When we left Kailua-Kona on Tuesday, the road South first headed up into the hills. I knew the city was built on the side of a mountain, but I didn't realize just how quickly the ground rose. Within about 15 minutes, we were 1000ft. (300m) above sea level.
We had a lovely drive down to Pu'uhonua o Honauau, which means the Place of Refuge at Honaunau Bay. We went first of all because Norma had suggested it as a snorkeling site. It was indeed that, and a very spectacular one. Tons of fish of all sorts of colors and stripes, green turtles, and we even saw three moray eels in the deeper water. After we'd had our fill of that, we went around to the actual Place of Refuge, which Duffy wrote about here and which is a National Historical Park. We got a few photos of the ki'i, which were figures carved to protect the temple.
And David decided that this was where he wants to have our front yard.
I wonder if we can recreate that in Maine?
Upon leaving Honaunau, we continued down the coast into the Ku'a District, which is a largely arid district sitting in the rain shadow of Mauna Loa. It is also where the southernmost point in the United States is located. We didn't drive the extra few miles down to South Point, mostly because I wasn't sure how good the road would be for the rental car, but shortly after passing the point by, we came upon this overlook.
Like pretty much every other turn we had rounded on the island, it was breathtaking. We continued a bit further up the coast and stopped for a bit at Punalu'u Beach Park, which is home to a black sand beach and some pretty wild surf.
Being on the windward side of the island, the currents were pretty rough, as evidenced by the very steep beach. Nonetheless, there was a group of 8-10 year old boys out in the surf with bodyboards and surfboards, seemingly without a care. The closest David & I got to the water was washing the salt spray off of our glasses two or three times while we were there. I'd like to think that being old enough to be aware of my own mortality is generally a good thing, but those kids sure did seem to be having a good time.
Pushing on yet again, we had another half hour to drive before we arrived at our resting place for the next three nights - a cozy (read: tiny) guest cottage in the village of Volcano, nestled behind an artists' shop.
More on the cottage and the volcanoes later, but now I must sleep.