Sunday, December 20, 2015

Hawaii: Day 2 - Naahelu, Big Island to Kailua-Kona, Big Island

Travel Date: Sunday, Nov 22 2015

Justin and I got in at around 2 AM to our bed and breakfast Macadamia Meadows Farms in the town at Naahelu, Big Island via AirBnB. We stayed in the Macadamia room since they had two beds.

We were awoken at 6 AM by the rooster crowing.

After chuckling at the irony of wanting to sleep in a little longer and been awoken on our vacation by the rooster on the farm, I got up and made some Kona Coffee.

I've actually had this coffee at my local coffee shop Crossroads Coffee and Icecream in Richmond, Virginia, but this sampling of ground coffee beans tasted much better.

After waking up I read the local warning of Dengue Fever. Stay away from the bad bad mosquitos by wearing long sleeves and bug spray.

Looking at my iPhone and Google Maps we are here on the island. The plan is to drive for half an hour to the South Point Cliff Dive and perhaps jump into the ocean from the cliff point. Perhaps!

But first, we get up and walk around the farm for a self-tour.

Justin and I get some coffee and enjoy the peace and quietness of the farm. And the occasional rooster crowing.

Justin notices a really large spider web and goes in for a closer look and some picture taking.

At 8 AM we head up stairs for breakfast.

Sherri, our host has made us a traditional American breakfast with some fresh Hawaiian fruit and macadamia nuts.

We ask Sherri to join us for breakfast to talk about the island, her story moving to Big Island from New Mexico, the local food and flavor and things to do. We thank her for her amazing hospitality and the stay.

Time to drive off in our 'ugly car' that wreaks of rain sogged seats, so much so that we roll down the windows. Why did I get an ugly car?? Two reasons

  1. I was planning on using my Delta Miles points to pay for the car. Unfortunately I couldn't make any regular car reservations online past 9 PM because that is what time the airport rental car agencies close, and we were arriving after 9 PM.
  2. The closest rental agency to the airport closed at 10 PM and it was the Ugly Car agency. So I thought is was my best bet.

This is what Hawaii license plates look like. During our stay, I had not seen any other state license plate on the island, which makes sense because everything is imported.

We leave Macadamia Farms.

And drive toward South Point Cliff Dive

I noticed satellites along the way.

And windmill farms.

We stop at the crossroad junction along the way.

I realize I was lied to. Keywest, Florida is NOT the southernmost point in the USA.

We continue on to Kalae, the Southernmost Point in the USA.

A hole in the rocks. I've read of people jumping down and swimming out to the ocean.

The Cliff Dive Point.

The rusted ladder that you would have to climb later.

Justin and I talked about jumping from the Cliff Point and diving out into the ocean. We did see one swimmer. I wanted to, but I have to say I was a little afraid. I think I would have jumped if I had seen others jumping out. I needed some peer pressure. And I definitely regret not jumping out now as I type this.

There are some amazing views from the Cliff Point.

We get back into the car and drive to Papakolea Green Sand Beach.

My adopted parents Mike and Sharyn recommended that I check out all the various colored beaches when I visited Hawaii. So after researching them I added them to my itinerary: white, black, green, red, and obviously the tradition brown sand. I've experienced purple sand on Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California..

I want to really see, touch, and feel the green sand. There are only a few of those in the world. We drive up to the general free parking area.

And find some locals to pay and ride us to the green sand beach. Sherri and the internet has informed us that the terrain is very rough in spots, and it is illegal to use a rental car. You can walk the 3 mile hike, but the locals suggest taking a lot of water on the hike due to the terrain and the sun bearing on you. Justin and I don't want to waste the time so we pay the $15.00 fee/person for the 15 minute ride.

We are told to wait at the bench by the tree.

As we get on our truck we notice our drive is a 13 year old local Hawaiian boy. One of the passengers asks him if he has a driving license.

He replies: "What's a driving license?"

We get to know our neighbors Zhengdong and his girlfriend Mengjia who is 'comfortably' sitting in the front seat with our 13-year old chaueffer.

The drive there on the beat up truck starts of smooth, but we are warned that it is going to get quite bumpy.

The views of the coastline are beautiful and rocky.

We finally get to Papakolea Green Sand Beach.

It is a steep walk to the green sand.

Fortunately there is a noticable path.

Proof that I was here.

Left my imprint.

I love this.

After walking around the beach, I hike up back up to the top. Our new friends Zhengdong and Mengjia recommend that we check out the view from the top of the cliff nearby.

The view of Papakolea Green Sand Beach is just amazing from this angle.

We head back to the truck after 45 mins or so. Unfortunately, we have more people coming back on the truck so Zhengdong and Mengjia end up enjoying the cushionless bumpy ride a bit more than Justin and I.

Had to take a picture of our 13 year-old driver Isaiah. He actually started driving the route when he was 10 years old. As we drove past other car, many people were shocked. It was quite entertaining to watch.

We got into our car and it didn't start. Shit!

Fortunately we have some mechanics near by: Doug and his son Daniel were able to assist us with starting the car. After testing the starter, the battery, and other parts we hit the battery on the left side and the car starts. So much for my "ugly car experience."

I call the Ugly Car company and ask for another ugly car that works. It is a little frustrating to drive 2 hours back to the Hilo Aiport area, to pick up a "new ugly car".

While driving there I notice a van with the side door jerry-rigged. I found this quite amusing given the issues with our car.

We also stopped by a gas station and filled up the car with gas without turning the engine off. We were afraid that it would not start again. I've never done that before. We were living adventurously.

Our replacement "ugly car" looks a lot better, and it has its own kinks. The seats don't smell, but there is no cruise control and the air-conditioning does not work. Oh well. Unfortunately we cannot even get an upgrade to a non-ugly car because they don't have any in stock. Note-to-self, never again rental from here. It does make for an amusing story though.

We drive back and decide to stop in the tiny town of Volcano on route to Volcanoes National Park. My friend Chuck from Lexington recommended we check out the restaurant Thai, a Thai Restaurant.

I know what you are thinking. We are in eff-ing Hawaii. Why would you want to eat Thai food? I'm hungry and there are no other restaurants nearby. And I rather get good Thai food than bad Hawaiian food.

I order the local beer Castaway IPA, from Kona Brewery.

And some Pad Thai noodles (spice level: Thai hot). It was definitely HOT!

Thank you Justin for the delicious dinner treat. And thank you Chuck for the great recommendation. Both Justin and I really enjoyed the food there and would recommend it to anyone.

Next stop Volcanoes National Park, which I will cover in a separate blog post.

After our stop at Volcanoes National Park we headed out to Punalu'u Black Sand Beach.

We get there and it is beautiful.

These picture with the overcast does not do it justice, but maybe a google search on the internet and better lighting will.

There are some turtles resting on the beach in a protected area.

Oh, the amazing black sand. I just have to take off my shoes and touch the sand with my hands and feet.

As the sun sets, and nightfall approaches we head out on the road while stopping around some picturesque vistas.

After about 2 hours of driving we get to the west side of the island in Kailua-Kona. And we check into the Marriott Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel.

Our concierge gives us a few options of local places to check out and get some local Hawaiian food. Ironically 'Chubby's Dinner' is in a local bowling alley.

I don't know what I got but it was okay: cabbage, rice and some pork. Not exactly "delicious" and gratefully not SPAM which the Hawaiian's apparently love.

Justin and I share a drink. Thank you again Justin for dinner!

And we head back to the hotel on foot. I cannot believe they have "Stop and Look" signs with directional arrows on the road.

We get back to the hotel, and I walk outside our balcony and appreciate the view of the beach at night. I wish we could get here for the sunset. The view would have been EPIC from our balcony.

But what we have NOW is pretty awesome too!


I/we had a full day. I am grateful for our host Sherri and the Macadamia Meadows Farm we stayed at, grateful for the views of the South Point Cliff, grateful for the story of the 13-year old man child who drove us to the green sand beach and the experience on the green sand beach itself, grateful for strangers helping us get our car started, grateful for the ugly car rental place swapping our cars, grateful for making new friends from China, grateful for the thai food recommendation and the food itself, grateful for black sand beach, grateful for the concierge recommendations and grateful for the view of the hotel.

Despite the 5-6 hours wasted on getting our car fixed and replaced, the overcast weather, the clouds, and the rain, and missing an epic sunset at the hotel, the day was still eventful, spontaneous and filled with adventure. The "ugly car incident" did annoy me. While I wanted to dwell on the negative, it was helpful to be aware of re-framing my thoughts and appreciate the positive aspects of the day.

It was an experiential lesson of taking the good with the bad while on vacation. There is so much more positive in the world than negative. The nature of things depends on what we choose to give focus to.

Expenses: $244.93
Taxi: $30.00 (Punalu'u Black Sand Beach)
Gas: $16.00 (Aloha Mountain View Mini-Market)
Lunch: Justin (Thai Thai Restaurant)
Dinner: Justin (Chubby's Dinner)
Beverages: $20.00 (Chubby's Dinner)
Hotel: $163.31 (Marriott Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel)
Parking: $15.62 (Marriott Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel)

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