Hawaii 2005

For Thanksgiving, my parents treated the family to two weeks of vacation on the Big Island, which I had never been to before. Unfortunately, my older brother and his family couldn't get away, and we could only stay for one of the two weeks, but we had a great time while were were there!

PB209108 PB209108.JPG
Our trip began with a delay in airport security, where we were the lucky recipients of a "secondary check," which meant a full search of all our carry-ons...

PB209109 PB209109.JPG
...and a pass through the "Puffer," which blew puffs of air at us trying to sniff out explosive residues.

PB209111 PB209111.JPG
Once on the plane, we were treated to a non-alcoholic drink of our choice during the 5 hour flight, and snack boxes were $5. We made do instead with some cookies I had baked the day before.

OutriggerLobby OutriggerLobby.tif
The hotel my parents reserved for us was very nice in the downstairs lobby, where we spent a fair amount of time because they had free wireless there. The hotel was called the "Outrigger," and had a couple of genuine articles on display.

PB209115 PB209115.JPG
Not my mess!
Once in our room, Tessala immediately scattered her things about the floor, which I put a stop to by giving her a drawer of her own to mess.

PB209116 PB209116.JPG
No Photos!
Alina tried out the bed, but didn't want any photographic record.

PB209147 PB209147.JPG
Outrigger Hotel
The hotel was situated next to one of the best snorkeling beaches on the island, with tropical fish and green turtles galore.

PB209149adj PB209149adj.jpg
The viewing was much better of course with a snorkel and mask, but even without you could count quite a few species just by wading about.

PB209155adj PB209155adj.jpg
The turtles are an endangered species, though they've made a remarkable comback thanks to a breeding program on the island. They didn't seem shy of tourists, and if you aren't watching you might be startled when one brushes your leg.

PB209140 PB209140.JPG
Tropical flowers were planted around the grounds.

PB209159 PB209159.JPG
I couldn't tell you which ones were native and which were not.

100_0156 100_0156.JPG
Not long after we'd settled in, my parents and my brother and his wife checked into their condominium across the way.

100_0155 100_0155.JPG
The condo was very roomy inside, and here's Tedd on my old laptop, which he bought off me that summer.

PB209163 PB209163.JPG
Folks spent a lot of time in the kitchen, preparing food or cleaning up, and the open design invited pleasant conversation throughout.

PB209164 PB209164.JPG
Our first night together we had Costco roast chicken, and my mom had even bought a fresh turkey to cook for Thanksgiving, which went in the fridge.

PB219172 PB219172.JPG
Kona Palace
The next day, we did a bit of snorkeling in the morning, then headed into Kona to see some of the historic sights, including the Hawaiian Palace, where the royal family lived in the early 1800's.

KonaPalace1 KonaPalace1.tif
It wasn't a huge place, but the interior was quite nice.

KonaPalace3 KonaPalace3.tif
Here is one of the few bedrooms.

100_0176 100_0176.JPG
Sandy, Mom, & Tedd in front of a very old and well-developed banyan tree.

PB219200 PB219200.JPG
And a well-developed spider, about the size of my palm.

KonaHut1 KonaHut1.tif
This is a reconstruction of the 'Ahu'ena Heiau, which was the Hawaiian capitol from 1812-1819.

KonaHut3 KonaHut3.tif
Lava rocks were a popular medium for walls, oddly enough.

PB219228 PB219228.JPG
This royal cloak was made of exotic feathers that took 5 years to gather, and 7 years to sew together.

PB219261 PB219261.JPG
The sea wall in Kona.

PB219264 PB219264.JPG
Someone had spread birdseed in the gravel near the walk, and we got to see many colorful takers enjoying the feast.

100_0189 100_0189.JPG
Thsi red-headed sparrow is not an original native, as is true of most of the common birds we saw near the seaside.

PB229283 PB229283.JPG
The following day, we took a car ride down the Kona Coast to visit Pu`uhonua o Honaunau, or the "Place of Refuge."

100_0236 100_0236.JPG
This is one of my dad's shots, which I liked.

PB229310 PB229310.JPG
Tedd and Palm. (Tedd is the one in the hat.)

100_0209 100_0209.JPG
We were all checking out the huge moths in the little shelter.

PB229273 PB229273.JPG
Here we see a gecko, eying his Thanksgiving meal.

PB229291 PB229291.JPG
I don't know what kind of tree this was, but it seemed like a lot of the tropical trees developed their own stilts to deal with occasional high water.

PB229312 PB229312.JPG
The Place of Refuge was so-named because it was a place to escape the god's vengance if you broke a sacred law, or "kapu." The penalty for breaking a kapu was death, and it was everyone's responsibility to carry out the sentence. The only way out was to make it (as fast as you could) to Pu`uhonua o Honaunau, where priests would absolve you of your sin.

100_0233 100_0233.JPG
A sunning turtle. (Or, perhaps, a sinning turtle?)

RefugeTotems1 RefugeTotems1.tif
No blood could be spilled in the Place of Refuge, so the old and injured would also go here to escape death in times of war, where the priests and the kapu against bloodshed here would protect them. (Don't ask me what happens when you break a kapu in Pu`uhonua o Honaunau -- I didn't want to try it.)

100_0242 100_0242.JPG
My dad also took this shot.

RefugeWall RefugeWall.tif
The refuge wall, marking the boundary of Pu`uhonua o Honaunau.

100_0249 100_0249.JPG
These huts were used to protect artists and their handiwork from the elements.

RefugeHut2 RefugeHut2.tif
Here we see some totems being carved, but we didn't come on a day when they were carving them.

100_0284 100_0284.JPG
After wandering the grounds for a bit, we all got back in the water for some lovely snorkeling. My parents left a bit before we did, and stopped by an old coffee plantation on the drive back.

KonaSunset1 KonaSunset1.tif
Alina held still for me while I took the 5 exposures needed for this HDR sunset shot.

KonaSunset2 KonaSunset2.tif
Another HDR shot.

100_0289 100_0289.JPG
Not HDR, but very nice. My dad took this one.

PB229401 PB229401.JPG
Texture shot.

100_0300 100_0300.JPG
My dad took this one of Tessala and Alina just after sunset.

PB229405 PB229405.JPG
Big Island Grill
That night, we had dinner at a local favorite, the Big Island Grill. The atmosphere was OK, but the food was fantastic!

PB249432 PB249432.JPG
The following day was lost to illness and poor planning, and we spent the morning of Thanksgiving kayaking and snorkeling down at Cook's Monument. I didn't take my camera.

PB249439 PB249439.JPG
This shot and the one before shows the high surf we had to contend with while kayaking. A couple of locals helped us dock our boats, claiming they had saved our lives. Tedd tipped them $10 for the both of us.

PB249443 PB249443.JPG
Here we are, all seated for a proper Hawaiian Thanksgiving, complete with purple sweet potatoes. (Yum!)

PB259453 PB259453.JPG
Friday morning, I made friends with a gecko I picked up on my parent's front stairs.

PB259451 PB259451.JPG
He was a cute little fellow, and sat a while on my shoulder so everyone could admire him.

PB259455 PB259455.JPG
This day, Tessala stayed at the hotel to finish her math homework while the rest of us headed around the south point of the island to see some forested and volcanic regions. On the way, we stopped at a bakery in Na`alehu, the southernmost city in the United States (or so they claim).

PB259462 PB259462.JPG
An exotic spider, mimicking a flower(?)

KonaForestTrail2 KonaForestTrail2.tif
This is the forest trail we found, which led to a volcanic lake.

PB259465 PB259465.JPG
Unfortunately, the mosquitoes also knew how to find this trail, and we didn't last very long before we turned back, seeing no birds and worried that we might not get to the National Volcano park before dusk.

PB259466 PB259466.JPG
A wild orchid along the trail.

PB259509 PB259509.JPG
At the National Volcano park, we scaled back our ambitions to an overlook of the caldera and a visit to the lava tubes.

KonaTrail3 KonaTrail3.tif
The ferns in Hawaii are BIG.

HawaiiCaldera6 HawaiiCaldera6.tif
I loved the cracks at the edges of the caldera. I'm not sure how far the molten rock is below the surface, but I heard it isn't warm to the touch or anything.

KonaWalkers KonaWalkers.tif
Mom and Dad headed back early to keep Tessa company, leaving Tedd and Sandy and Alina and I to explore on our own.

KonaLavaTube KonaLavaTube.tif
Here is an HDR view out of the lava tube.

PB259609 PB259609.JPG
Lava Tube
It was difficult to get a reasonable shot looking into the tube, as the walls and especially the floor were so dark and dimly illuminated.

PB259614 PB259614.JPG
Another good-sized fern.

PB259612 PB259612.JPG
Alina just outside the lava tube.

PB269669 PB269669.JPG
Our last day, after a morning of snorkeling and body-surfing near our hotel, we headed into Kona to return our rental car and catch our red-eye flight back to San Francisco.

PB279673 PB279673.JPG
After numerous delays due to a mechanical problem, United finally admitted that the plane wasn't going anywhere that night, and decided to put us all up in a hotel. Unfortunately, they couldn't find a bus to get us there, so we ended up waiting three hours for cabs to take us in rotation.

PB279674 PB279674.JPG
Once we got there, the night was nearly over. And guess what? They had taken us back to our SAME hotel! We had just lost a night's sleep getting nowhere at all.

PB279675 PB279675.JPG
My parents and Tedd and Sandy, who were staying an additional week, were a bit surprised to get a call from us in the morning, but we made the best of it.

PB279678 PB279678.JPG
We hung out at their condo for a bit. (Tessa found a nice book on local birds.)

PB279679 PB279679.JPG
Went for a swim in their pool.

PB279682 PB279682.JPG
Visited with the birds in the pool's waterfall.

PB279684 PB279684.JPG
And finally boarded our bus back to the airport. We arrived "about a day" late, and more than a little exhausted. It was like two red-eyes for the price of one!

Page created Dec 3 2005 8:50:14p