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Exploring the Big Island by Sky and Sea

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To understand the Big Island’s geography, take to the sea and skies around it. Head out to sea for an exploratory snorkel, stay above water on a paddleboard, or watch Kilauea's violent Ocean Entry, where lava meets the Pacific Ocean. Then leave the Big Island below and let a pilot fly you over Kilauea, above the Waipio Valley, and across lava flows that still leave scars in their path on the Big Island.
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Hilo, HI, HI, USA
Living in Honolulu, nothing feels better than to leave the City for a few days; even if it means heading to the North Shore of Oahu or another island for a short reprieve. On this particular occasion, I booked a ticket to the Big Island of Hawaii;...
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If you have the time next time you're in Hawaii, instead of just hanging on the beach or catching point breaks, charter a sailboat for a few days. Tons of boats will take you out of the Big Island or out of Lahaina on Maui—not too expensive if you...
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77-6479 Kilohana St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
Aquatic Edge holds multiday “swim vacations” on the Big Island. Make use of video analysis in your training, swim the Ironman course at Kailua Bay, and join an outing to the Kilauea volcano. From $595. (808) 331-1766.
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We stayed in Hilo—hot, wet, and tropical Hilo—in a rented, Japanese-style house. Since I'm an astronomy nerd, I had to take the tour up to the observatories on Mauna Kea—way up on the top of the Big Island. The van trip was fun and educational,...
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Kealakekua Bay, South Kona, HI 96704, USA
Snorkeling and diving in the bay is awesome. Many colorful fish, corals, and the bonus this trip was seeing the dolphins swimming right next to us and our boat....
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73-200 Kupipi St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
For a challenge, scuba divers should seek out the sunken Beechcraft airplane that lies near the Kona airport. The plane rests at a depth of about 115 feet, which makes it a little more challenging (deeper) dive than some other sites in the area....
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79-7539 Mamalahoa Hwy, Kealakekua, HI 96750, USA
On a clear, almost cloudless morning (typical of most days on the Big Island), I sprinted to the Kona Boys Stand Up Paddle boarding Beach Shack conveniently located near the hotel I was staying at, smack on the beachfront of the Marriott King...
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68-1400 Mauna Lani Dr, Waimea, HI 96743, USA
(Note: Google insists this is Kamuela, it is Kohala) The lava coast of Kohala on the Big Island is dramatic. Waves dash against the black rocks relentlessly until eons from now they will be sand. True, there are fewer white-sand beaches per square...
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78-7130 Kaleiopapa St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
You're floating, face down, hands tightly gripping the pad on the boom. Lights from the boat illuminate the sea floor some 30 feet down, and you've got other snorkelers to each side of you. Well below, a professional diver/videographer records the...
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Keauhou Bay, Kahaluu-Keauhou, HI 96740, USA
The most colorful of all the state fishes also has the most spectacular name: Hawaii’s Humuhumunukunukuapuaa. While the name is unusual, the Humuhumu (for short) is fairly easy to spot at any good snorkeling beach in the Hawaiian Islands. The one...
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Waipio Valley, Hawaii 96727, USA
Seeing the Big Island by air will have you sitting on the edge your seat anticipating what will turn up around the next mountain or valley. Waipio Valley, one of the most beautiful areas on the Island, is best seen from the air to really get a...