There are a multitude of great areas to visit on this, "The Big Island"

General Thoughts
The weather here is generally quite nice. Most mornings are clear and cool, with lows about 65 degrees. By 10 am we see clouds over the mountains to the east. I guess it rains up there each day. By mid afternoon those clouds sometimes reach us here, which is nice since by then it is in the 80s. About once a week we get a thunderstorm out of them.

This area is not a heavy tourist town and the natives don't want it to be. But when a cruise ship comes in (2-3 day a week) it is a tourist center. There are several major hotels here and so there are always some tourists around. There is no port here, but one on the other side of the island. It is very shallow here.
The population of the island (Hawaii or The Big Island) is almost half native Hawaiians and they are not all that happy that the US "Took their Land" (sound familiar).

Electric power is 5 times the cost of power in the 48 states. It is made by geothermal, wind, and solar. They are staying away from anything but renewable. They don't seem to care about cost, probably because they don't want development. Construction costs are very high partly because of elaborate system of construction permits, and of course labor and transportation costs.

Often after work at 3:30 (we start work a 7am), a bunch of us walk to the city beach to swim and snorkle. The snorkling is also great here with no end of colored fish. They often teach canoeing here in the large Hawaian outrigger canoes. They are practicing for the big race in May. By that time of the day, the clouds have drifted over some of Kona, but rarely over the beach.


Saturday Trips

Often on Saturdays the base aranges for us to take vans to nearby areas. We each kick in $5 to pay for the gas. This time it was Hapuna Beach considered one of the best in the US. A mile of sand and lots of shade, combined with clear, warm water with mild waves make it a great beach for all.


Fifteen minutes south of town by free trolley, is Chilren's Beach, beautiful Snorkel Beach.
This beach is protected from th
e waves and is full of coral and many tropical fish.


I usually snorkel for about 45 minutes and often see hundreds fish of every color of the rainbow and all kinds of shapes.
Most are 6 to 10 inches, but some were several pounds. There were also a number of large Sea Turtles.
The water is 75-80 degrees.



A Weekend Trip Around the Island

At noon I take off of work and rent a car. Enterprise offers half price on weekends and so the cost is only $70 for the weekend. I usually take the rear seats out, it makes a good sleeper. After dinner, I was off and up to Hapuna Beach where I put the sun to bed at 6:30. The Hawaiian children were still playing in the surf. Then I drive up to Spencer Beach and camp in the car.

As you round the north point of our island, the terrain changed radically. You go from lava flows and cactus, to lush meadows with dairy farms. There were forests around the meadows. Then as we drove on, (all this in a 10 mile stretch), we entered a tropical rainforest. It was very much like the forests of southern Cameroon; even the smells and sounds brought back many memories. I could not believe the vast change in only a few miles of driving.

The rainforest area was very mountainous beyond where I go (the road ended and for good reason). There were a series of five steep ridges with sea level valleys between, all covered with tropical rain forest. Each ridge extended from the mountain to the sea.

From the parking area, you can walk down the steep trail into the valley below.
I spend an hour there on the beach watching the surf and swimming.

Next it was off for Waipi'o View point.
The road goes on but you can't drive it unless you have 4-wheel drive and low range.
Some parts of it are 45 degrees. I have lunch in a quiet meadow overlooking the valley below.

Next, I was off to Laupahoehoe Beach.
The wind always blows from the northeast here, and the waves are something to behold.
They would hit the large rocks on the shore and spray flies up 30 ft. I watch them for a long time.


Later I headed towards Hilo, but took the "Scenic Route". It took me through a wonderful Rainforest area. Sometimes I camp at Kolekole Beach, a quiet little camp in a deep valley with a stream flowing through it.

Helo is the more industral city of the Island because of its seaport. The population is higher than Kona, but with less tourist trade.
There are no sand beaches on this side and the weather is usually cool and rainy with an anual rainfall of 200 inches.

Next stop was Hawaii Volcanoes National Park at 4500 ft. The two big peaks on the island are now dormant volcanoes, but the southeast side of the island is active with lava flowing for a few miles and into the sea. You can't get to that area except for a 3 mile hike (which much of the time you cannot do because of deadly sulphur fumes) or by flying over. However, there are two smaller craters in the park that sport many steam vents. I drive over to Kilauea Iki Crater to see it.

I also hike through the Thurston Lava Tube. The trail leading to it is covered with a lush rainforest with green ferns and beautiful flowers.


Later I drove on to Black Sands Beach. There I swim with Sea Turtles. While I was there a fellow pulled in his net and got a nice mess of fish.


The Polynesian children here are so cute.


Next is a vist to South Point, the southern most point in the US. The waters are deep blue under the 50 foot high cliffs. .

I meet up with a bunch of our young people who all wanted to jump off the cliffs, most did, not me.
After jumping off they swim under the rocks and climb back up out of a sort of deep gorge.


After that you drive on back over the South Hawaii Belt Road. On my weekends trip I generally log about 340 miles.

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