Lava Java in the Big Island
Trip Start Mar 20, 2010
41Trip End Aug 25, 2010
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Where Maui provided endless surfing beaches with challenging waves that would satisfy any avid surfer, Kona provides mostly bays, lava tide pools and small calm beaches. At every beach you are surrounded with some form of Lava and endless opportunities to hike along the waters edge and make friends with the turtles basking in the sun. Kona provides black, salt-pepper and green beaches.
Our first week in Kona was spent with Steffi and Mark. It was great, being their first time in Hawaii, we took the opportunity to share with them what we learned from our last trip here and also explore new grounds with them. The last time we were here in 2006 Christina's cousin Elke got married at the Mauna Lani, where we did see some of the island, much time was spent with the wedding, leaving us still a lot of ground to cover for this trip. With Mark and Steffi we basically drove all around the island, and ventured in to new beaches every day...
On the same day that Mark and Steffi left, Christina's cousin Elke arrived with her husband Dakila and son Baz. Elke's mom and dad were here also for a few weeks. With that said, we spent plenty of time with them over the course of our last two weeks in Kona.
Mauna Lani Beach, Kikaua Beach (we dubbed this the Oasis Beach), Manini'owali / Kua Bay beach, Hapuna Beach, Kiholo Bay. Mark proceeded to acquaint himself with every body of water and snorkeled up until the end. At one point, on their last day here, he found himself in the middle of the Trigger fish nesting. Before he knew it, they turned on him and became aggressive to the point that he was bitten. When he came back to land he quickly researched and found that unfortunately he had crossed into their nesting ground, which they protect at all cost. Mark posed a threat. The Hawaiian name for Trigger-fish is Humuhumunukunuku apu a'a.
Hikes / Snorkeling
The Golden Pools of Ke-awa-Iki: In the Kohala Coast, this was a great hike through harsh sharp 150 yr old lava field that dumped us out to a very secluded beach that was white on one side, and black on the other side, where the lava poured in. It eventually brought us to Pueo Bay where we turned back into the lava to see the fresh water pools that looked golden given the rocky floor.
Arch City Coastline: In South Kona, just north of Honaunau Bay, but south of Captain cook, there is a mile hike along the coast on smooth lava on the waters edge that is filled with blow-holes, surging cracks, coves and lava arches..this was super cool.
Kiholo Bay. This was one our favorite hikes / snorkel spots. We came here last time and during this trip twice, once with Mark and Steffi, then again with Elke. Here you walk along the beach line, over lava and black sand, pass by two amazing homes, a lava tube filled with spring water (The Queens Bath) and end up in this bay oasis area that has mix of fresh and salt water. The bay is home to what seemed to be hundreds of turtles, they were resting along bay's edge jumping in to cool off at their leisure
Pololu Beach: Up at the northern point of Kona is a cute town called Hawi that has a few great restaurants and shops/galleries. Just past this town at the end of the road is Pololua Beach, which is nestled at the bottom of a valley that required a hike down and up. Wonderful hike that gave vast views of the Northern cliffs of Kona..but unfortunately the black sand beach at the bottom wasn't summable...yet the hike was worth it.
Waipio Valley: This was another hike down to a valley where an amazing beach could be found. This was such a beautiful hike down, but killer on the way back up (steep, steep, steep 25% incline)
Volcano: We took a ride with Steffi and Mark up to the Volcano. We had some great visibility of the crater, but unfortunately no lava sightings. we had to take a ride to the lower east side of the island through Puna to take a small hike to have a small chance to see lava flowing into the ocean. Unfortunately all we saw was gas fumes in the distance - an ill-faded trip.
It is worth noting Kona is home not only to the Mangoose, but also to the worst radio stations ever, aside from their fascination with Bruce Springsteen (which offered some sort of relief), we have had our fill of The Cars, Phil Collins/Genesis, Heart and terrible reggae
Place where we have eaten that are worth mentioning: - you can tell we didn't do much cooking this time!
Pa'Lini Grill - Waimea: Fun local joint up in Waimea. We made friends with Aunt Betty.
Hawaiian Style Cafe - Waimea: Local joint again up in Waimea, locals love spam with fried eggs, rice and Portuguese sausages...and so do we.
Coffee Shack - Captain Cook: We loved this cute place and went here for breakfast a couple of times. The restaurant is nestled in the plush gardens of Captain Cook and over looks Kealakekua Bay. Friendly Geicos are everywhere.
Kona Brewing Company - Kailua Kona: We went here a few times..good all around. Great beer, of course
Huggos - Kailua Kona: Our local hang out, right on the water
Daniel Thiebaut - Waimea (haunted restaurant): We went here for Christina's Birthday. Amazing food and the house is haunted (over 120 spirits found)..perfect place for Christina
Bamboo Cafe - Hawi: This is where Elke and Dakila had their rehearsal dinner, we returned with them and Elke's parents - great food
Cafe Pesto: The best Italian food and pizza we have had in a LONG time.
Texas Drive-In - Pakalana: Must go just for the Portuguese donuts called Malasada (yum!!)
Roy's - Waikola Village: Yes there is one in NYC, but, we couldn't resist going here, not once (with the Artis'), but twice (with Elke, Dakila and her parents). God this was good.
Harbor House - Kona: Last, but not least, this place rocks. Local joint on the harbor with basic seafood, but, the draws is the Frozen Scooners in which they serve their beer - we hit this place a few times of course.
We enjoyed Kona. The number of beaches was amazing, each very different from the other, and the endless lava is something one doesn't really see outside of Kona (at least not in NYC), and we agree we would come back for a few days, but our heart still remains in Maui. Lets see what Kauai will bring.
July 23 - August 13