Day 6 - Mantas in the morning, mantas in the night.

Sometimes there just isn't a whole lot of reason to be out of the water. My day started early with a great swim at the pier. A huge bait ball of fish circled below me about 300 yards into the swim. I hit the 750 meter buoy and stopped to chat with a few fellow swimmers. This buoy is like the water cooler at your boring day job - everyone stops what they are doing for a few minutes to catch up and talk story. Only this water cooler is in the Pacific. With really cool stuff to talk about.  

Side bar about the Kailua Pier. This place is so cool, right in the center of Kona Town. Everyone gathers here - it's the hub of all aquatic activity. Kona boys surf shack, the start of the IronMan swim course, the big Banyan tree. It's a pulsing heart of fitness and gateway to the sea in this community. Outrigger canoe teams put in and train here, and the local youth swim team trains here. The do pushups and jumping jacks on the pier before jumping in for practice. So cool.

The local youth swim team dry land training before swim. Out rigger training.

Schooling bait fish just a short distance from shore. They are always here.



Right. So, back to the 750 buoy, aka. the pier swim water cooler. One guy told me he'd just seen a Manta ray at the 1.2 buoy. I wrapped up my conversations and headed out there. Got to the buoy and waited. Summoned. Called. Mind melded. Willed them it to come. Nope. Not for me.

No matter, it was a great swim. I worked on stroke technique and swam hard on alternating buoy legs. I returned to the beach elated. As I got there friends Robin and Aimée were just heading out. I scooted back to the trusty Hyundai to get to my rescheduled surf lesson. What's this? Message on my phone from Ocean (cute surf instructor guy). No surf, no surfing. Not today. It's ok! I have the aloha!

Start of the swim course. Surf boards everywhere but no surf.

I wander back down to pier, chat up some other swimmers, pass out some SV caps and cards. Robin and Aimée return from the course...they had the manta too. Harumph. No worries, I know I have a great night of that sort of thing ahead of me...

Left the pier and moved on down Ali'i drive, did a little shopping for the peeps at home. Made some phone calls. Lined up a few things. Home to change and see another house. It was a dud. Too far, too shabby. Met with another caterer at 1, re-provisioned my fridge. Made more phone calls, lined up more house go-sees. Another caterer at 5.

Scenes from the local market. Apple bananas? Sure!

Finally! 6pm - time to leave for Keauhou Bay to board the Sea Paradise boat for the famous Manta snorkel. For 35 years the Kona Sheraton has shined brilliant spot lights over the cliff to the sea at night. The light brings plankton, the plankton bring mantas. Those lights have been reliable manta magnets for decades.

I did this adventure as a dive 15 years ago. Was wondering if a snorkel could fulfill my expectations and compete with my memories. We got into the water surrounded by about 6-10 more boats full of snorkelers. It was like walking through a very crowded Grand Central Station out there. Only with fins. And in the dark. And in the Pacific.

Then they came. The mantas. So majestic, so impressive.

I'm falling asleep now folks - I keep wakeng up to funny sentences. If I do it again I'll leave it for you to giggle at.

they did big belly rolls right beneath thte bloating siorel;era..

uh ho. see what i mean? i'm losing this battle. I'll move on to pictures and call it a night. The sea just can't make jeatpkr

I surrender. Good night, friends.

Mahalo, Pacific.

- Heafklaer