Saturday, January 2, 2016
Day 166 - Kiholo Bay Turtles and a Hospital Emergency
This beautiful formation shows the perfect effusive lava flow which seems to have stopped right here. It can be found after hiking some 30 minutes makai ("towards the sea", see day 165) from the Kona Coast Highway in the middle of quite recent lava flows. The trail leads to Kiholo Bay, the probably best place to swim with turtles on the Big Island.
In this area ancient Hawaiians had built several large fish ponds. Although 40 miles away or so from Mauna Kea, fresh water from the mountain flows into the sea here through long lava tubes. In the 19th century, however, the fish pools were destroyed by new lave flows, and the area is deserted since then.
The absence of people, the fresh water supply and the remainders of the fish ponds create a perfect habitat for big green sea turtles to feed and rest. My father and I went snorkeling first. Usually you won't want to snorkel here because the mix of cold fresh water and warm sea water creates a murky mix with low visibility. You suddenly discover the big turtles coming out of nothing (and really frightening me with that hell of a surprise, no kidding) in the canal between two smaller stone islands. "Surprise? Didn't you see it coming?" I was asked. Nope, no chance to see anything after 1.5 meters distance around you. This is hell of a surprise when suddenly a quite big "flying" thing appears out of nowhere, just have a look at the vid.
When my mother and sister then went snorkeling, my dad went with them to show them the right spots. I cared for myself and was ready to take a nap when I heard loud shouts from the water side. My mother was crying and all the three were upset, started to walk towards the "exit" where I then waited for them to arrive. My mom was pressing onto her hand, because if she didn't, she wouldn't have stopped bleeding. We were really thankful for the spontaneous (though not too much helping) band aid from our neighbor snorkeler's first aid kit, then packed our stuff and walked back to the car which took 30 minutes. After being jammed in the Kona traffic for much more than an hour, we went to the hospital, where my sister and I waited for another one and a half hours until my mom's hand was stitched... What a conclusion for the Big Island stay ;-)