I was especially pleased for Will, because as a glasses-wearer myself, I know how wearing glasses can spoil something fun. But technology has apparently advanced since the last time I attempted to near-sightedly learn to scuba dive, and now the world contains such objects as magnifying masks! Will's grandparents were able to rent her a mask that corrected her vision underwater without glasses, and I know that must have made all the difference in the world for her.
As for me, I tried the heaviest magnification, fully planning to die snorkeling (I'm both claustrophobic and not a confident swimmer, so snorkeling just kind of sounds like certain death to me), but even that didn't correct my very heavy prescription, so the in-laws rented me a viewboard, and all the other toddlers and I were happy as clams on them, seeing everything the snorkelers could see but with our own anti-drowning buoying devices under us.
Best of all possible worlds.
But let's get back to the ocean fish otherwise known as my children!
|Yes, most of my snorkeling photos are a game of Find the Snorkeler--a snorkeling person doesn't have much of a presence!|
This spot is Two Step, the BEST snorkeling spot for children on the Big Island, in my opinion. We came here twice, and had a fabulous experience both times. There's open ocean snorkeling on one side, but also a shallow little bay with plenty of gorgeous creatures to spot. It's the last right before Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historic Site, and you can even see the site behind you in the photo below:
|This kid. Happy as a clam.|
Syd liked snorkeling as well as the next kid, but she got spooked here after FIVE sea turtles swam underneath her and started munching algae as if she wasn't there.
|My beautiful Matt really is the fairest of them all. It was constant work to keep him from burning.|
|These people! The guy set up an honest-to-god DRONE to take this photo of them.|
With all the snorkeling, we didn't do nearly as much tide pooling as I'd thought that we would, but we still did some, and it was always amazing. Here are the Puako Tide Pools, where you could spend an infinite amount of time, as there are miles of pools, and miles of rocks to clamber over between them:
We'd planned to snorkel at Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park, but when we got there I deemed the water way too rough for the kids. We could see the Captain Cook monument from across the bay, however, and also this pod of spinner dolphins:
Can I just say? I cannot BELIEVE we have seen dolphins in the wild! But we have! And here they are!
Another great snorkeling spot, Kahalu'u Beach Park, also happened to be less than a mile from our condo, so we went there plenty. There was a stand there where the in-laws rented my viewboard, and another stand where you could buy the Hawaii standard, shave ice.
More on shave ice later!
The snorkeling was also fairly shallow here--too shallow in some places, as you could easily get swept up onto the rocks--but the ocean was more rough than at Two Step. Gorgeous, though. Never anything but gorgeous:
It was fitting that this was the last beach we visited on the Big Island, since it was also the first beach that we visited, just hours after we arrived. On that first visit, the kids and I were wading in the shallow area, not even really swimming, but just being AT the beach, you know? Anyway, as we wade, picking our way around the slippery lava rocks and looking for sandy places to stand on, something BIG swims past our legs.
A sea turtle. A genuine sea turtle, just out minding its own sea turtle business, eating algae off the rocks.
We followed that sea turtle around--at the prescribed safe distance, of course--for ages, until it finally swam off somewhere else. And we saw more sea turtles at almost every other beach after that, as well, including back here, on our final night before we left the Big Island for Oahu: