Hawaii Trip – Day 2, A’ Bay Snorkel, Dolphins, Art, and Lava Lava

Day 2 12/27

All of us were anxious to get in the water and see coral and fish. One of the nearby recommended locations was Anaehoomalu Bay. However, we had a leisurely start that morning that put us in the water just before noon. Unfortunately, the bay was not a snorkeling paradise. It had limited visibility, and a shortage of critters to observe. But the water was warm, we got all the gear checked out, and everybody had an introductory swim. So, all was good.

The location was pretty, and relatively uncrowded. Palm trees on the shore, several catamarans in the harbor selling rides, and outrigger canoes getting some practice in. Overall, a good first outing.

Then it was back to the condo for a quick lunch on the patio before heading over to the Dolphin Encounter. The weather was clear, sunny, and hot. We had a green gecko visit us while we ate.

After lunch, and our wildlife encounter, we prepared for the hike over to the Hilton Hotel, where the Dolphin Encounter was located. The walk involved going down to the clubhouse parking lot, skirting the southern fence, and then walking the trail that follows the edge of the golf course, just above the surf washing up on the lava rocks.

We checked in at the appointed time, and then did some sightseeing until the starting time. The kids found a way to explore the tide pools while Gretchen and I found a spot of shade to relax in.

Soon, it was time for us to get ready to go in the water with the dolphins. We were given a quick set of do’s and don’ts when swimming with the dolphins. But our guide, Sarah, soon had us in the water face to face with one of the dolphins. She was really training us to perform the correct signals to elicit the trained behaviors in the animals. You can see in the photos all of us making approximately the same hand gestures. She led us thru encounters with three or four different dolphins of different levels of maturity. We all had a good time and there were lots of pictures taken. All of the animals used were a product of their breeding program.

Sitting on the Bench getting used to the water
Being trained

We had a great time, but it was soon over. We decided to take our new friend Jennifer’s advice and walk through the hotel to see the collection of pacific island art by different groups. I’m sorry to say that I did not get many pictures. I was pretty tired from the day’s activities and was really ready for my late mid-afternoon nap.

Orator’s Table from Papua, New Guinea

The display was impressive and completely free to the public. I recommend taking the time if you are in the vicinity.

We made our way out of the hotel, back to the golf course, and then to the condo. We now had to start thinking about dinner. Jennifer had recommended a place right on the beach called the Lava Lava Beach Club. They have what I consider to be an enlightened reservation system where you call ahead to get on their waiting list, they then tell you how long the wait will be. This worked great and we were there early enough to get fancy drinks (think little umbrellas and pineapple), walk around a bit seeing the games for people to play, and then be seated right next to the water just before sundown.

Lava Lava from the beach

For me is the perfect end to a perfect day. The drinks were good, the location was perfect, and the food and service were good. Our table was located as close to the water as you could get without getting wet, and upfront near the stage. That night the stage was occupied by Just KJ. She graciously performed a Bonnie Raitt song I requested.

Sunset from the table

We had a great time, ’nuff said


Not a dog


  1. Good read. Hot tip for snorkeling on the big island is over near the City Of Refuge. There is a reef area called Two Step, where you walk on two natural steps into the water. A well protected area with great visibility, lots of fish, turtles and we’ve even done swimming with dolphins. Two Step is my favorite.


  2. Great description of the days activities, observations about relevant or interesting details and good pictures. I enjoyed reading this, Bob. Keep it up ! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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