It took all day but we circumnavigated 1/2 of Kona island. We have been diving a lot and have 6 more dive days left so today is a break. We have heard this island has two distinct personalities. One lush, green and rainy and the other barren, black and arid. The side we are familiar with, the arid side, has the good diving so to satisfy curiosity we have to see how the other half lives.
Reasonably early, 9ish, we are headed north-west on the highway across the middle of the island. Hilo, is our goal. It is still pretty barren until we hit the downslope on the west side headed for the ocean. We don’t have a proper map, only those supplied for tourists and they are a little short on information, we kind of have to feel our way to the centre of town. A small city much like any other. On the surface it does not require much investigation and without spending a week or so there we would not be able to determine if the place is indeed worth more time.
Thought we should stop at a few beaches on our tour so we try to find some on the west side. We finally found signage leading us to a ‘beach park’. Park yes, beach no. Laupahoehoe Beach Park has a wonderful grassy park area with facilities and shade from the surrounding trees but as best we could make, you would need to be mad to attempt to swim there. Since our goal is to get in the water we hang out with the 100 0r so bikers present for a short while and then continue on our way north on the west coast highway. Along this section of the highway many different types of trees are present, making for an interesting visual texture to the dense green landscape.
Heading away from the coast, at the north end of the island, we encounter an area of ranch farm land. Reminds me a bit of our home with slightly different trees and grasses but much the same feel as the prairie and rolling foot hills of Alberta.
Descending again back to the ocean on the east side of the island the vista is again of large expanses of black lava rock and tufty yellow grass.
From our travels north and south along the coast highway last year we know there are some good beaches along this streatch of road. It is getting on in the afternoon and we need some water time. After all, for us flat landers, water time is the main reason for visiting a tropical island. On a whim we follow a beach access sign into a gated development, Mauna Kea. It is a stroke of luck. The beach is, I think, the best beach we have found so far on island of Kona. It is quite large, fairly sheltered and has wonderful sand 50 M wide right out into the water. We ensconce ourselves there and spend the rest of the afternoon playing in the waves.
Never boogie boarded before. Our hotel has several ‘water toys’ people have left over time and we obscound with the boogie board this morning. Didn’t do great but both Debbie and I got a few good rides and the time flew by.
On the way back to town we stop at Kona’s flagship beach, Hapuna. Nice beach but fairly crowded and they expect you to pay for parking, poor form in my opinion. We want to show D & C another place. The appeal to this beach of course would be the shade that is available close to the water. We may yet swim there.
Although the day is not really that strenuous we are all beat so we pick up tacos ‘to go’ from Killer Taco and head back to the hotel to eat dinner on the pool deck overlooking the ocean. Ah, life is rough.