Big Island, Hawaii – Mele Kalikimaka

A very big thank you to Chris, Dan’s dad, for surprising us with an offer to join him, Beth and Alex in Hawaii for Christmas. Initially we had booked to go from New Zealand to Argentina but after Chris offered tickets to Hawaii, we changed plans deciding to fly from Auckland to the Big Island.


Flying to Hawaii from New Zealand time wise is the strangest flight in the world crossing just one time zone, the date line, flying to Hawaii means going back in time 23 hours.


Poppa Peterson, just completed his dream home over looking Kona harbor. We we’re so happy to be able to christen it with him and the rest of the family. Hawaii was a great breath of fresh air for us. Traveling, packing, moving. Changing languages, currencies, time zones. Waking up in a strange land every day, it’s amazing and we wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it’s also tiring. Hawaii was a great dose of the familiar.

View of Christmas Eve sunset from the porch of the new house.

This year for Christmas, we decided that instead of gifts, we would exchange experiences. So our time in Hawaii, was mostly punctuated by the adventures we had.


Beth, took the whole family on a helicopter tour of the volcanic side of the island. Kristin and I hadn’t ever been in a helicopter, so that we really cool. It was amazing to fly over miles of black volcanic lands seeing the changing landscape over time.



Chris bought us a whale watching expedition. Capt. Dave McSweeney is one of the worlds leading researchers of humpback whale vocalizations. It was awesome to get to learn about their research while searching for whales and dolphins. We saw humpbacks, bottlenose dolphins and Hawaiian spinner dolphins.


Kristin and Dan got everyone in the water for a nighttime scuba/snorkel adventure with Kona’s very famous manta rays. The manta night dive consistently ranks as one of the top scuba adventures in the world. This year landing at #7, you might remember #1 from earlier in the trip.

This dive takes place off the coast of Kona, near the airport in a “plankton corral”, where the ocean current forces the plankton up against a lava rock wall. The lights attract the plankton, and the mantas swoop in to collect an easy meal.


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