February 1-17. 2014

Hawaii 2014

Video 15'55"

Feb 1

Very early wake-up at 3:40 and terrible lines everywhere: three hours inside Heathrow Terminal 5, two hours in LAX to pass immigration and two more hours at Dollar rental counter. Traffic jam in downtown LA to reach Griffith Observatory. Wonderful baby back ribs in Hollywood Blvd.

Feb 2

Lazy flight to Honolulu where eventually meet the Sprungs "protected" on our flight to Kona. Bags give up and accept to be charged into the car. Awesome condo in Alii Drive and yummy dinner at Kona Brewery.

Album foto Kona, February 2014
Hawaii 2014
- Sprungs' pictures in SmugMug
- Google Maps itinerary
Feb 3
The only very sunny day. Snorkel amid some fishes and many urchins. Visit Jack's Diving Locker shop, snack at Buns-In-The-Sun, dinner at The Fish Hopper. More dinners are following in this intriguing restaurant.
Feb 4
Zip Zip Zip
Today started out fabulous. We had to get up at 5 a.m. to be at the airport for our helicopter ride at 6:15 and the getting up so early wasn't the fun part.
We flew over the island and saw the shore line, volcanoes, and beautiful scenery for about an hour. We arrived in Hilo (on the other side of the island) and then were taken to do the zip lines across the rain forests.
It was absolutely exhilarating and lots of fun. Crossing suspension bridges from one zip line to another was a little scary (NO, a lot scary) but otherwise fun. Then we went back to Hilo for a couple of hours until they picked us up to go back to the helicopter to come back to Kona.
About 15 minutes into the helicopter ride and out in the middle of no where land, the pilot had a warning light come on and we had to make an emergency landing on a road in the middle of cow pastures. At one point I thought we would land on a cow, but we found out cows can run really fast when they want to ... It landed perfectly, so no problems there.
We were in a little farming community Honokaa and all the locals heard the helicopter come down and all came to make sure we were OK. One lady offered to take the ladies to her home for a bathroom so Gilda and Nanda went with her. It turns out the lady and her husband had a oil supply company in Corpus and are in the process of selling it. They had the most gorgeous house and swimming pool and were positioned on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Really nice people! See landing map.
About 30 minutes later another helicopter came to pick us up. I was a little apprehensive to get back on another, but on the way back we saw waterfalls in the cliffs and hump back whales in the ocean.
Well, everything is well and WE SURVIVED just to wind up to Fish Hopper again.
Feb 5
We visited the last major lava flow that covered a coastal highway. We could see where the lava flowed from up in the mountains, over fields, over the road, and finally into the sea. Nearby was a beautiful arch formed from the lava.
The lava tube you see us in was huge and all around it a beautiful rainforest. Annual rainfall on the Kona Coast is 10"/250mm. By contrast, on Hilo (other side of the Big Island) it's 200"/5mt.
Feb 6
Today we drove to Waimea. Beautiful beach and lots of young surfers. There aren't a lot of sand beaches along the Kona Coast, mostly lava beaches, but the sand beaches that are there are beautiful and the water crystal clear.
At dinner - Fish Hopper - we met Lenore and Scott.
Feb 7
Nanda and Gilda are enjoying the beach and the lava chairs, gaining energy to hit the shopping district in Kailua-Kona, and some great seafood at the Huggo's Restaurant.
To tell the truth we were excited about our planned trip up to the top of Mauna Kea for some serious star-gazing at 13,796 feet above sea level (4.205 meters). Mauna Kea is THE BEST place on earth for star-gazing (see here). Unfortunately our trip was cancelled because of snow and ice storms forecast for the night of our trip up.
Also this day we made a vain attempt to visit the sea horse farm near the Kona airport. They never were open when we were available.

Album foto Aggressor Cruise, February 2014
Dive sites
Hawaii 2014
- Sprungs' pictures in SmugMug
- Google Maps itinerary

We went on a manta dive Sunday night. I thought there were at least 140 mantas, but in reality there were probably about 20 that kept coming over us. They put a light box on the bottom to attract the mantas. They hovered (and I mean within inches) over us for about an hour. They were about 12 feet across. We just sat on the bottom and watched them come to our lights. We had to duck sometimes in order not to touch them.

Feb 8-15
Cruise Cruise Cruise Cruise
Boat Log Book by Captain Karl Mellon
Log Date: Saturday, Feb 08, 2014 Entry By: Kona Crew
Sunny Skies and Calm seas Water Temperature:75-77F 24-25C Air:75-80F 24-27C
We were an eager group of divers, which included Warren and Gilda from Texas, Bill and Laura from MA, Nanda and Leo all the way from Italy, Rudi from Austria, and Scott and Lenore back for a second visit from NJ.

Sunday: Kalokos Arches was to be the location for our check out dive. Everyone was great in the water. They saw Octopus, Dragon Wrasse, and Spotted Box Fish on the first two dives. Garden Eel Cove was the location of the three remaining dives of the day. The talk on the dive deck after dive three and four was of an Eagle Ray, Hawaiian Garden Eels, Hawaiian Knife Fish, and being sung to by Humpback Whales. It was the Manta dive after and the group got it good this week with well over twenty Mantas!!!
Monday: Amphitheater was the location of dives one and two. What our guest remembered most was a Stout Moray, White mouth Moray, Longspine Puffer, Divided Flatworm,and a visit from a turtle. Lions Den was the spot for our next dive. It was a Hammerhead shark, turtle, and Conger Eel that stood out this dive. The Hive was our resting point for the Kona Aggressor this evening. On the remaining dives our guest's saw a turtle, Decoy Scorpion fish, Spanish Dancer, Red Lion Fish, Slender Tail Moray, Starry Octopus, Regal Slipper Lobster, and Red Reef Lobster.
Tuesday: Au Au Crater is where our first two dives were held. What our divers remembered most from the dives was a Redstripe Pipefish ,Wire coral Gobies, Psychedelic Wrasse, and a spectacular show put on by two Octopus. Rob's Reef was our last dive spot for Tuesday. The guests were treated to another Hammerhead, a purple Leaf Scorpionfish, and Scott and Lenore commented on seeing Shrimp galore on the night dive!
Wednesday: Paradise Pinnacle was to be the location for our first two dives. Our divers saw many creatures on this dive, but what I remembered most of the comments was from Rudi who fell in love with a Turtle!!! Meadows was the next stop on our journey back north. The talk on the dive deck afterwards was of a Whitley's Boxfish, Orangemouth Lizardfish, and a Giant Porcupine Puffer. Mantaville was our next and final stop for Wednesday. On the dives our guest commented on seeing an Eel eating a fish and of course Mantas who put on a nice intimate performance as they were the only divers in the water.
Thursday: The Dome was the spot for dives one and two. The talk on the dive deck after was of a Flame Angel, Dragon Wrasse (all stages), and for Gilda, all she could comment on was being touched by a Turtle. Driftwood is where we dove on dives three and four. It was another playful Octopus, Green Lionfish (Juvenile), Redstripe Pipefish, and an Octopus. Pelagic Magic was our night dive Thursday (By Request). Our guest's saw the largest migration that takes place on the planet. Bill commented afterwards on seeing Pelagic Wing Comb Jellies, and Venus Girdles to mention a few.
Friday: Turtle Pinnacle was the dive spot for the last two dives of the week. What stood out on these dives was everyone seeing Flame Wrasse, (striking but elusive endemic fish), Domino Damsel fish (chirping), and Redstripe Pipefish.

Feb 1

Kisses and hugs In Honolulu on the dock.
No worries: we're meeting again next October and again March 2015.
And then more ...

Feb 2

Quick and cheap (?) visit to Camarillo Outlet from 10 to 2, rush to airport where Nanda (only) gets eligible to TSA Pre.
Splendid journey to London sleeping in two free four-seats-rows all night long and easy drive home on Monday night.