Kona

Reflecting on Hawaii - Dolphin Quest & Happy Hour - Day 3

Our daily recap from exactly a week ago... a selfish way to relive the vakay! Tuesday, 5.14.13

IMG_4418

There is nothing like be woken up on vacation by a rustling in the bushes just outside your window... a loud rustling... what kind of animal is it... will they get through the screen door. Wait. The noise is coming from outside the window behind the bed... you quietly peek out the window to discover what critter is making all the racket. Ferret? Dog? Goat? or how about a turkey family! It was a momma turkey and 4 chicks making all the ruckus.

Another chill morning at the Puako house until we headed to the Queen's Marketplace at Waikoloa for lunch. Last time I was in Hawaii there were only the King Shops... now there are the Queen's Marketplace and tons of new housing/apartment developments. It never ceases to amaze me how they can develop entire resorts in lava fields.

We then headed to the Hilton Waikoloa for our afternoon plan of swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Quest. This was a trip down memory lane for me as I moved to the Big Island 15 years ago to work at Dolphin Quest as a trainer. It was great to see how much the facility has changed over the years. There is a new education building that I would have loved to have taught at back in the day. As we were getting ready for our program one of the trainers, Ashley,  came up and introduced herself. She told me that she interviewed me for a school project when I was a trainer and decided then that someday she would be a dolphin trainer. And here she was after a lot of work and perseverance living her dream. She then told me that we were going to be getting in the water with Kai who was one of my favorite dolphins when I was there. The combination of the 2 reduced me to tears.... super emotional.

I then got to share this special part of my life with my friends as we all got to play with Hali'a and Kai. Carla, one of my close friends, was our trainer and we had a great time. It was super fun and I love that fact that I will never take this part of my life for granted and love the animals just as much to day as I did then. Dolphin Quest does a great job educating and inspiring people through their programs.

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="845,839,846,848,850"]

We figured what better way to end the day than sunset in Kona over tiki drinks. Paul had been talking about a trip to Don's Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Kona Resort since we bought our tickets. Happy hour started with a round of mai tais and pupus. There may have been a flight of mai tais, lava flows and some other tiki libations. An evening rain storm tried to scare us off the lanai to no avail.

[gallery type="rectangular" ids="853,852,854,856,851"]

Another perfect end to a great day in paradise.