With summer just around the corner, we know your thoughts are consumed with upcoming vacation plans and wanderlust daydreams. Whether your travel plans are near or far, take a break this week and join us as we #InstaTravel with our friends at SwimVacation to paradise in Kona, Hawaii. Today is the first day of this amazing weeklong trip and Heather Perry from SwimVacation is here to tell us all it! Discover true paradise and follow our hawaiian adventures on Instagram at #KONASWIM. Mahalo!
By Heather Perry, SwimVacation Guide and Photographer
Eventually, everything ends up in the ocean. If you follow Ocean Minded on Instagram (@beoceanminded), you’ll see that powerful sentence on their profile page. It rang true for me the second I read it. True in the ecological and environmental sense, and for me and everyone at SwimVacation, true on a very personal level. No matter what is going on in my life, eventually and inevitably, I always end up in the sea. It’s where I find balance and restoration; it’s where I find joy. It’s not always an easy place to be, but it’s where my body and soul wants to be, and when I’m submerged I feel like I’ve come home.
I’m Heather Perry, underwater photographer and swimming guide for SwimVacation. We are a company providing all-inclusive, small-tour swimming vacations in tropical places. In the British Virgin Islands, we live aboard a sailing yacht for a week. In our newest destination, Kona, Hawaii, we will be living in a water front Hale amongst native Hawaiians and their ocean-minded culture. SwimVacation is more than just a vacation in the waves; our trips are about paring down the clutter in your life for a while and helping you uncover your true potential. It’s about unlocking the part of you that brings a smile to your face while the ocean breeze washes over you; it’s about proving to yourself that you can swim 3 miles and sharing the best parts of yourself with the world. We cater to people who find the best of themselves in the sea.
When I met Bob Tanner, the Marketing Director at Ocean Minded, at a trade show last year, it became clear that SwimVacation and Ocean Minded could find synergy in our connection with and appreciation of the sea. Last night I took a trip down memory lane and re-read my first blog post from just almost a year ago, about my preparations to scout Kona for SwimVacation. At the time I could only imagine, but I remember wondering if and how Hawaii would fit into our roster of swimming destinations. When I arrived in Hawaii, not only was I greeted by beautiful weather and the deep blue Pacific Ocean, I found a culture of very ocean-minded people; I found home. Hawaiians are folks whose veins the ocean drives a pulse. The Pacific is an intrinsic part of their lives; it surrounds them. Men, women and children alike, all swim, surf, SUP (standup paddle board), canoe, free dive, and in between the various ocean-borne activities they sit along the shore. Their conversations are carried on while looking out into a vast, rhythmic expanse; the Pacific is part of their family.
What was most important to me upon my return from Kona was that the indelible ocean-minded culture of Hawaii be a major character in this SwimVacation experience. One year has passed and SwimVacation President, Hopper McDonough and I have worked hard to put together what will be an outstanding and rejuvenating adventure for our guests. We found a modern yet traditional home designed by a local architect, to be our base of operations and this spectacular Hale celebrates Hawaii’s tradition of open air living along the water’s edge. The beautiful structure is built exclusively with sustainable hard woods, harvested from less than 50 miles away. For nourishment, we found the perfect private chef duo in Clare and Dan Bobo who will prepare the finest and freshest ingredients Hawaii has to offer from local fishermen and farmers’ markets. We will have local lifeguard, Ryan McGuckin, join us as our guide, SUP with us and be our man on the ground sharing his exciting stories of a life spent in Hawaii. We’ve also forged relationships with other local providers in our effort to give our guests an authentic Hawaiian experience. As the colors, flavors and spirit of this place seep into us, we’ll embark into the Pacific with nothing but suits, caps and goggles; simple and pure for an unfettered connection with this ocean and all it has to offer.
It’s mid May here in our home state of Maine. Spring was here about a week ago but it must have gotten tired of our desperate exuberance for it, and today felt more like fall. I’m wearing a few more layers than I’d like as I sit here in my studio, preparing for my second swimming trip to Kona. A year ago I had no idea what was ahead of me and today I am antsy and ready to get back.
As you can see, it made perfect sense to collaborate with Ocean Minded for our first SwimVacation experience in Hawaii. Their sea celebrating philosophy is a perfect fit with ours and they were kind enough to send along some cool goodies for our guests upon their arrival. So here we come Hawaii; here we come Pacific! Like Ocean Minded, we’re ready to “Live, Protect, Respect” everything you have to offer us and “swim, relax, repeat” as we do best at SwimVacation. I already feel like a week won’t be long enough.