March 2020

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My sister-in-law Amy generously included me on a trip to Hawai'i that she planned for early March.  Amy's daughter Aubrey went, as did one of Amy's friends Jill.  The first few days of the trip, more of Amy's friends were also there so we had a good group to hang out with.  I have always wanted to see Hawai'i so I was thrilled to go on such a great trip.  We just barely made it through the trip before all the Coronavirus stuff started coming down.  Great timing! 

Our first sunset - so lovely.  

We stayed in Waikoloa Village, away from the bustle of the town of Kona.  
It was a great place to stay with many good beaches nearby.

The view from our balcony.  The workout room is toward the left, I cut out the grilling area, and then the infinity pool was toward the right.


Stopping to admire the view on the hike to Captain Cook Monument bay (Kealakekua Bay) This picture makes me laugh because I'm always catching the Casazza boys pointing in photographs,
now I've got Amy doing the same thing. She's been hanging around them too long! 
 Me & Amy  
After snorkeling I stretched out for a rest.  There were yellow tang fish you could see from the
surface just above my toes, but they aren't very visible in the picture. 
Me with niece Aubrey and Amelia, the daughter of friends who were part of our group that day. 
Jill, Callie, and Amy - all friends from CFalls  
This was the view from the parking lot where we stopped for a late lunch that day. In Hawai'i, 
even the parking lots have fantastic views. (BTW - We ate at Da Poke Shack, it was good!)  
We wanted to check out this lava tube, but they have posted "No Trespassing" signs since Amy
was here last.  You can't fence Jill in, she had to take a look.  We stood lookout for her.  
 Walking around on a large, old lava flow.  Another amazing view of a beach we were heading toward. 
This was a great beach for boogie boarding.  It was my first time to do this and I LOVED it. 
The nickname for this beach was "Butt Beach" because of two same-sized hills beside it.  
The view from Butt Beach. 
Callie wanted to show us a great snorkeling place, but we got turned around and took a bit of a
walk while trying to meet her there.  This was some scenery along our unplanned walk. 
Me & Aubrey catching a rest once we decided we had been heading in the wrong direction
(for about a mile!)  Oops.  :-) 
Heading in the other direction now, we encountered our first sea turtle, but not our last!  I think 
we saw at least one a day from this point on.  I included Aubrey's feet in the shot for scale.  
Callie's secret snorkel spot.  It was lovely and very secluded.  

The first few days we enjoyed a routine of 1/2 day boogie boarding followed by 1/2 day snorkeling.
It was the type of schedule I could practice for a while!  

  Amy took us to an art gallery that she and Jeb enjoy.  It was amazing!  My favorite thing
there were the photographs by Doug Perrine.  https://dougperrine.photoshelter.com 

As often as possible, we'd go into Kona for authentic Hawaiian ice.  Excellent! 



On about the 4th day, we decided to mix things up with a driving tour of some of the north 
and east  parts of the island. This would be a view of Mauna Kea if the ever-present clouds
were clear.  Factoid:  Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii. Its peak 
is 13,803 ft above sea level, making it the highest point in the state of Hawaii.

  Jill nabs us some bananas from a roadside tree. Unfortunately, they didn't ripen before we left. 
The rainforest vegetation we saw while taking a side road along our drive.  Akaka Falls, a 442 foot tall waterfall.  Very beautiful. Thanks Jill for taking the photo! 

Thanks, stranger on the trail for taking this photo! 

Next stop: Onomea Bay Trail and Donkey Trail, located near Pepeekeo.  The waves were very large and dramatic in this area.  It made you feel small. 

After that, we drove toward Hilo and explored the black sand at Richardson Beach Park.
It sure was hot to walk on it! 

  Jill took this great shot of the black sand and it's surrounding lava rocks. 

Pretty girls in a pretty spot.

A sea turtle sunning himself in the shallow water.  

This pretty lagoon is right beside the black sand beach.

  This was a mongoose, they were everywhere.  They were imported back in the 
day to help control the rat population, but rats are nocturnal and mongooses
hunt by day.  Typical!  (BTW, I did verify the plural form on the internet, so I know it's right!)  

After our black sand interlude, we enjoyed the most wonderful lunch experience at this place,
Liko Lehua.  The food was creative and excellent, our waitress was beyond friendly, and the
"gourmet butter" they sell is phenomenal.  Ignore the word butter and think of a rich, sweet, 
creamy dessert - very similar to lemon curd but in many different flavors.  Highly recommend! 

  Lovely yellow birdies we kept seeing around the island. I think we saw different ones
each time, but possibly we had avian stalkers.  
Jill went with Aubrey to swim in the pool, but it was freezing cold.  If Aubrey says the water is
too cold, then there's likely ice cubes floating in it.  That girl is TOUGH! 
Beautiful girls with their beautiful flowers. 
Aubrey and I had such a great experience here.  We saw dolphins
playing in the area when we arrived, but then they disappeared so
we started snorkeling.  

Then we met couple near us who had just seen the dolphins close by.
We turned around and sure enough, they were jumping and spinning
and smacking the water with their fins.  They were so close to us,
it was fantastic.  

At one point they disappeared and the four of us just watched while
we treaded water.  Then the man of the couple whispered, "Look down."
We all did, just in time to see they were swimming beneath us! 
We could hear them chattering to one another, it was magical. 

Honaunau Bay (aka Two Step), south of Kona.  This was a great snorkel spot.   
The next day at Magic Sands, a boogie boarding beach in Kona.  
Aubrey came up with more than one use for a boogie board - shade! 
Sand sculpture at the Magic Sands beach.
 On our last day the wind came up very strong so we weren't able to do much, we visited this 
 beach and explored the fancy resort next door.  The grounds of the resort were beautiful.  

Beautiful Amy with the beautiful flowers she loves.  

 Some more black sand near the resort.   
Bird of Paradise flower at the resort My wounds - on day 1 I got blisters that immediately popped.  I fussed around with these lovely
spots of raw skin for the rest of the trip. 
Sunday was our last day, our flight out was in the evening so we still had some exploring time.
Amy knew of a great church that had outdoor services right beside this beach.  It was nice.  
Next we took a walk through this lava field. There were wild goats all over the island, but 
we saw the most of them we'd seen here. 
Trying to get a shot of the goats, but they blended in super well. There were beautiful chickens and roosters all over the island too. 
Someone told us this is a cliff-jumping spot called, "The End of the World".  We decided not to jump. I took an underwater camera with me, but didn't take many photos with it because
I didn't think they would turn out - I was wrong!  
I wish I'd have had this with me the time I got to watch a yellow eel.  Another fish was
following it everywhere it went, then the other fish would hover over the eel. It was cool. 
I thought the fish in the lower-right corner was a Pufferfish. No clue if I'm right, so let's just say I am! 
This was the first of two sea turtles I got to see while snorkeling. They all seemed to just ignore
the humans around them. 
This one was just hanging out in this one spot behind some rocks.  We didn't stay there for
long so that he could have his privacy.  
The airport mystified me.  I didn't know you could have an open-air airport.  There were almost
no walls!  Somehow they make it work. 
This was taken from the boarding line, looking toward my plane (in the center beside the tree).

When I got home, the pets were so thrilled to see me they were beside themselves.
Feisty tried to block me from doing laundry - my guess was that she thought I might
have been packing to leave again!  Or maybe she loved the ocean smell on all my things. 

Amy was pleasantly surprised to find a plane full of Casazzas on her
trip back.  Lucas & Kristi's crew had been on Kauai at the same time. 

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