However, the ninth day was really fun and I am excited to tell you about it! Here we go...
On the last full day of our vacation on the Big Island of Hawaii, we decided to find a beach that the guidebook assured us was one of the most beautiful on the island, Hapuna Beach. It turns out the beach was just up the road from our resort and the guidebook was telling the truth: the place was gorgeous. Here's the view walking from the parking lot down to the beach.
Tantalizing, isn't it? Look at that white sand! Look at that beautiful blue water!
We walked down and found a good spot where we would all fit. Jake and Linda went to rent an umbrella; everyone else headed directly for the water. The water was warm and fairly gentle. If you stood right where the waves were breaking, it was a little rough, but higher up on the beach, in the "champagne" (where the wave washed up on the shore and kind of bubbles) was great or if you got a little further in, it was good, too. I stayed higher up and took pictures of MT, T, Kelly and Denise doing a little body surfing. Here they are waiting for a wave:
And here are T and MT in the wave:
They were having so much fun! They must have stayed in the water over an hour. There was a shop there that rented boogey-boards, but they preferred to body surf.
I watched them for awhile, then I took a walk up the beach. There were lots of people, but it didn't feel really crowded. The beach is pretty long; this photo is of the central part of the beach where most of the people were playing in the water.
At the north end of the beach is a nice-looking hotel. The south end of the beach are those lava rocks you can see in the distance. Very picturesque beach!
We were hanging out closer to the southern end of the beach. While Denise and I were goofing around taking photos, we noticed a turtle out in the water!
Can you see it? It's in the middle of the pic between where the waves are breaking and where the people are. Click on the pic to enlarge it. The turtle got a lot of attention from the people in the water and there were lots of people that were way too close to it and trying to touch it. One guy actually helped the turtle because it had a Twix candy bar wrapper in it's mouth and the guy took it away from the turtle. The turtle swam back out toward where the people were and got surrounded by the people. Poor little thing. It was fun to watch it ride in the waves though.
Eventually we decided we had to leave Hapuna Beach (not a good snorkeling area), so we headed up the road to find the shave ice place that I heard about from the Hawaiian ladies I met at the pool. The shave ice place was just a little trailer in the parking lot of a restaurant (that wasn't open yet) and we got in line for our treat. I wrote about it in the Foodie Friday Hawaiian style post, so I won't describe it again except to say that it was so delicious! It's probably a good thing we didn't fined it sooner.
After our treat, we stopped at one other beach on the way back that was supposed to have pretty good snorkeling, Spencer Beach. Only MT and Kelly went snorkeling. The rest of us found a picnic table in the shade. Linda and Denise put their towels on the sand and had a little snooze. Jake, T and I sat at the table, looking around, napping and reading. It was pleasant.
The beach was nice. It was less crowded than Hapuna, but the sand was not as clean and it was a little more rocky. MT said the snorkeling wasn't great because the water was a little cloudy since it is fairly close to Kawaihae harbor.
From there we headed back to the Waikoloa beach resort, changed our clothes and went to Lava Lava Beach Club for an early dinner and to get a good spot to watch the sunset. I really enjoyed the food and the atmosphere at the LLBC. We had a delicious meal and there was a guy playing the guitar and singing Hawaiian songs and putting a Hawaiian spin on pop songs, too. It was nice background music.
As sunset got closer, I left the table to go get a front row seat for the "show". I was really hopeful that I would get to see a green flash that night. The sky was clear and conditions looked good.
It wasn't meant to be, though. As the sun sunk lower into the ocean, those clouds you see on the right came over and obscured what might have been the perfect green flash. Oh well. Maybe another time.
As usual, though, it was the light that happens after the sun actually sets that made the night so special.
It was a really fantastic day. I didn't want it to end, but of course it did and then it was time to go home.
I hope you enjoyed seeing Hawaii through my words and photos. I had fun telling you about it and showing you what I saw!