Excursion to Captain Cook’s Point

I woke up the next day having researched some tours and having revived the impulse to take a dip in Hawaiian waters. Since my family doesn’t care for swimming at the beach, I first joined them by lounging under one of the cabanas as they swam in the pool after a breakfast of guava juice and croissants filled with cheese and Indian mint chutney. Yes, even miles away from the subcontinent, we manage to bring Indian cuisine to our beachside bungalow.

Our condo at the Hilton Waikoloa.
Cabanas by the poolside
Pool at the Hilton Waikoloa condominiums

After a lunch of rasam and curry, we drove south towards the Keauhou Harbor from where I’d be hopping on a “Fair Winds” boat to  Kealakekua Bay, known as the site where British explorer Captain Cook made landfall into Hawaii, marking the first European arrival in 1787. Cook was later killed by the locals a few months after his arrival to the island.

Map of the Big Island’s coast
Fair Winds dock
Ready for snorkeling!
All aboard!

The overcast skies told me that I probably wouldn’t get to see the bright colors of fish or coral during my snorkeling trip, but thankfully the rain didn’t make an appearance either.

The water was cold, yet the prospect of snorkeling and seeing fish allowed me to ease into the water without a shudder. Here, in this shallow portion of the bay which had been demarcated for us as safe, the water couldn’t have been any more than 30 feet deep. There certainly were fish, and some colorful specks of rock here and there, but it was nothing like the schools you see at the reef drop-off in Guam’s Tumon Bay, or the technicolor sponges and corals of Ritidian. Perhaps if the sun had been more cooperative, the bay’s colors would have shown more luminously.

Waters at the bay
Waters at the bay
Behind me is Captain Cook's monument
Behind me is Captain Cook’s monument

I swam in circles around the boat for about a half-hour, feeling the cold and warm undercurrents. My pruning fingertips eventually convinced me to get out of the water and snap photos as others made their way back onto the boat as well. We rounded back toward the harbor and were lucky to catch a pod of dolphins in the distance.

In the evening, having joined my family once again, we went to the hotel at Waikoloa to catch the sunset. By this time, the skies had cleared for a russet sunset that seemed to mock the torches that illuminated the meandering footpaths of the resort. By 7:30 p.m. the sun had slipped away, leaving behind only the torches … hints of the searing glow we’d see from Kilauea Caldera the following the day.


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