It’s always hard to pick favorites when it comes to vacations. But I can say that one of the highlights from our trip to Hawaii was snorkeling for the first — and second! — times.Captain Cook Monument.Our first snorkeling excursion was with an organized tour, the Fair Wind Morning Snorkel Cruise & BBQ at Kealakekua Bay, also known as Captain Cook’s Cove. The cruise departed at 9 a.m. and returned around 1:30 p.m. and included breakfast, lunch and equipment (snorkeling mask and fins).Outfitted with fins.I was a little bit nervous as I had never snorkeled before and wasn’t sure how easily I would be able to pick up on the whole breathing-under-water thing. But it wasn’t that difficult once I got over my initial anxiety. The water was really clear and we saw all kinds of cool fish that didn’t seem to mind a bunch of humans following them around and staring.My sunglasses (purchased during our first trip to Target) match my bathing suit!Also, we saw two whales! Or maybe the same whale two different times. Humpback whales migrating south from Alaska. This was not while snorkeling, but on the way to/from the bay.Whale tail.The other highlight of the snorkel cruise was that the boat was equipped with two high dives and water slides. Kail did both and I did neither. I was worried about my bathing suit coming off on impact. Also I have an irrational fear of jumping into water and hitting my head and dying. And while we decided not to purchase the DVD containing footage of the entire cruise from “Video John,” I did manage to get a few good above-water photos:Kail jumps off the high dive. He did not hit his head.Our second snorkeling outing was on our own at a place called “Two Step” at Honaunau Bay. We rented masks and fins for the day and went for a dip after visiting a national park right next door, which I’ll write about later. It’s called Two Step because there are two rock ledges that form steps to easily get into and out of the ocean. Unless you are me, in which case you will flail about in a most ungraceful manner while wave after wave knocks you into the rocks until Kail and a stranger hoist you out.You can’t tell from the photo, but the waters were very choppy that day.Easing oneself into calm, clear waters off a boat is much preferred to floundering into strong waves off a rocky shore. A volcanic rocky shore, might I add. Surprisingly, I escaped mostly unscathed — and my one scathe (can that be used as a noun?) came not during my attempt to exit the water, but earlier, when I got too close to some coral near the shore and scraped against it with my leg.I’m looking forward to my next snorkeling excursion and am now even considering taking scuba diving certification lessons — something I had previously ruled out as impossible/too scary. I’m still a little bit uneasy about the whole open-water situation (at one point during our second snorkeling mission I thought, as I peered into the dark waters, What if a shark face suddenly popped out at me?) but it’s something that Kail really wants to do.Have you ever snorkeled or scuba-dived?