I guess we saved the best for last. We were taking a gamble on this activity because there was no guarantee it would go according to advertised. But oh man - we won the lottery!!
Against all belief and odds, the 3 oldest girls and I woke up at 530 AM so we could drive down to the harbor in Kona to meet Captain Tino on his zodiac, the Liliko'i. We were setting out into the blue hawaiian waters in search of wild and free pods of spinner dolphins. But we were told seeing these dolphins is never guaranteed. Because the girls had done 2 months of chores at home in order to earn this activity, they were too hopeful not to go. (Daddy stayed home with Sutton because he is not a gambler. Mike and Chris didn't come because they we flying off to Oahu that morning.)
Within minutes of leaving the harbor we saw our first pod!!!
We watched, thrilled beyond belief, as the dolphins circled our small boat so close we could touch them. Our captain promised we would see more. And we did! Lots and lots!
Talk about doing something you've only dreamed about..... We eventually got out of the boat and snorkeled with the dolphins. All of us- with out any hesitation from the girls. It was incredible. I am still at a loss for descriptive words.
After swimming with our new friends to our hearts content, the captain steered the Liliko'i towards a reef where giant Manta Rays like to play cards. (not really, but what else do they do all day?) When Vito thought he saw a large black shadow moving through the water, he told us to jump in. I was the only taker. And that shadow turned out to be a 6 foot wide Manta Ray. I yelled for the girls to get in. Camden jumped in quickly, Quincee hung onto the boats ladder, and Taitum was too cold (or chicken) to get in. Too bad because this manta ray had friends and soon we were swimming with 4 ginormous rays.
On our return trip to the harbor we watched for whales, but didn't see any. We didn't really care. We did learn about the black jumping Hawaiian crab and how Capt Vito likes to scare unsuspecting passengers (um, me) with them. Hilarious ending to an unbelievable adventure!
This is when Ian gets extra props- when we got back to the house Ian had single handedly packed up all of our stuff and moved us out of the house. Our late check out plan didn't work becuse of a last minute rental and we had to be out. We spent our last afternoon on the beach, returned to the pool, ate ice cream directly from the containers, took showers, watched our last sunset on the beach, grabbed Subway for dinner on our way to the airport, got on the plane, and tried to get a some sleep on the red-eye back to reality.
Mahalo Hawaii for a trip we will never forget!