Annnnd the whale watching tour. Because we happen to travel in a giant pack, we got our very own boat, which turned out to be super convenient: when a whale jumped on the opposite side of the boat, you could throw elbows or toss kids out of the way to get your shot.
The whales put on a serious show for us. We saw several, including a few mommy/baby pairs, which are just my favorite. The best sighting - a big ol' whale breaching literally next to us - wasn't captured by Jess' camera (he should've thrown an elbow?). But the girls saw it. So amazing. One whale slid right up next to us, a big white, speckly mass sliding just beneath the surface of the water. Pretty magical. I love that the girls got to experience this, the magnitude of such an animal. So huge and majestic. And maybe a little teeny bit scary when they're like ten feet away.
Side note - that murky air isn't a filter or a camera glitch. They were experiencing "vog," or volcano fog. Locals would ask us how we were coping with their vog. We all live in the Salt Lake Valley's horrible inversion, which is maybe a million times worse than this so called air pollution, so we were like YOUR AIR IS SO PURE AND DELIGHTFUL CAN WE HAVE SOME MORE.
Oh, major props to Aunt Stephani who brought mini binocs for the kids. Does not get any cuter. Or more fun. When you ask the girls what their favorite part of Hawaii is, it's always a toss up between the beach and the whales. And no wonder. :)