Saturday, June 27, 2015

Snorkeling with Turtles

We have only been in Princeville one night, but we've already started making friends. In fact, we had breakfast with one of the neighborhood regulars that just appeared on the lanai in the morning. Lanai, I learned this trip, is the Hawaiian word for a veranda or patio with a roof.
breakfast buddy was all tuckered out
The big event for me in the morning was getting a surfing lesson. Sam was hesitant to go surfing because she isn't as comfortable in conditions with big waves. After all of the beaches we visited on the south shore, where the surf is pretty high in the summer time, she thought that surfing wouldn't be very much fun. For me, on the other hand, surfing has always had a great appeal, and so at 9:30 I checked in for my first lesson. I was grouped together with a nice couple about my age and we got a fun and friendly instructor Cody to show us the ropes.
surfboard squats
We spent a fair amount of time on the beach at first, learning about the boards and proper positioning and safety considerations. But it wasn't too long before we were in the water paddling about. Cody spent a big portion of the time propelling us forward so that we could catch the little waves close to the beach and we all popped up and rode the waves to shore. He could tell we wanted a bit more independence so then he allowed us to spend the rest of the lesson trying to catch our own waves. I always thought that finding the proper balance would be the hardest part of surfing, but for me it was paddling fast enough to catch the little waves that was the stopping point. I succeeded a couple of times, and the time just flew by.
hanging out on their surfboards

Ross surfing!
While I was surfing Sam snapped a few photos, swam and read on the beach. We are thinking to invest in some stronger sun block because even after frequent applications we are still picking up bits and pieces of sun burns. (Note for the future Sam - bathing suit rides up about an inch while snorkeling, put sunscreen there. And on your shoulders. And lower back. And front. And feet. Frequently. I have the look of wearing a bikini, even when I'm not.)

The surf school was just down the road from a recommended sushi restaurant, Dolphin Sushi (there is a theme to our dining out) and we had an excellent lunch before heading down the coast to Tunnels beach, which is one of the places that Eric and Emily liked best on their honeymoon. The beach was beautiful and not too crowded because there is very limited parking, and we set up our towels in the shade at the edge of the beach. Then we went snorkeling all afternoon. We are really regretting not having a waterproof camera option, because we can't show pictures of all the amazing fish we saw. The absolute highlight was watching a trio of sea turtles (turtles!!!) grazing just inches away from us, but we also saw big schools of fish, a long needle fish, pastel palette colored fish, unicorn fish that look like Sam the Eagle from the muppets. We don't know their real names yet, sadly. Also, the snorkeling area is huge and because of limited parking (which we scored) and maybe just so many other beaches, there were at most 10 people snorkeling at any given time. Which means it felt like you had the whole reef to yourself. Just awesome.
At Tunnels.

This is a small Shave Ice.
Next we took a quick peek inside the dry cave, which was a very deep dry cave under a gigantic cliff along the beach. In the deepest recesses it was darker than our iPhone flashlight app could light ;) Then we drove back to base, stopping along the way to grab some materials for cooking dinner and another Shave Ice (Emily said that we should have one for her).

(Sam takeover, Ross is washing dishes) After that we headed home with the plan to start marinating the Ahi tuna and go for a sunset run to Hideaway beach. One of the great things about staying in Princeville is that many of the nice beaches on the north side are right here and the parking lots are small - but we can run or walk to them! However, I feel asleep and Ross tried twice unsuccessfully to convince me to get out of bed. On the third try he succeeded and we ran to Hideaway beach to catch the end of sunset. Too cloudy tonight to see the sun set into the ocean, but it was beautiful nevertheless. Dinner, coconut lager and dragon fruit and now it's time for bed. Up early tomorrow to run along the Na Pali Coast ahead of the crowds!

Hiking down to Hideaway Beach.
Sunset at Hideaway.
Sunset at Hideaway

And yes, more sunset. The iphone couldn't capture the orange color of the sky.

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