Trip Start Mar 13, 2009
Trip End Mar 26, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Monday, March 23, 2009

A few posts ago, I mentioned that we were exhausted. At that point, I thought that was my limit, that I couldn't get more exhausted than that day. Well, I've reached a new limit. And I think Jeff has too.
We needed a day of rest, so we wanted to drive around the North Kohala area. On the way there we stopped at the Waikoloa Resort in South Kohala to get a Spam sandwich. Yes, I did say Spam. For some reason, it tastes better here. And they do nothing to it but fry it. It must be the atmosphere. 
We stopped at the Hilton to see the dolphins. They have an in-house beach area where they keep about 6 dolphins. They were really cool to see as they swam around the pool and came up for air. The longer we stood there, we began to feel bad that they were captives in this pool. They seemed happy and there was one that seemed to like the attention because he kept swimming really close to the bridge where the people stood and slowed down as he went by. Sometimes he rolled in that area too. But I'm sure it's not fun for them to be stuck in that small area.  

So on to Kohala...There's not a whole lot to see up there in terms of hiking. But the scenery was nice. It's a ranching area, with rolling grassland hills, where the paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys) tend to horses and cows. To me it reminded me of western Minnesota or eastern North Dakota, except that they have those odd pine trees that I mentioned in the post about the Green Sand Beach.  

The history in this area is interesting. In the 1700s someone (from the mainland) brought long-horned cattle as a gift to King Kamehameha and the king made them off limits. Soon the herd grew to numbers out of control and began killing people. So King Kamehameha hired John Parker to shoot them all and sell the meat to passing ships. Parker killed some and kept some for himself as payment. This began the Parker herd. 
Parker married Kamehameha's granddaughter and was allowed to purchase land. Combined with land from his wife and his own acquisitions over years, Parker's ranch soon grew to 225,000 acres. In 1990s, when one of the descendents of John Parker died, he willed 139,000 acres of the land to a non-profit. Today many smaller ranches stand where half of the former Parker Ranch occupied. 
On the way back down the Kohala Coast, we wanted to stop at some of the beaches. Our first stop was the Hapuna Beach. We wanted to stop here because it's a typical beach that comes to mind when you think about Hawaiian beaches. It's a long strip of white sand that stretches on for a half mile. Since it was Sunday, it was packed with tourists and locals. The locals make sure to enjoy their beaches on the weekends. I can't say I blame them.
The Hapuna beach is not great for snorkeling or for boogie boarding. It's definitely a swimming beach. So we laid on the beach for a while and then went in to cool off. While in the water, I met this young woman who was going to school at the University of Hawaii in Hilo. She recommended that we go to this other beach, Kua, which is close to the airport. But it's a much better beach that mostly only locals frequent. We decided to leave Hapuna behind and first go to the beach near the Marriot and then maybe Kua.
Our last stop was back at Waikoloa Resort. This is where the Marriot and Hilton are. In 2005, we stayed at the Marriot, lounged on their beach, and snorkeled in the bay. So I wanted Jeff to see it. We went to the 'Anaeho'omahu Bay. (The name is quite the mouthful so even the locals call it A-Bay.) We headed for the lounge chairs in front of the Marriot and then right to the water. The water was already murky. In 2005, Mom and I learned that we needed to get into the water early (usually about 5 or 6 am) before the trade winds came in and churned up the fine sand. This time, we were obviously too late so we snorkeled a little and got out, vowing to come back the next day.
We relaxed on the beach for a while and headed back to the condo. We went out to the Kona Brew House for dinner. They have awesome beer and wonderful pizza. I found my beer here. It's a porter (dark) made with Kona coffee. I had a pizza with macadamia nuts and spinach on it. YUM!
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