Life’s a Beach…

Well, perhaps not, but I did have a stellar beach getaway last week. I went to Hawaii, the Big Island, with a group of friends to help celebrate a birthday. No people pix, since I don’t have permission to share them. What happens in Hawaii stays in Hawaii! But I did take my knitting. Gotta work, you know!


It’s a shawl; can’t you tell? I love all the blues in the water and the white sand at Manini’owali Beach at Kua Bay. This is a good beach for wave jumping.

Snorkeling was great (and easy) at Kahalu’u Beach, and rock hopping was even better for pictures.

kahalu'u honu

This guy was there all three days; sea turtles come up to bask in the sun on the rocks.

moorish idol

My favorite fish, the Moorish Idol. They’re quick; it’s hard to get a decent picture from above. My second favorite fish? The humuhumunukunukuapua’a, or triggerfish, which is the state fish of Hawaii. I just like being able to say it, but it’s good looking, too.

We went to Buddha’s Cup to see how Kona coffee is grown, and had a very informative tasting session there. The grounds (ha!) are beautiful, as is Milo, the resident parrot.






This is a jade vine. It comes in this unusual blue-green, and also fire-engine red.

Lots of different birds to spot here!



These are my favorite birds, the saffron finches.

We saw many beautiful sunsets.




And howled at the full moon.


I happened to wake up early the next morning (6:30) and saw the full moon setting over the water. It was magical. I was so pleased to get this picture, a 7 second exposure. Who knew my little point and shoot could do that? It was left on the “night portrait” setting for the birthday candles from the night before. When I realized it could do a long exposure, I set the timer for a 2 second delay so I didn’t have to touch the camera to push the shutter button.


The view from our lanai looked out over the water, with crashing waves on the lava rock below. It’s high whale season. We saw whales every day, sometimes heads, sometimes backs, and my favorite, the tail flip. It’s hard to catch a picture, though. Can you see the whale spouting in this picture?


And here’s a whale of a tale for you. It happened on our last day in Hawaii. That afternoon, we were on the lanai, watching whales a half mile offshore: flukes, breeching, turning…thrilling. We saw a kayaker getting closer and closer to the whales. We weren’t sure it was a good idea to be that close. And then…

A whale swamped the kayak! The kayaker disappeared for a bit. We waited for him to surface, unsure of what to do. Eventually his head popped up, a tiny speck in the sea. We could tell with our binoculars that he didn’t have a life jacket, just his floating paddle. He didn’t return to his kayak, though. We knew that he couldn’t swim to shore where we were, because it was all rocks and crashing waves. He was trying to swim back to the marina, which is maybe a mile or more  away. We called 911, and they asked us to keep an eye on him while they sent a boat and had 2 helicopters on standby.


Before 911 arrived, a small tour boat (zodiac) happened by and he waved them down. Can you see him in the picture above? His head is a tiny black speck in the big ocean, on  the same level as the boat, but 1/3 from the right edge of the picture. Zoom in! They picked him up and transferred him to the rescue skiff that showed up a few moments later. He looked happy to be rescued. The skiff took him back to get his kayak, because he wanted to bring it in, so apparently he was ok.


Tour boat on left, rescue skiff at center, and kayak is just to the right of the skiff.

We ran into some firefighters at the grocery store later and got the scoop from them. The kayak was broken. The kayaker had some minor scrapes on his arm from the broken kayak, but nothing too serious. He probably could have made it back swimming, eventually, but it was good that we called. It’s a good idea to stay away from the whales, and maybe smarter to stay with the kayak to avoid SHARKS! (We hadn’t even thought about sharks. Yikes.) And apparently no one wears life vests here (except me).

We were glad to see the kayaker live to see another adventure. 60 years old; I wonder how many of his nine lives he’s used so far? We think we should go back every year to monitor the whales and the kayakers!

12 responses to “Life’s a Beach…

  1. I think you were over there at the same time as my parents. They were on the Hilo side. I’m pretty sure they enjoyed every minute they were there too!

  2. What a scary day for the kayaker, but he was a fool not to wear a lifevest. Can’t seem to get that through to some people here in Florida either. :::rolling my eyes:::

    The picture of the jade vine is gorgeous! What an interesting looking plant.

    As always — great photos.

    • I love being ON the water, in a boat, on a kayak, whatever. I can barely swim after taking beginning swimming many times; I snorkel with a snorkel vest. Being out on the ocean with nothing? No thank you!

      The jade vine looks fake! But it’s real.

      I learned a couple new tricks with my camera, so I guess I really can’t justify a new one yet!

  3. Heather Roach

    Wow! You must be that kayaker’s guardian angel! Beautiful photos – thanks for the splash of color while we “enjoy” more grey skies here in Anchorage. Went to Kauai again last Christmas – think we need to hop over to the big island for a few days next year – suggestions?

  4. So beautiful! Must have been a wonderful break from our weird winter weather.

  5. What a beautiful trip. I went to Maui a while back and I was amazed by how spiritual the island is.

  6. Leslie A. Gordon

    Holy cow! What a story! (And great pix!)

  7. My sister lives in Kona and we have been there twice. I love that island! We keep trying to think of ways to be able to afford to live there.

    How scary for that kayaker. He was fortunate to have some “guardian angels” watching from afar!

  8. So so jealous! Looks like an amazing trip: knitting, gorgeous sunsets (that moon set shot is awesome!), turtles, whales, and you got to save someone’s life! Sounds like a good vacation to me. 🙂

  9. Wow, so much beauty! I love Hawaii too – am glad you shared. Thankful for good outcome of the kayaker also.