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It was with a heavy heart that I said aloha (goodbye!) to Oahu. I absolutely loved my time there, and I didn’t know when I would see my lovely hosts Wim and Dave again. But my blues were tempered by the fact that Heather and I were en route to say aloha (hello!) to a new isle in paradise… The Big Island!

Big IslandI love airports!

Oahu Airport

Big Island
Big Island

Thanks to a world-famous manta ray dive, a super active volcano, and the fact that a family friend has taken up residence there, it was a no-brainer that I would hit up Hawaii’s biggest and youngest island. When I arrived I had little idea of what to expect, and after nearly a week I felt I almost understood the place a bit less. Out of all the islands I visited, this was certainly the hardest to wrap my head around.

The thing about The Big Island is — get this — it’s really quite large. I often found myself frustrated by how unpredictable the weather was, and by how unprepared I was for the distances between things. Yet there are few places on this planet where I’ve been so confronted by the power of nature, so loudly reminded of how alive and powerful this earth is. The Big Island lives and breathes like nowhere I’ve been before — perhaps because it’s still being formed beneath our very flip-flops, with lava constantly creating new landmass.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth, what — a billion? As a matter of fact this three minute video is possibly my favorite I’ve ever made. Click play for a little preview of what’s to come over the next week or so — including night diving with manta rays and helicopter rides over volcanoes. And be sure to watch through to the very end — I put my favorite shot last!


Music from the album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming by M83

How amazing is that manta ray night dive!?!

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48 Comments...
  • James Gladwin
    November 28 2012

    Epic video Alex! Def the best I’ve seen so far and great music choice, can’t beat a bit of M83. Great stuff!

    Great reporting as usual. Keep up the good work!

    • Alex
      November 29 2012

      Thank you so much James. I’m a bit obsessed with M83 right now!

  • Shannon
    November 28 2012

    wonderful video! i know you would love the manta dive.. it is one of a kind and a must-do on the big island! my dad, brother and i got certified just to do that dive.. 5 years later and i’m still addicted as ever! can’t wait for the upcoming posts!

    • Alex
      November 29 2012

      Thank you Shannon! It was one of the best dives of my live, definitely worth getting certified for. So glad you have kept with it! Yay scuba 🙂

  • Gaelyn
    November 28 2012

    Excellent video! Looks like those rays were going to eat you up.
    Gaelyn recently posted..Finding the right RV

    • Alex
      November 29 2012

      It felt that way too! Really they are attracted to the plankton which was attracted by our lights.

  • Amanda
    November 28 2012

    I love all your videos!! That was incredible, wow I need to do that manta dive. Can’t wait to read more about it and see more photos!
    Amanda recently posted..Celebrating my first birthday away from home

    • Alex
      November 29 2012

      Thank you Amanda! It’s just a short hop away from you now in Cali…. good luck! 🙂

  • Ashley of Ashley Abroad
    November 28 2012

    What an epic video. I shared it on my FB for everyone to see… it was amazing!
    Ashley of Ashley Abroad recently posted..A Day in the Life of an American Au Pair in France

    • Alex
      November 29 2012

      Thank you so much Ashley, I really appreciate it! Looks like I’ll have to keep making more videos 🙂

  • Rob
    November 28 2012

    Awesome video, nice work!
    Rob recently posted..An Introduction to the Algarve

    • Alex
      November 29 2012

      Thanks Rob! Trying to break into the video blogging, I guess 🙂

  • Karina
    November 28 2012

    The video you made is amazing! What camera did you use to make it?

    • Alex
      November 29 2012

      Thanks Karina! I used two different cameras, which you can find more info on on my Gear and Products page. I recommend them both wholeheartedly!

  • Fidel
    November 28 2012

    I love the glasses, miss.
    How did the diving in Hawaii compare to Thailand?
    Fidel recently posted..Five Movies That Inspired Me To Travel

    • Alex
      November 29 2012

      Those glasses were my favorite summer purchase 🙂

      As for the diving, it’s a little hard to compare because I did just six dives in Hawaii compared to a hundred(s?) in Thailand. But Hawaii is definitely chillier, and I would say on the whole, maybe with Oahu as an exception, the coral is in better shape. Fish life in Thailand is hard to beat, but then again… so is the manta ray dive! Basically they are different beasts. Each island of Hawaii seems to have a niche — Oahu for wreck diving, Big Island for big pelagics, Maui for reefs — so I really liked that variety!

  • Kent @ NVR
    November 29 2012

    Great video AND great taste in music. We must exchange playlists.
    Kent @ NVR recently posted..Paradise with Purpose

    • Alex
      November 29 2012

      You’re too kind! Really though this is the height of my music coolness. Mostly I just listen to Britney Spears and Oasis. Total music loser.

  • Erica
    November 29 2012

    The video was SO GOOD. UGGGGG SO GOOOD.
    Erica recently posted..Uncovering the Unwritten Past of Pompeii with Walks of Italy

    • Alex
      November 29 2012

      Ha I love this comment Erica, thank you 🙂

  • Pete
    November 29 2012

    Brilliant vid Alex. We’re just getting into the videography game and have a lot to learn just by watching what you’ve created, awesome job. And like everyone else, love M83!!
    Pete recently posted..Wisco-rama

    • Alex
      November 29 2012

      Pete, that is the absolute best way to learn. When I was starting out in underwater video, I watched everyone’s work that I could. You absorb so much just from observing people’s different styles, it’s amazing!

  • Amaaaaaaazing! Bravo!!! That is one incredible video.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Southern California Coast: Day 2 (Part 2)

    • Alex
      November 29 2012

      Thank you so much Andi! I love getting creative and having projects like this!

  • Dad
    November 30 2012

    Watched it again…….really really well done

    • Alex
      November 30 2012

      Thanks Dad 🙂

  • Abby
    November 30 2012

    Sooo dramatic — I love it!!

    • Alex
      November 30 2012

      Thanks Abby, I appreciate it!

  • Ayngelina
    November 30 2012

    Great video Alex, what did you shoot it with?
    Ayngelina recently posted..Why I turned my back on Apple

    • Alex
      November 30 2012

      Thanks Ayngelina! I used the Canon PowerShot S100 for the underwater footage and I’m sure another miscellaneous shot or two, and the Canon T2i for the rest of it. I love them! Just did a review of the S100 here.

  • Nadia
    December 2 2012

    Love the video and I love the Big Island. My manta ray experience was happen stance but this night dive looks amazing! Next time Im there, it is on my list!

    • Alex
      December 3 2012

      Thanks Nadia! The Big Island is definitely one I need to return to. I saw a place that rents camper vans in Hilo, I’d love to get one and just spend a week circumnavigating the island.

  • Emily in Chile
    December 3 2012

    I will just site here and wait for your big break on some Discovery Channel special. These shots are incredible, especially the manta rays! And I love the turtle on the beach.
    Emily in Chile recently posted..The joys of business travel

    • Alex
      December 3 2012

      Thank you Emily, what a sweet compliment! If there are any Discovery Channel execs out there reading… feel free to call 🙂

  • Giselle and Cody
    December 4 2012

    love your videos!! 🙂
    Giselle and Cody recently posted..This is Rocky

    • Alex
      December 4 2012

      Thank you so much! I especially appreciate that considering how much I love your most recent video… it really inspired me to take more “candid” footage here and there on my next trip, love your style of shooting.

  • jill
    December 4 2012

    Big island is my favorite!! The variety of the scenery is amazing! What kind of underwater case did you get for your S100?
    jill recently posted..Scenes from the Amazing Valley of Fire

    • Alex
      December 4 2012

      Hi Jill! I bought the Canon housing for it, my full review of both camera and housing can be found here. I love them both!

  • Margaret
    December 4 2012

    Love the ray showing off at 2:12

    • Alex
      December 4 2012

      More manta ray showing off coming up tomorrow!

  • Ilizna (@TheTravelLiz)
    December 8 2012

    LOVE the video and background music! The Big Island is definitely on my list of must see places now. Thanks for sharing ( :

    • Alex
      December 11 2012

      Thank you so much! Glad I inspired an addition to your bucket list 🙂

  • Marysia @ My Travel Affairs
    December 22 2013

    Love the reflection in the Mac picture 🙂
    Marysia @ My Travel Affairs recently posted..Friday Lens Affair #49

    • Alex
      December 22 2013

      That’s the benefit of traveling with a photographer 🙂

  • janice
    July 9 2015

    I love The big island, recently went there to do some video production and spent a ton of time traveling about. such an inspirational blog, thanks!
    janice recently posted..An intense day of paintball in Maui!

    • Alex
      July 10 2015

      Ah, I love that island Janice. I shot one of my favorite travel videos ever there. It’s quite the backdrop!

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