Hawaii Trip: Manta Ray night snorkeling in Kona

Hawaii Trip: Manta Ray night snorkeling in Kona

If you’re looking for adventure in Hawaii, here’s an excursion for you. Night snorkeling with the Manta Rays in Kona is something you’ll remember for a long time. Snorkel and dive groups could care less about fish and turtles during this tour. What are they searching for? Everyone has their eyes peeled. They’re waiting to see 12-foot wide Manta Rays.

See this majestic Manta Ray clip…

Snorkel with the Manta Rays at night

The tour boat sets out for one of two locations, based on recent Manta sighting reports. Manta rays hang out at the Sheraton or near the airport. 

Night snorkeling with Manta Rays in Kona is the best snorkel on the Big Island. Add it to your Hawaii adventure list.

Up to 30 manta rays may be seen in a 1-2 hour trip. Dolphins and seals have been known to appear on the tour as well.

Night snorkeling with Manta Rays in Kona is the best snorkel on the Big Island. Add it to your Hawaii adventure list.

 

Snorkelers meet the crew in Kailua-Kona. In addition to transportation and snorkel gear, the crew provides a surfboard for everyone to hold on to, so the snorkeling group floats together. The surfboard has a light on the bottom, which attracts plankton. The Manta Rays come out to feed on the plankton, and the snorkel group gets a show.

Night snorkeling with Manta Rays in Kona is the best snorkel on the Big Island. Add it to your Hawaii adventure list.

The Mantas on this trip were shy at first, but there were plenty of fish and eel to enjoy during the wait

At first, the manta rays were gliding on the bottom of the ocean floor. This was very close to the divers hanging out in a circle formation on the ground. They call this the flashlight “campsite” because they shine light on the mantas from below.

Night snorkeling with Manta Rays in Kona is the best snorkel on the Big Island. Add it to your Hawaii adventure list.

The mantas came closer to the surface of the water. They ate Plankton and did somersaults near snorkelers. One did a few backflips within inches of the group. It was stunning and peaceful.

Night snorkeling with Manta Rays in Kona is the best snorkel on the Big Island. Add it to your Hawaii adventure list.

This experience is based on Big Island Divers night manta ray snorkel. They provided snacks and hot chocolate on the way back. If you’re looking for dinner, Kona Brewery is a crowd-pleaser nearby.

Hawaii Trip: Take the Hula Daddy Kona Coffee Tour

Hawaii Trip: Take the Hula Daddy Kona Coffee Tour

It feels a little less like Hawaii and more like a tropical rain forest on the misty countryside of the Big IslandThis is because the trees you’ll find on the Hula Daddy Kona Coffee Tours thrive in humidity.  

Here’s a look at the farm…

Frizzy hair aside, the Hula Daddy coffee farm is very serene and the view from the balcony is breathtaking.

Coffee lovers visiting the Big Island: check out the Hula Daddy Kona Coffee Tours.

Love coffee? Scroll to the bottom for another tour recommendation… 

 

Tour the Hula Daddy Kona Coffee Farm

The reason many people love Kona beans is because the taste is fruity, flavorful and best of all, not bitter. Like vineyard tours in Sonoma, learning about harvesting and roasting coffee in Hawaii is quite interesting. The Hula Daddy’s Kona Coffee Tour on the Big Island is a great place to learn about coffee. It’s a very long process as coffee goes from tree to bean to coffee in your cup. That’s why Kona coffee runs about 40 bucks a pound.

Coffee lovers visiting the Big Island: check out the Hula Daddy Kona Coffee Tours.

The Hula Daddy Kona coffee tour includes samples of coffee, access to the farm, gecko sightings, and a visit to the test kitchen. Depending on the day, you may get to meet the official coffee roaster as well. Believe it or not, one single lady gets all the roasting done. For the entire coffee line. For the entire year. That’s amazing. When asked how she prepares for her job, the roaster said she has to limit spicy foods. They throw off the balance of her taste buds.

Here’s a fact…Each tree produces one pound of coffee.

Chocolate covered coffee beans and free samples of “coffee tea” are available on the tour. You can also try a “super healthy, full of antioxidants” tea produced from coffee. It was informative and quick, saving plenty of time for drinking coffee on the porch in a rocking chair.

Coffee lovers visiting the Big Island: check out the Hula Daddy Kona Coffee Tours.

Hula Daddy Kona coffee tour RSVP

At the time of this review, Hula Daddy was giving free coffee tours throughout the day. Things may have changed. In early September, 2017 Hula Daddy began requiring advance reservations and the 45 minute tour now has a charge of $10 a person.

On a cruise? It’s an easy trip…

When you get into port, grab an Uber to tour Hula Daddy, about 20 minutes away.

Coffee lovers visiting the Big Island: check out the Hula Daddy Kona Coffee Tours.

You cannot miss this experience in Hawaii if you are a coffee lover. It’s a charming place. It’s beautiful. And it’s different than the other adventures you’ll have on the Big Island. Plus, it’s the only place you can get their coffee other their online shop.

After one coffee tour, you might be hooked. Also check out the Greenwell Farms Kona Coffee Tour and the Kona Brewery Tour, if you like beer.

Hawaii Trip: Pizza, beer and the Kona Brewery Tour

Hawaii Trip: Pizza, beer and the Kona Brewery Tour

Take the Kona Brewery Tour or stop by the brewpub for a pizza and beer. It’s a definite to-do when visiting the Big Island list. It’s in the beautiful Kailua Kona town on the west side of Hawaii’s Big Island – a busy area where you can stop and take a break on your way to or from a day trip. 

There’s a tip to skip the wait line at the bottom of this post… 

Mmm… the Kona beer sampler

One thing almost everyone agrees on: the beer is great.

Kona’s fruit-infused beers have hints of lychee, pineapple, banana and coconut. IPAs are available, but so are plenty of mild options for people who don’t like hoppy beers.

Planning a Hawaii trip on the Big Island? Here’s tips for visiting Kona Brewery, tour, pizza and beer sampler details.

The sampler is a great way to get acquainted with the beers at Kona. The brewery offers four samples for ~$10. Many brews are only available on-site. Some of the most memorable are the smooth reds, fruity IPAs, coconut porter, lychee ale, and banana-bread-flavored porter.

Planning a Hawaii trip on the Big Island? Here’s tips for visiting Kona Brewery, tour, pizza and beer sampler details.

Wild pizza combos

Kona Brewery is highly recommended by beer-enthusiasts and tourists, although some online reviews share that some menu items are hit-or-miss. Those people obviously didn’t try the pizza.

Pizza is an art form at Kona Brewery.

The crust is prepared with spent grain, which makes it a thick base to hold all the toppings, and also gives it a chewy bite. You can opt for a customized pie, but it’s pretty obvious they’ve done the pizza-topping-vetting for you. The arrangement of ingredients are somewhat unexpected. It’s like they took other things on their menu – sandwiches, salads, burgers, and seafood – and turned them into pizzas. 

The daily pizza slice of the day + salad combo is perfect for lunch.

Many pizzas include their beer, Hawaii’s favorite meat (pork) and the most popular nut on the island (the macadamia). 

Here are some interesting pizza options: 

  • Ka´u Pesto (with a macadamia nut pesto sauce)
  • Thai Chicken or Shrimp
  • Wild Mushroom (with chevre)
  • Kulana Bacon Cheeseburger
  • Chicken Bacon Ranch
  • Greek (like the salad, but on pizza dough)
  • BBQ chicken pizza (with a homemade Black Sand Porter BBQ sauce)

Kona Brewery Tours + growlers to-go

Kona Brewery tours are available daily. Beer to-go is available at the Growler Shack. If you’re going for total ambiance, check out the live music nights. Evenings are nice and warm in Kona. If you’re traveling to Oahu, you can check out the the Koko Marina Pub in Oahu. 

If you like tours, you might also like the Hula Daddy Kona coffee tour. 

Tip: how to skip the wait

Kona Brewery can be busy, because people like popular things and good beer. At the same time, it’s very welcoming to tourists. Cut down on the wait time and opt to sit inside, where you can sit near the kitchen to have a personal show of pizza dough as it’s tossed in the air, stretched, and topped. If you’re willing to wait, sit outside and enjoy the breeze from under umbrellas on the 2,000 square foot porch. Warning: the local birds seem to LOVE pizza and aren’t afraid of people.

Approaching the 10 year anniversary, Kona Brewery plans to move into a larger brewpub next door in 2018.

Looking for another Big Island activity? Take a Kona coffee tour at Hula Daddy or Greenwells.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm near Portland Oregon

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm near Portland Oregon

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm near Portland, Oregon is worth a daytrip from the city. They have tulips in every color of the rainbow. But that’s not the best part. Photographing the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn (near Portland, Oregon) is one of my favorite Spring activities. It’s a great backdrop for Easter and Spring family photos.

Planning a Summer trip to Portland? Don’t miss the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm near Portland Oregon. It’s a prime spot for photography and taking family pictures. Looking for more to do in Portland, OR? Ultimate Visitor Guide for Portland is available from sipbitego.com.

Plus, there’s also a vineyard on site with free wine tastings! Plus, there craft vendors, kids activities (many free), paintball, and a flower themed gift shop.

Planning a Summer trip to Portland? Don’t miss the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm near Portland Oregon. It’s a prime spot for photography and taking family pictures. Looking for more to do in Portland, OR? Ultimate Visitor Guide for Portland is available from sipbitego.com.

If you’re down for carnival-type food (fries, sausages, etc), you can purchase lunch there. Otherwise, bring food and set up a picnic in the garden or outdoor tables.

Planning a Summer trip to Portland? Don’t miss the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm near Portland Oregon. It’s a prime spot for photography and taking family pictures. Looking for more to do in Portland, OR? Ultimate Visitor Guide for Portland is available from sipbitego.com.

On a trip to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm you’ll want to bring your camera and rain boots, even on a beautiful day. It rains frequently in the area and the tulips fields become muddy.

Planning a Summer trip to Portland? Don’t miss the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm near Portland Oregon. It’s a prime spot for photography and taking family pictures. Looking for more to do in Portland, OR? Ultimate Visitor Guide for Portland is available from sipbitego.com.

Don’t miss the Tulips 101 post to learn how to keep tulips fresh for a whole week!

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about the tulip farm!

Does it snow in Portland, Oregon in December?

Does it snow in Portland, Oregon in December?

Does it snow in Portland, Oregon?

Yes. Yes. Yes. The heat is on, I’m draped in a green and white check scarf, and there’s snow all over the ground in Portland. Last year I missed it due to a trip back East, but this year I can confirm: it definitely snows in Portland, Oregon in December!

PORTLAND WEATHER IN DECEMBER

This video is the first snow of the 2016 Winter season, captured on 12/8/16. Usually in December and January. Since the Portland flood videos I shared on YouTube last year were popular, I’ve been taking Winter photos of Portland, Oregon to share with you…  

The first snow of December 2016

It accumulated quickly! In less than two hours I was able to make a little tiny snowman on a balcony in the Pearl District, which is in the NW area of PDX. There was a ton of wind, and his Oregon wine cork tree tipped over when I went to check on him….

Make your own DIY MINI SNOWMAN

Moving to Portland from San Francisco, this was the first snow I’ve seen in a while. So, naturally, I had to see if it would stick to make a snowman. I’m pretty happy with my little snow guy.

Want your own?

Here are tips to make your own DIY mini snowman with household items:

  • Eyes = whole peppercorns
  • Scarf = braided yarn (like a real scarf, right?)
  • Nose = carrot
  • Buttons = q-tips or whole peppercorns
  • Mittens = flowers
  • Hat = painted cotton ball (thanks for the tip on Facebook, Margaret!)
  • Tree = wine cork + Christmas tree branch
  • Garland = make your own garland with glue, circle punch outs, and string

 

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The best part of snow? It means the Starbucks gingerbread latte is in season. The worst part of the snow? I don’t feel like walking to Starbucks in this weather! If you make a mini snowman, I’d love to check it out. Leave a link below or tag me on Instagram @sipbitego.

Hope you enjoyed the photos and videos from NW Pearl District of PDX!

Wine camping quotes and gift ideas

Wine camping quotes and gift ideas

Imagine you just arrived at a woodsy campsite and started unpacking the car. Would you be more disappointed to find out there is no tent, or no wine?

This is one camping problem I wouldn’t want to be dealing with in the middle of the woods. Although it would be a bummer to sleep in the car, I’d take the wine over a tent. If you can relate, you’ll enjoy my collection of funny wine camping quotes + gift ideas for people who love camping and wine.

In my opinion, being fully stocked with wine is more valuable than having a tent. After all, a tent can still leak! A bottle of wine will be perfect all night. 

I’d pack my favorite campfire pairing: a smoky red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon from California, to go with gooey s’mores.

 

creative camping and wine giftS 

Basically flasks for wine, these plastic wine container bags can be used to mask labels for wine tastings. They also come in handy at the holidays when you open multiple bottles of expensive wine and have “leftovers” to keep fresh in an airtight container over a few days.

The only type of bear I want to see while camping is the one that’s sticking out of my wine bottle. These cute woodland themed wine bottle stoppers with a bear, moose and deer, are a unique wine gift for the woodsy-type.

When visiting wine country, don’t forget to pack reusable wine travel bags. They are so thin and lightweight, you might as well leave them in your luggage at all times, just in case. Having your souvenir wine arrive in one piece? Priceless.

Traveling with real wine glasses while camping is rather complicated and dangerous and using a solo cup on a pricey bottle of vino is dissapointing. Fortunately, there are options for people who don’t want to break wine glasses! Recently, in exchange for feedback, I tested the best unbreakable wine glasses I’ve tried yet, by a company called TaZa. I have previous experience owning GoVino plastic wine glasses years ago, and in my opinion, TaZa’s were more like real wine glasses because they have a comfortable edge to sip from, vs GoVino which felt a bit uncomfortable with a sharp edge on the rim of the glass.

If you’re looking for a handy gift for wine lovers and campers, check out these unbreakable stemless wine glasses by TaZa. They are so beautiful I can’t believe they are plastic. A set of plastic wine glasses make for a creative bridal shower gift or wedding gift for friends that love to go camping. They are also dishwasher safe and can be used for romantic picnics and outdoor patio drinking.

Don’t like bugs? Then you would probably hate finding them in your wine. Campers who don’t like bugs will appreciate this bug net wine cover but I’m just wondering if I can order a life-size one to sleep in when camping!

The hands-free wine holder necklace is one of the most popular accessories I see fellow wine lovers sporting at wine festivals. Not only is it handy for wine tastings, it’s a cute gift for someone who loves to talk with their hands or drink wine while cooking.

Maybe it’s easy to juggle the first glass of wine at a picnic, but by the second, it’s time to put the wine down inbetween sips. Backyard wine drinkers know what I’m talking about. If you want to keep your hands free, check out these outdoor wine bottle holder yard stakes.

If you’re good at remembering to bring reusable bags to the grocery store, you’ll love this new way to transport wine for road trips, picnics and parties. This insulated tote bag makes for a housewarming gift, too.

If you own those popular collapsible seats, this wine glass holder for outdoor chairs will help you stay hands free while juggling your meal campside. It clips right on the arm rest so your hands are free to roast marshmallows.

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