Exploring South of Kona and experiencing relaxation

This morning started early.  Amelia was up at 5am, and the rest of us were soon to follow.  One by one we meandered about of bed, enjoyed some lucky charms or cheerios and packed the cooler.  We ventured an hour south of here (just south of Kona) to see a few beautiful Big Island sites.

We started at Kealakekua Bay, home to good snorkelling and the Captain Cook memorial.  Ray was the only one of us to venture in and enjoy the colourful schools of fish, while me and Chris wandered around and took photos.  The actual memorial for Captain Cook is across the bay – which means you need a kayak or a long steep hike to access it, so we settled for photos with a 500mm lens I borrowed from a colleague.  There were tons of locals sitting around trying to “sell” us on kayak rentals, but we were content to be land lubbers.  Besides, not sure how Amelia would have taken to life on the water, and of course, not sure I was willing to take my camera out on a kayak!

After K-bay we ventured further south to St. Benedicts “Painted Church.”  There was a beautiful outside “way to the cross” walk up the hill to a statue of Mary holding Jesus.  The church itself is small, with murals painted on the walls with key biblical scenes.  Next door is a beautiful Hawaiian cemetery.

All of the sites are found along steep narrow roads meandered through local farms and homes with “no spray” signs.  The area feels very LOCAL, and not at all designed for tourists.  We are lucky to have the GPS with us, which got us almost everywhere we needed to go, but without it there are not a lot of signs to guide tourists to these big locations.  In fact, the biggest and most famous of the sites we see are still generally small and unoccupied compared to many other states or islands we have visited.  The local feel is part of what drew us to the big island in the first place, but it has been very interesting to see and experience.

We made the mistake of searching for “Place of Refuge” in the GPS – which brought us to a steep hill leading to no where.  Turns out that the GPS required the more technical name – Pu’uhonua o Honaunau.  There was a reason we chose not to use this more technical name in our notes – we couldn’t say it or spell it.  Once we figured it out, we went to this National Park (didn’t realize it was a National Park!)  It is the living grounds of Hawaiian royalty back from the 1550’s.  Lots of walls made of big black lava rocks, some as much as 10 feet high and 17 feet wide in places.  The grounds were beautiful and the walk and scenery were well worth the trip.

The afternoon consisted of a long and well needed afternoon nap, a trip to the pool, an amazing dinner of Ahi Tuna, Bacon Stuffed Peppers and Corn on the Cob.  We have the pleasure of Ray’s cooking every night (and take turns cleaning up after him).  The Mauna Lani Resort is beautiful and the town home we rented lived up to expectation.  Life is good.

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