Day 3 - Decisions...
Two hours after I left you I headed down to White Sands Beach, aka Magic Sands Beach, aka La'Aloa Bay Beach Park. It depends who you talk to and on what day. As I drove the 3 miles to the beach, I happened to catch the surf report on the radio and heard that the swell had come up. I arrived at this stunning white sand beach to witness a very impressive break. The boogie boarders were loving it, and I watched more than one of them take a pretty significant beating. I started to get a little nervous. They don't make waves like this at home or in the BVI! Karlyn arrived and we waited for a period of relative calm. Relative. As in, not that calm. She told me this was pretty big for this side of the island - fairly out of the norm. She also said this is the kind of day you don't turn your back on the sea. Noted. I charged in, turning sideways against the waves early on, diving beneath them as i got deeper. I made one miscalculation and got mightily drilled and sent back to the start with half the beach's worth of sand in my suit, mouth and ears. I recovered and tried again. This time I made it.
"Out past the break is a magical place, water bending up, separating you from the world..." (Thanks, Hopper). I got to that place and the roar and sand died away from the experience, and it was just about swimming. The water out there was beautiful, and i was elated to be in it. All manner of blues, broad gentle rollers, beautiful white sand beneath. Joy. Karlyn and I headed south toward Kahalu'u beach. We got a few hundred yards when it started - tiny little zaps - stings from sea lice. These are larval jellyfish too small to be seen, but big enough to be felt. Karlyn stopped me and we turned around to swim north in the hopes of getting out of the little bloom. No luck. The stinging got worse. She called the swim and we headed in. As we approached the beach, i had to face the break again. Karlyn gave me the excellent tip of swimming back stroke to look back at the coming waves so you know when they are coming (don't turn your back on the Sea today). This technique helped me time my approach and exit, and I avoided a beating.
I wish the pics could do the waves justice. Life guards calling snorkelers out of the water. A surfer boy.
I was discouraged. Karlyn said that she's never experienced sea lice in this spot (is it me?) and that the unusually large swell must have brought them in. This was one of those days when I went for a swim and the Sea said No. The good news is that normally, this is a perfectly delightful swimming spot. I'm still keeping it on our swim list for Kona.
1130 - time to see a vacation home for rent in the very posh Kona Estates neighborhood. This place was amazing - totally plush, like something you'd sea in a magazine. Great open rooms and sweeping views of the sea, exquisite design and a modern, Hawaiian feel. This place would allow us to have 6 guests and 2 guides. Not sure we can make the numbers work but wow would I like to try.
Scenes from Swanky house.
Being boat based in the BVI is something that sets SwimVacation apart from other swimming vacation companies. It gives us tremendous flexibility and access to great swimming spots without long car rides or trips in small bumpy boats. Living on a boat also really bonds a group of swimmers, and on Promenade we are able to do that without sacrificing privacy or the need for space. Operating from a boat has become a part of the SwimVacation brand to some extent, so I think it's important to consider that option wherever we decide to swim. To that end, I visited the Kona Aggressor this evening - the only live aboard charter boat in this neck of the woods. It's a dive boat and set up perfectly for that purpose - lots of room for gear and a great platform on the stern. The cabins are roomy with a queen and bunked single beds and en suite bath in each, which gives us flexibility to have couples or solo travelers who share cabins. There's a lovely sun deck and out door eating space. Booking with the Aggressor would be an all inclusive experience - no other collaborators needed, which in some ways is very convenient. But for some reason, I just couldn't see our swimmers on this boat. I think it's the size and heft of this motorized catamaran. Promenade is a big yacht, but as a sailing ship it really has a different, lighter feel. As swimmers we tread lightly in the sea, and so does a sail boat. The big dive boat felt heavy - like more than we need. But it's hard to disregard her advantages...
On tuesday I'll visit another home - a funky beach / surf house rental right across the street from White Sands. I love the location, and we'd likely have room for up to 10 guests and three guides. And tomorrow I'm headed north to check out another area all together....you would not believe the pages and pages of notes I'm accruing.
So we have some decisions to make. Right now it looks like we've got 3 potential vibes: all inclusive motor boat, totally high end small group swanky lux, or fun beachy surf vibe. Darn you Kona and your diverse resources!
A 20 minute break by the pool. The foot of the big Banyan tree at the pier, outriggers ready for a cruise.
Head spinning, I joined Karlyn and friends for dinner for what is possibly the best Thai food I have ever had. It took a while though and I should be asleep by now. So I'm popping in some pics and calling it a night.
A huge day planned for tomorrow: A highly recommended swim at Kealakekua Bay (30 minutes south) with underwater pics to follow, then shooting up the coast to Puako (about an hour north) to check a few rentals and potential swimming spots up there. I'll have dinner with a swimmer up there who's a friend of a friend of a friend, and hope we can plan a swim together for next week.
There is so much to consider as we put this all together. We know there are great swims here, so the perfect accommodations feel like the key to it all. It has to be a place that is comfortable, will give the group room to hang together and bond, and also give them space for quiet time. It should be accessible to activities but also be a refuge. I know it's here somewhere, and I'm going to find it.
Not my most inspired post, but I've got lots rolling around in my head. There's also a large bug on the wall that's making me a little nervous. Nature seems to be a little on my case today.