Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Last Post on Hawaii - I Promise!

Okay, about time I wrap this up, right? Just a few more things... This is not the first time I've been to Hawaii with my sister. We were here way back in 1993. This is what we looked like then...

And this is us now. I like my long blond hair better now!

One of the most interesting places we saw in the northern tip of the Big Island was the Mookini Heiau. A heiau is an early Hawaiian religious temple. Near here is also where King Kamehameha the Great was born in 1758.

The temple is over 1500 years old. It was built by as many as 20,000 men, passing stones hand to hand from Pololu Valley, 14 miles away. It was supposedly completed in one day.

On the plane from Phoenix, I read an article in their magazine about the Wiliwili tree. I had been looking for one our whole time in Hawaii and finally found one in a resort on the Big Island. Wiliwili means "twisty" in Hawaiian. There is a saying here that "when the wiliwili tree blooms, the sharks bite." I was glad it wasn't blooming...

All along the road north of Kona is a kind of Hawaiian graffiti, where words are written on the black lave with white coral rocks - sort of an "eco-friendly vandalism."

And there are also petroglyphs here, although not as old as the ones in the Southwest US.

At long last, it was ready to depart our tropical paradise. But we do intend to come back in a couple years and explore some of the other islands in greater depth.

When I got home, I laid out all my souvenirs. Here I have several shell necklaces, 2 kokui nut neclaces (one I made and one I bought), and my ribbon lei that I made on the ship.

I also have a new (to me) address book that I got in a thrift store, a wooden bowl, flower earrings, 2 Christmas ornaments, a black pearl necklace and earrings, and some coral and lava rocks. Quite a haul, huh?

I hope you've enjoyed my Hawaiian "vacation." I sure did!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Kona and North

I had read that the coffee trees were blooming this time of year in Kona, so we visited a coffee plantation. I didn't know I was going to have to WORK, and pick some coffee beans!

They were indeed blooming, but somewhat less spectacularly than I had hoped.

They had some other interesting plants around. This is the gigantic bloom of the banana tree. And of course, I had to listen to another spiel by another insurance salesman...

This one was very appealing - a cocoa bean pod! And we got to taste the beans inside, which really did taste like chocolate.

North of Kona is the cowboy town of Waimea. Who knew!!! This is a statue of Ikua Purdy, a native Hawaiian cowboy who was the 1908 World Steer Roping Champion at the Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Did I mention I love cowboys?

The Visitors Center for the Parker Ranch had some great murals. The ranch is among the nation's largest cattle ranches.

There were cute signs to the restrooms.

Nearby we found a statue of the Diana, the goddess of the hunt. She seems to forgotten most of her clothes.

The back wasn't any better.

There are several statues of King Kamehameha the Great on the islands, but this one is the original, and has the best story. It was created in Italy in 1878 and bronzed in Paris, but lost at sea when the ship sank on the way to Hawaii. It was later miraculously found after another statue was ordered.

We then made our way to the Pololu Valley overlook, on the Northern tip of the island.

Friendly critters were there.

Stay tuned - I'm almost done!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Will I Ever Get Done Posting about Hawaii?

Probably not - I saw SOOO much stuff!

The Painted Church was built over 100 years ago, and is still an active Catholic church. It was painted by the resident priest at the time.

The entire ceiling and all of the walls are painted.

Ka Lae is the southern tip of the Big Island, and the southernmost point of the 50 United States.

It's pretty windy here!

Nearby, some (crazy) people were jumping off the cliff -

And then, the worst part, they had to climb up this scary ladder. Pretty painful in bare feet.

That evening we went to one of the many luaus available. Here, the pig that has been roasting all day comes out of the pit.

While waiting for them to prepare it, they gave out fake tattoos. This lady proved you are never too old to get a tattoo!

Soon, the King and Queen arrived. Wow - what a treat!

But I was most happy when they opened the food line buffet.

Great food! (Especially the desserts...)

After dinner, there was entertainment typical of the various areas of the South Pacific.

But I was waiting for the fire eater, and sure enough he appeared.

One busy day!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Swimming with Dolphins

Another adventure I wanted to do was to swim with the dolphins. I chose to go with Sunlight on Water, and was very glad I did. The crew was absolutely wonderful, and the captain was very good at finding dolphins.

It wasn't long before some dolphins were traveling along with us. Since they were moving pretty fast, there was no reason to get in the water here. The captain said he knew where they were going.

These are Spinner Dolphins - they jump straight out of the water and spin around like they are dancing. Of course it's nearly impossible to get a photo, because you never know when they will do it.

We ended up getting in the water 3 times, and saw dolphins every time.

Here are a few short videos that I took with my Canon D10 underwater camera. It's a great camera, and if you are interested, there is a newer version, the D20, out now. Be sure to turn your volume up so you can here the dolphins squeeking and woooooing.

I was taking a video of one dolphin jumping, diving, and squeeking, when another one practically ran me over!

Here are two groups jumping, then one group dives in unison. Listen for the woooooing.

After they dive, they swim underwater for a while before they have to come back up to breathe. LOTS of wooooing and squeeking going on here.

One group going down while another comes up.

More pictures of our day are on Sunlight on Water's Facebook page here. I wish I had gone on the Manta Ray snorkel with them too. Next time!

Friday, April 19, 2013

South of Kona

Just south of Kona is one of the coolest places on the island - Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, or Place of Refuge. It was used for centuries as a sanctuary for those who had violated a kapu, or sacred rule.

Many wooden images stand guard around the grounds.

The do look pretty scary!

I tried to teach them to smile, but it didn't work.

The refugees amused themselves by playing a Hawaiian form of checkers.

To get around here over sand and lava in a wheelchair, you need some pretty serious wheels!

They had a native craftsman working here. I questioned whether he had any pants on, but was too chicken to find out for sure.

Another stop south of Kona was Kealakekua Bay. This is a great snorkeling spot if you come on a tour boat, but not from the land.

On the far side of the bay, if I really zoom in, you can see the Captain Cook Monument. This is where he was killed, after he returned to fix his broken boat.

There is also a sacred temple here.

Since you aren't allowed to climb on it, we had to be pretty inventive to get a shot.

I was expecting something like the ruins in the southwest, but it just looked like a pile of rocks to me. Not too exciting, but I have something really exciting in mind for the next post. Stay tuned!