Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


More Very Belated Updates -- Travel + Work

April 12-14: SF Weekend for JEMS
Mr. E and I boarded the 4:45pm Amtrak in Sac and arrived in San Francisco at the Westfield Shopping Center near Union Square at 7pm for our weekend getaway. Our agenda included the De Young Museum on Saturday for a 12:30pm entry to the Monet exhibition followed by "Beach Blanket Babylon" at 6pm (thanks to R. for the gift certificate that covered most of the ticket cost!). On Sunday, we visited the Asian Art Museum for the first time, and of course I did my favorite run down to the water and around Pier 39 to visit the sea lions. Our return Amtrak trip got us home to Sac just after 8pm.

April 19-21: Chicago
We took a quick trip to Chicago over the weekend, partly to see the opening of N's new art collaborative space. Our 7am direct flight from SMF to ORD landed just after 1pm, and we met up with L & M at one of the Eataly restaurants for dinner that night. On Saturday, we spent time with E's family, including the opening at N's new venue. I checked out the Architecture Center on Sunday morning (definitely worth a return trip with Mr. E), and we headed to the airport around 2pm and arrived home in Sac in the early evening.

April 29-May 1: CalSAE ELEVATE in Palm Springs
I know lots of folks are quite fond of Palm Springs as a resort destination, but it's not an easy trip from Sac, as there are no direct flights, so you have to fly into Ontario and then drive 75ish minutes to get to Palm Springs. Not my favorite... Regardless, I headed off early Monday morning (6:40am) in order to arrive in time for the opening session at the CalSAE annual conference. I met up with another attendee from Sac at the airport, as we had arranged in advance, so that we could share the rental car to and from the hotel.

As expected, the conference was a great experience, with some excellent speakers and sessions and networking with colleagues and meeting new folks. During the lunch session, the Board leadership also made an announcement to reveal that I would be joining CalSAE in mid-May as the new Director of Education! Yep, I had given my notice at CPCA in late April, with my last day to be May 8th. So it was a bit odd in some ways to be at the CalSAE conference as an attendee but with some folks already knowing about the upcoming transition and then everyone else learning in a very public manner! Home to Sac on Wednesday, but a bit delayed due to some flight issues (ah... Southwest... love ya but those problems with the planes have really impacted your flight schedules!).

May 9-14: Marshfield
I took advantage of my week off between leaving CPCA and starting at CalSAE to visit Mom in Marshfield. We met up with M & J at Legal Sea Foods on Friday for lunch but then pretty much just relaxed and hung out the rest of the time. The weather was a bit cool and rainy a couple of days, but it was quite nice and very timely that I could be there to celebrate Mother's Day weekend. I got home to Sac on Tuesday in the late afternoon in order to get ready for my first day of work at CalSAE on May 15th. (Note: Mr. E was abroad in Shanghai & Taipei from May 9-23 -- a long time away!!!)

May 25-27: Chicago
We returned for another trip to Chicago over the Memorial Day long weekend, this time for R's wedding to S. Our itinerary was the same as before except shifted one day since we departed on Saturday morning this time and returned on Monday, the holiday. R's wedding was at 6pm on Sunday at the Art Institute, and it was absolutely beautiful. I was so touched that she invited me, and it was great to finally meet S. (briefly) during the festivities. On Monday morning, Mr. E and I did a round of mini-golf at Maggie Daley Park after stopping by the family & friends brunch at a nearby restaurant on Michigan Ave. Back to Sac that afternoon, with a 6:30pm arrival.

June 7-9: Denver
I carved out a weekend to visit A, R, F, & C at their new place in Littleton, CO, just outside of Denver. Unfortunately, my flight was VERY delayed, so my attempt to arrive late afternoon Friday and spend the evening with the family was completely uprooted. Boo on Southwest again. Mr. E was having the same issue with his United flight from Chicago to Denver (he had gone to Chicago on the 4th and was joining me for the weekend family visit). So we both ended up arriving close to midnight. *yawn*

Regardless, we had a lovely weekend visiting with family, and I'm glad we could be there to support A, F, & C when R was called away unexpectedly due to a health scare with his mother. Mr. E and I traveled home separately on Sunday but arrived within about one hour of each other so were able to carpool home. (Note: I wrote to Southwest to complain about the delay and request compensation and received a $150 voucher -- that will definitely be put to good use soon!).

June 14-16: Mr. E's Parents Here in Sac
Mr. E's parents took Amtrak across country from Chicago to Sac to visit over the weekend, which just happened to be Father's Day -- good timing! They arrived on Friday evening (three hours late...), and Mr. E took them off for some pampering on Saturday while I met up with friends for pedicures at an eco-salon. We then celebrated Father's Day with dinner at The Press on Saturday evening. Sunday we had breakfast at home and then took them to the train station for their 12pm departure to San Jose, where they visited with his mom's family for the rest of the week.

June 19-20: CalSAE Board Meeting in Palm Springs
Back to Palm Springs again... Bleah. This time with my boss and a co-worker for a Board meeting. The Kimpton Hotel was lovely, but I'm just not a desert [heat] kind of person. The best part of the entire trip was that we arrived early enough back to the Ontario airport for our return flight that we could enjoy the newly opened lounge, and the CalSAE Platinum AmEx card got all three of us in for free. Sweet!

June 28-July 5: Marshfield
I was scheduled for a Jet Blue red-eye flight on June 27th, but due to delays, we didn't actually depart until early morning on June 28th. *yawn* I had a whole week to spend with Mom, which was lovely and relaxing. We made a trip into Boston to the Museum of Fine Arts on Sunday to see the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit and ate lunch at the New American Cafe in the beautiful airy atrium.

Mr. E joined us from July 2-5, and we celebrated the 4th of July holiday with lobsters and the traditional watching of [illegal] fireworks down on the beach. The weather was absolutely beautiful for the first part of the week, only getting warmer and more humid as we approached the second weekend. Mom and I did make it down to the beach for a couple of hours on Thursday before the incoming tide (and crowding people) chased us away.

Mr. E departed on Friday morning to spend the weekend in Chicago with his family and celebrate his mom's birthday on the 5th, and I left later that night and had the weekend at home solo with the kitties since Mr. E didn't come home until Monday evening.


Mahalo Moment: Rainbow in the Mist

Walking home from yoga last night,
a slight drizzle in the air.
Early evening sun breaks through low on the horizon, 
casting a golden light,
creating a faint rainbow arc over the Capitol.

Very Belated Travel Updates -- Family & Work

February 15-18: Marshfield & Mom
I took a red-eye on Valentine's Day and arrived early on 2/15 for what has now become my annual President's Day long-weekend visit with Mom. Mr. E spent part of the same weekend visiting his family in Chicago this time around, so the kitties were on their own for a couple of days!

Mom and I did several house projects, took C to the vet, went swimming, took in a movie, and finally enjoyed another dinner at Mia Regazza. On Monday morning, the day of my departure, we awoke to several inches of snow! Luckily, Mom had contracted with the neighbor's son for snow removal all season, so everything was shoveled and the weather had cleared by the time I needed to leave for the airport in the afternoon. A lovely and relaxing visit with just enough winter wonderland experience prior to my return to Sac.

February 20-24: Quality Care Conference in Santa Rosa + Wine Country Weekend
I headed up to Santa Rosa with a colleague on Wednesday for CPCA's QCC at the Hyatt Regency Santa Rosa. We've hosted a couple of other events here in the past, but the hotel recently completed a rather large guest-room expansion, and I was in the new wing. Apparently, however, I had odd hotel karma this time around, as the first room I was given had clearly been occupied at some point between when it was prepared by housekeeping and when I checked in. Creepy. I switched rooms but then encountered some other strange things -- no power cord for the alarm clock, completely damp kleenex and box in the holder, etc. The hotel staff did give me a breakfast voucher to compensate for these inconveniences, and that came in useful over the weekend when Mr. E came up to join me for some wine-tasting once the conference wrapped up on Friday afternoon.

We started off with the general tasting bar at J early Saturday afternoon and were also able to pick up our March shipment early, as I had made those arrangements ahead of time. Our second and final stop was at Hamel, where we enjoyed a reserve tasting in the library with a great view out across the panoramic vista of the hills and vineyards. On our way home on Sunday, we paused at the Vacaville Outlets for some browsing as we had decided to postpone our San Francisco museum stop until later in the spring.

February 28-March 3: Austin for Michelle Obama & C's Birthday
One of J's Xmas/birthday gifts to me was a ticket to hear Michelle Obama speak in Austin on Thursday, 2/28. So awesome! I worked remotely from J's that afternoon after an early morning flight, and we then went off to the talk with J's friend, D, the mom of K (one of C's friends). The three of us had a wonderful experience and enjoyed the entire evening, which was presented interview-style with Rachael Ray.

J and I both worked on Friday but took some time out for pedicures and dinner at Whole Foods with C (he got a manicure -- so cute!). Mr. E arrived later that night so that we could all celebrate together for C's 5th birthday. We had a family party "game night" on Saturday and then friends gathering at the Stunt Ranch on Sunday afternoon. The weather wasn't super cooperative -- chilly, windy, a little rainy -- but the kids still enjoyed the activities. Mr. E had to catch an afternoon return flight, but I got to spend a few more hours with C, including quite a chunk of time building his new lego space shuttle. So fun!

March 15 + March 20-22: O&E Summit + CalSAE Retreat in Burbank
I flew down to Burbank on Friday 3/15 for an Outreach & Enrollment Summit. As I was waiting in line to board the 7:25am flight at the Sac airport, I looked up and saw friend B strolling towards the same line. He and a colleague from SEIU were going to a meeting at their LA area office, so I got to chat with him quite a bit and get caught up on son M and dog G, including G's recent surgery and health issues.

The following week, I coincidentally returned to Burbank for another work trip, this time for the annual CalSAE Volunteer Leadership Retreat, which I attended in my role as Chair of the Professional Development Committee. The gathering was at the Marriott Burbank, which is just across the street (easy walking distance) from the airport. I was familiar with this property thanks to a CPCA training at the same venue a few years ago, so I was excited to return since it's so convenient for travel and particularly because the hotel has two pools! Not huge but large enough and completely rectangular so perfect for lap swimming.

The retreat was thought-provoking and engaging, and the service and food were extraordinary. I also bumped into my CPCA colleague, L, who was at the same site for a presentation to a different group. She's the same colleague with whom I'd gone to the O&E Summit the previous week! Small world... or at least small state for meetings?!


Two Mahalo Moments: Bird & Flowers

A mourning dove sits
perched atop the garage peak:
silent grey watcher.

Daffodils burst forth!
Bright yellow blooms defy this
week's freezing weather.


Oahu Finale + End of Trip

Sunday 1/27: Diamond Head Runs & Guaranteed Honu
I did my favorite run around Diamond Head in the morning and stretched out with yoga in the room. Breakfast at Hideout again with inconsistent food. *sigh* Then I called Mom to chat for a bit before we walked the short distance to the Hilton Garden Inn for our pick-up by Hawai'i Nautical for our honu snorkel cruise.

Our cruise left from Kewalo Basin and moored at Turtle Canyon, a popular cleaning spot for the awesome honu. Lots of clouds and still windy today, so I was very glad to have my new wetsuit in addition to my two rash guard layers to help keep warm in the water. And we saw turtles! Honu, honu, honu, honu, honu! And maybe one more honu for good measure! They are such amazing creatures to watch in their natural habitat, and a couple of them came up to the surface to linger and breathe several times. So awesome!!! We also got bonus whale sightings as we ate lunch and sailed back towards the harbour.

We got back to the hotel around 2:30pm and washed out our salt-water filled swim stuff. Then Mr. E went out for his Diamond Head run while I checked email, updated the blog and the travel journal, and finished my book.

Another try for the Top of Waikiki, and we discovered that Sundays are much less busy than Saturdays. Yay! No problem getting seats at the bar. We shared calamari and I took advantage of the $5 Happy Hour house wines while Mr. E enjoyed a couple of cocktails. One full revolution of the revolving restaurant to see sunset around 6:18pm. Lovely!

We picked up food at Duke's Market one last time for a final dinner in our room. On the way, we walked through International Marketplace and caught the last 15 minutes of the nightly hula show. What a perfect finale to our Hawai'i trip and the entire sabbatical!

Monday 1/28: HNL > SFO > SMF
Another morning swim for me (brr! chilly today!) and room yoga. Coffee delivery to Mr. E just after 8:30am followed by some packing and breakfast at the nearby Reserve Starbucks. Then to the ABC Store to redeem our receipts for a tropical beach towel and another reusable bag. Back to the Laylow to finish packing, and we still had enough time too procure the rare cloisonne pineapple ornament. According to the sales clerk, these ornaments are being discontinued, so we were very glad to get a yellow one to pair up with the red one we bought two years ago before they're all gone.

Charley Taxi pick-up at the hotel around noon. No problem with airport check-in, and we had enough time to find lunch (sushi, burger) before our 2:10pm flight to San Francisco. Totally full! No chance for an upgrade on this flight. A bit bumpy throughout the entire journey, but some very friendly flight attendants provided good wine and conversation.

We had a layover in SFO for almost two hours, which was plenty of time to get dinner at the revamped food court (salad, Chinese mixed plate). We actually did get upgraded to First Class for the very quick flight to Sac, although our seats weren't together. Our bags arrived promptly, and thanks to the slightly early arrival of the flight, we were home before midnight for some minimal unpacking and then bedtime with the velcro-ish kitties.

Welcome home!


On Oahu

Friday 1/25: Shop, Shangri-La, Ala Wai Canal Runs
Morning run for me along Ala Wai Canal and then yoga in the room. Breakfast at Hideout (oatmeal, eggs, pastry for Mr. E; smoked salmon avocado toast for me). Then some shopping at Ross, Tori Richard, and Quiksilver before getting two Biki bikes to ride to the Honolulu Museum of Art. We had time to peruse two of the contemporary special exhibitions and then checked in for our 1:30pm tour of Shangri-La, the former estate of Doris Duke that showcases her love of Islamic art and culture. I had done this tour during our last trip to Oahu in 2017, but I wanted to share it with Mr. E because I was so impressed by the entire experience. And the repeat visit certainly didn't disappoint!

Due to traffic, our shuttle to and from Shangri-La was a bit delayed, but we still received the full 90-minute tour and then returned to the Museum around 4pm. Too bad we didn't know that it was an "Art After Dark" evening or we might have planned to linger for the activities! Instead, we waited just a bit for the free shuttle back to Waikiki, especially since the rain had started and we didn't want to get caught out either on foot or on Biki.

We stopped at Duke's Market for me to pick up a sorbetto and fruit bowl snack. Then it was Mr. E's turn for a run along Ala Wai Canal while I checked email, blogged, and updated the travel journal. We decided to have dinner at Basalt, one of the eateries in Duke's Market. The food was very tasty, and the kitchen was able to make the scallop dish without onions or garlic for me, but the service was a bit off -- sort of friendly but rather abrupt. Mr. E lingered at the bar for cocktails, and I returned to the room to read and relax.

Saturday 1/26: Market City, Foster Botanical Garden, Hawai'i State Art Museum, Wetsuit
I enjoyed a peaceful lap swim in the hotel pool and then yoga. Breakfast at Hideout again where we shared oatmeal with fruit and an omelette with peppers and mushrooms. Unfortunate issues with the potatoes (onions and garlic despite our reminder to the server -- *sigh*).

We headed off around 10am for a Biki ride to Market City Shopping Center. We'd read about a Chinese New Year celebration at the site, but we were apparently two late for the firecrackers and only stayed for a bit to watch some of the lion dancing. Then back on the Biki bikes for a longer ride to Chinatown near downtown Honolulu to visit the Foster Botanical Garden. Lots of wind today, but the cooler temps and partial cloud cover were very welcome during our multiple Biki rides.

The stroll around the Garden was lovely cooling. We saw some interesting and large trees as well as butterflies and interesting flowers in the Conservatory. Lunch at Zippy's right across the street. Our first attempt to purchase swag for the Year of the Pig (Boar) had been unsuccessful due to a language barrier and inflexible cash-only negotiating, so we were very pleased to spot a small flower shop off of Beretania Street that had several decorations and a much easier transaction process.

As Mr. E waited to complete the purchase, I headed a block away to the (free) Hawai'i State Art Museum. Wonderful! One exhibition highlighted recent acquisitions to the collection, and the other showcased a variety of works from across the decades that showed how artists respond(ed) to and portray(ed) the changes that have happened in and on and to the islands. The collection includes both 2D and 3D artwork, which was an interesting variety and provided some great photo opportunities.

Mr. E joined me eventually, and we perused the outdoor sculpture garden together to finish up our visit. We also learned that Hawai'i was the first state to pass legislation requiring public art and setting aside funds for it back in the late 60s.

We took a final Biki ride back to the hotel, where I showered and relaxed while Mr. E went for a short workout. Around 6pm, we left to try to catch the sunset from the Top of Waikiki, but the restaurant was too busy even at the bar, so instead we ended up on the public beach near the Royal Hawai'ian Hotel (along with lots of other folks).

Then we set off on a quest to find a wetsuit for me to help stay warm during our snorkel cruise tomorrow. Success with a Roxy long-sleeved shortie front-zip version at Quiksilver -- yay! We had drinks and snacks at Hideout and then procured additional food at Duke's Market (yes, there's a pattern emerging here...) to bring back to the room. Jaws 2 was playing on TV, so of course that was a perfect background for our in-room picnic!


Big Island Finale + Oahu Debut

Wednesday 1/23: Waipi'o Valley Road Trip
Short Zumba workout in the room for me followed by beachfront yoga class again. Then we hit the road to try out the new Starbucks during its grand opening to begin our road trip up to the north eastern part of the Big Island. Destination = Waipi'o Valley. Our outbound route took us up along the coast, following 19 north and east until we met up with 240 to head west.

We found a parking spot along the road near the trail down to the valley floor. Before tackling the very steep 25% grade route, we enjoyed the panoramic views from the lookout point at the top of the cliffs.

The path downwards is a paved road but only accessible with 4-wheel-drive vehicles due to the steep incline and bumpy conditions. At the bottom, we started with a quick walk to the left that led us to a horse encounter and a view of an impressive waterfall. We then headed back along the road and took the right branch of the fork that leads to the beach. Despite the rather rough surf and swells, several swimmers and surfers were out in the water.

The ascent was quite challenging and sweat-inducing, regardless of what our Lonely Planet guide claimed!!! By the time we got back to the top, we were both rather moist. I'm glad that the path was mostly shaded and that the temperature wasn't too hot, or the climb would have been miserable! I changed clothes in the car, and we stopped at nearby Honoka'a Country Market for lunch. Great service from the cashier but disappointing sandwiches when the kitchen staff promised dijon mustard but instead delivered massive amounts of dijonnaise. Not. The. Same. Thing. Arrgh!!! We used napkins from the car to wipe off as much of the offensive substance as possible and agreed that future orders should just always indicate sauce-on-the-side, no matter what.

We took a different return route to Kona, following 190 across the middle of the plains, and that led us directly back to the hotel when the route becomes Palani Road as it meets up with Kailua Kona. A final dinner at Honu's and then packing up to prepare for our departure tomorrow.

Thursday 1/24: KOA > HNL
I had a final morning of room Zumba and beachfront yoga before we finished up the packing and headed off to Starbucks again for breakfast on our way to the airport. Some of our meal was DIY to finish up the awesome huge local avocado we had bought a few days ago at Greenwell Farms, along with the orange for Mr. E's cocktails and the wheat thins from ABC.

At the airport, we had no problems this time around with the rental car return or checking in for our flight (unlike what we experienced six years ago when long, slow lines caused us to miss our flight...). However, we did have an unexpected and unwelcome fee for our checked bags. *sigh* Another strike against Hawaiian Airlines, and Mr. E will need to contact United for some sort of compensation.

The flight from Kona to Honolulu was quick and on time, and we had arranged for the local Charley Taxi service to pick us up and take us to our hotel, The Laylow, which is part of the Marriott family of hotels. We arrived around 1:30pm, so our room wasn't ready yet since the official check-in time is 3pm. With our bags safely left at the front desk, we sought out lunch at the awesome new Duke's Lane Market & Eatery next door, which contains several different eateries along with a rather upscale ABC Store, so we can continue to accrue points for our purchases towards special gifts. Nice!

We then spent some time browsing at the next-door Nordstrom Rack before returning to the hotel just after 3pm. Room still not ready. Boo. And no ETA or explanation. We whiled away a bit more time on the open-air terrace near the hotel bar and restaurant, and then Mr. E took up the late room issue with the Front Desk Manager, who finally explained that the previous guests had taken advantage of a late check-out, which is why the room wasn't yet cleaned and ready for our arrival. She offered us a $50 credit for the inconvenience, and we also received two $15 food coupons per day along with an additional one-time $10 food and beverage credit thanks to Mr. E's status with Marriott. Very useful to help keep our food costs lower, for sure.

When we finally got into our corner room on the 16th floor, we admired the amazing views of the ocean, fronted by the iconic pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel, along with the unmistakable Diamond Head silhouette.

The room has two lanai, providing a lovely cross-breeze when we open the sliding doors. We unpacked and got settled, and then Mr. E did a short workout before we grabbed Happy Hour drinks at the bar and came back upstairs to try to catch the sunset from our room. Just missed it. Oops!!! We still enjoyed our drinks on the lanai along with the music from the nightly 6:30pm hula show at the International Marketplace, which is just below and behind our hotel.

We spent time reviewing some of our tourist info and the Lonely Planet guide to make plans for the next few days, including a reservation with Hawai'i Nautical for a "guaranteed honu" snorkel lunch cruise on Sunday. We did this same activity two years ago and had a great time, and as repeat guests, we even got a 20% discount on the price. Sweet!

For dinner, we headed down to the hotel restaurant, Hideout, to use our daily vouchers. Manchego and veggie flatbread for me, and Piggy Marley burger for Mr. E. Yum! Very filling on both counts! Then we finished up the day as usual with wine and TV in the room.


Big Island Adventures

Monday 1/21: Scuba & Reflexology
Early morning zumba in the room for me before our 7:45am appointment with Kona Diving Company for our two-tank "Discover Scuba Dive" tour. Max[ine] was our guide for the DSD, and the other passengers included four certified divers and one doing a refresher, so we had Max all to ourselves. Captain Jeff was also very helpful and friendly. As we headed towards the dive site, Max provided a review of basic scuba skills for us and then did the practical test in the water once we arrived at the reef.

Dive #1 = 45 minutes with lots of colorful fish, several eels, and one honu. Back on the boat to snack and move to the next dive site, Turtle Heaven, closer to the harbour. We saw lots of frisky spinner dolphins playing about in their pods -- bonus!!! Dive #2 = nearly 1 hour. No dolphin or tiger shark sightings but we did have one honu at the beginning when Max and I were in the water and another that bid us farewell as we finished up.

We got back to the dock around 12:15pm and tried to get coffee at the nearby Starbucks, but it won't be open until Jan. 23rd. We'll be back!!! Instead, we got Menehune coffee again at the hotel and some food as well. No more blueberry oatmeal available (unlike during our previous visit) and there was an unexpected charge when we asked for a to-go cup since we didn't finish our drinks in the mugs while we sat at a table. Boo. Two strikes...

After we showered, Mr. E took a nap while I did some postcards, travel journal, etc. Both of us noticed physical effects of our scuba dives this time, which was surprising to us since we did a two-tank dive on Oahu two years ago for our very first time and also did two dives on Maui last year. However, we realized that these dives were both longer and in quick succession compared to the previous experiences, so that's likely why we felt our ears were a bit plugged in addition to the rocking sensation of being on the water.

A bit of browsing along Ali'i drive, and then Mr. E went for a run while I did my daily yoga. We had a 6:45pm appointment at The Spa for reflexology, which was a bit delayed until 7pm but still provided 30 minutes of stress-relieving foot work.

Dinner at Honu's was edamame to share and then a fresh veggie roll and salmon avocado roll for me. Mr. E got the grilled ahi sandwich and shared some of his sweet potato fries. Yum all around! The evening finished up with wine and TV in the room. We both were feeling tired from the scuba so we made it a relatively early night.

Tuesday 1/22: Laundry, Whales, Manta Rays Attempt #2
Morning run along Ali'i Drive for me, with a quick visit to my favorite "secret spot" with the salt-water pool. No honus this time, though. Darn! Then beachfront yoga class again and breakfast at Honu's with a shared egg white veggie scramble, hash browns, fruit bowl, and oatmeal for Mr. E. Coffee at Menehune but not a very good crema on the Americano. Strike three???

Time for a load of laundry and relaxing before our 12:30pm check-in at the pier across the street for our Body Glove Whale-Watching cruise. Whales, whales, whales! And some sharks, too! We got to see and follow a trio of humpback whales as they swam together, spouted, flipped their tails, and even breached fully. Amazing!!! Also a shiver of hammerhead sharks towards the end of the cruise.

We got back to the pier at 3:30pm and tried to swim laps at the community pool but were foiled again, this time by team and club workouts that take over the pool in the afternoons. Would have been nice if that had been noted on the posted schedule... *sigh* A dip in the hotel pool instead to cool off and stretch out a bit. Then Mr. E took me back to Keauhou Bay to try again with Sea Paradise and the manta rays night snorkel. He had decided to opt out of a second attempt and instead went back to the hotel to work out. Caught a rainbow over the hotel when he got there!

My second attempt was a success! Woo-hoo!!! A smaller group of passengers with only three crew this time around, which gave a more intimate feel to the excursion. Four of the others were also doing a repeat, so I recognized them from two days ago. No luck again at the first spot, but then we moved into the inner harbour and joined up with a few other groups to enjoy the antics and frolicking of two lady rays. Wow! They were swimming by and doing barrel rolls up towards the surface, getting just inches from our faces. So cool!!!

Mr. E picked me up a bit after 8pm, and I regaled him with stories of the amazing rays. So glad I tried again and was able to experience this awesome sight! Dinner in our room was takeaway Taco Bell for Mr. E and finishing up some snacks for me.