2020 Hawaiian Adventure – Hilo and Kona

We pulled out of Maui about 6:00 pm and traveled over night to our next island – the Big Island of Hawaii – and spent one day in Hilo and then cruised to the other side of the island to Kona for a day. That gave us two days on the Big Island and two different perspectives on opposite sides of the island. Each island is so different from the rest and there is a distinct difference from one side of each island to the other – the leeward and windward sides.

DAY THREE – HILO – we docked at Hilo and I took a Historic Hilo tour around the area. We made stops in a lovely park, a statue of King Kamehameha, a candy store, a Macadamia Nut farm/factory, and two beautiful waterfalls. It was a much more relaxed day, which made my knee happy. The weather was warm, but rained off and on most of the day – it didn’t really ruin the tour at all, but I still missed the sunshine. Luckily, the sun returned after we got back on the ship, so I was able to spend the late afternoon on the deck soaking up the sun and warmth.

My daily Balcony Selfie when we docked in Hilo

Our first tour stop was a lovely park that was located on an inlet and had a lot of beautiful gardens

Our guide passed around several different examples of local fruits – this is a lemon that is bigger than my hand!!!

The first of two waterfall stops

Shot of the town of Hilo from the window of the bus as we drove through

Second waterfall stop

This is a Mimosa tree – they are highly invasive and can be found all over the islands. I had one in my back yard when I lived in NC and loved it dearly – I know most people consider them a nuisance tree, but I was happy to see them and the memories of my lovely tree they brought back to me!

This plant is called Ti (pronounced Tea) and I saw it throughout our tour – usually like a hedge.

We went to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut factory / farm / store. I thought this was going to be really interesting, but as it turned out, it was just a gift shop, mostly. The factory behind it didn’t give tours, but you could go up the stairs to a walkway along the outside of the building and look in the windows to see the operations, but they were not doing anything that day, so I didn’t go look. I’m not sure where the farm part was – I think we saw parts of it driving in, but we didn’t get to see it up close. BUT — the gift shop had lots of samples of different macadamia nuts — I used to love them and haven’t really had any in years, so I was excited about getting to try some fresh ones…….and they were sooooooo good!!! I bought a sampler pack and they didn’t last till I got back to the ship – shoulda bought more! LOL

DAY FOUR  – KONA – Of the two ports on The Big Island, I liked Kona the best! The tour I took – Historic Kona – was more enjoyable (not that I didn’t enjoy the one in Hilo – I did, but this one was more interesting to me) and I just found it to be more of what I hoped to experience. Kona is the home of coffee…….100% Kona Coffee is treasured by many and is very expensive – a 12 oz package of 100% Kona is about $40!!! We went to a Kona Coffee center that had many, many samples to try — more on that later! 🙂 The weather in Kona started out beautiful but the clouds rolled in as the tour progressed! Luckily, the rain held off till just before we got on the bus at the last stop – but it really came down in a downpour – straight through to checking in at security and taking the tender back to the ship —- can you say drenched, boys and girls??? I had an umbrella, but couldn’t have it out at all times in the rain! The tour also took us to a stunning historic painted church and a national park! I had intended to wander around the port when we returned because Kona is the first port that actually had things to do and see right there at the port, but the rain changed that plan. I got back on board about 1:00 and had some lunch – then the sun came back out and allowed me to enjoy some deck and balcony time – if it wasn’t a “tender” port, I would have gotten back off the ship to wander around the port in the sun, but taking the tender to shore was a bit of a hassle, so I just stayed on deck till we pulled out about 6:00 pm.

My Daily Balcony Selfie in Kona……well, anchored out in the bay from shore, but somewhere in the fog over my shoulder, is Kona – really!

One of the tenders taking passengers to and from the ship to see Kona

From the dock in Kona looking past some exhibits to our ship out in the bay

Looking out over the country side to the shore from the Royal Kona Coffee Center – our first stop of the day

A worker running the coffee grinder

Another view to the ocean from the Royal Kona Coffee Center

They had a table under an awning out on a deck with every kind of Kona coffee they make — most were the 100% Kona, some were the exclusive Peaberry blend that is only sold in their store (in house or online), some were flavored blends, and some were special blends that had less of a percentage of actual Kona coffee.

I am a tea drinker — don’t like coffee at all – I’ve tried to like it, but just can’t do it! So, I thought this would be an interesting stop, but not one I would particularly get excited about. But, as I walked around, I decided that I really should try it……just to say I did and to avoid hearing all my friends saying “you were in a Kona coffee shop where you could get it as fresh as it comes and you didn’t even try it?” LOL So, I did — I looked for a light roast, figuring it would be the least harsh for me to try……they didn’t have any……so, I thought “I’m not going to like it, anyway, so it doesn’t matter what I try”!!! LOL So, I just poured myself a small gulp of medium-dark roast and swigged it down! Well, to say I was in shock is an understatement – it was so smooth – not bitter at all – and tasted really good!!! No cream, no sugar – straight black med-dark roast! WOW!!! I poured another sample – this time I filled the cup up about half way and really enjoyed it!!! I then poured myself a half cup of vanilla/macadamia nut flavored Kona and loved that, too! I ended up having about 4 or 5 half cups of coffee! I bought some bags to have shipped to my brother and sister-in-law. I considered having some sent to my house for myself, too, but I don’t have a coffee maker and I really didn’t want to get used to drinking it – too expensive to have on a regular basis! hehehe But, this tea drinker has seen the light……I still don’t have any interest in normal coffee, but I will never turn down a cup of 100% Kona!!! 🙂

Our next stop was a historic painted church and it was stunning – both the church and the surrounding gardens!!!

A volunteer, there, told us all about the history of the church and the paintings on the walls and ceilings – all done by the first priest to preside over the parish. It was erected in 1899. In those times, many Hawaiian natives could read, so the priest taught the gospel with pictures. Without any professional training and using only ordinary house paint of the time, he told the stories of the bible in the painting on the walls, ceilings, and altar. And, it has remained in very good condition all these years and is still used to hold services to this day.

Known as the “peek-a-boo Jesus”, this can only be seen from the pews on the left side of the church

This mural represents Hell and is the ONLY panel that shows some deterioration from the sun

Our next stop was at this national historic park — we were given about an hour and a half to explore this park on our own……this was when the rain was starting to be a bit of a nuisance, so I didn’t go too deep into the park and I was glad I didn’t cause about the time I gave up and went back to the covered area to wait for the bus, the downpour hit!!!

We were told to watch for turtles sunning themselves on the lava rock, but didn’t see any…….

A native lady making bowls from palm leaves — they were gorgeous!!!

Our ship anchored off shore in the bay……the fog and rain as we were boarding the tender made it look kinda eerie off in the distance!

But — as soon as we were back on ship, the rain stopped and the sun came out and I got up on the deck to get my does of Vitamin D for the day!

We pulled out of Kona about 6:00 pm to cruise on to our next port – Kauai!

Our two days on the Big Island were more laid back than our days on Maui, but still pretty darned awesome! Watch for my next post focused on Kauai!

3 Comments on “2020 Hawaiian Adventure – Hilo and Kona

  1. …on the Big Island you experienced two extremes, wet Hilo and hot, dry Kona, the one thing that you missed was Upcountry. The ranches up there make you feel like you are in Wyoming. I remember that painted church from our 1988 trip, it’s still as beautiful as I remember it. There was a smaller painted church down by the volcano that had to be moved because of the lava flow. I wonder what became of it. Did you see a black sand beach?

    • Yes – I saw a black sand beach on Maui and one on the Big Island (but couldn’t get a good photo) and I think I saw one on Kauai, too, but not sure about that. Check my Maui post for the photo of the black sand beach we saw. I’ll be posting about Kauai today!

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