HAWAII  -  Big Island    2009
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Feb 3, 2009        Once again we were amazed at how easy air travel is in Hawaii.  Check-in and security in
Kauai went  smoothly.  We changed planes in Honolulu and arrived at the Kona airport on the Big Island of
Hawaii a bit ahead of schedule.  The Kona Airport is very small with no main terminal building, but instead
a series of small buildings interconnected with covered walk ways.  The landscape here is dramatically
different from Kauai and Oahu.  The airport is located on an old lava field which is still relatively barren.  
Flowering trees and shrubs have been planted along the roadways and around the buildings and thrive
quite well in the soil that is slowly building up.

Feb 5, 2009        It wasn't until his third voyage that Captain James Cook became the first
European to set foot on what is now the State of Hawaii at Waimea on the Island of
Kauai on January 20, 1778.  His first two voyages stayed well to the south.  From Waimea
he sailed north and mapped the area from Northern California to the Alaskan Peninsula
before returning to Hawaii when winter weather made further exploration impossible.  Upon his return to
Hawaii he landed not far from where we are staying at Kealakekua Bay.  On January 28, 1779 he read the
English Burial Service over one of his crewmen at a Heiau (Hawaiian Religious Temple). This was the first
recorded Christian Service in the Hawaiian Islands. (See photo of
Robi visiting the site).  Shortly after
leaving the foremast on his vessel the Resolution broke whereupon he returned to Kealakekua Bay for
repairs.  Unfortunately a battle broke out over the theft of one of Cook's small boats and it was here that
Captain Cook was killed on February 14, 1779.  The photo is of a monument looking across the bay which
is now filled with tourists in kayaks looking for spinner dolphins.

Feb 13, 2009        Mt Mauna Loa is the most massive mountain on earth!  From its base on the
sea floor it rises 56,000 feet!  From sea level it is over 13,000 feet high.  Mt Everest rises 12,000
feet from its base which starts out at 17,000 feet.  From the vicinity of Volcano National Park
we drove to the trail head for those ambitious souls wishing to hike to the Mt Mauna Loa
crater - an endeavour of three to four days round trip.  We brought along a lunch, but stayed
in the car rather than brave the 50 degree temperatures on the side of the mountain.  The
photo shows what happens to an unopened bag of potato chips at an elevation of 6,650 feet.

Feb 15, 2008        The Kona area we are staying at brags about having the most expensive
and sought after coffee in the world.  There are currently about 600 small Kona coffee bean
farms in the area.  They all grow the same arabica coffee plants originally imported from
South America in the mid 1800's.  It takes about 8 pounds of the coffee cherries to produce
one pound of roasted coffee.  Most of the coffee is shipped from Kona as green beans to roasters around
the world.  We have tasted many different 100% Kona coffees during our time here, and honestly can't say
that we have found one that we think is worth $30 plus per pound!

Feb 17, 2009        I hope all of the wind mills being installed around the world don't
suffer the same fate as these located on the southern end of the Big Island.  The site of
these windmills is near the southernmost part of the US.  A number of newer windmills are
still in operation and are hopefully better designed than these were.

Feb 19, 2009        The Island of Hawaii is still being formed.  Lava is currently flowing from
the Kilauea volcano.  A potential new island is being formed about 20 miles south of the Big
Island. It is called the Loihi Seamount and presently rises nearly 10,000 feet above the
ocean bottom, but is still 3,000 feet below sea level.  This 1935 lava field is located along
Saddle Road that runs east/west between Waimea and Hilo with fantastic views of
both Mauna Loa (13,672 ft) and Mauna Kea (13,796 ft).  Both were snow covered on the day of our trip.

Feb 20, 2009        The Keahou Shopping Center is located a short distance from the condo
we are renting.  Each Friday night they have a one hour hula show at 6:00 PM which we
have enjoyed.  This photo is of the group of school children from though out the region
that performed the prior Friday.

Feb 27, 2009        King Kamehameha became the first king of Hawaii when he consolidated his control over
all of what is now the State of Hawaii.  This statue is located in Kapaau on the northern
most tip of the Island of Hawaii (each of the major islands of Hawaii are counties of the same
name in the State of Hawaii.  So, we are
on the Island of Hawaii in the State of Hawaii).  
Kapaau was the King's birthplace,  This particular statue was originally cast in 1878 in
France, but was lost at sea in the Falkland Islands when the ship carrying it caught fire and
sank.  A replacement was cast and now stands in Honolulu.  This statue was eventually recovered and
after repairs now resides in Kapaau.  Replicas of the statue are also located in Hilo, Hawaii; Las Vegas,
Nevada; and the National Statuary Hall in Washington, DC.

Feb 27, 2009         We had a clear view of the collection of telescopes on a crest of Mauna
Kea.  To learn why this is such an important spot on earth for viewing space click on
this link

Feb 27, 2009        We also were able to see the Island of Maui through the sea mist as
we were returning to Kailua Kona where we are staying.  The dark areas in the foreground
are 1859 lava flows from the Mauana Loa volcano.

Feb 28, 2009        Farmers markets abound in Hawaii.  For the most part they are small and
sell locally grown produce.  Here in Kona many of the small coffee growers display their
coffee and offer tasting.  We have yet to find a really good tomato anywhere in Hawaii.
This market is at a shopping center near where we are staying and is held on Saturday
mornings.  We stop by at the end of our morning walk.

Mar 1, 2009        In 1883 a local sugar plantation owner decided to introduce the mongoose
to the Big Island to control the rat population.  From the Big Island they were distributed to
other Hawaiian Islands.  (For some reason they never made it to Kauai).  Unfortunately the
mongoose is active during the day, and the rats at night, so the mongoose turned their
attention to birds, bird eggs and other goodies.  They are very fast and elusive and this is best photo I
have been able to capture.

Mar 3, 2009        We had a light lunch of delicious
ahi poke and a salad at a waterfront
restaurant called The Rocks.  It was such a delightful spot, and we were still hungry, so we
asked our waitress to bring us their best dessert.  Luckily we only got one to share.  It is
called a HUALALAI PIE.