To the mountain and back . . . .
Trip Start Feb 04, 2011
5Trip End Mar 07, 2011
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Our periods of activity over the last nine days have been interspersed with days of down time and relaxation. Perfect.
Carolyn’s bad back wasn’t improving after the 14-hour journey from Atlanta, so that finally led us to Keahou Emergency Care up the coast from our apartment. The doctor looked like an aging surfer, but dispensed medication that put her back on her feet after a few days
Ray had a ukulele lesson, his first musical endeavor. Everyone was amazed and agreed he should not pursue a career in music.
Friday we walked around Kailua-Kona, winding up at Kona Brewing for lunch and a brewery tour. Of course, the beer sampling at tour’s end was the highlight. Key information for brew lovers: the Kona Brewing beers and ales available on the mainland are cooked up in Washington or Oregon. The brewery’s Kona product is available only in Hawaii on draft or from the brewery in 64-oz. “growlers.” So caveat emptor.
Last Saturday Ray stood in line at 7:20 a.m. for forty minutes to buy fresh ono (wahoo) from Da Fish Guy at the Keahou Farmer’s Market. Good fish, but it was just as good from Costco – without the long wait. Ray was first in line; by the time he left, there were two dozen people in the line.
Sunday we rented a four-wheel-drive Jeep for an excursion to the top of Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world, measuring some 33,000 feet from its base 19,000 feet below the surface of the Pacifichttp://keckobservatory.org/). We watched the telescope rotate on its almost frictionless hydraulic bearings and marveled at the astronomers’ ability to control such a large piece of equipment with incredible precision. After our summit visit, we descended for a dinner of hot soup and bread at the visitors’ center, and some observing of our own. We got a close-up look at the moon and viewed Jupiter and four of its moons. Then we navigated the Saddle Road back to the coast, turned in the Jeep and headed home – a long day.
Monday we spent the morning learning about natural energy in Hawaii at the Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii (NELHA), not far from the Kailua-Kona airport. NELHA is the home of a number of aquatic enterprises ranging from ocean thermal energy conversion to seahorse farms. The very cold seawater pumped up from 2000-foot depths apparently is very high in nutrients and free of bacteria and other contaminants, so it’s really good for seahorses, fish and abalone. Energy generated from the combination of warm and cold seawater has the potential to be a major source of power in the future. Later we mingled with the tourists at Waikoloa Beach. Overpriced jewelry, clothing and Hawaiian tschotskies, but fun to watch the mainlanders pretend to relax. We spent some time at the Waikoloa Hilton, where you can take a tram or boat to the far reaches of the hotel property. We watched whales breach and blow from the point and then headed to the Kona Village resort to see our favorite Hawaiian entertainer, John Keawe. A Navy veteran, John is “three-quarters Portugee and one-quarter Hawaiian.” He lives in Hawi on the Big Island’s north coast and is one of the finest slack-key guitarists in the world. We spent three hours enjoying the music and the calm, cool night in one of the original Hawaiian resorts. Mai tais were involved, of course.
After tourist-watching again yesterday, we’re in the middle of a down day today, so time to catch up on the blog. We’re having dinner tonight at Jackie Rey’s, voted the best restaurant in Kailua-Kona on Tripadvisor. We'll let you know.