Today our ship moved to the other side of the big island of Hawaii. There was just one difference. Due to port limitations, our ship could not dock. Instead the ship anchored a distance off the island, and we used tender boats to get to the dock. Tender boats are smaller boats that seat just under 100 people and can get into the docks. We transferred from the ship to one of these tender boats, sailed to the port, then got off at the pier. Interesting change of pace. Interesting, not any more fun.
We met our tour guide/driver and headed out. Our first stop was Pu’ukohola Heiau. This is a National Historic Site of a temple built by King Kamehameha. He built this site in 1791 as a requirement for him to take control of all of the Hawaiian Islands. There is a lot more to the story but those are the basics. It is located near the ocean on the southern side of the island which is mostly dry desertlike area. Neat site, but very hot walking through it. Soon we moved on.
Our next stop was at an overview of Pololu Valley. This is a valley carved out between two volcanos over many years. The view is amazing. There is also a pathway going down through the valley to the black sand beach, but with inviting signs such as Dangerous Pathway, and Dangerous Currents, we decided to be content with the view. We then moved on to a coconut stand. This is a small stand where a man cuts into coconuts just off the tree. He uses an amazing knife and opens the coconut with a few cuts of his knife while holding the coconut in the other hand. We were later told of a time he wasn’t quite so successful. Not a good story. Some of the folks bought coconuts to drink the milk from a fresh coconut. Cheryl and I passed.
It was now nearing lunchtime and we stopped at a small luncheonette type place. Our guide had texted in orders from our group, so when we arrived lunch was served in a few minutes. Cheryl and I noticed that the lunch place was right next door to (can you guess) the local public library. We’ve gotten to the place where lunch was more important than visiting the library, so we were content to get a picture.
Lunch finished, we moved on to the home of John Parker. John Parker was an American from the mainland who helped King Kamehameha create ranches for cattle on the island. He soon became owner of a ranch of approximately 155,000 acres. The ranch still exists today, but with fewer acres (now approx. 130,000 acres). An interesting point for me was one of John Parker’s descendants named Richard Smart. Prior to him taking over the ranch he was a Broadway actor, appearing with such people as Nanette Fabray (Bloomer Girl) Eve Arden (Two For The Show) and Carol Channing (Anything Goes).
We moved next to the Mountain Thunder Coffee Company. It seems you can’t visit Kona without tasting coffee. We visited the gift shop at the site, and tasted some very good coffee. From there we went to what Cheryl and I felt was the most interesting part of the tour. We visited a cloud forest. A cloud forest is similar to a rain forest but when you look up at the tops of the trees, they are usually in the clouds. They were today. We walked through this forest on a trail that took about 30 minutes. The terrain was rough but the foliage was very interesting. It was also somewhat cooler, probably because we were out of the sun. It felt even better when it started to rain. Didn’t rain for long, just enough to be refreshing.
By now, it was time to return to the ship. We repeated the process with the tender boat and were soon back in our room. We had reservations for our next specialty dinner at Moderno Churrascaria. For those who are not familiar, a churrascaria restaurant is a place where you receive side dishes such as potatoes and folks walk around with different meats (in this case 12 different meats) and slice them at your table. They keep coming until you say enough. I made it through about 8 or 9.
Dinner finished, we walked a little bit, then returned to our room to turn in for the evening.
Tomorrow: Jewels of Hawaii on the island of Kauai.