Hawaii's Big Island is big on adventure. From the world's greatest night dives to unidentifiable sea critters, David Espinosa gives you the inside scoop on what to expect underwater in Hawaii. Plan your own trip and check out the photos in our Diver's Guide to Big Island Diving.
Wearing long johns under ski pants and a thick parka, I feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Which would be fine if I were preparing to bomb down a Colorado mountain on a snowboard. But I’m in Hawai’i, where the temperature at my ocean-view condo at 8 a.m. was 82 degrees F
I might look puffy, but I’m glad for the extra layers, bundled against the 60 mph winds trying to sweep me off the 14,000-foot peak of Hawai’i’s Mauna Kea volcano. Here above the clouds I can see to the back of beyond, and farther still.
I tear my eyes from the view at the top of the world and look closer to see a field of alien-looking satellite dishes, gleaming research stations, and a handful of cars slowly making their way up the dirt road we just navigated in our 4x4. Some people depart in the dark of night in order to make it up for the sunrise; we took the path of lesser resistance and left at 8 a.m. instead — driving 14,000 feet up a mostly unpaved, unlit road is too much adventure for me.
Ask 100 residents of Hawai’i what they love most about the island, and you’ll get 100 different answers. “Every day is a new adventure,” says photographer, dive buddy and personal guide to the island, Masa Ushioda, who moved to the Big Island 12 years ago. “My favorite day was snowboarding Mauna Kea in the morning, followed by snorkeling a reef in the afternoon while being serenaded by singing whales.”
Sadly I can’t re-create his favorite day — I see snow on the ground, but certainly not enough to snowboard on, and humpback season is nearly at an end — so I’ll have to create my own. Thankfully I’ve got 10 more days and an island full of amazing adventures to try.