Monday, September 08, 2008

Labor Day 2 - Halemaumau, Queen Liliuokalani Iron, and Buddhists

After our site visit the ladies of Opihikao brought out the food. We ended up hitting the road for the drive to Kailua Kona around noon. Later than I wanted, but we still had plenty of time to make it.

And then, from the road, we saw the volcano ...

The photos in the paper make it look like a really big steam vent. I didn't realize how much of an eruption it really is. I took a detour into the National Park to get a closer look.

This is the view across Kīlauea into Halema`uma`u Crater. Notice the blue skies on the left, and the ash and sulfur-clouded skies on the right. The whole Kona coast is hazy from the eruption.

Dave and I at the vent, on Day 2 of our five-day date. This was the longest second date of my life, with no runners-up even close. And it all went really well, too. I wish I had a photo of him with his ukulele; he's got a great voice, and spent a lot of his free time (not that any of us had much free time) practicing songs he'd learned.

We landed in Kailua Kona late afternoon, and met up with the rest of the Kamehameha team for dinner.

This is what we came for: The Queen Lili`uokalani Canoe Race - an 18-mile iron.

The women left first ...

Kamehameha: white boat, middle left

There were 132 canoes in the women's race, which ran from Kailua Kona to Honaunau. There was some useless drama the week before, and half our women backed out. The three Kamehameha women - Pam, LeAnn, & Ulu - picked up three other women to form a team. There were some novices in the boat, they had never paddled as a team, and they did really well - coming in at 2:47:57, and placing 62nd out of 74 in their division.

The men paddled back, leaving Honaunau around noon.

from left: Victor, Alex, Rudy, MC, Eli, Phil.

We suffered.

And I'll leave it at that.

We wandered Kona on Saturday night. I had heard that the post-race parties were out of control wild. I had a great time ... but it was hardly the wild nights of legend. Sunday we chilled. Monday Dave and I checked in to a "Buddhist Bed and Breakfast," which was really a plantation house in an old village. It was peaceful, but we were the only ones there. It might have been more interesting if there were other guests. As it was, there were lots of ghosts (not that I believe in ghosts) and coqui.

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