Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (on the Big Island)

Security was tight heading to Hawaii, we changed planes in Honolulu and the airport was under tight control.  We got our bags searched in Honolulu, but that meant we were first on the commuter flight to Kona, which was not assigned seating.  When we arrived the rental car company was out of what we asked for and only had a convertible.  That was fine except the trunk was too small so we carried our bags in the back seat to the condo.   Here is the car and a sunset from the condo:

We have even better sunset pictures from the 1995 trip.  We had time the first day to drive down to Kealakekua Bay, where we bought some Kona coffee and took this picture where you can see the Capt. Cook Monument in the distance:

The monument is owned by the British Government.  A couple days later we took a snorkeling trip to Kealakekua Bay.  In 1995 we took a zodiac, this time we went for a catamaran, it had a toilet on board.  Here is the catamaran:

Some dolphins decided to escort us some of the way, here are pictures:

Once at the bay we snorkeled near the Capt Cook Monument.  The snorkeling is excellent here, you can see 100 feet down and there are lots of fish.  (I used a film underwater camera so those pictures are in storage right now.)

They put out fishing poles for the trip back and managed to catch an ono, also called "Wahoo", the crew had dinner than night.  Both of us really like the taste of ono, though now we know it has nasty teeth:

We also took this picture of Hawaiian Graffiti, where they use white coral rock on lava to write names and such:

Another day we drove up to the north end of the island, where King Kamehameha was born.  Kamehameha united the islands and was in charge when whites came to live there.  He was a teenager when Capt. Cook visited.  This statue is life size, he was over seven feet tall in real life and intimidated people:

Here is a look at the Pololu Valley area, close to the statue:

While in Kailua-Kona we ate at one of our favorite restaurants, Huggo's, it was again excellent.  Kailua seemed a little quiet from our last visit, but still fairly busy.  Parking was still a problem, especially at the of the popular snorkeling spots we stopped and snorkeled from the beach.

In 1995 we went to Hilo on a day trip and knew that was a mistake.  It is about 100 miles one way to Hilo on two lane roads so we got back way after dark.  This time we booked a stay at a hotel in Hilo and drove the rental car over.  We normally stay in condos in Hawaii, but that is not a choice in Hilo.  On the way over we stopped at Place of Refuge, a state park at a sacred place in Hawaiian history.  In 1995 they had us take off our shoes to visit since it was sacred ground.  In 2001 they didn't have us take our shoes off because too many people had cut themselves on glass, etc.  It is still a very special place:

On the way to Hilo we came upon another state park on a black sand beach with sea turtles resting.  The park service put "do not disturb" signs out which also told people exactly where the turtles were:

We did manage to get to Hilo in daylight, but there is a lot to see on the way.

Back to Hawaii