My excursion this morning leaves early. I have to be at the assembly point at 7:50AM, and when I show up five minutes early, my group has already left for the tender, so I quickly follow. Our bus is waiting for us on the pier, but we end up waiting for a few people who obviously showed up on time or a little late, but get going in short order. This inexpensive tour ($40) is called Kona Highlights, which is really just a nice drive south of Kailua-Kona (and back). We stop to sample some coffee at Captain Cook, where I get to sample some Kona Peaberry coffee, which is very nice, but I’m not paying $50 for a bag of it!
We then proceed onward to my favorite place, Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, or Place of Refuge down on the shoreline. It is volcanic down here, as is most of the Big Island, and I take a few photos and just relax under shade of the palm trees and take in the ocean swells crashing against the black volcanic shoreline and surging into the bay. There are no turtles today in the Ali’i landing bay, but the place still feels wonderful – I can feel the good mana here, and I’m not one to normally believe in superstitions. We only have an hour here, but I enjoy it immensely. Next, we drive to the nearby Painted Church. This little Catholic Church is a popular stop for sightseers. I get to try out my new fisheye lens inside the church, taking a photo of the alter, the whole ceiling, and part of the walls.
After we return to Kailua-Kona, I find a little general store, where I buy some supplies before returning to the tender dock. As we approach the ship anchored in the bay, the tender has a terrible time trying to tie up to the since there is quite a bit of wave action. Once the tender ties up, it beats against the gangway, wreaking the landing platform. Passengers are unloaded when there is a lull in the wave action, so the unloading process takes over 20 minutes. This isn’t the roughest tender landing I have experienced, but the tender was certainly bucking against he gangway landing in an energetic fashion.
As always, I’m glad to be back aboard ship and in my comfortable cabin for the rest of our time in Hawaii.