One nice thing about going west for a vacation is that the time change actually works in your favor. Hawaii is three hours behind California, and as a result we’ve been getting up by 7:30 or eight every morning, which is nothing short of revolutionary in my case.
It was a particularly good thing that we got going early this morning, because Kona is the only port we have to take tenders into and that can mean major lines of irritable tourists, clutching their beach bags and making the same tired jokes about the Titanic.
After we made it to shore I called the lady at Enterprise who instructed us to go and wait in front of a nearby hotel, possibly because the port charges the rental companies for access. So we went there and eventually an unmarked van pulled up, driven by a guy with an indeterminate Eastern European accent, who drove us to a run-down strip mall. Where, in fact, the rental place was located, but I was worried for a minute there.
They were out of economy cars, so we were “upgraded” to a giant, gas-guzzling SUV. Just the thing for two people with a combined one cubic foot of baggage to drive in a place where gas costs $3.65 a gallon. Sigh.
So anyway, we boarded our tank, figured out our map and headed out of town to the beach we had chosen out of the guidebook. The landscape, at first, was not exactly promising. “Austere” would be the nice way of putting it. The highway cut across a huge lava field, parts of which looked frozen mid-flow but mostly looked like it had been recently bulldozed in preparation for a really enormous construction project. The cool part was the roadside graffiti, names, high school team bragging, and some rough pictures, which were picked out in white rocks and shells on any surface facing the road.
Then we got to the beach, and blah blah white sand, blah blah turquoise water, blah blah blah. You get the picture. (For those who don’t, I’ll post photos shortly.) Having learned from out experiences on Maui, which picked a spot in the sand under the shade of an overhanging tree– one that, as I learned later, was in the habit of scattering tiny but very spiky twigs beneath it– to lay out our towels. It was another windy day and the sea was too rough for snorkling, or even swimming really, so the best you could do was go in and let the waves push you around for a while. It was actually a lot like the ocean back home, only instead of being freezing cold it was pleasantly warm. Makes all the difference, really.
Aside from the occasional miscalculation of wave height that left me with an occasional face full of ocean, the only downside was that whenever I went into the water I got the song “Love is a Cannibal” stuck in my head. Which is bizarre; I don’t even like that song. As best as I can figure, my brain really wanted to get stuck on “Love is the Seventh Wave” but, hampered by the fact that I don’t actually know that song, did the best it could with what it had.
Having had our fill of paddling in the ocean and lounging on the beach, Megan and I piled back into the tank and headed back, for our last night on the boat on our way back to Maui.