Yesterday we got up early and headed for the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea. As we expected, the trip was pleasant, uneventful, and beautiful. We traveled roads not commonly used by the natives except to transfer equipment the short way from Hilo to Kona and other west coast areas. Sounds busy, but it wasn’t. hardly any traffic at all.
Getting to the observatory is pretty simple, and I said it was uneventful, but that was a lie. It was eventful in a way that we didn’t actually think all the way through. When one travels on the great land of Hawaii, though it’s extremely warm when one starts, the temperature drops dramatically as one begins to seriously elevate up the inline leading to the top. It was 86 degrees all over my body when we went to the vehicle and 59 when we reached the 9,000 foot elevation where the base camp resides. We spent 1.5 hours in this small facility watching a video about the observatory and reading all the warning signs about altitude sickness and the scary things that could happen to those brave souls who actually choose to go all the way to the 13,786 elevation. From our personal experience at the top of Pike’s Peak, and the fact that we were both exhibiting mild signs of altitude sickness (headache, disorientation, etc.) we thought a trip to the top would be better accomplished in the company of a group that is chauffeured by someone who probably won’t get dizzy when driving that high up. So, that’s on our bucket list for another trip. We’ll book a tour one day.
While pondering all the alternatives available, the fog rolled in and the temperature dropped to 50 degrees and it was just, simply, cold. Since there was absolutely no way we were going to pay $66 for a $15 sweatshirt, we returned to the car and headed back down the hill. Again, the traffic was very sparse on the two lane roads we chose to use and made a stop in Waimea, a place Diane decided we could easily live. It’s a great town.
In the evening we perched ourselves on our balcony and enjoyed the cool breeze until it tuned in to a wind storm, at which time we went inside, trading outside relaxing for inside relaxing.
Today, December 16th, we had plans to visit Kua Cove on our way to Kona for a 1:00 pm lunch date with Jewel and John. Sadly, we discovered that we were truly on Hawaiian time, and got out of our room with just enough time to get there. Actually, we got there with time to spare. That was good because we weren’t quite sure we had the correct location. The Bite Me Seafood Bar & Grill was the destination, but Google Maps terminated too soon. Like 300 feet too soon so there was a bit of investigation needed to find the right place. We were at the harbor where, it seems, all of the Kona fishing expeditions originate. Nestled just around the corner from where the GPS dumped us was the BMSB&G, just on the other side of a really high-end-looking restaurant which had, it turns out, the restrooms used by BMSB&G customers.
Bite Me turned out to be an incredible choice because the food was exceptional and we had privacy that allowed us to visit with Jewel and John, whom we hadn’t seen for three years. Jewel, as some of you may know, and I went to school and graduated from high school together in Scappoose in 1962. It’s nice to have friends in the area who know the neat spots to and visit and places where the natives go to eat.
We bought hats …
After lunch we walked down to the water, away from the moorage area, to look for turtles. We didn’t see any, but we knew they were there. The girls found an interesting piece of worn coral and Jewel placed it near the path for others to enjoy …
We had a great visit with our friends, sadly parted, then headed back up the coast to Kua Cove. We got there and found that the place we’ve been using to sit was open, so we planted ourselves and stayed there reading, and people watching, until the sun went down at 1749, according to my iPhone.
In parting, I found this bumper sticker in Kona that gave me pause for concern …