April 19

Good morning from the balcony of our little condo in the heart of Kona town, Big Island, Hawaii.
"The rule of kings might change, but the burial rights of families survived on their lands. With this right is connected an inherent love of the land of one's birth, so that men do not willingly wander from place to place but remain on the land of their ancestors." S.M. Kamakau, Hawaiian historian, 1869.
Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park. It's also called Captain Cook Bay...
...and this is the very large and important heiau that faces the bay.

From Wiki: "Settlement on Kealakekua Bay has a long history. Hikiau Heiau was a luakini temple of Ancient Hawaii at the south end of the bay... associated with funeral rites. The large platform of volcanic rock was originally over 16 feet high, 250 feet long, and 100 feet wide. The sheer cliff face called Pali Kapu O Keôua overlooking the bay was the burial place of Hawaiian royalty.

"The name means "forbidden cliffs of Keôua " in honor of Keôua Nui. He was sometimes known as the "father of kings" since many rulers were his descendants. The difficulty in accessing the cliff kept the exact burial places secret."
There it is, the monument to Captain Cook. It's a big story. You'll want to read all about it in Sarah Vowell's book Unfamiliar Fishes. You won't be sorry, I promise!
Next stop, Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, a National Historic Park where, since 1961, the National Park Service has maintained this place which was once both Royal Grounds and place of refuge.

Refuge was an important part of cultural life back then and too long for me to tell...I want everyone to read Sarah Vowell's book Unfamiliar Fishes. You won't be sorry, I promise! (Maybe I'll mention this book only a few more times? Maybe.)
This place somewhat follows the Colonial Williamsburg model with rebuilt structures, practicing craftsmen, and history lessons, one major difference being that it's also an active religious site and treated as such.
A small look at part of the surrounding wall.
Scanty attire, sports, eating, vending, etc., are not allowed in the main site for religious reasons but just outside the wall great crowds are sunning, swimming, fishing, and paddling their dogs around.
We're on to St Benedict Roman Catholic Church, Honaunau, Hawaii - Hawaii's First Painted Church, The Painted Church on the National Register of Historic Places, built and decorated from 1899-1904.
Yeah, painted indeed in a most aloha style.
A roadside view point. I didn't walk to the sign (why?) but I remember we pulled over to admire the moonscape.
Arriving at Ka Lae, the southern most location in the US, not, they like to say, the Florida Keys as Floridians like to say.

This particular spot is well known for the folk who throw themselves off these cliffs to see if they'll survive.

You can head straight south from here and not find anything but ocean until you hit Antarctica.
I wanted to find a plaque and have a picture of me standing behind that plaque but it was not to be. I thought this might be a plaque, but no.
I continued on to the edge of the sea, and still no plaque. But here's a picture of me anyway. That's not a new hairstyle, it's just windy out there.

We could also have a plaque saying that this was the place where, believed by many, the original Polynesians first landed in the Hawaiian Islands.
We were out on the road from 8:30 until 4:30. It was cocktail hour for sure and since we're staying in town no one had to drive.
The view from our cocktail hour table. Check out how the big ship is leaving and the long boats are heading home.

And then with a slight turn to the right...
...ahhh the setting sun.
April 20

Heading into the little town of Waimea central to the cowboy country of the Big Island.

No cowboys here though - this is the W. M. Keck Observatory Headquarters where you can see a few things in their lobby and when a docent is around you can learn a lot, which we didn't because there wasn't a docent around.
From their website of the Keck Observatory on to of Mauna Kea. You can visit up here and it's supposed to be totally splendid but going there didn't fit with our schedule.

Here we are for our private tour at the Paniolo Heritage Center at Pukalani Stables. This guy was totally into it and answered every question at great length.
It's a great story featuring English explorers, kapu cattle, Hawaiian kings, and Mexican vaqueros.
From their website: "Since its formation in 1998 the goal of the Paniolo Preservation Society has been to establish a Heritage Center for its collection of paniolo documents, images and artifacts. On April 1, 2011 PPS took over management of one of the oldest and most beloved gems of the Big Island ranching community – historic Pukalani Stables. Since the early 1900s ‘The Stables’ were the center of the Parker Ranch horse breeding operation for over half a century.

"There could be no better site to honor the generations of Hawaii’s paniolo than this venerable location, now renamed the Paniolo Heritage Center at Pukalani Stables."
We met three people in Waimea - two lovely ladies at the Keck and the fellow at the Heritage Center. All three said we simply must go have breakfast at the Hawaiian Style Café.

It was delicious and a ton of fun. Also it was 'Hawaiian style' which means the portions are HUGE.
Driving through some amazing country.
At the end of a long and winding road, the Pololu Valley lookout looking up the valley...
...and Pololu Valley lookout looking down the cliffs.

You could hike down there to that black sand beach if you wanted however they discourage swimming because of the currents. And then you'd get to hike back up!
A beautiful and permanently located food truck stop.
Commemorating the birthplace of Kamehameha the Great: "The statue, which was restored in early 2001, stands on the grounds of the Kohala Information Center on the main road (Highway 270) in Kapaʻau. Cast in Italy in 1879 and erected in the early 1880s, it is the original Kamehameha statue. There are five other bronzes, one on Oahu, one on Maui, one in Hilo, one in Washington, D.C. and one in Las Vegas."
The Park Service is doing a wonderful job with these historic sites including this place, the Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site.
Back in Kona, the historic Mokuaikaua Church is right next door to our condo.

From Wiki: "The congregation was first founded in 1820 by Asa and Lucy Goodale Thurston, from the first ship of American Christian Missionaries, the brig Thaddeus. They were given permission to teach Christianity by King Kamehameha II, and the Queen Regent Kaʻahumanu.
"After the royal court relocated to Honolulu, they briefly moved there. In October 1823, they learned that the people of Kailua-Kona had developed an interest in the new ways and had erected a small wooden church. The first structure on the site was made from Ohiʻa wood and a thatched roof, on land obtained from Royal Governor Kuakini across the street from his Huliheʻe Palace. The name moku ʻaikaua literally means "district acquired by war" in the Hawaiian language, probably after the upland forest area where the wood was obtained."

"After several fires, the present stone structure was constructed, partially from stones recycled from a nearby Heiau (ancient temple of the Hawaiian religion), from about 1835 to 1837. The interior is decorated with Koa wood."
Sent out by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, this is a model of the ship Thaddeus that carried the first group of missionaries traveling from Boston to Hawaii.
Across the bay looking back to the church and the waterfront portion of Kona town.
A few minutes before this spot was full of long boats.

King Kamehameha the Great restored this 'Ahu'ena Heiau in 1812 and it was being restored again when we were here in 2011.
Here we are...The Usual!

We both got the clam chowder bread bowl and it was the best version of that particular dish that either of us ever had. They took the top off that thick fresh flavorful crusty sourdough bread loaf and made drippy delicious garlic toast out of it. YUM!
April 21

We left Kona this morning heading to our two nights at Volcano National Park. We travelled by way of highway 200, the Saddle Road where inside of a couple of hours we drove from sea level to 6,632 feet and back to sea level. Oh it was a party in my ears alright.
Here's a little look.
Arriving in Hilo on a fully sunny day, not so often the case in Hilo, we took a drive-about and stopped off here for another commemoration to Kamehamemha the Great.
And this tree. There were so many of them in Hilo and I am going to keep asking until I can confirm their name.
Wow, parking was inconvenient and I was too lazy to even get out of the car!

"According to legend, Kamehameha lifted the 5,000 pound Naha Stone at age 14 (it's the big flat one), and was the only person to ever lift it. The legend that goes with this particular stone is that the man who lifted it was the legendary warrior who would unite all of the islands."
Moving on, from lighthousefriends: "Located on the Big Island, twenty-five miles southeast of Hilo, is Cape Kumukahi, the easternmost point of the Hawaiian Islands. According to Hawaiian mythology, the cape is named after Chief Kumukahi who refused to allow the fire goddess Pele to participate in the playing of royal games. Offended, Pele sent forth a fountain of fire and lava that chased Kumukahi to the beach and continued eastward creating the cape."
The lava fields on the Big Island are amazing, huge and dramatic and beyond my ability to fully express in a picture.
Here's some more...
...and more.

There seem to be two main kinds of fields, the lava spewing kind with giant jagged rocks 'as far as the eye can see' and the lava oozing kind with huge rolls of folding blackness.
We had a really lovely cabin in Volcano Village...
...and Christa came to join us for the first night!

Christa is here on a two month assignment from her school in Honolulu and HURRAY CHRISTA! she got us our tickets for Merrie Monarch!! You did it Christa - you're THE BEST!!!
We had dinner in the village at this place, Ohelo, and it was very good.

(internet pic)
April 22

Volcanoes National Park where we drove up to the Visitor's Center and then rolled on out to...
...the Kilauea viewing station. It's still bubbling away which is quite a sight. There is a flow at the sea too which I'll talk about later.
A sweet couple from the Netherlands about to make their way into the lava tube trail.
It's fun and easy once you get down there...
...and here's the light at the end...of the tunnel!
Walking back to the parking is a lot easier than it was climbing in.
We're driving along the Chain of Craters road and there was a turn-off, the Hilina Pali Road built by the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1933 through 1942 that leads to the Hilina Pali Overlook.

Here we are at the end of nine twisty miles on one lane.
Check out all those dotted lines. Those are trails made for Real walkers as each one is quite long.
A few more stops along the Chain of Craters.
Here's a particularly good crater, and the National Park Service website is excellent with noting the stops. I just didn't note the stop as I took the pictures!
A good one here too. Our rental car is featured in many of these pictures and it is serving us well - an Infiniti QX70.
From the NPS: "This impressive sea arch was cut into the cliff of an ancient lava flow, about 550 years ago. The term used in the creation of this sea arch is "differential erosion", which is the difference in the hardness of various layers of lava flow."
All over the internet you can find pictures of this lava flow, active now and making quite a show as the rivulets ooze into the sea.

From the end of the road just a few steps from the above bridge you can walk 4 miles on a gravel road to get to the flow. And then you get to walk the 4 miles back. I think they are allowing bikes too if you are of a mind.
We stopped for a late lunch at the Volcano House sitting here enjoying the food and the VIEW!
We went up to Christa's friend's place to get the Merrie Monarch tickets (YAY Christa!).

L-R: Ka'ahukane, Christa, Daniella, Kara, and Zachary
Let's hear it for the Merrie Monarch Festival!
Christa got the tickets from a doctor she's working with who got them from someone else we don't know who, but the doctor told Christa all he wanted in return was a picture of us having fun. I ran out to the concessions when I heard the announcement that, new rule, we couldn't take any pictures in the arena. I asked these beautiful ladies if I could have a picture with them to which they laughingly agreed and here it is, me having FUN!
There was a row of many shops selling leis and other flower adornments. I got that little guy in my hair at this one.
What it looks like inside. From now, no more pictures because, new rule, no pictures at all allowed during the competition, but I can say wholeheartedly and without reservation, it was AWESOME.

I'm going to try to get the video but really, there's nothing like being there. Go if you can!
April 23

We had a nice drive back to the Kona airport with a few stop-offs along the way including here...
...Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach.
Count the colors, oh my.
Welcome Back! This orchid has been opening bloom by bloom since we got here and arriving back from the Big Island it is all aloha welcome glow.
HomeUSA Aloha! • Hawaii • '17 Apr: Big Island

© 2014 • WhereTheHeckIsMom.com