We started out early this morning for Hapuna Beach, in the South Kohala district, about 45 minutes from Kona. Dr. Beach rates Hapuna as the best US beach of 2021. It was gorgeous. The waves were gentle, but not so gentle you couldn’t boogie, albeit short rides. We stayed there all morning.
Is Hapuna the best beach in the US? Who’s to say? Everybody has their preferences. I think this beach rates at the top with the Oahu beaches. Kailua? Waimanao? Hapuna? There’s not a lot of difference between them in rankings, IMHO.
Yesterday, we did Waimea and the Hamakua coast because Granddaughter said she wanted to see waterfalls. Waimea is cowboy (paniolo) country. We drove past vast stretches of ranch land climbing the slopes of Mauna Kea and Hualalai volcanoes. Waimea sits at nearly 3,000 feet and the pastures must have gone up another 3-5K feet. After Waimea, we entered a cloud forest of tall, stately eucalyptus trees fronting an ohia forest. We arrived at Waipi’o valley, a meeting place for Hawaiian ali’i in ancent times. The descent to the valley is treacherous with a 25 degree grade. Ted, with his 4WD Jeep declined. I think that was just good sense.
From Wapi’o, we passed through Honoka’a on the Hamakua coast. The narrow, twisting highway is flanked by lush, tropical vegetation on both sides of the road. Each turn opens up dramatic ocean vistas. Honoka’a is a quaint up-country town perched precariously above the ocean. The main street is lined with unique shops and restaurants. Not far from Honoka’a is Laupahoehoe point below the town of Laupahoehoe. In 1946, a tsunami wiped out the town and killed 18 students and two teachers. The town, itself was moved topside. A park and a monument are all that remain of the disaster site. To get to the site, you follow a narrow, twisting road. The seas at the bottom are rough and the lava is craggy. It’s a fearsome place.
We found the waterfalls at Umauma. They are on private land, and you have to pay to enter. They are not, IMHO, as spectacular as Akaka Falls, but impressive in their own right.
We did not make it to Akaka Falls because the grandkids were getting tired. On the way back we stopped at Safeway to load up on tako poke and spicy ahi poke. Because Michael des not like fish of any kind, we got some poke pipikalau, or beef poke. Pipikalau is a type of beef jerky, which isnot as dried as regular jerky. This was marinated in whatever they marinated the ahi poke in and was surprisingly good. Dinner was grilled teryaki beef, poke, rice, kimchi, potato salad, and broccoli salad.
We caught another spectacular sunset at La’aloa Beach.
Here is. the view at daybreak this morning. The seas are calmer than previous days.
Tonight, we are set to snorkel with manta rays.