Journey to Paradise: Kona (The Big Island)

Trip Start Aug 09, 2008
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Trip End Aug 23, 2008


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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

KONA
We were up early. The room service breakfast did not arrive. When we called at around 0650 the covering butler sounds like he forgot. He said he'll deliver it in 15 minutes. We told him to forget it. I was really upset about this. We grabbed a bite at Aloha and took some food for lunch later then went straight to the tender. They did not even check our tender ticket. The tender left around 0730. The Thrifty desk at King Kamehameha Hotel was closed and did not open until 0800. We were the first to arrive and the line got so long quickly. When we went to get our car rental we couldn't find it. It turned out to be at another lot. It was not marked properly on their inventory. We left the hotel around 0830. We arrived at South Point one hour and 20 minutes later then drove another 11 miles on South Point Rd to the boat ramp. This road was paved but narrow and further down it turns to one lane. It hasn't been maintained. The ride was bumpy. It's a good thing we drove a Durango. There was a small car that stopped on the side. Maybe the driver was contemplating whether to go through with it. As we continue heading south, we passed a wind farm and the road forks. We took the road towards the left. Fortunately, the lady in the parking gate in the hotel told us to go left. Otherwise we could have followed the jeep in front of us, made a wrong turn and come back. It would have been a waste of time.
We drove until we reached the gate. We stopped and asked a local who was at the boat ramp if we were on the right track towards Green Sand Beach. He said yes and he said we can drive all the way to the beach. We tried to drive passed the gate but the sharp, jagged rocks made it feels like the tire will blow up anytime. I was so scared and made DH turned back. I told him we're violating our car rental agreement. We just parked across the boat ramp next to the small tree where there's a picnic table underneath. We hiked for about an hour and there were misleading trails along the way. You really have to do an extensive research if you plan to visit this place. You can easily get lost. I know what the beach looks like from the pictures that I saw. When I saw the rock wall from afar I knew where we were headed. There were a few people who drove their jeep to the beach. We also saw a mom driving a ford explorer with her little girls. (And I can tell DH was already thinking that he could have done it too). When we finally reached the beach, I was liked, "This is it!". The green sand beach was so pretty. It's not really green. It's more like an olive color. To go to the beach you have to go down and going down was challenging. I let DH, DS and DD1 climbed down to the beach. I decided to wait at the top with DD2 who is 7yo. DD2 keeps urging me that we go down and she wants to swim in the beach too. I saw people going to the top front of the beach and climbed down from there easily. So I negotiated with her. If she walk, we go down. I told her I'm not carrying her. She agreed. I called DH and motioned to him that we're going down through the top, fronting the beach. So we walked. DH met us there and assisted DD2 down. I found this trail to be easier. While facing down the beach go towards the right where there were natural footholds and climb down from there.
The kids had so much fun body surfing here. There were a lot of people swimming and a few people climbing the left side of the rock wall. We stayed for about an hour and started hiking back. It was hot and windy. The wind cooled us a bit. Definitely use sunscreen. You can easily bake in the sun. Bring lots of water and wear good hiking shoes.  DH and the kids wore their keen sandals (which was good). I forgot I was wearing my crocs but I don't want to go back and change ( we were approaching our tender when I realized I was wearing my crocs). I will not recommend wearing crocs. Wear a good hiking shoes or toe-covered sandals. After one mile of hiking back someone with a pick-up truck gave us a ride. We were so lucky. There was also an Aussie guy who ran from the beach to the boat ramp. (He was not even huffing and puffing). DH talked to him. He said it took him 20 minutes to run. We had lunch at the picnic table. We brought bagel and cream cheese, muffins and fruits from the ship.
We had plenty of time to spare so we stopped at  Two Steps to snorkel. We took the Place of Refuge exit from Highway 11. Before the gate to the Place of Refuge we turned right, just before the yellow fire hydrant. There's a private dirt parking lot where you can park for a fee. There were cars parked on each side of the road. We found a spot to the right side of the road.
We walked over a large flat lava shelf. A local was standing there and guided us where to go down into the water. It is towards your left when facing the water and you take two steps (that's how it got its name). As I went down the water to snorkel, I can't believe at what I saw. A school of black and yellow tang fish greeted me. When I looked around there were more different colored fishes. It was awesome. I feel liked swimming/snorkeling in a giant aquarium. The surf was a little rough and made it hard to enter and exit the water.  DD1 did not stay long snorkeling. DD2 found a small tide pool where she played and had fun trying to catch the tiny fishes that swam closed to her. DD1 joined her. DH and I alternate watching them. DS snorkeled till he was tired. The rocks were slippery.
When we arrived at the pier after returning the car, the line to the tender was already long. It was about 4:30PM. Jackie and Linda from Cruise Critic were in front of us. Alyssa, Gina's (luv2cruise) daughter was with them.

Back on the ship after freshening up, DH, DD1 and DD2 were on the balcony eating afternoon snacks when all of a sudden DH heard a noise on the water.  When he looked up it was a pod of Dolphins. The girls got excited and were screaming, "dolphins, dolphins". I went to the balcony and gave DH the camera. DS followed. Not sure if the people above and under us heard the noise on the water or heard the girls dolphin scream because they started to appear in their balcony with their cameras. It was short but a nice show enough for us to capture it on camera.

We had dinner at the Skyline. I ordered some kind of fish dish. It was very salty. I just pushed it aside. When the waitress came back to check on us she saw my uneaten dish she asked and I told her it was too salty. She offered to get me something else may be salmon? I said yes to the salmon since I had it the night before and I liked it.
After dinner DH and DD1 watched the "Magic of Chris Mitchell". DD 2 was tired. I took her back to the room. DS does not want to watch magic shows. He thinks it is only for small children. (He will be 13 in a few days). After the show, DD1 was raving about it. She told DS that it's not only magic show but a comedy show as well. She knows DS likes comedy.
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