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Date:7/25/2014 8:26:22 AM
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The second day on Hawaii ...
… we will visit someplace a bit different. We are headed for the Seahorse Farm near Kona where they have over 2000 seahorses and are currently breeding over 15 different species characteristically unique shape, from the horsey looking head down to the long, curling tail. Then there’s the seahorses’ covering, a delicate skin stretched over bony plates rather than regular scales.

Before we begin our seahorse adventure, we need to make something purrfectly clear: Seahorses are for viewing, NOT for snacking.

Once inside we discover that Seahorses come in a variety of colors, with some species even changing their hue to match their surroundings. The Seahorse is a truly unique marine animal. At first glance, one might not even know a seahorse is a fish, with their unique upright posture. They have a distinctive long, tube-shaped snout with a prehensile tail that grabs onto corals and plants. Their jaws are small and only allow enough room to suck in small pieces of food. Seahorses are part of the family Syngnathidae, which also includes Sea Dragons and Pipefish. There are currently thought to be 80 species of seahorses found throughout the world’s oceans. They range in size from just over 1cm for pygmy seahorses and up to 14 inches for the Pot Belly Seahorse. This seahorse farm was the first one in the world and is the only one in the US. The guided tour lasts about an hour, the guide showing us various tanks where we watch them swim, hook tails and dance. We learn that sea horses mate for life. Beautiful, fascinating and mysterious, the seahorse is a fish like no other.

Next we visit Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo, which is very unique; it is the only natural tropical rainforest zoo in the United States. It is home to more than 80 species of animals! First we take a regal walk amidst peacocks in tropical gardens. We then head for encloses where we see the binturong, giant anteaters, 'Io (Hawaiian hawk), white Bengal tiger, and lemurs galore. There are lush and exotic plants providing perches for beautifully colored birds. We enjoy our picnic lunch which we eat on benched tables; after which we enjoy ice cream bars from the zoo snack shop.

And now, off to the beach! Many Big Island beaches are among the best you will find anywhere, period. This is especially true along the sunny west coast. Mauna Kea - Kauna'oa Beach is a beautiful, long crescent of fine white sand with crystal-clear water; one of the favorite beaches on the Big Island. It offers excellent swimming and snorkeling, and has full facilities. We throw our towels onto the sand, strip down to bathing suits, and race into the water … warm, soothing, and a great place to unwind.

We choose to linger until the sun begins to drop below the horizon. Awesome. The colors are unlike anything we’ve yet seen on our Round the World Cruise. This was definitely worth waiting for. See pics of seahorses on my page.
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