We are back from the Big Island (Hawaii), were we had a fabulous time eating, snorkeling, hiking, and reading. We rented a house in Hawi, a bit off the beaten path – not everywhere can you go to the annual “Trash Bash” to celebrate Earth Day. We will certainly consider the rental path on any future trips, especially where you have such an abundance of good markets with local food. Our house was really nice; it is part of an old property called Puakea Ranch (which was part of the Parker Ranch for a while). There are 3 rental houses plus the ranch manager’s home. Emily the cow wonders around and provided almost daily entertainment.
I posted a long review on Chowhound about our food adventures, including having Ashley Lueders with Safari Chefs set up 2 tours at organic farms in Hawi, then come to our house and do a cooking lesson us (what a treat!).
Snorkeling was quite fantastic; we ended up going out 3 times Kohala Divers. The first time in, a pod of dolphins swam up just as got into the water. There were lots of fish (including big schools of reef fish), and one little turtle. The next time, we saw lots of turtles (at a spot called the turtle cleaning station, where turtles come and fish eat the algae off their shells), plus Moray eels (2 kinds – zebra stripe and the normal one) on both stops!
We also saw a big reef shark – we were following a turtle, kind of heading back to the boat, and about 30 feet down was a 5 foot reef shark. The divers were just coming back, so we had a good reference on size. On our 3rd trip (our last day there), we *only* saw turtles, plus lots of fish, and some cool coral. When we win the lottery, I want to move to Puako Bay, near where the turtle cleaning station is, so I could snorkel and sea kayak from my house. Meanwhile, I will just try to recommend Kohala Divers , everyone on the staff was really nice, understood the local spots, and took care of you (including double counting to make sure everyone was back on the boat).
Our first hike was Pololu Valley. The trail head is at the end of the road (same one that Hawi is on), where we hiked down to a beach.
Beach at Waipio Valley, view from trailhead
We also hiked Waipio Valley (1000 feet up/down in a mile) which is where the road picks up at the other end. Call us wimps, but we did not hike between them (our neighbor, who runs 10 hour Ironmans and used to live on the big island, said “it’s a tough hike”). We also did the nature loop Kalopa State Park, a rain forest they are trying to return to native plants, plus a couple of other historic parks on the coast.
Ferns, moss, and other in the rain forest
Reading: its been a lot time since I have read so many books in a couple of weeks. But in addition to the long (but no stops!) flight, we had a few rainy days. Reads included The Lovely Bones, Asta in the Wings (this month’s book club book), and Daemon. Plus I am most of the way through another LONG book. I’ll try to do some book blogs soon!
We "twittered" throughout the vacation, you can see more of a day-by-day view from both Roy and me (Firecooked). I even posted a youtube (for the first time) of the cow trying to get into the hammock.
Too quickly I’m back in the normal routine (well, I quit working at 4:45 for a glass of wine and macadamia nuts!), but I do appreciate how nice it is where we live (and glad the cool weather is holding for a bit). But its surprising how bright the light is here with 1-digit humidity! Check out more pictures here. Aloha!