Wednesday 6 June – Kailua-Kona
For three days at Pu’ueo farm in the verdant Waipio Valley, we weeded patches of taro – a traditional Hawaiian foodstuff – soaked by occasional squalls, helped re-engineer a small dam, and cleared encroaching weeds from a waterway. When the work was done, we swam in waterfall-fed rivers and we lived off the land, learning to husk coconuts, trap and cook prawns and sample the fruits of our taro labors. The food tasted all the more sweet given the steep hike in and out via a serpentine road hugging the valley walls.
Headed back to the Kohala coast after a laundry run, and resupply in the North Kohala town of Hawi, we enjoyed an evening of music at Mahukona County Park, followed by a day of snorkeling at Mahukona, Lapakahi State Historical Park, and Spencer Beach Park.
With clear weather in forecast, we drove up the saddle road between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, ascending the worlds tallest mountain to the visitors’ center at 9200’ elevation. From there, we did some light hiking to take in the views and reflect on our three weeks exploring Hawaii Island from Ridge top to reef; Mauka to Makai. Later that day, we swung through Kailua-Kona for some souvenir shopping.
No trip to Hawaii is complete without experiencing the sport invented here and Tuesday found us capping off the trip by learning to surf in Kailua-Kona.
After deep-cleaning our vehicles, we traveled to Hilo for our final evening in Hawaii. Our experiences on this expedition were made so much richer and deeper by the help we received from two people in particular. Christian Giardina and Ingrid Dockersmith opened their home and their island to us, putting us in contact with transformative individuals and seldom-accessed environments. We spent a reflective evening at their home once again, showing our gratitude, laughing, and recounting the events of the last three weeks and what we will bring back to our homes in the San Juan’s and the wider world.
Up before first light this morning, we begin our journey home via Kailua-Kona, Maui, SeaTac, Gig Harbor, and Anacortes.
Aloha, Hawaii Island. Mahalo nui loa.
Itinerary update: we are endeavoring to make the ferries arriving 1:15 pm Thursday on Lopez Island and 3:45 pm in Friday Harbor.