It’s been a full week with Anne and Mike. We had our anniversary brunch at Magics near Magic Sands beach. The food was good; the view was better. They had a fancy drink, the Lilikoi Lani that was too sweet for me. The Big Wave Ale is a good fallback when the drinks disappoint.
On Monday we toured paniolo country up in Waimea and then headed to Waipi’o Valley and the Hamakua Coast. One thing about a convertible—the front passengers are comfortable but the passengers in back get beat up by the wind. We tried riding with the windows up, which helped a little, but ultimately decided to keep the top up except for some scenic stretches with low speed limits. The other thing we learned is that, at 70 years old, getting out of the car, especially the back seat, can be a challenge. It’s easier to do with the top down, but even so, we are not leaping out of the car like teenagers.
Tex Drive-in in Honoka’a is reputed to be one of the top three places for malasadas on the Big Island. We tried them, but found them disappointing. I think we have been spoiled by Leonard’s Malasadas in Honolulu. We visited Laupahoehoe Point, which we had visited with the kids and then went on to Akaka falls near Honomu. Honomu is a quaint little plantation town that boasts a bakery, an Orthodox church, a Hongwanji Mission, a Roman Catholic church, and a United Church of Christ, all in a two-block stretch of the main street. It’s the kind of town I could move to.
The. next day we spent the morning at Magic Sands, doing boogie boarding and then went to the market for some booze. As might be expected, we bought too much.We still have a lot left over.
Wednesday, we visited Hapuna Beach and then went to a luau at Mai Grille near the Hilton Waikoloa. Most luau’s are held at a beach. This, however, was held at a golf course. At first we were skeptical. It was smaller in venue than other luau’s, a tad more formal (shoes and masks are required.) The dinner was plated instead of buffet style, which also makes for a different atmosphere. The entertainment was great. The musicians were terrific. I talked to them afterwards about ukes and Hawaiian music. The dancers were a delight to see. Thy avoided the schlocky stuff you often see at luau’s where people from the audience are invited on stage to try to hula while everybody makes fun of them. Even the fire dancer was exciting.
Thursday, we toured the volcano and had lunch at Kilauea Lodge in Volcano Village. The lodge is an historic building, having been built in 1938 as a YMCA. It has a huge fireplace made of stones contributed by Lions, Rotary, and Kiwanis clubs from across the US and other countries. Mary Fran and I had not heard of it, so it was really a pleasant surprise. We all had burgers, which were fine. Mike had his first loco moco, We shared a bowl of Portuguese bean soup. The volcano, itself, is an impressive reminder of nature’s force. A crater one thousand six hundred eighty feet deep was blasted out of the caldera in 2019.
On this excursion, we made a stop at Punaluu Black Sand Beach, which is home to green sea turtles who frequently bask on the beach. Sea turtles almost never bask on a beach, except fo a few species of green sea turtles and only in a few locations. Hawai’i is one of those places. Hawksbill turtles can be found in the waters, but never on the beach. Sea turtles are protected and people are required tto keep their distance.
Most mornings this week, we have seen a pod of Hawaiian spinners in the water off our lanai. We are usually alerted to their presence by guide boats slowing down to observe them. After watching these boats all week, I have decided that there needs to be further restrictions on how close the boats and swimmers can get to them. At present, boats are not allowed to pursue dolphins and swimmers are not allowed to try to catch up to them, but only float above them. From what i see, I think too many boats and swimmers are crossing the line.
One aside, Mary Fran thinks the captain of the boat that took us snorkelig, Captain Sharkey, resembles Gardner McKay who played Adam Troy in Adventures in Paradise.
Anne and Mike left this morning, so it will just be the two of us for the next six weeks.