Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Big Night

Today was the day I had been looking forward to. Tonight we were going to snorkeling with Manta Rays. It was supposed to be this amazing experience. But lets not jump ahead of ourselves here. Today is Alicia's best friends birthday. He wasn't thrilled being in Hawaii for his birthday hopefully he didn't think it was too bad of a day. We wanted to spend the morning in the water-on a beach. So we took them to our new love, the Hapuna Beach.
The adults went snorkeling and Gena and I saw a couple of sea turtles!! The first one I saw was not that big but I freaked out. It was hard to breath through the snorkel and be freaked out. I wanted to be careful of it but at the same time I was a bit scared of it. So I didn't stick with it very long. The second one I saw was MUCH bigger but the water was getting cloudy so I didn't stick with that one long either. My friend on the other hand swam the length of the beach with one. She said it was an amazing experience. We spent a few hours there and then decided to go check out a beach someone suggested to them. This beach was probably the kids favorite. The waves were much bigger here so they got tossed around pretty good. Not an incredibly kid friendly beach but great for older kids. And of course Ethan spent more time then anyone in the sand. :) He loves the ocean but it scares him a bit so he doesn't stay in as long as the others.
We only had an hour to spend here before we needed to get back for our night excursion. The problem was our friends had gotten sea sick earlier in the week and they were not keen on going out to sea again. They ended up canceling 3 of their families 6 spots when the company found replacements.
I wanted you to see what a manta ray looks like, at night, so I copied this picture from the wesite of the company we went through-Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii.
The Manta Ray Night Snorkel was really one of those once in a lifetime experiences. It wasn't my favorite of the trip and I probably wouldn't ever do it again but there is nothing -NOTHING- like having a manta ray an inch from your face. There was probably 30 of us that boarded this boat that took us out to sea. On the way we saw spinner dolphins. That was a real treat for us. Then they anchor near a bunch of other boats. You put on a wetsuit and they rubberband a glow stick to your snorkel. Once you get in the water they hand the adults BRIGHT flashlights. The lights in the water attract plankton, this in turn attracts manta rays. They have everyone grab on to a ring made of water noodles. Then you swim out a ways from your boat where everyone from the other boats are and they manta rays just show up. This night there were about 11 where we were and 11 where another group was! They said that is a good night. When we first got in the water Ethan was having none of it. He just would not try and go out. So I got back on the boat and we watched from the bow. This ended up being a good spot because the boat in front of us had a massive light shining on the water for a bit so Ethan could see the manta rays. For him this was just right. He kept saying we had a better view anyway. A little while later the girls came back with Ben because they were too cold. This allowed me to have my turn out there. You lie flat on the water holding on to the ring of noodles. Then as everyone shines their lights inside the ring the manta rays do their graceful moves beneath you as they eat the plankton. They literally get an inch from your body. You can hear "oohs" and "aahs" through water every few seconds. It was truly amazing but I was cold. The cold kind of gets in the way of enjoying it to its fullest. We then headed back to our resort, scrounged for food in our fridge and were off to bed.

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