Attention Snorkelers

For a treat, and as a celebration of my husband’s retirement we splurged and booked 5 days at the Waikoloa Village, Kona side of the Big Island. We were staying in the farthest building on the campus, The Ocean Towers. Our partial ocean view room was a full view of their snorkeling lagoon, the reason we came. I am sure every view is wonderful because the gardens and lawns are kept impeccably. (HINT: If you want a cheaper stay agree to hear the 2-3 hour talk on timeshares. I was incredibly flattered that they thought I would live 30 more years to complete my contract. Ha ha)

Built in 1988 with 1,240 rooms, it was constructed at a cost of 360 million dollars. Originally a Hyatt Regency, it is now a Hilton Grand Vacation property. There is a tram/railroad train that carries passengers to their towers and to the main lobby. Very much like Disneyland. There is also a boat (albeit on a track) that goes from place to place and back again. If you go to dinner at one of the various restaurants on property it is fun to ride the boat back after dark. There is the sunset, the lagoon and many sparkling lights. Think “It’s a Small World After All” for grown-ups.  There are many arched bridges over the various canals and water features. Our favorite bridge was over the mouth to the lagoon. The manmade lagoon with a massive waterfall at the far end features a sandy beach for sitting and several side lagoons. The lagoon on the other side of the bridge is open to the ocean so it is filled with a plethora of sea life that come and go.

We saw sea turtles, eels, rays, many colors of parrotfish, tangs, sergeants, needlefish, boxfish and more. The first day we swam outside of the sheltered lagoon toward the ocean. And farther out I discovered that the sign back on the bridge which read: “Warning Riptide!”, was apparently accurate. After grasping rocks during the outward surges, I made my way back to safer waters on the inward surges. We both had to admit the open choppy water had less to see and poorer visibility due to the churning of the waves. So, if you come here, you might want to stay on the inner lagoon side of the bridge where there is no turbulence.

For fun there are stand-up boards, kayaks and paddle boats to rent. We stuck with snorkeling. I wear a thin lycra body suit for sun protection and as a perk I stay warmer longer. It was easy to spend 2 hours observing life under the sea. I found it an almost Zen experience, albeit with my breathing sounding like Darth Vader was over my shoulder. It is very shallow for the most part.

There are many swimming pool areas. The one nearest our tower had a lazy river of sorts (not a huge current). And there were 3 waterslides to enter in. On the farthest pool one end was a larger water slide and the other end a kiddie pool with a beach. In between is a dolphin habitat with about 10 dolphins, and at feeding time the dolphins do tricks right next to the beach bar.

Hither and yon there are hot tubs. At one point we were in a tub with 2 other couples our age. A pre-teen and friend walked over to hop in and when they looked at us, mind you in horror, they promptly left. There was lots of room for more…but ewww, you could hear their thoughts, “Old People Soup”. Just as well, we were the ones who needed the heat on our old joints.

Sally Franz and her third husband live on the Olympic Peninsula. She has two daughters, a stepson, and three grandchildren. Sally is the author of several humor books including Scrambled Leggs: A Snarky Tale of Hospital Hooey, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Menopauseo, and Wired Sal’s Parody Songs and Skits. To see Sally Franz perform these songs, go to her YouTube Channel


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