Captain Jim

Brooks serving us fresh pineapple he just sliced

The boat moved further to a place without crowd and guess what, there were 3 manta rays swimming beneath us!! This time we had to get into the water quietly so that we would not alarm the 3 wild beauties. I always have a thing for manta rays. Watching them swim freely makes me feel calm and happy. =)

3 Manta Rays!! (Screenshot from GoPro Video, Video Credit: Arleigh Lambert)

Manta Ray by the reef (Screenshot from GoPro Video, Video Credit: Arleigh Lambert)

As the weather was really good, Captain Jim and Brooks decided to set sail to try our luck and see if we can spot any whales! Andddd our luck was as high as where Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster is now. HAHA

Flap flap

So gigantic!

3 awesome shots from LQ's DSLR:

Credit: Landie Qiu

Credit: Landie Qiu

Credit: Landie Qiu

We saw so many humpback whales, mostly in pairs. Captain Jim stopped the engine of the boat when we were closing up but we had to be in a distance away from the whale according to their company's policy. However, the whales swam closer to us! They were gigantic!! 

All of us tried to film down the blow/flap/flip of the whales and we got a really cool video of TWO humpback whales jumping out of the waters (below)! 

That scene was really the highlight of the entire whale watching session. What an unforgettable experience we had these 2 days! Thank you the big island of Hawaii! ^^

There were more dolphins on our way back and a school of them tried to race with our boat! If the video quality sucks, you can check out the link to the same video I uploaded on Facebook.

Brooks said our luck for this trip out to the sea today was higher than average. All the marine animals we saw today were wild so it's really not guaranteed that we would see it all the time. Also, for people with seasickness, please take your pill before getting on board. I totally forgot about that!! Sadly, I contributed some nutrients out of the breakfast I had, twice, to the South Pacific Ocean. Brooks took care of me, gave me water and a sweet (I think it's for seasickness as it tasted like medicine) to suck on, advising me to look out of the boat, focusing on the coastline.

Our boat back in the harbour

Both Captain Jim and Brooks took really good care of us and I would strongly recommend Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii to people who are interested in doing the above. Don't forget to give them some tips too!

Da Poke Shack 
Address: 76-6246 Ali'i Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
Contact: +1 808-329-7653
Operating Hours: 10am - 6pm

Ranked #2 of 193 Restaurants in Kailua-Kona, we headed to Da Poke Shack for lunch after returning back to our car from the boat.

We ordered two Poke Bowl to be shared among the four of us. The fishes and ingredients were fresh and tasty! Worth a try!

On The Rocks
Address: 75-5824 Kahakai Rd, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA

Stopped by a local landmark Huggo's outdoor lounge to have some drinks and small bite.

Make sense

Not very nice...

On the way to our next destination


Maunakea Visitor Information Station
Address: Mauna Kea Access Rd, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Operating Hours: 12pm - 10pm
Contact: +1 808-961-2180

This place was COLD as hell as compared to the other parts of Hawaii given it's high altitude location. Please bring winter wear if you want to visit this place. Our original intention was to drive to Mauna Kea, above the Visitor Information Station to reach the highest peak on Earth (The summit of Mount Everest is higher above sea level than the summit of any other mountain, but Mauna Kea is the tallest when measured from base to summit. When measuring mountain summits by their height above sea level, Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world. Credit:

Luckily we checked with the staff at visitor information station regarding the summit. She advised us that only 4WD (Four-Wheel Drive) cars are safe to climb up the mountain. 2WD/AWD cars are not advisable as there were many accidents involving these type of cars in the past due to the failure of breaks as the mountain is very steep. As our Ford was not a 4WD car, we abandoned the plan for our safety. The staff said that we could take the other option to climb the hill next to the visitor information station to see the sunset and stars. However, unfortunately, we used up our luck in the morning and the weather was not good to us...

Crossing over this 'time-traveling' tunnel to the small hill

Windy and cold
JJ and I were faster and almost reaching the top but we gave up ascending more due to the foggy weather

Cafe Pesto - Hilo
Address: 308 Kamehameha Ave #101, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Operating Hours: Sun-Thu 11am - 9pm; Fri-Sat 11am - 10pm
Contact: +1 808-969-6640

Cafe Pesto is a restaurant next to Hilo Farmers Market with live Jazz music in the background.

Food were decent and we were all exhausted after one whole day of activities.

The past two days in the Big Island of Hawaii were very fulfilling, from seeing volcano lava live in action on the first day to our encounter with the wild marine animals. I am very thankful to be fortunate enough to get to travel around the world in my 20s. =')

We would be flying to Maui Island the next morning! I will update my blog again soon. Cheers~

Hawaii 2018 Blog Posts

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