My wonderful daughter Elisabeth booked this special excursion for her significant George Three and my dear wife Karen and I far in advance. Sister-in-law Jana and niece Dacia spotted that news on the Family Reunion Facebook news-chat page and signed up, too.
We met at a well-hidden Kona public launch for a 7:30 a.m. send-off, three boats worth of people watching them put the crafts into the cove’s waters.
Our sextet and three others were placed on Captain Nick’s ship. His second mate Chris was the courteous, intelligent woman who’d shepherded us through the paper-signing – not the excursion company’s fault! – and boarding process.
They demonstrated the snorkeling process. I decided for sure that I’d stay in the boat, taking photos as my family swam with the fishes. No, that doesn’t sound quite right. I’d watch as the others enjoyed a frolic with the dolphins. Confident swimmer I am not, and this was the Pacific Ocean we were in.
Hover over a gallery photo for a description. Click on an image for an enlarged slide show.
Off we went with the other two boats in search of our sea-living friends.
It took some tooling around before Nick came upon some vessels from other excursions who’d found dolphins swimming near the Kona harbor. The day before I’d seen about a half-dozen boats come charging to the water right across our balcony at Kona By the Sea, and was treated to the sight of a dolphin jumping out of the water with my bare eyes among the dotted heads of snorkelers in the ocean.
Nick explained that the captains used their cellphones to alert each other about the best spots. The more the merrier. He told our swimmers to be ready, and Chris helped everybody off the boat and into the search.
There was a lot of swimming and chasing by my loved ones as they attempted to find the dolphins. Nick called them back into the boat several times and moved them to different spots in hopes of better viewing.
The method they employ is interesting. Swimmers are told to raise their arms high when they spot a dolphin. The captain relays the good spots to the others in the water. Nick and Chris kept track of everybody from out boat out there. I kept track of my loved ones. I must admit I had some high anxiety about them snorkeling in the deep waters of the Pacific the same morning they’d received their first instructions.
Dacia was the first to come back in saying she’d had enough. Then George was feeling a queasy as well. I was glad I’d worn the same ear patch to battle seasickness that I do when we take our cruises on the big ship.
I knew that as the man in the boat the whole, I had the best view of dolphins.
I snapped away on my iPhone 6s as fast as I could.
Yes, sometimes I felt as I were just shooting at the water.
Or just under the surface.
These three are my best.
Nick announced that he’d drop George and Dacia back to the cove. Jana said she’d leave with them. George promised to come back to pick up Elisabeth, Karen and I 90 minutes later.
Our bonus included a beautiful turn into a secluded cove.
Then Nick took us to one of the best snorkeling spots in Hawaii. The waters were peaceful for my wife and daughter.
Chris went in for a swim, too, leaving Captain Nick and I alone on the boat to chat about his experiences living in Kona. He said he was planning to ask the captain pal of his of one of the neighboring catamarans for permission to marry his fiancé aboard the boat soon enough. Sometime after that, he admitted, it might be time to return to the classroom to use that teaching degree of his. He loves life as a boat captain, but it’s a young man’s game. Cool beans, I told him. What a nice and interesting man I’d met.
After that, Nick asked if anybody was in a rush to get back to shore. When all answered no, he turned out boat to the big sea for one last chase.
Our reward was the spotting of several gorgeous whales in the open water.
Breath-taking they were, soulful in the deep blue, and well worth that final chase.
Tomorrow: I do love the beach say Drew and Maritza