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Wednesday, February 3, 2016


The places to play in the water on the windward side of the island, where Hilo is, are rocky and it is quite rainy. But there are several Ocean Parks along Hilo Bay, and some even have a little beach area. So far my favorite places to swim are Richardson' Ocean Park and Coconut Island.
Here are some photos of places nearby.

This is a lovely place if the tide is high. Otherwise it's too rocky. I saw a Honu turtle here the day I took these photos.

Coconut Island
This is a tiny Island connected to Hilo by a footbridge.  There is a  small sandy beach area where I usually see kids and families. Swimming from there to the rocks near the parking lot is about equivalent to a lap in the pool.  There are some fish, but not as many as other places. The advantages are that it is close and easy to get to and entrance into the water is easy.

The footbridge across the water to the little island. The beach is just to the left.

Kids seem to love jumping off this tower, all the remains of an older footbridge that was destroyed by a tsunami.

Richardson's Ocean Park
When surf is up, there are always several boogie boarders and surfers here. They are fun to watch. Swimming is pretty good is tide is in, but the fish are easier to see when the tide is out. A lifeguard is on duty most of the time.

I saw a mongoose here. Sneaky little beast.

Kapoho Tide Pools in Pahoa, south of Hilo
I have only been here once, but it's a place I'll go again and again. The drive is over an hour and if I get the time, it's worth it--a definite place to take visitors. The water is warm and the stunning variety of coral is beautiful.

Before I started working, I took a couple trips over to the other side of the island, where there are sandy beaches and snorkeling without so many rocks.

King Kamehameha Beach
This is the closest beach to Kailua Kona, largest city on the leeward side of the island. Advantages are the proximity of restaurants and shops, and the little shack right on the beach where you can rent gear or a canoe. The disadvantage is that it is crowded with people instead of fish.

People can fish from this wall. It was scary to swim when there were fishhooks nearby.

Kona Boys gear rental

Mauna Lani
This place is idyllic. I dream about it.

The day I was there, I had a snack of corn chips. When the sparrows found the chips, and then me, we had a grand time together.  I learned the other day that this is illegal. It's frowned upon even to have a bird feeder in your yard. These are sparrows, originally from areas around the Mediterranean. Introduced and feral birds have made survival of indigenous birds a real problem.

Over to Kailua Kona for the day yesterday, I tried this beach. The weather was perfect, the surf was interesting enough for casual surfers but calm enough for swimmers, and there was enough room for me to sit in my beach chair and read in between snorkeling. I saw three turtles. Well, maybe I saw a turtle three times. But it's always exciting to see honu, the Hawai'ian green sea turtle.

There is a volunteer-run effort at this beach to preserve the health of the area. When I arrived, there was a volunteer (the guy in the hat) standing in the water about 10 feet from a turtle. The volunteers took shifts and stood there for about two hours, educating swimmers about the turtles and protecting the turtle from people who might otherwise have bothered it. It is illegal to touch or even bother turtles. Swimmers, divers, and snorkelers must stay at least ten feet from them.

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