Day 11 – Cruising Kona

The second day in Hawaii stretched before us and this time we would be spending it in Kailua-Kona, also on the Big Island. Kona proved to be the Hawaii we imagined! On disembarking our lifeboat that had tendered us to shore, we found ourselves on Kailua Pier, smack-bang in the middle of a gorgeous coastal town, Kona. A relaxed village with a electic assortment of restaurants, souvenir and knick-knack shops colorfully mingled with lush green trees. Amazing trees with tangled, knarley trunks, and coconut trees dangling green coconuts. We had arrived too early for the excursion we had booked, and so decided to spend some time taking a walk and relishing  the summer sun and cloudless sky. Almost immediately we arrived at a Victorian style villa signposted as being Hulihee Palace, originally serving as the Governor’s official residence, and later becoming King Kalalaua’s summer palace. Unfortunately it was packed to bursting with tourists, so instead we amused ourselves with walking the lush grounds, and following a wall made of lava along the back of the property that separated the grounds from the sea. Basking in the beauty of the area and getting ready to pose for a photo of the two of us, we were taken unaware by a wave that crashed into the wall, spraying us with water. Wet and comfortably cooled, at this point it would have been impossible to wipe the smiles from our faces.

 

 

Hello Kona! - First view.

 

The lifeboat that tendered us to the pier

 

Martin in Kona

 

Jo in Kona

 

Amazing Trees

 

More amazing trees!

 

This way to Hulihee Palace

 

Hulihee Palace

 
 
 
 

Cooled by the sea

 

Kona shopping village

 

Beautiful Kona

 
 
 

After seeing enough of the knick-knacks for sale we made our way back to the Pier to await the excursion we had booked. It wasn’t long before we were ushered aboard a 24 foot Zodiac Ocean Raft. Sitting on hard black pontoons with one foot hooked under a floor rope to keep us from falling out, we flew and bounced over the waves as we sped along the Kona coast. A Pirate skull-and- crossbones flag flapped in the wind behind us, as the woman beside me screamed long high-pitched screams stopping only to take another gulp of breath. The ride was amazing! Martin was grinning ear to ear and discovered quickly that travelling at these speeds made wearing a hat completely impossible.

 

 

Martin riding the waves

 

Windswept Jo

 
 

Our captain, Andy, was kind enough to warn us when to hold on tighter as he tipped the boat almost vertically on its side taking sharp corners and showing off. Occasionally he would pull us in close to the cliffs and slow down or stop to tell us tales of the history of the area or the geology of the multicoloured volcanic rock, soil and lava tubes that made up the coastal cliffs, with his deckhand, Tetau, occassionally jumping in to add andeotes of his own. We were fortunate enough as we made our way to Kealakekua Bay to see dolphins swimming just ahead of us, their fins occasionnally breaking through the water and enciting squeals and the clicking of cameras from everyone on board. One dolphin took to jumping clear out of the water and spinning in the air, over and over, trying his best to claim a shot at fame.

 

 

Layers of volcanic rock

 

Martin and Jo

 

...da...dum...da...dum

 

Dolphin in the distance

 
 
 
Finally we arrived at Kealakekua Bay Marine Preserve, accessible only by boat, it is not only noted for being one of the world’s best places for snorkling with over 150 varieties of tropical fish, but it is also the site of the Captain Cook Monument in honor of none other than Captain Cook himself who entered the area in 1778, and who unfortunatley also met a grisley end at the hand of the natives. Here we stopped and after a brief instruction as to how to snorkel, (as I was the only one who hadn’t done it before), we found ourselves in the wonderful warm ocean in awe of the coral reefs and array of gorgous coloured fish swimming below, above, and around us. Martin in particular,and a waterbaby at heart, had found his paradise. Multi-coloured coral reefs, parrot fish, sucker fish, needle fish, sea urchins, and many fish neither of us could name, Martin even saw two eels fighting over food up close. I began to grow cold well before Martin, who was one of the last to be pulled from the water, and made my way back to the raft to enjoy snacks and refreshments, and more local tales from our guides.
 
 

Captain Cook Monument at Kealakekua Bay Marine Preserve

 

Martin and the Sea Urchin

 
 
 
Once everyone was onboard we took off again for an even faster and more reckless ride back to the Pier, again stopping at areas of interest to be shown the rock formation that took the form of the Goddess Pele reclining with an altar set before her where people had once laid offerings. Lava tubes served for her eyes and priests had once lit fires in them to scare people into thinking the goddess was displeased with them and should give more offerings. The priests had made out quite well with this. At one stop we were told that recently there had been two shark attacks in the area, fortunately no one had been hurt, but the paddle or surfboards the people had been standing on at the time had rather large chunks out of them, and had put the area on the list of being the 5th most dangerous area for shark attacks. By the time we arrived back at the Pier and made our way back on board the Rotterdam, both Martin and I were exhausted, with sore bums but smiles still plastered on our faces. Neither of us could wait for the next sknorkling experience that presented itself. Today was just the taste of Hawaii we had craved.
 
 

Martin, Jo, and the Zaandam

 
 
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2 thoughts on “Day 11 – Cruising Kona

  1. Dianne Woods says:

    Glad to see that you are having such a wonderful time. You both look so relaxed and happy!!

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