I hope you guys enjoyed my first recap. I honestly thought I was going to be able to fit our 4 day trip into one, but I realized we actually did A LOT while we were there lol and our last full day as a group there deserved its own post.
So day 3 in Kona was all about our boat day and luau. There were many highlights of this trip, but I think this day was my favorite. We woke up pretty early to get to the boat place on time so that they could talk to us about what to expect and see what we wanted to do. The group was pretty open to whatever, we just wanted to see cool stuff while we were out on the water. Our captain was super chill and we discovered that our snorkel leader Allie was from Monterey and we connected with them right away talking about California. The scuba guy (I fail and forget him and the captains name) but he was from Oregon and with our group being major foodies we talked it up with him too. They were very down to earth people which made our experience that much more fun! We headed out and about 15 minutes in the captain heard from other tour guides that a popular spot to check out was swarming with schools of dolphins during their relaxing time and whales were being spotted. They asked if we were okay with sacrificing some time off the boat because the trip out was a little longer, but the opportunity to swim with dolphins was a HECK YES from the group so off we went. By far the coolest thing I have done in awhile! When we approached the area you could just see their fins out of the water and other snorkelers just swimming alongside them. Our boat crew explained that they do this every so often just to relax, that they were harmless, and we just had to jump in the water quietly and swim with our arms by our sides not to alarm them, and that if they are interested in us that they'll swim closer to us and just go with it and be with the dolphins. I was SO incredibly excited to jump in that water you guys!!!
The entire experience was amazing. We all jumped in and for the most part stayed together swimming and crazy enough the dolphins came towards us started doing flips out of the water, and just twirls underneath us. It was the cutest thing ever to watch them just naturally be. We were close enough to them that had we reached out we probably could have touched them, so nuts! Seriously the most beautiful moment on that trip. I think dolphins are such incredible animals and it was always on my bucket list to get to swim with them, so I am beyond happy I got to in the most natural way. They were there free just enjoying life that day and we got to experience it with them. We also did see two very large whales and that was a woah moment because you know they are large animals, but seeing them in person was like DAMN haha. Eventually they went back far off into the ocean and we headed to the next spot to snorkel and a few people of the group got to go scuba dive while the rest of us snorkeled. The next spot was really pretty and the water was incredibly clear you could see underneath us really well. We spotted a turtle or honu as the Hawaiians call them. So cute! The coral was absolutely gorgeous, and generally speaking it felt like I was swimming in a real life nemo movie haha. Kona sure had some beautiful sea life and warm clear waters. From there we had headed back to the dock since our time was nearly up BUT before we got there our captain took us on a little detour to this really awesome rock tunnel spot and rode the waves. Guys these waves were bananas! It felt like splash mountain in Disneyland. It was really fun to do and the waves were so pretty. I mean all of Hawaii is always so picturesque, but still I love being out on the water and this day was everything I could have asked for on that island.
If you click the link here there are some videos of the footage we got with the dolphins and the area we went to since I couldn't get them to upload on the blog. The company we used for the boat tour was Jack's Diving locker and I highly recommend them! You can let them know the San Francisco group recommended you :) It was my friend Teresa and Jessica who set it up so they might remember us who knows because we had a big group.
After the boat we headed to a farmers market to get some fresh fruit and small bites in the area to hold us over until the Luau that night. We went home took some mini power naps and showered. We all decided to get dressed up for the luau since it was our last night together with the whole group. I was really excited for the luau because I have heard they are really fun from others, but the rest of the group I think had some reservations that it would be extremely touristy. It was honestly a really big hit and surprised us all with how much fun we had! It was hosted by Island Breeze Luau King Kamehameha Kona Beach. The food was absolutely delicious and of course the open bar was a major plus LOL. The Mai Tai's were soooo good. They had also cooked a whole pig in the ground that they call an Imu which just means an earth oven. Ugh guys this was delectable! Absolute mouth watering goodness and if you know me and my sweet tooth the dessert table was lit! lol Chocolate cake and coconut pudding. AH my kind of party. We also took the best group photo of all time :P haha jk but we all actually liked how we looked in this one and that's a rare thing in group photos. The Polynesian show was so cool, the fire dancer had some mad talent, and overall the vibes the show put out was the best. So much love and ohana that night. We ended up going home once the luau ended and playing taboo which was honestly freaking hilarious and very intense. That last day together was just so fun and I couldn't have asked for a better day.
Monday was the last day there for half of us whereas the other half of the group was headed home so we kept it pretty low key by getting the best donuts on the island, and exploring the coffee plantation at Green Mountain nearby our house. The donuts were by Holy donuts and the lilikoi malasadas were my fave! I recommend them for sure, but to be honest the guava malasadas I had in Maui are still my go to. I honestly crave those all the time so if you ever go to Maui bring some back for me :P
Anyways if you don't already know I work for Nespresso which is a big coffee company and i'm very spoiled with some of the best sourced coffee from around the world, so going to the plantation was something I was really looking forward to. The soil in Kona makes the coffee flavor so unique and I couldn't wait to try it. Our coffee guide was really funny too!! Getting to see the roastery and all was a super cool experience since I had never seen how coffee is developed in person. She walked us through how they pick their cherries, how they have a crazy good Kona peaberry, from how they pick their beans after being roasted and the way they use the machines etc. and she let us smell and taste the different roasts they have. It was awesome. I ended up buying their reserve french Kona and the Peaberry. One of my fellow co-workers helped me make a cold brew with the Peaberry for the team to try once I was back and OMG it was delightful. So smooth and sweet. Perfect just over ice and I am sure adding a dash of cream would have enhanced it's citrusy notes, but I loved it on it's own. Definitely try it! They have a website and you can check it out here.
The last day I was in Kona wasn't anything too crazy and mostly I want to share how I got my tattoo. I had decided early on in the trip I was going to do it. The last time I was on an island (Maui) I had got my anchor tattoo and decided I wanted to get another one on this island. Not sure why these moments occurred on the islands lol but they're meaningful to me so I decided to get my moon and star tattoo. I have aways been someone who was obsessed with astrology and all things dealing with the cosmos it only felt fitting. This trip fed my soul in such a way I didn't realize I needed and so I got it. Now every time I look down and see it I have all the feels. It's instant happiness for this trip and a lot of other reasons of what this tattoo means to me. I honestly think it's just going to be a tradition that I get a mini tattoo whenever i'm on an island :P go visit Lady Luck Tattoo shop in Kona if you decide to get one like me! They were awesome.
Overall those were the highlights of my Kona trip! It was seriously such a great trip and such a wonderful start to the year. Definitely a much needed break after my holiday craziness and it was amazing to celebrate the big 30th birthdays of two wonderful men!
I think this trip was also much needed to help set the tone for my 2018. I told myself I was going to slow down and spend more time with my friends this year enjoying more of the world around us. I have worked my butt off so much the last couple years that I forgot how much I needed to actually socialize and take time to myself with people that make me feel whole. Trips like this and to be outside and be with people who just make me very happy to be alive are definitely a beautiful reminder of the good life I have. It was a reflection of the friendships I have and the friendships I want to continue building on and I mean that for all my friendships. I am doing my best to be less of a workaholic and enjoy my present a lot more this year! So expect to hear about more adventures :)
Here are the yelp links to the places we went for your guys reference!