Spring Break 2014: Kona

Oahu from the airplane, with Diamond Head crater in the center and Honolulu to the left.

We flew from Oahu to Hawaii (a.k.a. the Big Island) this morning (Tuesday), landing in Kona on the western side about 30 minutes later.

Did you know that each of the Hawaiian islands has a windward side and a leeward side? In general, windward is north or east, while leeward is south or west. The windward side is where the rain falls and the vegetation is lush, while the leeward side is sunny and relatively dry.

We knew that Kona is on the leeward side of the Big Island, thanks to our annual viewing of Ironman Kona, so it’s not as lush as what we had seen on Oahu. We also knew that we’d see a LOT more volcanic rock here. Still, landing here was a bit of a shock, as there’s black lava rock EVERYWHERE, which is more than we were expecting. I haven’t taken many photos yet, but I’ll definitely do so in the next couple of days.

We’re staying in a sweet cottage just a stone’s throw from the beach. By the way, sand beaches are not the norm here. Oh sure, there’s sand in a variety of colors, but plenty of shoreline is lined with lava rock and often totally void of sand. Here’s what’s walking distance from us:

This is a salt and pepper sand beach, and a close-up will show you why it is named thusly:

This is coarse sand, with chunks of coral and small shells in it. It’s comfortable to walk on, unlike the lava rock, which could easily cut your feet.

I mentioned the other day that when we first arrive in a new place, we like to settle in a bit and get the lay of the land before plunging into various excursions. Today was no exception.  We had to get moving at the butt crack of dawn to catch our flight and arrived in Kona mid-morning. Then there was the usual business of picking up our rental car, finding our accommodations, and getting settled. We found a grocery store and loaded up on comestibles, explored Kona a bit, ate lunch, rested a bit, and then walked to the beach.

Now that we’ve had a relaxing day, we’ll be ready for more tomorrow.



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11 Responses to Spring Break 2014: Kona

  1. Lise says:

    If you’re looking for a good restaurant, check out Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill.

  2. jean says:

    Will the high tides from the earthquake in Chile bother you or are you fare enough way? Is the black sand as soft as the regular sand? Enjoy exploring the island.

    • Jen says:

      Jean, no problems with tsunamis or waves. I don’t know yet about the black sand, but the sands we have seen have been coarser and really fluffy — your feet sink right in.

  3. Julie says:

    at this time of day, I see KONA and all I can think about is coffee!!! will you indulge in this variety, if you are a coffee drinker? (I can’t remember if you are or not)

    • Jen says:

      Julie, there’s a pot brewing right now and we’ve been drinking it every day. I got some at a 7-11 and even that was good!

  4. Cassi says:

    This is the island I’m looking forward to seeing some time. All that basalt, with different textures –a’a’ and pahoehoe flows! Beaches that are made of incredibly young sand!

    I’m looking forward to your pictures!

  5. KSL says:

    I love that phrase, “young sand!” I never thought about it that way.

  6. bdaiss says:

    One of my favorite Keweenaw features: black sand beaches. Hopefully yours will be warmer than those in da UP, eh.

  7. Jenny says:

    We followed your itinerary a few years ago – a couple days in Honolulu, then on to Hawaii. OUr condo was just a few feet from a beach and we could hear the surf at night. Just superb. The water was so clear I could swim with my eyes open.

  8. I’ve never seen salt-and-pepper sand. Very cool! Watch out for that volcanic rock, it looks sharp.

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