The Makalawena Death March and Whaler Misadventure

Day 5 and 6: Kohala Resort Area - Kailua-Kona

Drive Careful
Unimproved Road Ahead
After a generous supply of tropical hedonism we baled on the Hilton and travelled on down the road a total of 21 miles to the Big Island version of Waikiki (without the beach). Kaulua-Kona: the main strip Ali'i Drive. Prior to settling into town, we stopped for "hidden hawaii," Makalawena Beach. Or better known by my children as The Makalawena Death March. 

Picture this: you are 3mm tall and trying to cross a pan of over-cooked brownies diagonally, while it is still in the oven. Brown and burnt and uneven. That's kind of what a lava field looks and feels like, but it doesn't taste as good and isn't nearly as soft or gooey.

First you must drive on an unimproved lava road about 2 miles to Kekaha Kai State Park, traverse ~0.5 miles across a sharp uneven lava trail to Manini'owali Beach (which is beautiful in it's own respect, but keep going) then you cross an even more desolate and uninviting lava trail ~0.5 miles to Makalawena. But you are not done yet, now continue another 1/8 mile across soft, white, shifting sand to the third crescent of the beach. (Seriously "Glute Girls of Yoga" can't even hold a candle to this workout!)
Makalawena Oasis

Makalawena Beach
Death March
Do you ever hear music in the back of your mind when you see something awesomely beautiful? Dun-Nun! Yeah, we have arrived. This places make From Here to Eternity looks like Sanford and Sons. Hour-glass fine sand grains, no cig-butts or broken bottles, pristine, green rolling waves; it truly is a tropic oasis; the siren's call in romance novels. Even the kid's jaws drop and we have the entire beach to ourselves, except for the 60+ nudist male two crescents over. Slather on some SPF and we are good to go! Semi-soft waves, turquoise ocean depths juxtaposed with jagged black lava rocks harboring all sorts of aquatic sealife and tidepools!
The Breach

Sea Turtle
It takes us about 15 minutes to get the snorkel gear on and explore the area. Visibility is at least 20 ft and the water temp is perfect. We can literally see the grains of sand shift and drop to the beachy-bottom, then up from the depths a rock moves, no two rocks move. Then with the next roll and surge of the waves, two green sea turtles come out to play, close enough to touch (but don't, they are protected and endangered).

Makalawena Beach
Four hours, four more sea turtles and five sunburnt Coloradans later (the hike back is what really did us in. Note to self: reapply!) We return to our van blissfully oceaned-out. This location only stays this way due to the intense hike in - let's keep it that way! Dinner, Mai-Tai and Condo, Ahhhhhhhh!

4 Sea Turtle - Guess...
Whale Watching
Waves along Kona
The next day is our Whale-Watch with Captain Dan McSweeney, 6:50am boarding time. Highly doable with our early risers. In fact, first in line meant seats on bow! Our trip promises to be filled with lots of marine mammals, not even out of the harbor and we see a family of spinner dolphins! Our Cap't confidently speeds past them, claiming we will see many, many more. Cue theme song to Gilligan's  Island - A Three Hour Tour - and nothing. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

He graciously gives us "never-expire free return-certificates" but, when I call to reschedule for thursday this week, he claims they are not going out until Friday (that's convenient). "That's funny, your phone message says you have space on Wednesday and Thursday this week." I tell him.  "Nope, not going out until Friday." Okay, now I call bullshit! But, my care is to just let it go, we did get a nice boat ride, a portion of the price does (I checked) go to whale research and protection and there are no guarantees in life and much, much more to go see and do. Besides, my son refused to shake Cap't Dan's hand on the way off the boat as punishment for us not seeing any whales.

Waves along Kona
Nope - No Whales
Our Condo Pool
For the afternoon, we tour the Ali'i strip of Kona. We did manage one museum: the oldest royal palace in the United States: Hulihe'e Palace. If you were not aware - Hawaii has the only legitimate royal palaces in all the USA. Additionally, we satisfy all our souvenir hunting plus some. The coastal area of Kona is short on beaches, which is likely why Maui is so much more popular. But the same profusion of over-priced drinks, steal-your-money dive hovels and ABC Shops reminds you that capitalism is alive and well in the tropics.