South to Kona and Beyond! Saturday, 2/13/16
Waikoloa Village (where we're staying) is approx at the "S" in South Kohala (or maybe the "K").
None of us had ever explored Kailua-Kona Village. Located about 15 minutes south of the airport (if traffic is moving) on Hawaii's lava-lined sunny west coast, Historic Kailua-Kona Village is a lively seaside town, a gathering place in the heart of the Kona district. Once a sleepy fishing village and a retreat for Hawaiian royalty, it's now a destination for shopping, dining, places to stay, and seeing some of Hawaii's past culture. Lots of people were Out and About! It's also home to Kona Farmers Market, a bustling must-see, open Wednesdays-Sundays. Today being Saturday, we set our sights on going. We were in for a treat, in many ways!
But first, our raucous alarm clock -- the Mynah bird. Every morning, these birds would park in the palm trees and commence waking us at first light. You can see it's screeching in this photo! Sometimes they'd sit on the balcony railing! They're funny birds.
A small sampling at the farmers market. We bought a sweet pineapple, a small bag of Rambutans (red, below), bananas, and Tom bought some Lychee nuts. Ginger candy, an 8 oz jar of raw Noni honey for me, which tastes like heaven and which I brought home, and other goodies. Jimmy bought me a pair of fire opal-sterling silver honu earrings, because he wanted to and because tomorrow is Valentines Day! Honu means turtle in the islands. Very enjoyable traipsing thru the stalls. So much wonderful fruit for sale!
I'm here to tell you that these are the most delicious bananas ever. We bought two bunches like this during our week and ate every one. Island-grown, they're tiny and taste as good as candy.
It isn't easy walking on this stuff.
I don't know what it is, but the shell was hard, about the size of my palm, and securely fastened to the rock.
Yellow-fronted Canary (Serinus mozambicus) spotted near the market.
Looks like it has a wart on it's beak!
After walking around the Kilauea-Kona area, visiting shops and galleries, we hopped back in the minivan and continued south toward South Point and the Punalu'u black sand beach area. It was quite a long drive and we should've allowed more time, but it seemed sensible since we were already so far south. The A/Q turned very voggy as we got nearer Kilauea Volcano, but cleared at the southern tip. A mysterious cloud band sat atop the land at Punalu'u (above), but stopped at the ocean, like a line drawn in the sky.
Punalu'u was our last stop. You see the black sand beach behind me and Jimmy. If you've ever walked barefoot on lava, you'll understand when I say, sturdy shoes and socks would've been better than sandals! It hurt. The people in the background are taking pictures of the sea turtles.
I saw six or seven Green Sea Turtles on the beach, in various stages of egg-laying or resting. This area is "cordoned off" by piled up lava rocks, with signs asking you to keep out. Nevertheless, apparently the mentality nowadays is that the sign is meant "for you, not me," and still people walk up to the turtles, I guess to take their picture. Geez. No brainers.
Coconut palms fringe the upper edge of black "sand," with beach cabbage (Scaevola taccada) below. The latter sported tiny white flowers. Numerous underground freshwater springs are located offshore. The mix of green and black on land, with the deep ocean blue is a real eye-catcher. A lot of history right here, too.
You can bet we didn't go in the water. Look at those waves beating against the rocks!
Another recommended MUST-STOP was the famous Punalu'u Bake Shop. We almost didn't make it in time, arriving a scant half hour before they closed. Their shelves were nearly empty ... the good stuff, the yummy bakery stuff, sold out hours before. However, always look for a silver lining ... a cooler full of ice cream! We each had a dish of our favorite, and retired to their patio outside. Jimmy and Tom sat at a table. I ate my ice cream on the go, looking at all the flora on the grounds. Diane joined me.
This was mighty fine bread, toasted in the morning!
On the bakery grounds -- oh, those yummy bananas, so easy to reach, too!
The shrub was humongous, with lots of flowers, but I'm not sure what it is.
I'm including this picture in the post for those inquiring minds. For you who have often wondered where tapioca comes from, now you know. Even if you didn't wonder "often," here's your answer anyway!
Tonight's sunset, captured from the backseat of a minivan moving about 60 mph, and seen thru the VOG.