Top 12: Hawaii Pt. 3/3

My list of the top 12 activities I enjoyed the most continues down with my top four favorite activities:

4. The Catholic faith
I attempted to attend mass at St. Peter’s of the Sea Catholic Church, located just down the road from my townhouse in Kailua Kona. However, I ended up going a bit further down the road to St. Michael the Archangel Church.

The parish is known as the “The Church in the Tent” since their church was torn down because of age deterioration and damage from a 2006 earthquake. They are presently working to rebuild it, which once built, will resemble the former building that stood on the site for more than 150 years. It’s the first mass I’ve attended where the pastor competed with a nearby rooster for my attention. The pastor’s sermon won, which says how great of a job he did.

However, my interaction with the local Catholics didn’t end here. Another neat feature was the Painted Church in Captain Cook, an active parish whose church was erected in 1899. It’s absolutely gorgeous with funds raised through visitor donations and the sale of handcrafts, such as rosaries made out of wood native to the island.

I attend mass at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Arkansas so I was also excited to find a similarly-named church in Hawaii.

3. Beaches

The Big Island’s beaches were probably bumped up to the No. 3 position simply because I was finally able to see not one, but two sea turtles resting on a beach. I absolutely love turtles. The island’s beaches are made up of four different types of sand: Ili Ili (beach pebbles); green (Olivine Crystals); black (ground lava); and white (crushed shells, corals). I experienced all but the green sands — which I now truly regret.

2. Hawaii Volcano National Parks

Who doesn’t want to see an active volcano? While there, I saw the Thurston Lava Tube, the Steaming Bluff Overlook, steam vents as well as Halema’uma’u Crater (where lava boiled for 100 years in this crater within a crater). I hate that I didn’t get to the see the live lava flow — I now wish I had completed the hike there or taken a helicopter over.

1.  Coral Reef Adventures
I loved our morning boat ride that had us swimming in 300-foot deep water with spinner dolphins. I am not a great swimmer so the initial plunge into the ocean freaked me out until my aunts joined me (I was one of the first off the boat). It took several tries to find pods of dolphins to swim with — we first discovered a floating white bottle and a coconut — but when we did find the dolphins it was absolutely amazing.

Swimming with dolphins

About 100 dolphins surrounded us this morning as we snorkeled along the coast.

Karl and Jessica with Coral Reef Adventures took us out to see what marine life we could find, swim with dolphins as well as snorkel.

It didn’t take us long to find the first pod of spinner dolphins. The pod was “camping,” or swimming around the same area, and two were even mating.

The pod was close to the entrance of the Honokohau Marina and Small Boat Harbor so we set off to find a pod further out to swim with.

Our next discovery was a pod of spotted dolphins, which included a baby. They swam alongside our boat for a while before drifting off. However, Karl said the spotted dolphins do not like swimming with humans so we set off once more.

Karl and Jessica had trouble finding pods to swim with today – a rare event – but we eventually found an area a little further than usual.

I was a little worried about swimming in the ocean since I’m not the best of swimmers. However, I was fine after that initial swim (well we snorkeled with the dolphins really) and as long as I had some one close by.

Karl apparently even complimented me (according to my aunts) saying that I was swimming like a fish and doing a good job. Not sure about the swim part but I will never turn down a compliment.

It was amazing being in the water with the dolphins and having them all around you. I took tons of pictures and was especially excited to see another baby dolphin.

Between the three swims, Jessica had drinks, snacks, fruits and sandwiches for us. The pineapple was especially good as well as the brownies the captain’s wife made us.

Our time out with Coral Reefs Adventures was great although the four hours went by quick. I wouldn’t mind going out with the group again in February to see whales in the future.

We decided to stay a little longer at the harbor and have lunch at Bite Me Fish Market Bar and Grill. The restaurant serves the fish they catch daily in the Hawaiian waters. Today’s catch was swordfish.


An order of fish dip (above) started us off. I’m not a big fan of fish, but I still enjoyed the food. I had to try a sangria and the super delicious fish melt sandwich, which was too much to eat. I had to take home leftovers. The sandwich had the fish of the day – swordfish – grilled, crumbled and mixed with mayo and than flat grilled with onion, tomato, and melted cheddar cheese and served on rye.

It’s now only 3:13 p.m and we have decided to take the afternoon off to rest and shop.