Monthly Archives: July 2009

Hawaii – Day 39 and 40

Friday – July 31: Both Douglas and Gabriel are heading back today. We packed them both up, dropped Gabriel off for his United flight at 1:20 p.m. and Douglas for his Delta flight, departing at 8:50 p.m., the same one we will be taking in 18 days. UGH, I don’t want to go back!

Since he was leaving on the red-eye, as just the 4 of us, we saw Ice Age III, Dawn of the Dinosaurs, went to a couple of dive shops for Douglas and had dinner at the Outback Steakhouse. A good ending to a great visit, I miss Douglas already…

Thursday – July 30: Today we did the Sea Quest Hawaii Expedition South Kona snorkel adventure. It took us to 3 spots, the first being the City of Refuge/2-step beach/Honaunau Bay, the 2nd being a sea caves area and the 3rd being the Capt. Cook/Kealakekua Bay. The trip was great, with lots of water time. The 2nd place had “supposedly” a local white-tip reef shark, that we didn’t find. Their interesting approach is to swing out the coast, travel south past Capt. Cook’s bay, so that you don’t notice it, then hit it last. This is an 8:15 to 1:15 p.m. or so activity. Make sure you bring SUNBLOCK!

The crew was great and the trip was worth the 82.00 dollars or so. Showers at Keauhou Bay were great, bring clothes to change into and your trip is much nicer back.

As a group, we went on our last dinner together, the 5 of us went to the Marriott Waikoloa Call Restaurant. They are still running their speclal dinner prices, essentially 1/2 off. Our meals were delayed, the waitress worked it (all on her own) so that we ended up paying for 2 meals and free desserts, a great deal!

It was early to bed, the adventure of the day, left everyone exhausted!

Hawaii – Day 38

Wednesday – July 29: Ke-awa-iki beach is our destination this morning. The Ocean Sports Sea Smoke uses this area as their snorkel spot. The water and area is beautiful with a black and white sand beach.

We started off just south of mile marker 78 and followed the path as described in the Hawaii Underground Guide. The first part is lava road and the second part, around the private property is a trail. It took us about .92 miles and about 35 minutes to arrive at Keawaiki Beach. The a’a trail part is a little rough, just watch your step and go slowly, we did not like this part.

Once at the beach, we discovered another trail leading directly behind the beach to the highway. It is on pahoehoe all the way and is clearly marked with painted arrows on the lava field. The distance to the highway is .75 miles and you come onto the highway about 1/4 mile south of where the cars park. This is a much better approach. It is about 1 mile then, from the parking lot to the beach!

I would recommend you park just 1/4 mile south of mile marker 78, walk down (south) the Queen’s Highway to the second pahoehoe trail and proceed directly to the beach that way. The trail begins EXACTLY at the 55 mph speed limit sign for reference. See this track that I made on the iPhone transferred to Google maps.

Hawaii – Day 37

Tuesday – July 28: A day to sleep in but Sandy is up bright and early. Her AMEX stuff seems to be working out. We need a new cartridge for the Brother 7840W printer, so we ordered it from Costco and it should be here on Thursday. The world continues to shrink when you have the Internet, it will be amazing what you can do in 5 years!

Douglas had to do some speech homework, so we hung around and sent Rosie and Gabriel down to Kona to do a few errands for us and to get them out for a break.

Dinner was fresh, homemade beans and Costco chicken and avocados and salsa. Yummy!

Hawaii – Day 36

Monday – July 27: Today we made it a day and went to see the Kilauea lava fields at the “Waikupanaha Ocean Entry” point. We saw the other 2 entry points on the helicopter trip at the “Kupapa’u” location. You cannot see these 2 points from this entry point. The lava activity is on private property, in the Royal Gardens area I think, not in the national park.

The trip is pretty much on the opposite side of the island, so we went over Saddle Road and returned via highway 19 on the coast. I would not recommend the Saddle Road at night. To Hilo, I’m guessing its is about 15 minutes shorter through Saddle Road, but it is pretty desolate and winding, it is very scenic however.

We spent a little time in Hilo, shopping around. It is like Kona with a new section and old section. Coming in from the Saddle Road, you fall into the old section and the new stuff is just a couple of miles south on highway 11.

South out of Hilo, on highway 11, you come to highway 130 and just follow it to it’s end. The National Park Service has this link to current activity and the County of Hawaii has this one. The USGS has this daily site update as well. All have good information to check before you go. Travel 21 miles from the intersection of highways 130 and 11 to the end of the road.

The gate at the end of the road has concession stands with people selling photos, water and flashlights. The end of the road is where the Hawaiian Civi Defense agency has a FOOT GATE that is locked. The gate is open between 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. for foot traffic only. When we went, the trail to the obseravation point is about 3/4 mile, if that. It is well marked.

We arrived at about 4:30 p.m., prepared ourselves and walked in at the opening of the gate, again the traIl is well marked. We stayed watching the fireworks until about 7:45 p.m., it is truly spectacular!

TIP for the future: there is plenty of parking, go have dinner, arrive at 6:00 or so and watch the sunset and the glowing lava emerge. No sense in being there right at the gate opening. Bring flashlights (we did), BINOCULARS, and water and maybe even a picnic. There were people who did and it was, for a Monday night, quite crowded at the observation area. But, there are plenty of places to see the show, so don’t worry.

You can also see the path of the lava tubes on the forest, it is smoldering and when night falls, you can see the glow of the tree and vegetation burning higher up in the foothills.

Truly spectacular! The drive back through the northern route was long and tiring. I think we left Hilo, after dinner, about 9:30 and arrived home about 11:15 p.m.

Hawaii – Day 34 and 35

Sunday – July 26: We went to Mass at Annunciation in Waimea and breakfast at the Paniolo Country Inn. The kids were awake by the time we returned. This afternoon we headed down to Kona for the Aiii Drive open festival. They are held at the end of the month and a small section of it is blocked for foot traffic only. Lots of little street shops and booths to browse through.

We dropped off and picked up the 4 rolls of underwater film that we took for the manta ray dive on Thursday and the snorkel trip on Friday. Out of the 4 rolls, we harvested 25 photos that were OK.

Dinner was down in Kona at Pancho and Lefty’s. It wasn’t as bad as the underground book makes it out to be!

Saturday – July 25: The kids were going to the local reggee concert (sponsored by a local radio station) at the Hilton Waikoloa and Aunty Anna checked out of the Paniolo Greens and into the Fairmont Orchid for the one night. She leaves tomorrow. I think that she was happy to move into the Fairmont.

The afternoon was spent just chillin’.

The kids went to the concert after dropping us off at the Fairmont for one last dinner. Anna took us to the Tommy Bahama restaurant in the Mauna Lani center. It was great food with a nice atmosphere. They had a price fixed 3 course meal for about 32-35 dollars which I paired up with a 20.00 dollar wine pairing. It was quite good!

We gave the kids the separate set of car and house keys, but left my set in the car when they dropped us off. Anna had to drive us to the concert to pick up a set of keys.

It was a long day!.

Hawaii – Day 33

Friday – July 24: Back to back trips, we had a 9:00 snorkel trip aboard the Sea Smoke, Ocean Sports located in A Bay. I wasn’t sure if we could top last nights manta ray dive …. but the coral and the fish were incredible.

The Sea Smoke motored south from A Bay to latitude: 19º 53′ 12″ N, longitude: 155º 54′ 31″ W, the black sand beach. The place is fantastic and we will try to hike in to find the spot via beach access. It is south of the blue-roofed dump on the Queen’s highway. Later on I found the beach is called Keawaiki Beach, easily accessible from the Queen’s Highway.

Everyone was exhausted and we had a nice quiet afternoon and evening at home. We ordered the movie the “Watchmen”, very strange …

I feel the time is flying by ….

Hawaii – Day 32

Thursday – July 23: Mom work day, she finished about 11:00 a.m. and we spent the time cleaning up around the condo.

Anna and Katie did the Blue Hawaiian Circle of Fire tour and picked up the DVD.

We went to the Kona Attorney General office and applied for our Hawaii ID cards, 4 new Hawaiians today, way cool!

The evening activity was the night Manta Ray dive from the Kamanu out of Honokohau harbor. We left at 6:00 p.m., motored up the coast to the airport dive site. The manta ray site is just offshore of the runway, there are bluffs on the ocean side. There were 13 people on the boat, including the 7 of us. Rosie had some trepidation.

Everyone is given a flashlight and there are about 7 boats in the area with snorkelers and divers to witness the event. The divers are on the bottom shining their lights up and the snorkelers are shining their lights down. The lights attract plankton, which attracts the manta rays. SURE ENOUGH, the rays showed up, about 5 or 6 total. It was AMAZING to see these animals close up with us. Wing spans of 16 feet across. Of course, we bought the DVD that a self eneterprising lady creates each night. What an experience! Definitely recommended for ALL!