Wednesday: Green Flash


Green Flash

Boat day. Hawaii is our only trip where we don’t actually live on a boat all week, but we do charter a dayboat to hit one of our favorite swimming spots: Kealakekua Bay. As we steamed through the marina, I like to look closely at all the boats at the docks, many of them have a lot of character. Little old wooden sailboats from Oregon, tired rusty trawlers from San Francisco, many of them painted funky colors. I imagine their owners sailing across the Pacific to get here: long, lonely days and big seas. Maybe some never go back, I couldn’t blame them.

The boat we chartered wasn’t exactly speedy, but we enjoyed the crawl down the coast. Remnants of the south swell bashed onto the shore, spraying 20 feet up in the air in some places. We pulled up in front of Captain Cook monument, and Nikai our friend and deckhand told the account of the explorer’s demise. This is a very popular spot for tour boats, as the coral in this corner is amazing, but we pulled in just before the crowd. As we jumped in, the fresh water pumping into the bay from springs that come from high up in the mountains was evident as our vision was blurry, like wearing the wrong glasses. Just as we were about to swim out of this area, it filled up with “noodlers” - people form the tour boats floating on foam noodles that aren’t fun to swim around. As swimmers on a private tour we’re lucky - as we can just swim away and go wherever we want. In this case, we swam along the dramatic 300-foot cliff that rings the bay.

The water turned glassy, and we stretched out our strokes for almost 2 miles out-and-back.  At one point, a large rock tumbled down the cliff and into the water. Looking up, we saw a herd of goats impossibly walking along the sheer face of the rock. How do they do that?

Back aboard our boat, Clare and Dan had packed us bag lunches, and although it was only 10:30am, we devoured them before steaming back to the marina.

Before we loading back in the van, we all pulled cool drinks from the cooler, and an impromptu tailgate party happened. Luise and Charlie went into the marina office to buy t-shirts, our deckhand Nikai shared some of his fish jerky and everyone gave it a try. Toasts were made with sweaty bottles of beer. It was unplanned and easy and fun, nowhere to be, just living in the now. I love these authentic moments that can happen when we let them, in a place far from home.

Another authentic, impromptu stop on the ride home brought us to the roadside stand near our hale, where we bought coconuts and fresh Portuguese donuts. MMMMMM.

Another authentic, impromptu stop on the ride home brought us to the roadside stand near our hale, where we bought coconuts and fresh Portuguese donuts. MMMMMM.

I took the down time back at the Hale to review some of our guests stroke videos. I try to give them only 2 things to work on for the rest of the week. Things like: Put your head down a little bit, or Ignore your legs for a mile or Rotate more on your non-breathing side.

A few of us jumped in the water to cool off, and our resident turtle joined us. He’s a friendly little guy, and hungry as well, chomping away at the seaweed between the lava rocks.

Our massage therapists Amanda and Violet arrived in the late afternoon, setting up their tables in a shady spot on the lawn. It’s the perfect time of the week for massage, everyone's a little sore and broken down from all of our adventures. I watch them stand up after the massage, all sleepy eyed and smiling, and hand them a cocktail we call a Green Flash. Claire designed it with a combination of melon and cucumber juice and mint. I can take credit for the name, after the elusive meteorological event that can happen at sunset. I’ve only seen it once, but we go down to the water every evening to watch for it.


A nice cheese plate appeared, followed by a nicely presented dinner of Opa (a local fish) with a yogurt drizzle, curried cauliflower, and green beans. Coconut sorbet followed, and we all just about burst. We are planning on sticking a little closer to home tomorrow. As my head hits the pillow, I can still hear our guests chatting, a very good sign.

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