Sunday, February 28, 2010

Two Step Snorkeling

Jonny took us to Two Step, apparently one of the best places to snorkel on the big island. But honestly, a little touristy, cold and barren if u ask me. The best part of the morning here was the delicious breakfast that he cooked for us on his camping stove out on the rocks. The Pu'uhonua O Honaunau national historic park is in the distance with all the palm trees.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kilauea Volcano

After the spectacular beach, we headed south to Hilo then beyond to Kilauea Volcano and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It was pretty cool to see all the geothermal activity and surreal landscape. No spewing lava or glow after sunset, but it was amazing all the same. Loved the Japanese tourists in plastic ponchos and the moodiness the fog and mist provided.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Waipi'o Valley & Hi'ilawe Falls

The second day on Hawaii started with a trip to the Waipi'o Valley on the northeast coast of the windward (wet) side on the island. Since we had a Jeep and Jonny's knowledge, we waved and went past the guard and headed down the steep road to the valley's floor. It drops about 900 feet in one mile and is not for the faint at heart. I liked that I was driving.... Once we made it to the bottom, we parked along a dirt road and entered an unmarked trail, destination...Hi'ilawe Falls. The 1200' falls are Hawaii's largest and there's a large pool where u can swim under and climb the rocks behind the falls. Super cool. The hike up was not easy and Nick wished he had on more than flip flops for sure. But we made it and the reward was well worth it. There is very little chances of finding the falls if you didn't know where to go and I am so thankful we had Jonny to show us the way.

After the swim and hike back down we headed to the relatively empty beach at the mouth of valley and Jonny cooked an excellent seared tuna lunch with papaya for us. A hungry horse lumbered over looking for scraps, loved that. The beach and surrounding cliffs, valleys and waterfalls are all beyond scenic and I would say this ranks as the most beautiful beach I have ever been to. What an amazing place this is, definitely one not to miss when you go to the Big Island. The day was like out of a dream...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Big Island & Jonny - Day 1

Moving onto the last of the islands, Hawaii proper, we flew from Maui to the Western and dry side of The Big Island and were greeted by Jonny at the airport with leis he had made himself. The Kona airport was open-air, all planes were greeted by roll up staircases and there were very few walls in the airport at all. It was very cool. He got us settled into our condo rental and we took off for the beach in the Jeep we rented.

He took us to a fairly secluded black lava beach north of Kona that had a few homes on it and attracted sea turtles, unbelievbly beautiful! He started the hike out by taking us for a swim in an underground fresh water lava tube known as the Queen's Bath, that was about 100 feet from the ocean. We climbed down a ladder into it and followed swimming behind Jonny and his flashlight, trying to avoid smashing into lava boulders. We made it back quite far and sat on some rocks. Then he turned out the light and we waited in complete darkness till our eyes adjusted and we could barely see a glow. Then he told us to find our way back in the dark. Wild.

We then walked along the beach of Kiholo Bay and took in the sights, including fresh water lagoons where the turtles hung out and saw an amazing sunset. Jonny is such an interesting guy who has lived very close to this land for the last ten years, you'll see more of him in the next few posts. He reminded me of John Locke on Lost both in looks and temperament. Perfect guide for Hawaii.

We spent the night back at the condo, Jonny cooked us an amazing meal, homemade ginger carrot lemongrass soup, sesame tuna ceviche and a beautiful salad. It was Nick's birthday and Jonny outdid himself. He finished it off with crystallized ginger and local vanilla fresh ice cream. A great birthday for Nick.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Maui Whale Watching and Snorkeling

Michael, one half of the couple that I shot on Maui, took Nick and me whale watching on a large catamaran, the Trilogy. The weather could have been better for sure, but it was still a great adventure, one that I felt for about 30 hours after we returned. I have decided that I really am better on land and prove it time and time again. A little ironic for a pisces. It was prime whale season and the humpbacks were ALL OVER. Amazing to have so many slapping and waving their tails and fins in the beautiful blue water. Not too many breached all day, but I did catch one rising out of the water and another shot of two tails out of the water at the same time. We snorkeled out at Molokini, a little horseshoe shaped island off shore and I used an underwater camera bag for the old 5d, but it was cumbersome and rather difficult to shoot. Need to get a little waterproof point and shoot for snorkeling, but I did manage to take some decent shots throughout the day. :)


Maui was the second island on our Hawaiian adventure. We flew over from Oahu on Hawaiian Air and onto Maui skirting along the many sugar cane fields that grow in the lowlying areas. We spent one great afternoon at Big & Little Beach, the few undeleveloped beaches on the island, another day whale watching and the final day doing the shoot with Michael & Bernard and exploring Haleakala Volcano. We finished the visit off with dinner in Kula, a sweet little mountain town about half way up the mountain. Beautiful! Whale watching pics to follow with a post all to their own.