Saturday, March 28, 2020

Waterfalls and Ukuleles

One day while we were on the Big Island, Rosemary and Karen went on a tour to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Since I had been there before, and the volcano wasn't erupting now, I didn't go with them. So I had the car all to myself, and went on a drive over the middle of the island (on the new road) to Hilo.

My first stop was Rainbow Falls. Just gorgeous!

I went to some ukulele shops in Hilo, then drove our to Akaka Falls. Wow!

Kahuna Falls is next to Akaka Falls, and hard to see, but I thought it was really cool that a flower was growing in the right spot to get the perfect picture!

Walking back to the car, the bamboo was really colorful.

I've always wanted to go to a ukulele festival, and one was happening here! Rosemary and Karen were very nice to go with me to Waikoloa Beach, north of Kona, for the Waikola Ukulele Festival. First up was a workshop put on by Roy Sakuma. I didn't have my ukulele with me, but I did some air-strumming.

After the workshop, various artists performed at different nearby locations. This is my favorite, Kris Fuchigami, playing Elvis' "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You."

Another short video showing how intricate his playing is.

I've been going to many ukulele shops, and found one I really like! More on that later...

When we were done at the Ukulele Festival, we walked over to the nearby Waikoloa Petroglyph Reserve.

Very cool!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Snorkeling on the Big Island

We wanted to do some snorkeling in Hawaii, and this beach looked easy to get in and out of.

No big waves crashing on the shore!

There I go!

I saw quite a variety of fish. Here an Orangespine Unicornfish and a Yellow Tang.

An Orangeband Surgeonfish -

And a couple Black Triggerfish and 4 Convict Tangs. (hence the stripes...)

And 2 very nice Threadfin Butterflyfish.

We also walked around downtown Kona, where we saw historic Hulihe'e Palace, the summer vacation home of ancient Hawaii royal families.

We also visited several ukulele stores.

I'm always looking for a new ukulele, but Rosemary went crazy and bought 3 for her grandchildren!

Fortunately, I've been back on the mainland for 2 weeks now, but I still miss the beauty of Hawaii!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

More Fun on the Big Island

When we were on the Big Island, we stayed at a friend's time share condo. This is the view we had from our balcony.

We did some more exploring south of Kona. We stopped at the Painted Church, which was closed when we went by the day before.

It's just beautiful inside.

All the paintings on the walls were in good shape -

Except for the "Hell" painting, which suffered from heat damage. I wonder why?

There was an interesting cemetery next to the church.

One the way home, we stopped at a coffee plantation, where we got a very nice tour.

They have some interesting coffee here in Kona!

We also stopped at a botanical garden, but didn't go on the tour. We saw plenty in the free area.

And then we stopped at Walmart to do some souvenir shopping. Wow! That's a lot of Hawaiian shirts!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Swimming with Manta Rays

One thing I really wanted to do on the Big Island was to swim with the Manta Rays. I did it 7 years ago here, but didn't see any Manta Rays that time. This time I went with Sunlight on Water, a company that I had done a dolphin cruise with on my prior trip, and I knew they were really good.

One thing I like is that they take pictures of your trip, and put them on Facebook for no charge. Here's their first picture - me, Karen and Rosemary.

We went south along the coast, and saw some dolphins along the way. Hard to get a picture - they move really fast.

We arrived at our spot, and waited for the sunset.

We then got in the water, and held on to a board that was lit up. The lights attract plankton, which then attracts the Manta Rays.

The Manta Rays came in below us -

And then spin upside down right underneath us while eating the plankton.

The last 2 pictures were the tour company's. Mine were not as good...

And the Mantas got so close, I sometimes just got a close-up of their bellies.

Here's a great video that they took. Not from the night we were there, but it will give you an idea of what we saw.

It was a great night!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

I Love the Big Island of Hawaii!

On our second full day on the Big Island, we headed south of Kona to see the sights in that direction. Our first stop was Kealakekua Bay, also known as Captain Cook Bay.

Captain Cook was killed here in 1779. Way on the other side of the bay is a monument to him.

On our side of the bay is Hikiau Heiau, an ancient temple associated with funeral rites.

There were lots of black crabs on the shoreline, difficult to see because they blended in with the lava rock.

Next, we went to see Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, one of my favorite places on this island.

The royal grounds were open only to ali'i (chiefs).

I had been here before, but the National Park Service has really improved the programs they offer here. We had an excellent lecture, and these kids are learning to play Konane, an ancient Hawaiian strategy game.

The wooden statues are ki'i, representing Hawaiian gods.

My favorite two - from the front -

And the rear!

This place served as a place of refuge for those who broke Kapu - sacred laws and beliefs, such as a commoner who cast his shadow on an ali'i, or who caught a fish out of season.

They also had a mostly-naked wood carver for us to admire.

Walking is hard on this lava!