Dec. 9, p.m.

After lunch we headed up the road about 15 minutes to Kawaihae where the Hamakua macadamia nut factory is located.  This seems like a great place to visit even if you’re not going to buy anything as they let you have all the samples you want including 2 or 3 kinds of coffee.  You can walk out full with a buzz.

I got talked into posing.  Outside we stopped and had a look at the huge pile of shells beside the parking lot.

When we left we carried on up the road partly to watch for whales.  We stopped at Lapakahi State Park which is the site of an ancient Hawaiian settlement that was abandoned about 500 years ago when a shift in the water table left the area with no fresh water.  You can do self guided walks through ancient ruins.  A bonus was we got to see whales again.

We got back home and went for a walk – our usual loop, Kathy went one way, I went the other and we met at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel.  We walked back along the shore, stopping for some photos.

Nice light this time of day, not to mention lovely subjects.

We stopped at the Fairmont beach bar for and appy and a drink just at sunset.

It is a great spot and once again this turned into dinner.  We walked through the hotel and saw their big tree light up.

On our way through the hotel property we passed three different places with live music, the last one being the Saturday luau which we are now listening to from our lanai at around 8:00.

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Dec. 9, a.m.

Another great day for a swim.  We were at the beach around 8:15.  Not many people here this time of day.  Kathy has been swimming with just a mask and snorkel and no fins, taking it easy on her leg.

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The water was pretty clear again today, good for watching fish.

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We’ve snorkelled here a lot of times and I’ve only seen a turtle once before.  I was lucky enough to see one today.

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Pretty memorable for me!

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Friday

Another day in paradise or pretty close to it.  The water seemed warmer than the air when we got to the beach just after 8:00.  We’ve heard people complaining about how cold it is and some record low temperatures have been recorded in Hawaii.  It has dipped down to the 50’s in a few places but it seems pretty nice to us.

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After our swim Kathy walked over to the Waikoloa Beach, a little over an hour walk.  We arranged to meet and I drove over to go for a walk there.

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Very nice walks around this area.

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I happened to meet Kathy on her way between stores.  I carried on to the beach.

This is in front of the Marriot Hotel.  There is a big pond between the hotel and the ocean.  The wall was washed away by the tidal wave caused by the Fukushima earthquake a few years ago and has been rebuilt.

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Back to the King’s Shops to meet Kathy.

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In the afternoon our walk took us to the beach.  This is a favourite.

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Kathy pointed out these flowers.  Story has it that one half grows by the ocean and the other half grows in the mountains.  Together they make a whole.  The officiant at Tan and Trav’s wedding told this story and gave them each a flower.

We came across some turtles so pictures were taken.

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We watched a fellow doing some surfing on his paddle board.

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While we were watching we saw a whale breach behind him.  This is the only time so far this trip that I could have used my camera with the telephoto lens.

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We went through the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel, stopping for a photo at a nice spot outside.

In the hotel lobby, Christmas trees were decorated today by local charities.  Much like the trees that used to be at the Empress Hotel in Victoria and are now at the Bay Centre.

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For a dollar you can vote for your favourite.  The charities split the donations.

After a quick stop at the market, we got home a little after 5:00.  My advent calendar beer today was the “beer that made Milwaukee famous” as they used to say.

Very clear and calm all day today; sunset from our lanai.

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Thursday, p.m.

Around 5:00 we headed to the shops, about a 10 minute walk.

The walk through the Fairway Villas is quite pretty.

Kathy wanted to take a class on weaving palm leaves, and I carried on for a walk.  We arranged to meet at 6:30 to watch a show at the shops.

I walked along passed the fish pond close to sunset.  It was a very calm evening.

I had the place to myself and walked out to the beach as the sun went down.   I think the turtles like to come out onto the beach this time of day.  There were four or five of them close by.

I carried on through the hotels and back to the shops to meet Kathy who had a good seats for us to watch the show.  Every Monday and Thursday there is a free show.  We’ve seen it quite a few times, it’s less than an hour long, quite entertaining, very popular, and gives local dancers a chance to develop their skills.  They may end up doing the luaus which all the resorts around here have.

We walked back after dark and enjoyed seeing a lot of stars.  I heard that 90% of the stars visible from earth are visible from nearby Mauna Kea.

Thurs. a.m.

After leaving our place around 8:45 we drove about 15 min to a place along the highway where there is a little room to park and a trail to a beach.  The walk takes about 20 min.  We did it last year with Diane and saw lots of goats.  Same this year – lots of goats.  Seems like a tough spot to eke out and existence.

Nice beach with big waves today.

There are a few houses along the beach, totally off the grid and quite a rough road to reach them.

This one had a little pond along side it.  These brackish ponds are quite common here and there along the shore.  They’re fed by fresh water underground streams and were used by the ancient Hawaiians for raising fish.

Hunting for shells is irresistible.

We saw turtles in the waves and little birds hunting around on the rocks.  Kathy found an interesting looking bone?, as well.  It was a very good place to sit and look out toward Japan and munch on one of yesterday’s malasadas.

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After about an hour we walk back to the car and drove another 10 min to Kukio Beach.  There is a public beach here but it is in a very swanky place called Hualalei, and there is lots of security.  You have to pick up a pass from a guard house, and go through a gate to get to the beach.  We hear there are more billionaires per capita than anywhere in Hawaii.

It’s special to us because this is where Tan and Trav got married and we have very distinct memories of Tania walking along this path from the parking lot to the beach in her wedding dress.

Quite different than that special evening when we were about the only people around.

We did come across a very happy couple!!

 

 

Wednesday, p.m.

After breakfast we left for a drive to the Vanilla Factory, about an hour away on the other side of Waimea.

Cute little gift shop inside where Kathy bought a few items.  They are the only place in the US that grows vanilla.  This was an out of the way place to run into someone Kathy knows from home, someone who was also one of Tania’s teachers at Sansbury Elementary.  Especially coincidental because it turns out they are staying in the same complex as us.

After we left and drove back for a few minutes to the little town of Honoka’a, where a bit of looking around happened.  There are lots of older looking places dating from the time this area was used for growing sugar cane.

By this time it was lunch and we decided to try Tex which is renown for their malasadas or Portuguese donuts.  After a very filling lunch we bought 4 malasada but were too full to give them a try until we got back home.

They were pretty tasty, 1 each of plain, mango, papaya, and cream filling.  I think I’d better head down for a swim.

A swim by the Fairmont Orchid maybe worked off a very few calories, it was nice and refreshing in any case.

We’ll raise a glass and remember Bill, it would have been his birthday today.

Dec. 5, p.m.

Our afternoon walk took us down to the Beach Bar at the nearby Fairmont Orchid; we got there just in time for last call at 4:00.

Kathy’s favourite is a freshly made ginger ale.  We took our drinks and sat on loungers watching the snorkelers in the little bay.

On the way back we walked by Brown’s Beach House.  Memorable for me as the place where I had probably the best meal of my life.  One of those times where the mood, ambiance, food, drink, entertainment, and especially the company, may never come together in the same way.

On the way through the gate into our villas we talked to a fellow who was walking his dog.  The dog looked a lot like Alfie, a yellow lab we know and like a lot.  The owner is from north of Toronto and spends 6 months here in his condo except for going home at Christmas.  This year, he has someone stay in his condo to look after Casey, his dog, for a couple of weeks over Christmas, rent free, just walk the dog 3 times a day.  What a good gig!!!  I felt like leaving my card.

Kathy got dinner underway as Happy Hour continued.

And we shared today’s advent calendar beer: a tasty, fruity, good in Hawaii drink.