Big Island Arrival – Kona and Waimea

May 20, 2016 – Our flight to the Big Island (Kona), via CA, left at 7am Friday morning.  That gave us time to get breakfast at Einstein’s Bagels in Boise, and a (much better) coffee fueled breakfast from Peet’s Coffee in San Francisco.  Peet’s has a new iced drink with sweetened condensed milk and coconut flavoring; it’s excellent, particularly when you’re not fully awake.

We were feeling pretty good after some coffee treats at the airport.
We were feeling pretty good after some coffee treats at the airport.

Our flight to Kona was uneventful, with the biggest surprise for us being how close we flew to Maui.  Despite all our research, we didn’t realize how close the islands were to each other. Kona’s airport is open air, and it was 85ish and rather humid when we landed.  Tony went to go get our rental car while Louisa waited for the luggage.  Somehow Tony got a mustang convertible, our luggage showed up slightly damp from the humidity, and we headed into the construction zone in search of food.  With the traffic we had some time to admire the lava field to our left, the view of the ocean, and the gorgeous flowering shrubs.

More cars need to have seat coolers.
More cars need to have seat coolers.

Lunch was at Umeke’s Bowls and Rolls.  The sushi was really good, although we weren’t a fan of the chirashi bowl (the shrimp and rice were good, as was the ahi, but the other fish was quite fishy; however, it did give us a chance to try various types of seaweed and flavored tofu).

There is no shortage of colorful flowers on the island.
There is no shortage of colorful flowers on the island.

After lunch we drove another half mile down the road to the marina and the trail to Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.  We parked at the marina to save a mile round trip walk through the shadeless lava field.  This also meant we were only a short walk from a beautiful beach and a reconstructed fish drying lean-to.  We saw the foundations of old buildings, a petroglyph, cardinals, and heard other birds.  After a bit of being outside though we decided to see if it was cooler up north, and headed to our B&B in Waimea.  Overall we preferred Waimea, although we enjoyed north Kona.  Waimea was a bit smaller and quieter, in the hills, was cooler, and had great views.

The ocean can be helpful for getting accustomed to the high heat and humidity.
The ocean can be helpful for getting accustomed to the high heat and humidity.

For dinner we tried to go to Big Island Brewhaus.  Maybe doing this on Friday night wasn’t a great idea, since it was both very crowded and very loud.  The classic beers are good, but the orange chocolate stout is really sweet (too sweet for our tastes).  The food was good however, particularly the fish sticks and the burgers and fries.  We got the food to go and ate it on the porch overlooking the town and out towards Mauna Loa.

We had a great spot for dinner on the porch.
We had a great spot for dinner on the porch.

We were surprised how windy the town got as soon as the sun went down.  By morning some of the flowers had lost their petals, and an orange and a few avocados fell.

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