One dollar off all blue drinks! And sea-sickness for free!
Day 1 of our family vacation on the Big Island, I treated everyone to a trip out with Body Glove Cruises, on their 4.5 hour Snorkel & Dolphin Adventure. Let me start by saying that this was one of the best snorkel cruises I’ve ever done. The boat was ship-shape, the crew was incredibly attentive, and the owner of the company was on board and all about making sure we had a great time. We got to cruise past scores of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins, along the Kona coast, and down to some place called Red Hill, which I can’t find on any map, but I think is part of the Kona Coast Fishery Management Area.
It’s a beautiful ride, and I love getting out on the water whenever I travel, so this seemed like a no-brainer. Plus, this boat is equipped with a 20-foot waterslide and a 15-foot diving platform, “more noodles than Olive Garden,” tubes, a huge raft for floating, view boards, snorkel gear, and scuba gear (for extra). Included are free reef-safe sunscreen, breakfast, lunch, and soft drinks, and there is a full cash bar if you want something to really get you into vacation mode starting at 8:30 AM.
Now, I’ve never been on a snorkel cruise that allowed you to drink BEFORE snorkeling. Usually they give – or sell – you the drinks AFTER you get out of the water for the day. But not so on Body Glove’s Kanoa II. I’m not sure if you can buy drinks the very minute you board, but I’m guessing the answer is yes. Yours truly did not partake, I swear. I had a sensible plate of goodies from the breakfast buffet, and a cup of coffee. We cast off and started our cruise, and all was well.
Cue the dolphins! These spinner dolphins are beyond charming. All dolphins are great, but these guys go beyond swimming apace with your boat and doing the usual breach, jump, or flip. They go full triple-axel – IN THEIR SLEEP. Apparently, they’re nocturnal, and are only in this close to shore because they’re resting, which means half their brain is asleep for 20 minutes while the other half is still controlling all their normal functions, including play. Then they switch sides, and back and forth, until they’ve gotten all the sleep they need.
I didn’t have any luck capturing their spins on video, but there are some solid videos on YouTube of this. (Let’s pause for a minute and acknowledge the achievements of all the folks who’ve posted thrilling videos of dolphins leaping and spinning. Where would we be without your videos and the music you carefully selected to showcase these majestic and playful creatures?) But it was fun trying to catch pictures and videos of them, and oohing and aahing and checking to see if my kids saw what I saw. They loved it.
Soon it was time to pick up speed and head to the snorkel spot. This was around the time I started to turn green. Looking at the horizon and taking deep breaths didn’t seem to help much. I’m not sure if it was a particularly big swell that day, but it sure felt like it to me. I bought some Sea-bands from the barman (ha!) and hoped that when I got in the water I’d start to feel better.
Well… upon arrival, we got a very thorough safety presentation, and were let loose into the ocean. The kids rushed to get noodles and hop onto the “relaxation stations.” I went with them, while Gram and Glenn headed off to do some real snorkeling. So there we were, clinging to noodles, splashing around in goggles and flippers, grabbing onto tubes and floating mats all strung up behind the boat, me turning greener by the minute.
Declan decided he wanted to try the “view board” – a boogie board with a porthole in it so you can see below the surface. I swam over to the boat to ask one of the crew to pass me one, but he wanted to give it to Declan directly. Crew guy slid the board into the water just as Declan was arriving near the boat, and – zoop! – it slid and smacked right into his mouth! Poor kid had a split lip, but it barely fazed him. He climbed aboard and started happily paddling around.
A few more minutes of bobbing up and down in the swell was enough for me. Rather than chum the waters, I figured I should get back on board and have some ginger chews and ginger ale. The kids reluctantly agreed to get out of the water with me. It wasn’t long before Glenn and Gram returned and could take the kids back out to play. But for me, that was it. The rest of the cruise was spent trying not to puke. Oh joy.
Pity party time: I didn’t even get to go on the water slide or use a snorkel! Not once! And I didn’t get to drink a single Mai Tai! Waaaaaaah!
Okay, that was fun. Hey, at least the kids and Glenn got to slide.
They also used the stand up paddle board (SUP) both for Glenn to patrol while the kids slid and slid and slid, and also to go exploring closer in toward the reef, since the kids don’t have a huge swimming range.
For one last touch of color, on the way back to the pier, the bar announced a drink special: $1 off all blue drinks! They’d even just turn something blue for you that isn’t normally blue. Apparently they had some excess blue curaçao or food coloring to use up. (Fun fact about blue drinks I just learned. There’s a natural ingredient called butterfly pea flower that can color beverages blue. I had it in a special-for-Holi cocktail at my friend’s Indian restaurant in San Francisco. So beautiful!)
On the trip home, I just wanted to sit and snuggle my kiddos. Rowan fell asleep leaning against me, then Declan, and then I dozed a little.
The sea-sickness subsided. The trade-off was some sunburn, but nobody gets off scott-free in these stories, okay?! I’m happy to report that I never did throw up.