No flip turns…

Aside from a lap around Manhattan (20 Bridges) and a couple long lake swims my swimming this year has basically been in a pool…lots of flip turns!

On vacation I was set to change that! Post the family wedding celebration in Portland we were off to the Big Island for fun and swimming in the sun.  It was Shannon, Sean, Courtney and I. Haole Ryan was on his own adventure hiking Mt. Whitney*.

Yes, it was a week of open water swimming with not a pool wall in sight. No flip turns!

We stayed in the Mauna Kea Resort.  Our two home beaches were the Mauna Kea Beach and Hapuna Beach both five minutes away from our condo at Wai’ula’ula. They were absolutely stunning beaches.

While all beaches in Hawaii have public access the Mauna Kea Beach definitely had more of an upscale resort feel.  I swam many times across the beach and then to and fro from the beach to floating pad. Courtney would often accompany on the floating pad adventure.

Hapuna Beach, often mentioned as one of the best beaches in the world is where I spent most of my meaningful lap time.  It’s an awesome and expansive white sand beach with turquoise water where you can look up at Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa as you swim along the shoreline.  I was fortunate enough to find a group that swims from the guard tower on Sundays at 8:00am.  It was a nice group of people and fun morning.  Someone asked where I was from and when I said Boston they then asked if I was a “pool swimmer”. You can bet when we started again, my paced picked up.

Neighboring beach, Waialea (aka Beach 69) was a restful beach with some snorkeling and easy swimming.

A bit further down the coast there was ‘Anaeho’omalu Bay for an easy going sunset swim followed by dinner at the Lava Lava Club.

Kua Bay was a beautiful white sand beach with amazing blue water.  I had been there before and it felt very quiet and tranquil.  Not this time, as it was a Hawaiian state holiday and it was busy but still a great time. Sorry no pic.

Shaking it up from the white sand beach scene I found a black sand beach.  It was in the Mauna Lani resort area~Honoka’ope Beach/49 Black Sand.  A beautiful cove with really hot black sand.  Crystal blue water that was good for snorkeling and easy lap swimming. It wasn’t crowded at all. A hidden gem.

I swam multiple times per day. Not all swims were super athletic or faced paced. Relaxed open water swimming in warm tropical waters was just what the doctor ordered.

He also ordered this…

Non swimming adventures ranged from tropical hikes to Pololu Beach in North Kohala to hiking across lava at Volcano National Park.

(Pololu Valley lookout)

(Volcano National Park)

(Pu’u Huluhulu trail)

(Makaopuhi Crater)

There were easy going strolls to ‘Akaka Falls and sight seeing drives thru Waimea, to the Hamakua Coast and the Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.  The change in the climate zones in an hour driving was dramatic  from wet and tropical to dry and arid.

(‘Akaka Falls)

(Sacred Hawaiian grounds~Waipi’o Valley)

There was even some time for “goat therapy” at a goat cheese farm.

Of course no day was complete without watching the sunset and often times a sunset swim.

It was a fantastic trip. Can’t wait for more Hawaiian adventures in and out of the water. Aloha hui hou!

*Ryan the highest Burrow-on Mt Whitney the tallest peak in the continental United States @ 14,505 feet.

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