Kona, Hawaii is known for hosting the Ironman Triathlon, and the 2.4 mile swim course is naturally always open for anyone to try. We brought our guests back there this morning after they had a little taste of it yesterday after their outrigger canoe tour. The bay was a little bumpy, but the water had cleared up nicely now that the swell has disappeared. I swam with guests Jeff and Amy. The course is well marked to the half-way "King's Buoy", but then there's a big, open stretch the rest of the way to the Ironman turnaround. We wound up about 200 yards too for east, once Jeff spotted the pale pink ball. We corrected, touched the ball, fist-bumped, and headed back. Jeff and Amy are repeat guests from our BVI trip, and we fell into a natural pace.
Not long after we turned around, I heard the tell-tale squeals and whistles of dolphins. Sure enough, just a few seconds later, we could see them jumping and swimming about 20 yards from us. They didn't want to stay and play; they were on the move. It's always inspiring to share even a few moments with dolphins. As swimmers, we immediately appreciate the expertly applied strength and efficiency these animals possess. Now they were headed straight for Heather and Jenny, who had just touched the turnaround ball. One of these spinner dolphins performed their namesake move, leaping into the air, rotating and slapping a fin down, punctuating Jenny's accomplishment. Lifeguard McGuckin watched over the two Hughs for the duration of their swim, also the full Ironman distance of 2.4 miles plus a bit more. Guest Leslie opted to swim on her own along the course, and appeared so confident that some locals asked her for swimming directions. We all congratulated one another and had some drinks and snacks on the pier before heading back to the Hale.
Our chefs Clare and Dan continue to knock meals out of the park. Today's lunch was called "taco bar", and it was, but get this: Sonoran Chicken, two kinds of lime marinated fish (Ono and Ahi) with cabbage, tomoatoes, avocado, salsa, and cheese served with flour and corn tortillas, beans, and Spanish rice. Delicious.
We gave McGuckin the rest of the day off. His local knowledge and Aloha spirit continue to be a huge asset to this trip. We offered an afternoon swim to our guests, but the only taker was Leslie, so she and Heather had a private swim. There was lots of napping and book reading going on throughout the afternoon. It looked like a SwimVacation.
Our evening activity was a night manta ray swim. There's a spot on the south coast where if you stick a light in the water, these giant mantas come feeding on the plankton that have been attracted by the light. The plankton didn't show up tonight, so the mantas didn't either, but it was a beautiful night to be on the water.
Clare and Dan had left us soup, bread, and salad, so when we got back, a few of us sat around over glasses of wine and solved none of the world's problems. Tomorrow we start with a local swim, then head to a great beach for some play.