Banner photo by Ross Auna
Stop 4 Snorkeling the Bay
(Photo by Doug Faulkner)
This is the best snorkeling location in Kona with depths from 5 to 120 feet depth of visibility. The water’s temperature felt a little cooler than bath water and was basically crystal clear. Up near shore there was a lot of volcanic rock, white sand and bright yellow fish that swam and fed in groups of a couple dozen. The coral looked big and blobby in shades of green. Midway down in elevation there was a much greater variety of coral and fish. Knobby, finger and the blobby coral was seen in green, pink, and orange shades. Sea urchins and brain looking coral came in red, black, purple, and brown shades. A small white spike looking creature looked like the invasive snowflake coral specie. The fish ranged in size from what looked to be an inch or two to a foot or two with the exception of a single three and about a half foot green eel that swam beneath me for some time trying to find a place to rest. The farthest down that was visible before the drop off was dominated by very long finger type coral with only a couple fish swimming near the coral.
(Photo by Ross Auna)
A side excursion at the bay revealed some interesting geologic features. Blowholes are natural structures along the shoreline that amplify the energy of incoming waves and propell the sea water upward in a spectacular display of power. One must be cautious when approaching these formations as the waves could easily crush a person against the rocky shore or sweep them out to sea.
Stop 5 Ka`awaloa Cove
Zach and Lauren near a large piece of coral. (Photo by Ross Auna)
Since we obtained permits prior to kayaking we were able to land our kayaks on the sacred beach. This proved quite difficult though due to the algae causing the pahoehoe lava rocks to be very slippery. We could not simply drag the kayaks up because the rock underneath would shave off pieces of the plastic bottom which fish mistake for food and get very sick from so we had to lift the kayak, go a couple steps before setting it down. Then we’d have to readjust footing and repeat until we had them all far enough up on shore that the waves couldn’t grab them. The sand was coarse with a lot of bleached white coral in it of varying sizes with a little black sand mixed in from the volcanic rock. The trees that covered this part of the beach had tons of root systems exposed. Most of the trees walking in a little ways on a small path were completely knocked on their sides or pushed over onto other falling trees giving the place a strong wind/hurricane looking influence. On the path a wild boar was spooked but instead of charging it turned around and ran off deeper into the woods. Being very quiet and walking slowly, wild mongooses appeared frequently and were fun to have starring contests with as they did not run away when they spotted a human. There were a lot of bees buzzing around. The sky was cloudy and the weather felt humid and hot.