Saturday, June 24, 2017

our last day and the journey home

Tuesday morning the beach at the hotel was taped off as well as the bay with signs that said 'no swimming, no boating, no fishing' due to tidal conditions and bacteria, which all the people fishing off the bulkhead wall were ignoring, so after breakfast the girls and I went to check on a few things in town. I wanted to go back to the shop that was selling prepackaged plants I could bring home since my rainbow plumeria stalk had already rotted more than halfway up and they still had a few gifts to get for friends and family.

We checked out when we returned and had the hotel store our luggage since our flight to Dallas didn't leave til 5:40 and then got in the car and drove to see what the next few little towns had to offer which turned out to be nothing so we headed back to Kona and parked on the coast road a little farther than we had previously walked and set out to kill a couple of hours before we turned in the car and caught the shuttle to the airport.

We only made it about a block when we came upon this market very reminiscent of the Mexican markets where you can get anything you can think of...produce, crafts, flowers, clothing, shoes, baskets, etc...and we wandered around in there for about an hour. 

First thing I saw, and bought, was this very cool basket with a net top to keep the bugs out.

Then we had a last meal on the island with a last view of that beautiful water 

and collected our luggage and headed to the airport where we went through security and waited once again for our flight. 

Once the gate opened we had to go through a another security check

and then we were on our way. We reached Dallas, had time for breakfast, and boarded our last flight, arrived Houston, dropped the girls off at home and then finally pulled into our driveway about noon. About all I did the first week back was sleep and water the yard.

last: miscellaneous pictures and commentary

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Friday, June 23, 2017

the long drive and volcanoes

Monday after a leisurely breakfast we started out on another long day and once again should have started earlier. Kona is on the west side of the island and the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is on the south east side. We headed north for a scenic tour around the island...

lots of lava fields with pale tufts of grass taking hold since 2 of it's 6 volcanoes are considered active...Moana Loa which last erupted in 1984 and Kileaua which has been erupting continuously since 1983.

And older lava beds thinly covered

and into the interior across the northern end

back to the coast on the east side

my scofflaw granddaughter

where we stopped at Akaka Falls State Park and took the short hike to the falls

and continued on to Hilo for lunch and then driving to the Volcanoes National Park. We got there right about 4 PM and the map at the visitor center listed two if you had 1 – 2 hours which took you past steam vents to an observation point where you could see the erupting Kilauea in the caldera and the other if you had 3 – 4 hours which took you down the Chain of Craters Road all the way to the coast. Since we had wasted a lot of time going the long way around and it was already late afternoon, we took the short route to the steam vents

and then to the observation point for the shield volcano Kilauea, about 4,200' of elevation and downright chilly, where we saw three points of lava erupting. We were about a mile away and those small crests of fire you see are in reality spewing 80' – 100' high.

Jade took these pictures with her camera through the telescope at the observation point.

Since it had taken us less than an hour we ventured down the road that led to the Chain of Craters Rd. to another lava tube in the middle of a gorgeous rain forest (and it was actively raining lightly off and on). It was a very steep descent and an equally steep ascent so we waited at the top while the girls walked through

and then drove another short distance to the walking path Devastation Trail which we walked down until the girls had seen enough

and were back on the road to Kona by 6 PM which took us down through the lava fields

and around the southern point and back up the west coast and from the looks of the road on the admittedly not detailed map it should have been an easy drive. And it was until we turned north along the west coastal road and it became a very twisty turny road reminiscent of the road to Hana with almost equally slow speeds and were behind a very timid driver nearly the whole way so it was after dark before we got back to the hotel and then dinner at one of the close restaurants with a view of the water and the wharf.

next: our last day and the journey home

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

the island Hawai'i

Saturday was our travel day to the Big Island so after breakfast we checked out, turned in the car, and got the shuttle to the airport and once again waited for our flight which was basically just a big jump.

leaving Maui...

arriving Hawai'i...

Very different from Maui, which was clear and sunny all day and lush. Hawai'i is mostly lava rock but has its share of rain forest and beautiful flora. Typically, while we were there it would be sunny in the morning and overcast the rest of the day.

Getting our next car turned out to be a real hassle unlike on Maui. There were people in line before our van load arrived which made the line all the way to the door with only one agent and another van arrived shortly after ours. They did get two more people to the front desk but it was a long wait nevertheless. When it was finally our turn the agent pressured us to up grade, pressured us to get the full coverage both of which we declined and then wanted to charge us extra for bringing the car back at the time we had scheduled on our itinerary so I had to argue with her about that telling her we had already paid in full up front and here was the agreement. Finally we got the keys to the car and the trunk space wasn't big enough to hold all three suitcases so one of them had to go in the backseat with the girls. Needless to say, we were a bit cranky by this time.

Fortunately, the resort was only about 15 minutes away in Kona, right in town...Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel. Turned out to be a Marriott which was not what I was expecting. It was a huge complex with at least a dozen or more shops or activity offices in the gigantic lobby behind the check-in desk with a spa and fitness center. We were on the 4th floor and the one small pool was below and full of people and kids and the noise echoed up into our rooms. The pool and the little beach, which I think was man-made because the sand was fine like the sand on the beach in Galveston and unlike any sand we had seen so far, was open to the public as well and next to the public pier/wharf.

The view from our room the next morning.

As it turned out, the reason it was very crowded and noisy that day and well into the night with drunken revelers was because there had been some sort of canoe clubs event or race and the destination was our resort and there must have been two dozen or more outrigger canoes on the grounds.

Another late lunch/early dinner and then while Marc and Autumn took naps, Jade and I walked around the grounds and found a place across the way that had shaved ice until the other two texted to see where we were and then just hung out in our room while the canoe clubs reveled.

After breakfast Sunday morning we rented our snorkel gear and headed to Kahalu'u Beach Park which was about a 15 minute drive down the coast snagging the last space in the small parking lot.

picture via:

I went out for about 10 minutes, long enough to see lots of colorful fish, and then came back to check on the girls to discover that Jade's snorkel leaked so I gave her mine and went and laid on the beach in the shade while they paddled about. Jade had bought a waterproof cover for her phone.

Back at the hotel and showered we went for lunch and then a long afternoon of shopping. Once a month, Kona closes the street that runs along the coast starting at our hotel for an arts and crafts fair so we meandered along to the end of that, stopping now and then to buy something or chat with some of the artists, well, I stopped to chat with some of the artists 

and then on the way back, Jade wanted to go in every shop that lined the street. Autumn abandoned us and went back for a nap. We did see this cool enclosure, a walled in on four sides ocean pond butt up against the house it was behind with an opening to the ocean with vertical slats. The sign said it was an historic Ki' Ope Pond with no explanation of what that is and I haven't been able to find anything out about it.

Once we got back, more naps were in order. Then Jade and I checked out the wharf 

where we found this, something I haven't seen in years

wandered around, and finally planted ourselves at the poolside bar and listened to the live music where Autumn eventually joined us.

next: another long drive and volcanoes

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

another day in paradise

Friday, after our long day driving around Maui, we stayed at the resort all day. One of the things on the grandgirls list was snorkeling but the beach I first thought we would go to on Maui, after reading about it again, they would have to swim a ways to the reef and the water was 9' – 12' deep. Um, no. Especially since they had never snorkeled before, not even trying one out in a swimming pool and aren't real strong swimmers. So I researched snorkeling on the Big Island and there was a very pretty and shallow cove and all you had to do was wade out and see all kinds of fish and some coral and sea turtles were supposed to hang out there as well, perfect for beginners the description said and it was close to where we would be staying.

After breakfast I rented paddle boards for an hour, snorkel gear for the two of them to practice with, and an umbrella and we settled in on the beach for the day. The young man threw in three chairs and set them up for us.

The girls tried out the paddle boards first. 

After they got their sea legs they paddled to the left towards where the land curved around fairly close

and then returned, paddling to the right 'til they passed me 

and kept going...and kept going...and kept going until Marc finally asked if I could see them.

I think I can see them,” I said as I was peering into the far distance looking at large and small specs in the water. “I think that's them. I think they're coming back” still peering in the far distance. “Um, maybe not.” I finally got up and started walking down the beach not seeing them, walked further still not seeing them and further still and seeing what looked like skegs sticking up out of the water in the distance and now imagining flipped boards and drowned girls and how do I call out for a search party and their mother is going to kill me! They're grown capable women, they'll be fine. The skegs turned out to be snorkelers and walking a little further they finally came into view heading back my way. We were a loooong way down the beach from our red umbrella.

You girls about gave me a heart attack!” I hollered while they waved and smiled at me, “Hi Granny!”.

So they continued on back while I stopped and chatted with a woman who lives on Maui from Oregon originally, been there 7 years, retired 4 years ago. So how does a woman get from Oregon to Maui I asked her. There was a man she met on-line, visited. He turned out not the be the man but Maui turned out to be the place so she sold out and moved. Eventually I made it back down the beach not long after the girls got back to the red umbrella. Their one hour paddle boarding had turned into two but the young man at the rental shack was unconcerned.

They practiced with the snorkels 

and sunned and swam while I hung out in the shade of the red umbrella until we got hot and hungry and headed into Lahaina for another late lunch/early dinner 

and the girls finally got their shaved ice 

and we returned to the resort and lounged around the pool for our last sunset on Maui 

and watched the evening entertainment for the diners 

and took a last stroll on the beach 

and the girls and I hung out longer after Marc went up to the room just talking about life and stuff and then at 9 PM an unexpected fireworks display started up just on the other side of the gear rental shack in front of the bungalows, a celebration of a wedding perhaps. This was no cheesy at home display but went on sustained for about 15 minutes, a nice professional display.

When it ended, we turned in for the night as we had another day of travel the next day heading to the Big Island.

next: the island Hawai'i

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