Touring South


Saturday morning started with a swim in the pool.  We were getting to like this routine.  We decided to try Durty Jake’s for breakfast.  We had good outdoor seats with a view of the ocean and all the traffic, pedestrian and vehicular, on Ali’I Drive.  There was a colorful crowd in the restaurant as well.  A local motorcycle club was meeting there for their weekly Saturday brunch.  With their leather jackets and tattoos, they still looked tough even though they were in their 40s and 50s.  But in spite of their appearance, they seemed to be a congenial group.  I find it somehow encouraging seeing my fellow Boomers now in their fifties, still maintaining whatever was unique about us as a generation, the envelope edges and status quos we were wont to push against.  We are changed, transformed by our years, some of the rough edges worn away and yet we are still looking to move beyond the status quo.  I thought of this as they roared down the road in a proud procession, their top of the line bikes gleaming. The food at Durty Jake’s was not as good as the atmosphere.

With macnuts and cameras stowed in the car, we set off to explore south of Kailua.  We drove down Ali’i Drive past many condo complexes with more in the building phase.  We stopped in at the Ohana Keauhou Beach Resort which is just past Kahalu’u Beach known as one of the best snorkeling beaches on the island.  We were looking at the possibility of staying there Tuesday and Wednesday nights.  We looked at one of their oceanfront rooms and, though it was more expensive than the Royal Kona, we considered booking a corner oceanfront room for those nights but thought we’d continue looking before deciding.

At Keauhou we drove mauka (towards the mountains) to get onto Rte. 11, which had been Rte. 19 in and north of Kailua and had been called Queen Ka’ahumanu Hwy and now was called Kuakini Hwy and would become the continuation of Mamalahoa Hwy.  Who said the names and signs are confusing?  At first, all of the names seem to sound and look the same but amazingly after a while they start to sink in and make sense and even begin to roll off the tongue with some ease.  At Rte. 11 we headed back in a southerly direction.  It was another beautiful island day with the sun just too strong to put the top down.  We found that we drove with the top down most often during the balmy nights.  We drove through a handful of small villages that consisted of a few houses and some small shops.  Kealakekua was larger and there was civilization between it and Captain Cook about two miles away.

At Captain Cook we took the turn off at Napo’opo’o Road which led to Kealakekua Bay.  The road was paved but curvy and led downward at a steep slope.   About half way down we saw a young native Hawaiian looking for a ride and John stopped to give him a lift.  His name was Moki and his pidgin English was so heavily accented that it was often hard to understand his words but his meaning came across clearly.  I had read that some of the islanders would be unfriendly to haolis (Caucasions) but Moki was open and congenial.  We let him off at a beach where he said he was meeting with the chiefs from all the islands.  We saw a number of other young men already gathered.  We took Pu’uhonua Road to the right which led to Kealakekua Bay Historical Park.  There were a handful of haolis there but the rest of the people were natives.  We got out and took a few pics of Kealakekua Bay with its steep cliffs leading down to the sea.  There were well-crafted stone walls and magnificent shade trees but I had thought this bay would have been a bigger more impressive place.  This was where Captain Cook had landed bringing haoli civilization to these islands, for better or worse.

On the atlas, we saw that if we followed Pu’uhonua Road to the south we would get to Honaunau Bay.  The road was paved but we soon discovered that the entire road was one lane wide.  With some maneuvering, two cars could pass each other.  The road seemed to go on forever but in fact it is only about four miles long.  I was glad our car was small and John was driving.  We arrived at Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park also known as the Place of Refuge.  The royalty lived in one portion of this area and it was separated from the Place of Refuge by an impressive stone wall a thousand feet long, ten feet high and seventeen feet thick in most places.  It was built around 1550 and still stands.  Back in the days of the ali’i (royalty) and the kahunas (priests) and their many kapus (laws), when someone broke a law, they were often condemned to death.  But if the culprit could escape their executioner and reach a Place of Refuge, they would be spared.  This is the best preserved and most important Place of Refuge on all of the islands.  This is a very well developed park with a large parking lot and visitor center and a five dollar entrance fee.  Unfortunately, because of the high surf conditions while we were there, much of the park was closed off including part of the Great Wall.  On our future trip back here, this will also be on our list to see again.

Throughout the park, the grounds are beautiful with many stately coconut palm trees which truly caught our fancy.  There are reconstructed authentic structures made with thatched roofs of ti leaves.  Inside were the all-wooden native outrigger canoes and some logs in the process of being carved into canoes. They were supplied with handmade rope and gourd-like vessels.  There were fierce-looking carved ki’i or guardians to frighten away any evil spirits.  There is a popular snorkeling beach on one side of the park that was still open and many people were enjoying their Saturday afternoon there.

We took a two lane road out of Honaunau up to Rte. 11 and headed north back to Kailua.  We got back to the hotel in time to see the end of a wedding party below our lanai and catch another magnificent sunset.  We walked into town in search of a new place to eat dinner.  Behind Lava Java was a Chinese restaurant named King Yee Lau which had some tables outside.  There was a large party of young Japanese men at a long table next to us and we enjoyed listening to them talk and laugh over dinner.  One of the pleasures of Kailua is the international flavor of the tourists who come from all over the globe but especially from Asia.  Our food was excellent.  John had shrimp with vegetables and I had fish with vegetables. The fish was Ono which is also the word for delicious in Hawaiian and it was indeed.  After a stroll around town after dinner we settled in for another restful, surf-filled night.


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