Memorial Day. Lantern Floating Festival. Hawaii

Every year at Ala Moana beach park there is a Lantern Floating Festival for Memorial Day. I've seen a lot of pictures from the event but have never been to one till this year. I had an underwater housing for my camera, so I knew I wanted to try and get into the water to see if I could get some unique pictures. Unfortunately the water clarity at Ala Moana is terrible, so I didnt get as many cool "half & half" shots as I wanted. I also was second guessing my lens choice once I got in the water. I had a 10mm wide angle on, which was cool for very wide establishing shots and point of view shots, but didn't work so well for detail pictures. Next time I think I'll brink the 50mm.
I was surprised that I was the only photographer that was in the water (that I saw). There seemed to be 1,000's of people lining the entire beach, and about 20% of them had a professional SLR camera, but nobody had an underwater housing. It felt a little uncomfortable at first, being in the water by myself with hundreds of peoples' heart felt sentiments floating around in the form of floating lanterns. I tried to stay super low-key, and under the water as much as possible, also I didn't want to ruin anyone's picture that was being taken from the beach.
It was actually really emotional to read some of the messages on the lanterns, and to see people tearing up on the beach when they launched their lanterns.
Well, here are the photos I took from the water...

The thousands of people on the beach..

The canoes bringing out some of the lanterns... the rest were all hand launched from the shore

"God Bless you and be with you... All together up in Heaven!"

from underwater looking up.
I swam out to the reef, where the lanterns ended up being pushed by the current.

looking back towards the shoreline. After dusk. (News camera crew on the canoe)
a very blury self-portrait, in the dark, while swimming.
underwater looking up at the floating lanterns...
I found this guy swimming his lantern out to the reef to be with the rest of them.
a Home-made lantern with USA flags
lantern with a flower lei
Chris and Brent showed up too late, but still joined me in the water for some after sunset shots. I caught an off camera flash from Brent's camera while we were swimming in.

Sam was on the beach with my other camera taking pictures too. This is what it looked like from the beach...

bye, see you out there next year.