Submarine Tour and Tropical Gardens
After our adventurous day at Black Sand Beach and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, we decided to take it easy yesterday. We did the Atlantis Kona Submarine tour and then relaxed by the hotel pool. Today was our last day in Hawaii, but our flight wasn’t until later in the evening, so we made a few last stops, including Rainbow Falls and Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens.
Yesterday morning, we boarded the Atlantis Submarine. I’d been on a tour of submarines that had previously been used by the Navy, but this was the first time I had ever been on a functioning submarine. A little ferry boat took us from the dock to where the submarine was waiting out in the water. Once we arrived at the submarine, we climbed down the narrow ladder and took our seats in front of one of the port holes (windows). Once they finished the safety briefing, they initiated the dive sequence and before long, we were completely submerged under water.
For the first part of the tour, they took us by a large reef so we could see all of the fish who had made the reef their home, so we stayed around 60 to 70ft underwater. As we passed several different types of fish, the tour guides gave us various fun facts, one of which was that the fish didn’t look as vibrant as they often do in pictures because this deep into the ocean, some colors don’t come through as well. Once we passed the reef, we got to explore more of then open ocean, and they even took us passed as few shipwrecks.
Overall, the tour was a cool experience, if only because I got to saw that I rode on a submarine that reached a total depth of 109ft. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the fish were afraid of the submarine. Most of the fish kept their distance, which made seeing them a little difficult, and getting good pictures of them nearly impossible. There were one or two brave fish that did swim all the way up to the window, almost as if they were trying to show off. In the end though, it didn’t compare to the way I got to see fish up close and personal when snorkeling with the Na Pali Experience.
Today, we packed up all of our stuff, and then made our way to a few more destinations before catching our flight home. The first was Liliuokalani Park and Gardens. It is a public garden in the neighborhood and attempts to imitate a standard Japanese garden. It had a small tea house where they would perform a tea ceremony at certain times. It also had the traditional torii that are often used as gates to Japanese gardens and shrines. They even had several little bridges leading to other small islands or other sections of the garden. It was a pretty place, but paled in comparison to other parts of Hawaii or the gardens of Japan.
After we had our fill of the garden, we made our way to Rainbow Falls, which looks just as beautiful in person as it does in the pictures. Disappointingly, there was no rainbow, as the name might suggest, but that didn’t take away from the beauty of it at all. When you first arrive, there is a lookout where you can look down on the crater into which the waterfall flows. After, you can hike up to see the top of the falls, but the trees and angle make for a boring scene. The truly beautiful sight is from the bottom. Some people were being brave enough to go to the top and actually cross over the water to get a better view, but after my adventure on the volcano rock, I was in no mood to do anything else overly exciting.
We ended our Hawaiian adventure at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens. Since this was my first time being in a tropical climate, the botanical gardens was cool because I got to see plants that I would never be able to see at home. Thanks to my incredible sweetness, bugs absolutely love me, so I really wasn’t able to enjoy the botanical gardens to their fullest, because I spent a decent amount of time trying to swat all the bugs away, and still walked away with a few bug bites. Even so, it was an absolutely beautiful place, and surprisingly large. The beginning sucks because you walk down a very steep hill, and even worse you have to walk up it when you’re going to leave. However, once you reach the bottom, there are several different pathways that take you to various different parts of the garden, all of which have various types of plants.
Honestly, yesterday and today were not nearly as exciting as some of the other days, and I’m not sure i would ever make an effort to go to them again, but nonetheless they were still enjoyable, and made for a great wind down to an absolutely amazing vacation. Hawaii was an incredibly extraordinary place, so much so that it was often easy to forget that we were still in the United States. It has such a unique culture and was definitely worth the trip.