Day 18: April 9, 2017
45 Minutes Under the Sea

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While passing time strolling around Kailua Bay, I took some photos of the partial reconstruction of the compound King Kamehameha I built on the shore. The text of the descriptive sign can be seen here.

Several friends have supplied suggestions and advise on things to see and do in Hawaii. Alex B, who was stationed here and also visited as a tourist, has sent a few emails sharing some of his memories. Many were things I had already done or had already planned. An exception was a 1995 ride on a submersible that had impressed him. It sounded cool but I didn't dig into it at the time. On Friday, on the way to pick up the rental, I chatted with the Uber driver and mentioned I was headed to Kona. He'd been there recently, he told me, and had really enjoyed a submersible ride. On my first walkabout from my Kona hotel, I discovered that I was almost next to the outfit that operates the vehicle that both Alex and the driver described. No use fighting it I decided. Besides, what better way to balance my first helicopter ride than with my first submarine ride?

The Kona submersible is one of three that Atlantis Adventures operates in Hawaii. The others are in Waikiki and Lahaina. The adventure begins with a shuttle ride to the submarine out in the bay. Ladders fore and aft allow fairly quick boarding and every passenger gets their own porthole. There are 26 of them on the 65 foot long craft. The hatches are quickly sealed, the ladders raised, and the dive begins. As narrator Yasmina explained, we were completely submerged at 6 feet.

The view started to get interesting and the coral reef visible at around 60 feet. Almost all of the actual cruising was done at that depth or below. Yasmina did a wonderful job identifying fish and everything else we saw but I stopped trying to remember after about two species. There are exceptions but the general rule is that nothing is removed from the bay once it has been there two weeks. In that time it has become part of the environment. This WWII landing craft has been here eighteen years. It sank during a huge storm.

We continued onward and downward to reach the wreck of a 60 foot sailboat. Known today as the Naked Lady, it was brought down by fire twenty-five years ago. Its lone occupant made it to safety leaving behind the ship, what remained of her wine (which may not have been much), and her clothes. Additional and different details can be found but I suspect all should be taken with a dram of saltwater.

Not far from the Naked Lady, the captain briefly parked our own vessel on the sea bottom where we registered our maximum depth. From there we cruised directly to our departure point and were soon surfacing as compressed air forced out ballast water.

We were soon back on the shuttle and waving goodbye to sub and crew. Back at the pier, I got a walking-away picture to match the walking-toward picture that started this whole thing.

The first picture is just a tiny bit out of sequence. It was taken from the shuttle boat during the return from the submarine. Some of the tents for the Sunday afternoon street fair were already in place before our departure and there were even more now. Lots of craft and food items were available including an option for those who've become bored with Hawaiian Shave Ice. I didn't make it to the end of the row before I had to leave for my next appointment.

In addition to the submarine ride, I had signed up for a tour of the Kona Brewery. Brewery tours are all rather similar and usually consist of a guide pointing to somewhat nearby equipment and explaining what it is. This tour was pretty much like that with a fellow named Nate doing the pointing and explaining. Nate also provided quite a bit of information on the company and its beers including one bit that surprised me. The pub connected with the brewery has a 4-star rating from the Green Restaurant Association The rating is based on levels of recycling and resource conservation. The 4-star rating is the highest. The Kona Pub is the only restaurant in Hawaii to achieve that rating and one of only twenty-five in the nation.

Of course the best part of a brewery tour is the tasting and we were given four once pours of four different beers. I followed the tour with a visit to the pub where this time I found a seat at the bar and tried full pours of a couple more Kona Brewing products.

A few days ago, it occurred to me that, while I've seen several Hawaii license plates on the mainland, I'd seen nothing but Hawaiian plates in Hawaii. But, before I could get a great witty comment worked out, I saw this.

I returned to the street festival and this time made it to the far end of what I believe was an approximately mile long row of tents. The festival description mentioned music and I did see a couple of ukulele players hawking CDs from tents but there was only one place where I saw anything resembling a performance with an audience. I turned around when the canopies ran out. Across from the pair of wall musicians, I recognized a name from some best-of list and headed in.

From the Fish Hopper bar I had a good view of what I'm pretty sure was a mermaid relaxing by the bay. I'm basically a beer guy but in a tropical environment will sometimes go for rum and pineapple or maybe grapefruit. I was about to order one or the other when I scanned the list of happy hour specials. Zombies were on it. A couple of hours earlier a friend had posted comments about a Zombies concert he was attending in Nashville, TN. I decided that drinking a Zombie (Hey, it's got rum and pineapple in it!) was appropriate. When I saw the bartender pull out the mildly garish parrot glass I hoped it was for someone else but it wasn't. You can't really tell in the photo but that 151 doused sugar cube is on fire. Mr. Ball, this bird's for you. And Messrs. Argent & Blunstone, too.

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