2010 - Big Island

Wednesday - Feb 3rd            We flew from Kauai to Honolulu, and then to the Kona Airport on the Big
Island of Hawaii without a hitch.  Oh that air travel should be so pleasant on the Mainland!  We are renting a
one bedroom unit in a time share complex, the
Holua Resort, for the next six weeks.  The unit is on the
second floor, large, airy, well equipped and maintained.  The resort is spread out with 8 swimming pools for
the 73 units.  

Sunday - Feb 7th                     Like most Americans we watched the Super Bowl.  Last night we had dinner
Jameson's By The Sea,  We had a wonderful table at the water front, but the food was pretty basic and
over priced.

Thursday - Feb 11th               Our first week here has flown by.  Had one of our better meals at Jackie Rey's
Ohana Grill which is number one on Trip Advisor.  Will definitely be returning there.

We think of all the places we have been that the weather here is as good as it gets!  We are located at the
edge of the reach of the "
VOG" generated by the active volcano, about a 90 mile drive from here.  If we look
to the north we see blue sky, and to the south a bank of clouds and fog that at home would look like rain.  
The day time temperature is 80 give or take a degree or two, but the VOG blocks the afternoon sun and the
humidity stays low.  The air quality has been fine so far.

Saturday - Feb 13th                 We got our weekends mixed up and drove to Waimea thinking that it was the
day of the annual cherry bloom festival, but alas, we were a week late.  Wiamea is most famous for the
Parker Ranch, which was the earliest and largest cattle ranch in the US.  The effects of the recession are
readily noticeable in Hawaii, which relies almost exclusively on tourism as a source of income.  The original
ranch home and museum have both been closed as a result of the recession and lack of visitors.    

We decided on
Huggo's for dinner on Saturday night.  Great choice.  We had a wonderful table overlooking
the sea and a delicious dinner. This is the first time we had dinner in the main restaurant.  Last year we
enjoyed Huggo's on the Rocks which is a bit more casual, but also highly recommended.

Tuesday - Feb 16th                After relaxing around the resort over the President's Day weekend we drove
to Volcano National Park (about 2 hours).  The VOG was pretty dense at the crater, so we drove down to the
seashore via Chain of Craters Road.  Much more interesting than we expected!

The name of the city we are located near in is Kailua-Kona which distinguishes it from the city of Kailua on
Oahu. It is many times called Kona for short, but Kona is the Hawaiian word for the leeward side of an island.
At any rate, we are facing west and thus have good views of the sun setting.  I mentioned that the VOG
created by the volcano creates a haze which has been covering the ocean as the sun sets.  This evening,
however, the sky was clear and the horizon was clear, so we were treated once again to the "green flash"
This one was one of the more pronounced ones we have observed.  You are probably about to start calling
me "Flash Jensen" as I am probably sounding a bit  obsessed with the

Saturday - Feb 20th                For the most part prices in Hawaii tend to be higher than on the mainland.  
Walmart and Costco Stores are a good choice for staples, and Macy's prices are the same as on the
mainland.  If you plan to visit Hawaii and will be renting a car, it definitely pays to be a Costco Member when
it comes to gasoline.  On the Big Island the going price for regular gasoline is about $3.70 per gallon.  
Costco's price is $3,20.  We recently obtained a Costco American Express Card which earns a 3% rebate on
gasoline, and our Costco Executive Membership qualifies use for an additional 1%.  That works out to a
savings of 70 cents per gallon.

Saturday - Feb 27th                We went out for dinner last night and were back by 9:00.  I’m sure we turned
on the TV, but there was no mention of a possible tsunami or the Chilean earthquake (it occurred at 8:30 PM
Hawaiian time). I got up about 6:00 AM, checked our email and the Internet, and realized we were under a
tsunami warning.  About that same time the resort stuck a notice under our door stating that we would have
to evacuate.  The tsunami was not forecast to reach Hawaii until 11:00 AM, so we had lots of time, and
throughout the morning everything was very calm and orderly.

Hawaii has an extensive tsunami warning system with sirens spread throughout low lying areas.  We are
told the first one sounded at 6:00 AM, but our windows were closed with the air conditioning on, and we did
not hear it.  We did hear the sirens thereafter on the hour, and about every 10 minutes around 11:00 AM.
We knew we were not in any physical danger, so the only real decision we faced was how much of our
“stuff” to take along with us.  The building we are staying in is 10 feet above sea level and we are on the
2nd floor, so it seemed a pretty low probability that water would enter our unit.  We were in Puckett,
Thailand about a month after the tsunami that devastated that area several years ago, so we knew if the
worst happened it might be some time before we could get back to our apartment.  We opted to play it safe
and take it all with us.  No cars are allowed in the resort, but the staff were all standing by with electric
cards to help us with our belongings which we loaded in the car, and we were off to high ground about 9:00

We drove to a shopping mall a short distance up hill, and that is where we stayed for the next several
hours.  We met lots of nice people and had a view of the sea.  We could not see any change in the sea
level.  By noon it was pretty apparent that we were out of danger, but authorities kept the shore areas off
limits.  We drove to a nearby Denny’s where we had lunch.  By that time the all clear had been issued, so it
was back to the resort at about 2 PM.  We were really impressed by how efficiently the entire event was
handled.  Everyone stayed calm and courteous to one another.

Saturday - March 6th                We enjoyed another week of perfect weather.  Most days we start out with a
walk before breakfast and then lounge at one of the pools for the morning.  Our Kindles provide us with
lots of reading materials.  Eleanor reads a couple of newspapers, and we are both reading about Egyptian
history in preparation for our upcoming trip to Egypt.

We were up early this morning and drove to Waimea to pick up the
Kalua Pig and Laulau we ordered about a
month ago.  The church group in Waimea sell it as a fund raiser the first Saturday of every month.

We continued from Waimea on to one of our favorite areas of the Big Island, the North East Coast via the
mountain road to Hawi.  I have included a map and some photos in my photo gallery.

Saturday - March 13th                Our last full week on the Big Island has flown by!  We will return to Waikiki
on Tuesday in time for the St Patrick's Day Parade on Wednesday,  We drove to the
Painted Church a couple
of times this week for photos,  This is a very unique facility and reminded us of some on the churches we
visited in Peru where Biblical Scenes are painted on the walls.  Many of the original church members were
illiterate and the priest was able to use the paintings to describe the events depicted.

Click for links to Photos:        2010        2009        BIRDS