This past weekend, Josh and I headed to the Big Island one last time for our last trip before Josh deploys and I move. We flew in on Friday night and checked into our hotel to get some sleep before starting our early and very busy Saturday.
Our first stop of the weekend was kayaking across Kealakekua Bay to the Captain Cook Monument to snorkel. The snorkeling and kayak tour came highly recommended to us and they definitely did not disappoint! On our 1 1/2 mile kayak to the monument, we were surrounded by a pod of spinner dolphins. It was so amazing to be so close to them and on their level! The video below shows just how close they were too us. Amazing!
Kayaking with Dolphins Video
After kayaking over to the monument, we landed our kayaks and got our snorkel gear ready. We also took some time to admire the monument. Captain Cook first visited the islands in 1778. It was thought that he and his crew were gods and were welcomed with open arms during a time of peace. After exploiting the kindness of the Hawaiian people, he left and returned during a time of war where he was not exactly welcomed back with open arms. He was killed in the bay by the Hawaiians and the monument memorializes his death.
Captain Cook Monument.
Kealakekua Bay from the other side.
Next, it was time to snorkel!! It was absolutely stunning. By far the best snorkeling I have ever seen. I could have spent hours just swimming around the area. It was great, as we were the only group (us and one other couple with our guide) and two other random people. We beat the crowd of tour boats!
Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling Video
Me swimming with a Needlefish. They were everywhere.
Tons of baby Needlefish on the surface…so hard to see.
Tons of yellow tangs.
Yellow Tang up close and personal.
More of the Parrotfish.
Amazing coral life.
Orange Spined Tang.
Two big Needle fish.
Parrotfish and yellow tangs.
Threadfin Butterfly .
Arc-eye Hawkfish and Spotted Sharpnose Puffer.
Trumpetfish and Fourspot Butterfly fish.
Blackspot Sergeant, Lowfin Chub and Achilles Tang.
Lowfin Chub, Achilles Tang.
Trumpetfish and Tellow Tang.
The massive boat of tourists coming our way.
After we finished snorkeling, we headed back across the bay. We encountered more dolphins along the way showing off their spinning moves. After we had lunch, we went back to the hotel to shower, change and start making our way towards Mauna Kea. The Mauna Kea summit sits at 13,796 feet and houses University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy and Mauna Kea Observatories. The 13 telescopes are operated by astronomers from 11 different countries. It was an incredible sight to see.
We stopped at the Visitor Information Station (9,200 ft above sea level) to acclimate to the elevation before heading to the summit. After about an hour, we headed up to the summit to catch the sunset and check out the observatories. Unfortunately, it was pretty cloudy so we didn’t get to see the sunset, but the clouds were still beautiful.
Heading up to the summit.
This guy was flying this remote controlled plane around. Pretty cool.
The sun setting. Which we cannot see (of course).
Pretty sky even though we couldn’t see the sunset.
Our attempt at taking pictures of stars. It did not work!
After that, we headed back down to do some star gazing. The Visitor Information Station sets up multiple telescopes for people to view things far, far away! It was awesome. The stars were absolutely breathtaking. I have never experienced anything like it! Once we finished viewing everything through the telescopes, we wandered through the gift shop and then headed over to a picnic table area, where it was pitch black, to better view the stars. As we were sitting there mesmerized, Josh said “So I have a question for you”. My response was, naturally, something along the lines of “Yeah, what’s up?”. To which he replied “Will you marry me?” as he got down off the bench onto one knee (in the dark). I was COMPLETELY shocked and surprised and uttered things such as “EXCUSE ME!?” and “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!”. After I slightly recovered, I remembered to say “OF COURSE YES!!!!!!”. Since it was so dark, I couldn’t see the ring he had…he jokingly said “So I know it’s dark, but I promise it’s pretty”. It was an absolutely amazing and unexpected way to end the day! As I sit here writing this, I’m still in shock! We attempted to take a selfie picture of the two of us and, of course, cut half our faces off (typical). So that is our engagement picture…sitting in the dark with half our faces cut off and squinty eyes! Once we got back to the car, we took a much better one (below). Then I decided to call my mom and wake her up at 2:00 am her time to tell her the amazing news! We then made it back to civilization to find a place to eat dinner. Since it was so late, one of the only places open was “Humpy’s”. Yep, we celebrated our engagement at a restaurant called “Humpy’s”. Hilarious! All in all, I would say it was one successful day on The Big Island!