Sunday, March 29, 2015

Big Island Day 6: More Of Everything

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Today is the last post about our trip to Big Island.  I hope that you’ve enjoyed having a look at our travels & adventures.  Friday 3/20 was our last full day on Big Island.  We didn’t have any plans, so we decided to just take a relaxed approach. 

Woke up at around 6:30am.  Went on FB and found out that Mannie (Kristina Werner's cat) died.  I was so sad that I cried.  I've loved all the Mannie photos and videos that she's posted the last few years.  I love using the stamps she designed in Mannie's image.  I will miss him.

For breakfast we had some of our last strawberry papayas from the farmer's market.  Todd had his popcorn and Coke.  Then we walked down to the Akule Supply Store cafe down at the marina for breakfast.  I didn't like their special today so I ordered the Breakfast Bento Box.  It was spam with scrambled eggs, rice, and some fruit.  I also had a big cup of Kona coffee.  

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The bento box was just OK.  And there was way too many flies bothering me and my food. It was gross.  They had a TV mounted and there was March Madness basketball already at 8am Hawaii time.

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After breakfast we hung out in the condo.  Then around 10:30 we left the condo to drop off our Redbox movie and to get some gas and drinking water at the Aloha gas station nearby.  Then we were on our way to the Four Seasons' Beach Tree Cafe for lunch again.  We had such a good time and good lunch on Monday that we wanted to go back!  We made it there around 11:45.  

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Todd got the hamburger this time and he LOVED it.  He said it was right up there with the best burger he's ever had.  He had French fries too.  

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I had the grilled & chilled shrimp salad with avocado, corn, black beans, and cilantro lime dressing.  So good!  

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We had to have the lemon meringue ice cream pie again, because it was so good the first time we had it.  It was delicious!  

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This time lunch cost only half as much as on Monday, since we didn’t get an appetizer or a cocktail.

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After lunch we drove back.  It took about an hour to get to Mahina Cafe.  They had THREE malasadas left and we bought them all!  We hadn’t had any malasadas on this trip yet.  Our favorite and best malasadas are from Leonard’s on Oahu.  Unfortunately they aren’t on Big Island. 

After that we drove up to Kona Earth coffee farm and met with the owner Gary and his wife Valerie.  We got a brief tour.  They had some workers pruning the trees.  

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Todd got to rake the coffee berries on the drying deck with Gary. 

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I guess it was a “working vacation” for Todd, ha ha!

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Usually the drying deck has coffee in the “parchment” stage, after pulping the coffee cheery skin and pectin.

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But Gary had a bunch of “naturals” on his deck when we were there.

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And by the way, a few days after we came home, we were checking on the Kona Earth blog and were surprised to find a photo of Todd raking the coffee beans on their blog!  So fun!

Gary showed us the bean dryer that he designed and put together.  Quite different than farmer Bob’s at Lehuula Farms!

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We got to taste the dark roast and even that was good.  We chatted with them and it was quite nice.  They have two cute dogs who roam around the farm.  We bought four 8oz bags to give to friends.

After the coffee farm, we drove back to the condo and by then it was 4pm.  We turned on NCAA basketball and ate our malasadas.  They were ok, not great.  

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I typed up some of the journaling about the trip that I hadn't done.  We rested.  Then around 6pm we went to dinner at Kenichi Pacific nearby.  I had fried calamari and they were good!  

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I also ordered tempura udon and that was only ok.  The udon noodle soup was too salty.  I gave Todd my tempura onion stack and he loved it.  

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Todd got a NY strip steak and he liked that, but he didn't like the rosemary potatoes or squash.  They took forever to get our dinner out.  Service was very slow on a Friday night.

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After dinner we went back to the condo and packed.  The vacation was awesome, adventurous, and relaxing all at the same time.  But as with all vacations, we were ready to go home and cuddle with Noodle.  Somehow on this particular trip the island “vog” was pretty prevalent.  There was always a haze of volcanic smog everywhere we looked.  It didn’t seem like that on our last trip in 2008.  Maybe the Kilauea Volcano is erupting at a different spot now…

The next day (Saturday) our flight left at 9am.  On the way to the airport I took a couple of photos of the scenery.

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The agricultural check and security check lines were very long, due to three flights leaving the island at the same time.  But we made it in time.  Goodbye Big Island!

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On the way out, we flew over Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.  I could see the summit was still covered with snow and I could see the little dots which are the observatories that we saw on our trip.

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The flight back to San Diego was only five hours (versus the six hours going to Big Island).  I watched “Big Hero 6” and LOVED it so much that we rented it with Redbox when we got back so Todd could watch it too.  Noodle was so happy to see us, even though Fred took VERY good care of him when we were gone.  It was good to be home, but I wished that we had a few more days off at home before having to go back to work!

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Big Island Day 5: Kayak & Snorkel Adventure

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A school of yellow tangs at Kealakekua Bay. Photo by Todd.

We got up around 7ish and ate papayas for breakfast.  I also had corn flakes and Todd had popcorn.  We put our swimsuits on and packed our backpack for our kayak trip.  Left the condo around 9:30am.  Drove to Kona Boys to rent our kayak and snorkel gear.  We didn't see them on the left side of the road and drove too far.  Had to backtrack back to their store on Mamalahoa Rd.  

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They had a smallish store front, but had a store cat named Billy there.  He's rather fat but cute.  The two ladies at the store helped us.  That’s funny that two ladies work at Kona Boys, ha ha.  We got our kayak and gear and they secured the kayak on top of our rental car.  Then they were like, "Do you need snorkel gear?" and we had assumed it was part of the rental, so good thing they asked!  Todd was able to get some prescription snorkels, (#1) so he was really happy that he could see the fish.  In total we paid about $100 the kayak and snorkel rental.

We drove down Napo’opo'o Road and it was a long windy ways down.  We dropped the boat off at the dock and Todd went to park the car  up the street.  This big Hawaiian guy named Rufus was also renting kayaks down at the dock.  He helped get our kayak set up and ready to go.  Todd was putting in the seats backwards, LOL.  Rufus helped us secure our snorkel gear and dry bag too.  And he helped us get the kayak down into the water.  We tipped him for his help.  Then we were off!  

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This was the “dock” where we embarked on our kayak adventure.  I don’t have photos while kayaking across, because we didn’t stop to get our camera out of the dry bag.  The water was slightly choppy and it was slightly scary to kayak all the way across the bay.  But it was certainly less scary than when we first did it in 2008.  We got to the Captain Cook Monument in about 25 minutes. We are no longer allowed to dock our kayak at the monument anymore.  Our kayak had to stay in the water away from land.  So once we got there I stayed in the kayak while Todd got out and snorkeled.  He put on his gear and got out of the kayak without incident.  

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He was having so much fun swimming back and forth looking at the fish!  

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Because he had the prescription snorkels, he could see the fish well.  I kept seeing his cute blonde head bob up and down, as well as his bright yellow snorkels.  He took a lot of great photos with our Olympus TG-3 waterproof camera.  He saw so many fish.  

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Look at all the coral!

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These fish look like they were smiling!

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After a while he came back into the kayak.  

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Then I put on my snorkel gear.  I was apprehensive about getting into the water from the kayak without tipping it.  Finally I got up the courage and flipped into the water in what I thought was a graceful fashion.  I started swimming and immediately saw fish.  I was so busy looking at all the fish that I didn't look back.  When I finally did, I didn't see Todd on top of the kayak.  That's when I realized that he was in the water and the kayak had capsized!  Some guy snorkeling by helped him get the stuff back into the kayak.  I went over to the kayak and Todd said, "You don't know how happy I am right now".  He thought he had lost the waterproof Olympus when he capsized, but he had just found it in the dry bag.  Everything in the dry bag got wet though.  But he had the camera! Thank goodness!  (Otherwise there would be no fish photos!)  He got himself settled back into the kayak and I went snorkeling some more to see more fish.  Finally I was finished and went back to the kayak.  I tried to climb back in, but I was really afraid of capsizing it again.  I tried to do belly first but couldn't.  So I tried doing leg first but wasn't strong enough to pull myself up into the kayak.  It was a frustrating 10 minutes.  Finally I was able to get back into the kayak after much effort, and thank goodness it didn't capsize! 

I got my snorkel gear off and regular gear back on, and we kayaked across Kealakekua Bay to get back.  

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This time the waves were bigger.  It took some effort and we went into the wrong inlet before the one where we left.  Finally we made it and I was so relieved!  Rufus was there to help us get our kayak back up again.  Todd went to get the car and hoped that the car would start, because the car key got wet inside the dry bag.  The car started without a problem. We got the kayak back onto the roof of the car and secured it.  Then we went back up the road to Mamalahoa Road.  We stopped by the Chevron to get two bags of Cheetos and a coke!  (To mimic what we did last time.)  It was so good.  

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Then we went back to Kona Boys to return the kayak and gear.  We drove back to the condo to change into dry clothes.  Then we went out to lunch.  We were going to go to Kenichi Pacific but it was closed at lunch.  So we went cross the Longs Drugs plaza to Los Habaneros Mexican.  I had the carnitas plate and Todd had carne asada burrito.  It was 2:30pm by then!

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It was decent!  Then we rented "Whiplash" from Redbox.  We hung out and watched the start of March Madness basketball.

For dinner we went to Orchid Thai.  It is still good Thai food!  (We went there in 2008 also.)  We started with some veggie fresh spring rolls.  

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Then we had green curry chicken and chili basil chicken with bamboo.  Yum!

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Got back to the condo and had some Roselani's ice cream.  Then we watched the "Whiplash" movie.  It was ok.  I don't get why it had such Oscar buzz.  It was an awesome, adventurous, and tiring day!

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