First place we went on the Big Island (after the airport and rental car pickup) was Akaka Falls. (The name does not reference the upcoming election in any way.) The falls are quite amazing, but the vegetation was what really took our breath away. Hanging flowers, giant ferns, and pillars of ivy surrounded us. We were almost afraid we were standing in some mutated Venus fly trap that would snap shut on us and then digest us into more hanging flowers and such. Good thing it didn’t happen, or we would have missed the awesome snorkeling. Our friends the Kirbys suggested we go to Two-Step, which is right next to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau (The Refuge). The Refuge is really cool. In ancient days it was a place people who had broken the law could go to be absolved and then return to society. If they could get there before they were caught and killed . . . .
Two-Step is the best snorkel spot we have been to. Ever. It has two steps (hence the name) you climb down onto and go into the water from. Really easy compared to Sharks Cove on Oahu. Micah and I were skeptical at first, and even more so when the lady who showed us how to get in told us not to judge it by that day because it was murky. We weren’t expecting much, but as soon as we put our heads in the water we were blown away. The yellow spots we thought was coral were tons of fish. The place was chock full of them. Unfortunately, we didn’t have an underwater camera to preserve the beauty for our blog fans to see. I especially would have liked to get a picture of the “Aloha” somebody had written with cinderblocks on a sandy portion of the ocean floor. Our only complaint was that there were no turtles to swim with. Now that we have seen a sea turtle on land, our new goal is to snorkel with them in the water.
The Kirby’s also told us about some tidepools on the Hilo side of the island that had some good snorkeling. Kareena was still getting the hang of snorkeling at Two-Step, so we decided we had to go to the tidepools so she could practice a little bit more. Once again, we were warned beforehand that it didn’t look like much from the surface, but it sure was awesome once you put your face in. We were even more skeptical about the tidepools because it seemed like we could walk across most of them, so there must not have been much down there. And once again, we were pleasantly surprised. After making our way across the death traps of lava rock, we found a good place to sit. Right next door to our little rock was a super deep tidepool full of coral and fish and other sea life. But no turtles. There was definitely plenty to see though, and while at first we had to prod Kareena into the water, by the end we were practically pulling on her fins to get her out of there. As they say, “It’s a whole different world down there.” Of course, we should have learned that from “The Little Mermaid.”
Just goes to show, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Or a snorkel spot by the surface.