This week’s I ♥ Faces challenge was to tell “My Story in Photos: Places I Love”. It sounded a bit daunting, since I love TOO many places. Plus, I am currently away from home, in Santiago, Chile. Many of my favorite photos from Nepal, Switzerland, Italy, Africa and New Zealand (to name a few) are not at my fingertips. However, recently, my husband and I were reminiscing about our first vacation to the Big Island together, before we were married. And, THOSE photos happened to be available to me. It was fun recounting “the old days” which made this week’s challenge a sweet trip down memory lane.
Aside from both of us being gaga over each other and just loving EVERYTHING in life, we absolutely loved everything about the Big Island of Hawaii (and we have been back since…and we STILL love it!).
One of the highlights of our trip was kayaking at Captain Cook’s Monument and being greeted by spinner dolphins. About 20 minutes into our morning paddle we were surprised to see these dolphins leap and SPIN, horizontally, in the distance. Of course, because I’m obsessed with swimming with dolphins, I jumped in the water to play with them. There’s nothing more exhilirating than swimming with dolphins! Our day got off to an incredible start!
Because tour groups were coming in, we paddled away from the monument and snagged a secluded spot making it feel like we had the whole island to ourselves. We enjoyed a spectacular day of snorkeling, munching, hiking and napping. We stayed late waiting for all the tour boats and other paddlers to leave. Then during our private sunset paddle back, 2 spinner dolphins leaped in between us, just a few feet from our boats!! They continued to spin and leap all around us and we just stopped in awe and giddiness. It is one of my most memorable kayaking moments (up there with kayaking so close to a gray whale I felt him spray me…that’s another story.)
The following morning, we went out to look for them again, near the monument, and to our delight, we saw them spinning away again. Not quite as close as the evening before but, enough to give us a thrill. I wish I had photos of those dolphin moments but, hopefully my description painted a vivid enough picture for you.
NOTE: We did not realize until we returned years later, that those types of spinner dolphin experiences are NOT common at Captain Cook’s Monument. We were extremely blessed!
Here is a link to spinner dolphin photo, not taken by me (from wannadivekona.com):
Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin
Here is my sweetie with our kayaks “parked” at our little secluded spot…which was NOT that easy to get to!
Another highlight was snorkeling with big green sea turtles. In “Hawaii The Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook” by Andrew Doughty, he mentions an off-the-beaten path trail to see these lovely creatures. We followed that trail to see large numbers of sea turtles along with walking by incredible beachfront homes. We have referred several people to this location and all have come back with fun “swimming with the sea turtle” experiences.
Here’s one of those beautiful green sea turtles taken with a disposable underwater camera.
Several other highlights included hiking in Volcanoes National Park (no photos…sorry), visiting the Botanical Garden in Hilo, and getting some beach time.
We already have plans to go back to the Big Island with our daughter, Nora. It’s our favorite island and definitely a place we LOVE! Wow, I really enjoyed remembering this trip for you!!
But, since we’re also in Chile, here are two few photos taken just this last weekend at Vina del Mar. It kind’ve gives you a “before” and “after” look at our life! Thanks for going on this journey with me. Happy Travels!!
One of my favorite photos I’ve taken of Nora here in Chile. Maybe you’ll see it again for a future I ♥ Faces challenge!