Sunday, February 10, 2008

I'm baaaack!

It's been a long absence for two reasons -- first I got to go on a vacation to Hawaii, while my son played at Grammie's house. And then when we all got home and got settled, we all got a nasty flu that we're still recovering from!

I'd never been to Hawaii, so didn't really understand all the hype until I'd been there for about 10 seconds and decided I could really live there!

We had a beautiful room that opened out to the ocean for gorgeous views and wonderful sunsets. We snorkeled almost every day and saw literally hundreds of different kinds of fish and coral. We took a sea kayaking trip that totally blew my mind. I'd never been on a kayak before and paddling in the warm ocean was amazing and thrilling and only a little terrifying.

Kealakekua Bay. photo by

photo by

But the highlight for us was snorkeling with the manta ray at night! We boarded the boat at about 5pm and watched the sun set as we motored about 20 minutes to the snorkeling spot. On the way, we saw a mother and calf humpback whale! Imagine the setting sun and two whales 50 yards away. We got to see the tail flip right before they dove down under the water, an image I'll never forget!
photo copyright Rolf Hicker

Once we got to the snorkeling location, we donned wetsuits and jumped into the water. There were four divers with us and they went down to the sandy ocean floor, about 35 feet down. They turned on dive lights to shine up toward us and each of the 10 snorkelers had dive lights as well, that we pointed down. The snorkelers all held onto a communal floating circle, so we stayed together. It created a sea of light, so to speak, that attracted fish and plankton. Mantas only feed on plankton and since the folks in Kona have been doing this for years, the Mantas know that there will be food there at night.
photo by Lisa Christensen for

The Manta swim in figure 8s, doing belly rolls and summersaults as they near the waters surface (where we were all floating). In the US, it's against the law to touch them, but they can touch us! And my husband got "blessed" by the manta (what they call it when one touches you) on one of its turns in the water. It about scared the pants off him at the time, but distanced from the moment he thinks it's very cool.
photo by Lisa Christensen for

Having transitioned to big black (Nikon D40X) from the slow and dinky little silver (old Cannon powershot) meant that the photos we took were beautiful, but that we were too shy to actually take the camera anywhere that could get wet. Since we were in the water every day, that means not a lot of pictures of the interesting things we did. But we got an underwater camera that we need to get developed and with it, there might actually be a photo of the two of us together. :)

For now, we're still working on getting well from the flu. We've watched a lot of movies. I've read a lot (I can't stand that much TV) and just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It really motivated me to work on eating locally grown food. In Hawaii that meant we got lots of citrus, papaya, mango, and bananas. Here that means apples and winter kale, which aren't quite the same. But we're trying!

edited for grammar, sorry!

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