Hawai'i 2.0, Day 9: "You All Got on This Boat for Different Reasons, But Y'all Come to the Same Place."

We begin today before the sun does -- we've got an appointment at the Honokohau Harbor at 6:15 for sportfishing and due to lack of planning we need to buy some supplies first... water and snacks in case we get hungry while we're on the boat, and an ice chest and ice for all the fish we're going to catch.

We also bring along the snorkel gear we rented from Snorkel Bob and the fins we brought from home -- part of the fishing trip is a short stint in Kealakekua Bay, where the water's clear and beautiful and warm, and where Lucie's read that there are two "relatively tame" reef sharks there. Personally, I really didn't need to hear about sharks in the bay before we went there, but we've each got our different ways of preparing ourselves.  All I know is, I see sharks and the water's suddenly less clear and a bit more warm, that's all I'm sayin'.

At any rate, we get to the harbor only a few minutes later than we'd like but there's no problem with being a few minutes late (Big Island mentality and all.) We meet Captain Mark and his first mate JT (or JD, or Jay-Z, or DJ, or something... in all the excitement of us catching all those huge fish I forgot his name.) The boat, the Camelot, comes well recommended and has had a lot of success in pulling in large billfish before, so we're hopeful. We clamber aboard, stow our gear and supplies, and we head out into deep water. Shortly after we leave, we get a rare (for us) glimpse of a Hawaiian sunrise; also beautiful in its own way, but I still think I'd like them more if they happened later in the day.

For two and a half hours, we cruise through the ocean waiting for the marlin to strike. Apparently, however, the marlin are *on* strike instead, as there isn't a sign of anything other than us (and the occasional other fishing boat) around by the time we near Kealakekua Bay. No worries, as the day's not even halfway through yet; I'm certain we'll get something on the trip back. I take a few pictures of the Captain Cook monument -- accessible only by boat -- as we move slowly past, and then Captain Mark and PJ moor the Camelot in the bay fairly close to shore for our snorkeling pleasure.

Kealakekua Bay's name comes from the Hawaiian language's ke ala ke kua, which means "the god's pathway". I can understand that, based on the beautiful blue sky, the lush and abundant greenery along the coastline, and the nearly crystal clear water (a little brackish, as the bay is an estuary and it's been raining recently) in which we're floating. I grab our underwater camera, we put on our fins and masks, and we get into the water. My mask immediately starts to leak... it fit okay at Snorkel Bob's, but the added torquing of the head strap by the snorkel causes the seal to break, regardless of how I play with it. It's possible I didn't trim enough off the top of my mustache; it's possible that my head swelled up overnight; it's possible that either Captain Mark or OD swapped my mask out with a smaller one as a joke; regardless, it just isn't happening this time. No problem, really; I brought along my swim goggles, so I use those instead and just don't breathe with my face underwater.

This works out just fine, and Lucie and I toodle around in the bay for a while, taking turns with the camera and looking out for things with teeth. I get several shots of the bright yellow fish (yellow tang) and the brain coral, we remain shark-free, and Captain Mark and OT take a picture of us in the water for proof (the picture of course comes out somewhat grainy and will no doubt end up like one of those Bigfoot or nene pictures everyone thinks is a fraud. However, unlike Bigfoot and the nene, this actually did happen. I have photographic proof!)

The adventure of trying to get us back onto the boat is best left unwritten. Suffice it to say, there's no ladder on this boat because it might break the fishing lines, so Captain Mark and DA are forced to recreate the time they hauled in that marlin in order to get me back inside. No pictures of it; didn't happen.

On our trip back to the harbor, we see some school of small silvery fish leaping out of the water, and we think we see a whale fin very briefly, but that's it. Not a single bite, so no picture of me posing with a 1,200-pound swordfish to use as a screensaver. Instead, we'll have to content ourselves with having had a fun boat ride with Captain Mark and OJ, seeing the sunrise, snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay, and not getting eaten by sharks... so all in all, it's the better part of a day well spent.

We relax for the rest of the day, sitting on our lanai and watching the ocean, enjoying our evening drinks at the mai tai bar. Lucie has a mai tai quencher, consisting of silver rum, pineapple juice, Sprite, and coconut rum, and a green flash -- mango rum, pineapple juice, and orange juice layered over Midori; I have a mango daiquiri and a Royal Dream (vanilla vodka, coconut rum, lime, and pineapple juice), with a Lava Tube (a Kahlua, amaretto, coconut rum, and ice cream shake) for dessert.

Coffee consumption: 2 cans of Royal Mills iced coffee


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