Sunday, March 30, 2008
ATA airlines canceled our 10PM flight out of Kona on Monday evening and had to put a plane full of unhappy passengers up in the Hilton resort. It was a costly cancellation for them to be sure. But it was sorta nice. A $400 a night room for 1 1/2 days, wave-less man-made beaches, water slides, all meals paid and a free trip back next year. It was a nice resort. The kids had fun.
We met up with a man with a 21' boat and went for a 1/2 day adventure at sea. We saw a few pods of dolphins and a few whales and got to snorkel at a place that you can only get to by boat or a very long hike. In a word, it was AWESOME! The owner of the boat was really nice and good with the kids. Poor Raven got sea sick after stopping for awhile to snorkel. We think it was the rocking of the boat. But neither kid felt too good on the trip back. Got pretty sunburned out there on the water, even with sunscreen. It was worth it! We'd do it again, for sure! (I was glad JB had put his bathing suit on under his kilt prior to boarding the boat, or else he'd been the one giving us the show and not the dolphins!)
We visited a local , Mokuaikaua Church - church in Kona for the Palm Sunday Service. It was a very nice church and service. It was a bit larger than some of the other churches we saw on the island, I think it sat about 100 or so. It's the oldest church in Hawaii & right across the street from a King's house. (interesting tid-bit)
Then we rented a 3 person kayak from Pineapple Park. We kayaked across the bay to Captin Cook's monument to snorkel. It is a nice snorkel place. Some protected tide pools and a lot of open water area to explore. It was a bit more crowded this year, but we also got a later start this year. Raven and Luke did very well here.
Then we stopped at Puuhonua o Honaunau to snorkel one more time. Water was a bit chilly, but it was still very beautiful.
Hookena beach is a salt and pepper beach - I think there's still some of it in the kids bathing suits! We boogie boarded and snorkeled there. There were quite a few locals. Their spring break had started and they were well into it by the time we got to this beach. It's pretty big, so not too hard to find a place for your bamboo rolls & gear. I think this is one of the kids favorite beaches. Out away from the shore the snorkeling is pretty good. JB went out quite aways.
Then we went to Puuhonua o Honaunau (city of refuge NP) but to the side of the park is a great lava rock beach with great snorkeling. The water is clear, if not a bit cold. The coral is abundant and very colorful and there were turtles, Honu to watch and swim with. I could see them much better here because the water was not as murkey as Punaluu, the black sand beach. Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures here. I am not sure why not, but maybe because we were too busy snorkeling. It was a good day.
We stayed at the Manago this night. Kids were ready for the pancakes that are bigger then their heads the next day!
After the 4 wheel drive (that Raven & I did not freak out on this year) we went down to play at the green sand beach. The greenness is caused by olivine being broken down (fyi). JB took the kids out, swimming there is a bit risky because of the power of the waves and pull back into the ocean. But he held hands with them and notice in the progression of the pictures - wave coming, wave covers them, JB has Luke up, Raven comes up, they stagger out of the water. It was fun for them and to watch, but once was enough.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
1st thing we got a great breakfast in Pahala. A bag of mini-malsadas and big egg, sausage & fried rice for JB & I to split from the only diner in town. Then we stopped at the Punaluu Black sand beach, pretty early and we were able to swim with turtles, Honu in Hawaiian. The water seemed a bit murkey, but you could see the turtles going with the waves. Very cool.
The increase in volcanic activity is very evident at volcano. The Rim of Craters Road is 1/2 closed. You can't go a number of places that we could last year. When we went to try to see the lava flow at Kalapana they were selling "gifts" to take to Pele - since we couldn't get very close, we saved it and Raven put it at Kilauea Crater. Fitting. We stayed at one of the cabins there. It was small, but nice. We cooked Spam and ate a nice picnic dinner and crashed. Funny thing was that the line that you weren't supposed to cross because it was "too dangerous" was literally right next to our cabin. The sulfur smoke coming out of Kilauea was apparently a precursor to the eruption that happened the day after we left HI! Appended Statement on Life in 21st Century: The picture of JB in the back of the car. He is Drinking Kona Beer, Cooking Spam on a Sterno, slicing fruit and bread with his Golok knife, and using his Sandridge Toughbook connected over a Celluar Network to run some computer scripts on a computer in Oklahoma City for the Next Business day Central Standard Time. Just about 1/4 mile from the Caldera of the Volcano. He was a little chilly due to the temperature. Life is very tough in the 21st century.
I was not sure if we'd be able to find the swing that we found by accident last year, but we did. It was just as cool as we remembered it. It's hidden in a rain forest area with volcanic rock cliffs. It is beautiful and so fun to swing out over the ocean.
Then we headed to a the newest black sand beach. No swimming here - too rough - but it's very beautiful. This small town has been "put on the tourist map" with the natural development of the beach and lava flow that destroyed much of their town. Go figure. They are doing the American thing with it; making $$ on it! Funny thing is that they have the "free Hawaii" upside-down Hawaii flag and a whole exhibit set up dealing with how Hawaii should not be a part of the US and whatnot.
There is a nice little zoo just outside of Hilo. Both times we have been there it's been misting to raining. But it's really nice & fun for the kids. Then we went to a local beach called Issac Hale. We stayed on the side where it's pretty calm with tide pools for the kids. But in the bay around the corner you'll find locals surfing and boogie boarding. They are fun to watch, but if you watch too long you're likely to get the "stink eye". That's pretty common in the Puna district. Then we headed off to see if we might find the swing that we happened upon last year. That's when JB snapped the pic of raven in the mirror. She was a happy little girl.
We love to snorkel at these tide pools. They are volcanically heated. There is a nice variety of fish and coral. Up in the tide pools it is calm and good for the kids to snorkel. This was Luke 1st real time. He did very good and Raven just took to it like she'd been snorkeling her whole life. At the ocean side of the tide pools there is more waves, but you can also see more. JB took Raven out and I go to go out there, but Luke wanted to stay in the smaller tide pool areas. It is a great place.
Then we stopped at a volcanically heated, spring fed pool called Ahalanui. It stays about 90 degrees in there. Nice.
We drove up to the top of Mauna Kea to see the observorties and snow & ice. It was increadibly windy up there at 14,000ft. After I took the picture of JB & the kids both Raven & Luke opened their car doors and Luke's knocked him down. That is when he began screaming "It's going to blow us off the mountain! We're all gonna DIE!" We quickly gathered all that had blown out of the car (including Luke) , got us all back in and had a good laugh. Then we drove about 1/2 way up Mauna Loa, the long mountain, which is very different than Mauna Kea.