This was the day that I realized blogging was going to be hard.  There is so much going on, and it is so much fun, it’s hard to carve an hour out of the day to stop and write.  We got up fairly early and had a nice breakfast buffet at the Tere Nui restaurant at the resort, then there were 4 boats waiting to take us on our snorkeling excursion.

We got on the first boat and met our guide, Steven, who was hilarious, silly, and made the entire day incredible.  He serenaded us on his Ukulele, told terrible jokes (yes, worse than mine), and talked to us a lot.  The first stop was on a sandbar where the water was about 4-5 feet deep where we could swim with the rays.  We were excited to see that in addition to the rays, there were also a couple of lemon sharks swimming around.  I took a bajillion photos, here are just a few.

After the rays, we went a short distance further around the island to a coral reef area for the second part of the snorkeling excursion.  I got some great videos on our GoPro, which I will share when I have more bandwidth, but here are some highlights.

After we finished at the reef, we set out for deeper water to swim with… sharks. Amy and I were both pretty excited about this, even more excited than when our guide pointed out a rare coconut fish (it was really just a coconut floating in the water, but everyone jumped to look when he called it out).  The water was pretty deep, and it seemed like a good idea to give these sharks some space. Some of them were 8 feet long or more, but they were beautiful.

We were all thoroughly exhausted by this point, so we made our way over to one of the Motu (one of the small islands making up the ring around the main one).  On the island we were greeted by some traditional polynesian dancers who where very sweet.  We ate off woven grass plates on a picnic table in the water, shopped at their little table of island crafts, and to top it off Amy slipped on her flip flop and ripped her foot open on some coral.  Oops.

When we got back to the hotel we had a little time to relax, but then had to head over to the beach behind the main restaurant for a Luau!  In the open air porch as we entered there was a shop set up where we could buy traditional island goods, then we made our way down to the beach where we sat around short square tables.  I decided to leave my food prejudices behind and try everything from raw fish to tuna steaks and loved every last bite.  It was probably my favorite meal of the entire trip.

After dinner there was a very elaborate polynesia dance performance.  The music was fun and the dancers were amazing.  At one point one of the male and female dancers were doing a solo and her skirt fell off and everyone whistled appreciatively, but she smiled and the show went on.  Towards the end of the show they pulled people up from the audience and made them dance with everyone and it was pretty funny.  Amy got targeted and pulled up and she did a wonderful job emulating the dancers.  Afterwords, the dancers posed for pictures with all the guests, which was nice of them considering how tired they all looked.

This will probably be my favorite day of the trip, even if i got a little burned.  I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire day!