Now what set of posts about a vacation on the Big Island would be complete without an entire post devoted to one of Hawaii’s favorite past-times: Snorkeling.
C and I have always loved snorkeling. It’s an activity that we knew would become a family hobby once we had kid(s). Finally, the day has arrived where we can snorkel alongside T. We love snorkeling as a family. We started up together as a family “for real” last year while T was still learning to swim, but he was finally strong enough in the water to be with us in a controlled snorkeling environment.
Last spring (2012), we would take T out snorkeling in a floatie ring out in the lagoon at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort where the waters are calm and clear and (compared to other local snorkeling spots) extremely shallow, mostly sandy-bottomed where you can touch, and close to shore at all times. It is the perfect introduction snorkeling spot for a four-year-old and any first-timer. T became more encouraged after that trip to the Big Island to improve his swimming further so he could return next time and make a go of it again (which is why we are thankful for the success of not just the snorkeling outing several months ago but thankful for the success of his swim lessons that came in the months following that spring vacation and preceding this winter one).
During this latest trip to the Big Island, we snorkeled again… a lot. This time T was out there with C and I, completely ring-less and loving it. We sometimes brought a kick-board along with us just in case he needed a place to “rest” while out in the water, but we really only used that when we wanted to navigate him with us to another viewing spot across the lagoon. He really never got super-tired (or tired before we were ready to go back anyway), and he loved every second of it. Hearing T shout “TURTLE!” and “FISH!” was enough for C and I to know that the love of snorkeling was taking hold. Awesome.
Speaking of awesome, let me show you some of the awesome sea creatures we saw on this vacation (December 2012-January 2013). I give the dates because I have no idea if any of these sightings are seasonal. I say that because we saw animals on this trip that we’d not seen during our last two spring vacations in the exact same snorkeling spot, the lagoon at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort. We thought we’d get to snorkel again up at Mile Marker 69, but we quickly learned that winter swell pretty much prevents that from happening Anyway, if anyone knows more about what you see on this post, please do tell. I’d love to learn more about what we photographed, including if I have all these animals named correctly!
I had a heckuva time narrowing down just what photos to share with you all. We saw sea turtles, needlefish, tang, various butterflyfish, several moray eels, parrotfish, puffers, reef triggerfish (yes, the official state fish of Hawaii, but please don’t ask me to spell it in its local tongue!), bluefin trevally, goatfish, and mullet, just to name the ones I actually know the names of (thanks specifically to this website image for helping with primary identification assistance)! I first culled to around 60 pictures out of, oh I don’t know, literally hundreds. No, I am not kidding. We got this new underwater camera, and we kind of went nuts with it. We went with the “blind pig finds an acorn” photography theory/approach on the inaugural outings with said new camera, so I’m sure even these “great shots” aren’t as great as the ones we’ll get in the future. Practice does help with photography, so I am guessing that goes about 10 times over for underwater photography, especially while actively snorkeling with a five-year-old in tow.
So along with what I’ve already posted above, below are my Top 12 Snorkeling Shots from the Big Island, in no particular order. I went with 12 because that’s about how many creatures I could ID with any level of certainty. Enjoy!
If you are interested in learning about other animal residents of the Big Island of Hawaii, check out this post from Spring 2012.