Max again. I'm not going to lie to you, I didn't think that Hawaii was going to be my thing. After all it is expensive, far away, touristy, and if I am being honest a little over done. I was wrong, Hawaii (or at least the Big Island) is amazing. The tourist areas are as close or as far away as you want them to be, the flight is not really that bad, and there are ways to get away from crowds on the island. It is a little spendy, I will give you that, but it is in the middle of the ocean!
Sonja's parents invited us to go with them on their annual trip and we thought it would be fun and nice to see, but we didn't expect it to be as quite as awesome as it was. We stayed on the Kona side of the island and explored lava flats, hard to find beaches, easy to find beaches, sacred sites, not-so sacred sites, and the Volcanoes National Park. The national park will change your life. I think that is when it all clicked for me. We were driving down the volcanic mountain to check out the Holei Sea Arch and it all just hit me at once. I had to put my head out of the window to try to take it all in. The place is amazing on all levels. It looks just like all the pictures you have seen of Hawaii, but there seems to be a feeling or a spirt present there (especially in the park). Have you ever seen the glow of an active volcano from relatively close up? It is amazing and terrifying at the same time. Looking back, the hike across Kilauea Iki is one of the most interesting hikes of my life. At one point it was a lake....of lava. Flowing. Burning. Lava. It was nuts.
Here are some recommendations....
For the real deal - Ka'aloa's Super J's
For just starting out in the water - Kahalu'u Bay Education Center
For easy nice snorkeling - 2-Step
Learn to Surf or SUP Surf with Ben- Kahalu'u Bay Surf and Sea
For good beer - Big Island Brewhaus
Take a boat to Kealakekua Bay - Fair Wind
Check out Chase at Golden Nenue Productions. He is a talented photographer, knows tons about the ocean, and is a really great guy.
For this trip we didn't take any of the digital cameras, everything was film. Including the Nikonos that Sonja resurrected for this trip. The underwater stuff was her first attempt with new/old camera.
I don't really know what else to say, we made some fantastic memories and I hope that you get to explore the Big Island for yourself.