Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. -- Carl Sandburg
There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

December 10, 2012

Hawaii - The Big Island - Day 1

This trip has nothing to do with my van but it was fun. In late October, my brother-in-law called to ask if I would like to go to a tropical island with them in November.  My sister got a replacement ankle early this year and he said she was finally starting to be able to walk a couple blocks on it.  They hadn't had a vacation in 3 years and since we get along so well, they wanted me to come alone and I could be tour guide for them.  After a bit of thought, I decided, what the heck, why not? We decided on Hawaii since I don't have a current passport (note to self - get the paperwork and apply!).  My sister wanted to spend 7 days on the Big Island since she had never been to it.  I had 2 one day trips to it several years ago during a business trip but still hadn't managed to make it all the way around the island.

It's a long and miserable flight with a layover in Los Angeles for me from the east coast - over 10 hours of flight time.  I just look at fly day as a day of misery and if nothing goes wrong, then it is a good day. My sister and BIL arrived 4 hours before my flight so they got the car and the hotel room set up and met me at the airport.  Unfortunately, my sister was in the throes of one of her asthma attacks replete with lots of coughing and some wheezing.  We were hopeful she would be getting out of it as the week went on.  We stayed in the Waikoloa resort area in the Marriott - an OK hotel.  It's in the north Kona coast on the west side of the island.  The dry side.
Spencer Beach - Kohala
On our first day, we explored the northern tip of the Big Island - the oldest volcano, Kohala of the 5 that make up the Big Island.  We stopped along the way at a beach or 2 but they were very crowded so we moved on.  We stopped at Spencer Beach where many people were camped out.  Camping on the Island would be very easy.  With such mild temperatures, minimal equipment would do and they have showers at every beach with toilets.  We finished up seeing the Pu'ukohola Heiau or Temple on the Hill of the Whale.  There are a couple of heiau or temples here, one much older than the other.  The Hawaiians built large flat platforms out of the lava rocks with a wall around the right side and rear.  Then they built some wood and thatch structures and a fence around the front.  Here they performed various rituals and human sacrifices.  The newer one was built by the king who conquered (they call it unifying) all the Hawaiian islands in the early 19th century - Kamehameha I - to fulfill the prophesy that if he killed his cousin, then he would become king of all the islands. Such is the power of superstitious belief, the cousin came to be sacrificed, knowing full well that is what would happen to him.  It's a bloody and fear-filled religion.  Just off shore, there's an underwater heiau for the shark gods.

Kamehameha I Heiau

Ancient Heiau

We continued on north along the very dry rusty old lava on the shoulders of Kohala.  When the road bends to the east, there is suddenly green grass and by the time you get to Hawi, it is a lush tropical environment.  We wandered and stopped at the Keokea Bay for awhile.  My sister was feeling bad so she took a nap while my BIL and I enjoyed the beautiful bay.  Up on the north shore, the land meets the ocean in sharp cliffs.  The ocean in the bay looked treacherous.  While we were there a (probable) native Hawaiian woman with a body board went out to the sea and surfed for a while.  She looked like she knew what she was doing.  But what I noticed was that her swimming garb was so practical! She wore some sort of sport bra under a light and loose tank top and loose shorts made of fast drying fabric.  She also had some water shoes on to protect her feet from the rocks. Practical!  This was a revelation to me.  I don't look like I did at 20 and really don't care to go nearly naked in public exposing all my flaws.  Men go swimming in modest attire.  Why should women be expected to expose all our unlovelys if we don't want to?  My next swim suit is going to be quick drying shorts and a tank top.  Figures that the Hawaiians would have the perfect solution figured out.
Northern tip of the Big Island

Keokea Bay

Keokea Bay

We finished up at the breathtaking Poloiu Valley lookout.  It is the westernmost deep valley with sharp cliffs formed after a good bit of the Kohala mountain collapsed into the sea.  The collapse took some 3000' off the top of the mountain and ended up some 80 miles out to sea.  Must have been pretty impressive.  The copious rain on this side carved several lovely valleys accessible only from the sea and periodic tsunamis flooded the base leaving a flat base.
Poloiu Valley

Poloiu Valley

We stopped for lunch at Gils, a local place with great fish tacos.  The Ono fish was very ono ! (delicious).  They aren't quick, but it was fresh and very tasty.  We drove back along the crest of the Kohala mountain.  It is very green, lots of cows and I spotted the weather radar tower.  Again, as soon as we crested the top, there was cactus and brown grass on the SW side of the mountain   The microclimates on this island are stark in comparison.
Kohala Mountain

Kohala Mtn 

1 comment:

  1. Your photos are fabulous. I'd love to visit Hawaii some day. Lucky you.


We love comments. Thanks for giving us your thoughts.