Which One Of These ‘Kona Nature Experiences’ Is True?
- The ‘Salt Harvesting Experience’
- The ‘Pet A Seahorse Experience’
- The ‘Pet An Octopus Experience’
- The ‘Touch A Cloud (Forest) Experience’
- The ‘(Almost) Touch A Manta Ray (Snorkel) Experience’
Well, wait for it… they are ALL true.
If you have family or friends visiting from out of town, just have them review these ‘Kona Experiences’ and that will save you five days of having to entertain them 🙂
The ‘Salt Harvesting Experience’ (just $450)
From the Four Seasons website: “Embark on a journey to our nearby salt flats with a cultural ambassador, where you will learn how ancient Hawaiians harvested salt decades ago. You will then be led through a private, interactive cooking class with a member of our culinary team, who will incorporate Hawaiian salt into the dishes and further explain the ways it was traditionally used in Hawaiian cooking. The salts are also used in the Salts of the Ocean body treatment at the Hualalai Spa.”
And the Los Angeles Times reported on the ‘Salt Harvesting Experience‘ as well: “Guests take a short hike along the beach to a flat where the salt gathers in “pens” carved in lava rock. There, they use spoons to collect salt in fabric bags. With culinary uses in mind, participants return to the hotel for a cooking class during which a member of the restaurant team demonstrates how flaky sea salt is dried and then used in the preparation of various dishes.”
“Our Hawaiian ancestors lived off of Hawaii’s bountiful resources and in turn respected and honored our land and ocean,” said Earl Regidor, the resort’s cultural center manager. “The natural salt the ocean provided was a cornerstone of Hawaiian living — used for food preservation, cooking, medicine and more.”
If you are close to an ocean, but not in Kona…
The ‘Pet A Seahorse Experience’ (just $45)
Seahorse.com: Within earshot of Kailua-Kona’s lava-enclosed airstrip and close enough to the ocean to feel the sea spray, a tiny blue building fronts an unusual aquatic farm, the only one of its kind in the United States. On any given day, Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm is home to more than 20,000 seahorses and I’ve flown from Honolulu on the promise that I would get to interact with one.
Hawaii Magazine wrote about the seahorses: “The only aquarium in the United States where you can pet a seahorse is in Hawaii. We approach an area of tanks holding seahorses from all over the world. There’s the rare H. fisheri —so rare it doesn’t even have a common name—found only in the deep sea around the Hawaiian Islands, potbellied seahorses (H. abdominalis) from Australia that live up to their name and even the Pacific seahorse (H. ingens), one of the largest seahorse species in the world. I’m trying to soak it all in but I’m too excited, Milisen has led me back to one of the blue vats.
As instructed, I touch the tips of both of my fingers together, making a grate, and lower my hands into the water. Slowly, he coaxes a bright yellow female American seahorse up to the surface and eases her onto my index finger. She latches where my fingers connect, clinging like a newborn human baby might, her tail assertively looped as it sways back and forth. “Stay, stay, good horsey,” says Milisen. I watch her pectoral fins, on the side of her cheeks, flap rapidly as she balances upright in the water. Her gills pump water quickly. She’s so strange, so fragile, but her grip is firm. She’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and something I will never forget.”
The ‘Pet An Octopus Experience’ (just $30)
Kanaloa Octopus Farm: You can learn all about cephalopods (octopus and squid) at the unique Kanaloa Octopus Farm, where octopus and squid are sustainably raised for aquariums, research, and saltwater aquarium hobbyists. The facility is located right on the beach, where fresh seawater can be easily pumped into the breeding tanks. You can learn all about the process by booking one of the guided tours, which are offered every day at 10.00am and 2.00pm. You will have some time to interact with the octopuses and even feed them. Bookings are only done online, and each tour is restricted to 35 visitors, so you are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.
Overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution – all equally responsible for the tragic decline in octopus populations all over the world. At Kanaloa Octopus Farm, we strive to provide a sustainable source of live cephalopods.
The ‘Touch A Cloud (Forest) Experience’ (just $100 for up to 4 people)
About the Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary: “On the Big Island of Hawai’i, in the heart of an area known as Kaloko Mauka, is the privately owned 70-acre Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary. Located fifteen minutes from the Kona-Keahole Airport it is the most accessible cloud forest in Hawai’i.
Much of the sanctuary is still covered with native plants. In some designated areas of the property, a fascinating plethora of non-indigenous plants that are carefully managed have been added, enhancing the variety of fragrance and color.
The sanctuary abounds with ancient Koa, Ohia, over 100 varieties of bamboo, and gigantic tree ferns, some of which are 30 feet or more in height. The native forest contains many rare and endangered species which Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary is committed to protecting.
You can call book via a tour agency for $99 a person or book directly with the Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary for $99 for up to four people.
The ‘(Almost) Touch A Manta Ray (Snorkel) Experience’ (just $129)
There are quite a few ‘snorkel with manta rays’ tour guides in Kona. I will use as the company that my daughter prefers when she comes for her holiday visit.
This is called the (Almost) Touch A Manta Ray (Snorkel) Experience because manta rays have a natural oil protective layer on their bodies and if you touch them you will remove their protection.
You can find more ‘snorkel with manta rays’ tour guides at Yelp.
Fair Wind Evening Manta Ray Snorkel Adventure – Hula Kai Vessel | 1.5-hr Cruise* | Departs Sunset: Mantas are very gentle – no teeth, stingers or barbs. They are simply big and beautiful with wingspans that can exceed 15-feet in width! These “Gentle Giants” visit us nightly to feed on the plankton that is attracted by Hula Kai’s bright lighting.
Enjoy a short and comfortable five-minute boat ride to Manta Village – located near the Sheraton Keauhou. Once at the site, just after sunset, our professional guides will assist you into the water for an experience of a lifetime! You will witness the mantas up close as they grace the waters and feed on plankton.
The Manta Ray Snorkeling Adventure is recommended for experienced snorkelers. Participants must be able to swim, be comfortable in the ocean, and have prior snorkeling experience.