January 25 to February 3, 2013. Heidi and I travelled to Kona and spent the first two days at the Waikoloa Hilton. The weather was fantastic and lounging around a resort in 80 degree weather felt so great after months of Seattle winter.
Scott and Tracy picked us up on the third day and we settled in to our great rental house in Waikoloa Village with steaks barbecued on the deck and blended tropical drinks.
The weather forecast for the next day was looking a tad rainy (still 80 degrees), so we decided to go on a hike on the Northwest corner of the island. We hiked down in the Pololu valley and then up over the next ridge and down a crazy scary rope descent into the Honokane valley.
We were happy to get back up and out after the trecherous ascent out of the valley.
That evening we drove to Waimea and had an incredible meal at Red Water. Incredible sushi, drinks and some great grilled local fish. What an evening!
The next day we decided to hit the beach. I believe this is the one Scot called “69” beach, based on the highway mile marker. It was a small beach, with almost no crowd and fun swimming.
After the beach, we drove into the town of Kailua Kona, ate pizza at the Kona Brewing Company and then hit the beach at the old airport.
The next two days were spent going to Mauna Lani beach and Hapuna. We basically cooked in the sun and boogie boarded until our burned bodies could no longer deal with exposure. Great times!
Jodi and Andy showed up the next day and we decided to get close up and personal with the whales we’d been watching and hearing (literally, underwater) from the beach. We got up early and took at boat tour and saw a bunch of whales.
That afternoon was bright and sunny and perfect, so we jumped in the car to get the best views possible- from the top of 13,796 foot Mauna Kea. Our first stop was the visitor center, where we acclimated for an hour and saw the sun through a telescope.
Once we drove the final few miles to the top, we were greeted with perfect views, light winds and much warmer than average temperatures (still glad we had jackets, though!)
After watching the sunset, we drove back down to the visitor’s center and I played around with my new Fujifilm X-E1 taking star shots. That was a blast!
The next couple of days were spent going to the beach all day, eating great meals at the Blue Dragon and back to Red Water. It was great.
Back to Seattle in early February was sad, but with a slight tan and recharged batteries, we left paradise.
Thanks a lot to Scot and Tracy and Jodi and Andy. It was a great time!