Blogs from Big Island, Hawaii, United States, North America

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Highlights of Kailua-Kona on the Hawaiian Island, Big Island by Duchess DJ Love, Gallivanting Like a Royal Looking for a peaceful beach to unwind, heal spiritually, and soak up some sun, ushered me to Kailua-Kona on the Big Island Hawaii. Kona pleasantly surprised me. The island vibe captured my heart immediately. Now, it is my favorite destination. Royal Kona Resort became my home away from home on my first trip. I chose this hotel because it had all the amenities I sought. This way I would not have to leave the resort. However, the charming, historical mile long stretch of Ali’i Drive drew me out. Strolling the coastline, smelling the ocean breeze, listening to the waves, bird watching, and taking in the shops kept me on the go. The evenings gave way to downtime to enjoy ... read more
Waiting on my Lava Tube
Beautiful Sunset
Lagoon at Royal Kona Resort

North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island January 9th 2022

When in any area, when you want to bird, you might check out the local dump (like we did in Brownsville TX) or the Waste Water Treatment Plant, which we did today. There were dozens of night herons there, including this one who looks like he’s in prison. We went over to the adjacent state park and finally picked up the “Wandering Tattler” – yeah, we made our goal of 20 new lifers. This was a long long park, white sand and then areas of black sand. The tide was high and walking on the sand was quite a workout for the derriere muscles. After lunch we drove all the way down to Two Step, “just in case.” Nope, the surf was really high – it was scary watching some people trying to get out and ... read more
Birding master
Birding moorhen
Birding Nt Heron held captive

North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island January 8th 2022

We started our day birding, but first went to the Paradise bakery for coffee and fresh malasadas (Portuguese donuts) to take with us during this arduous time (just joking). Mine was filled with guava jelly. David had the toasted coconut. Sadly, we saw few birds at the end of our usual mountain road. We finally figured out the name of our mountain: Hualalai, the 3rdyoungest of the 5 volcanoes of the Big Island. It means “shy,” as it often hides behind some clouds. Actually today was so clear again that we could see Maui’s Haleakala and coastline. Driving on some alternative roads down the mountain, we stumbled across the Mountain Thunder Kona Coffee Farm, just 10 mins before a tour, so we finally found out quite a bit about coffee: 1) The beans started in Ethiopia ... read more
1 Francolin
1 Hawaiian stilt
1 Japanese white eye

North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island January 7th 2022

Actually, we wanted to sleep in a bit, but by 6:30 the birds were in full crescendo, and then a francolin sitting on our roof was very noisy. It’s about the size of a partridge. Between him and the wild turkeys, no one sleeps in. So, after our usual toasted English muffin and guava jam, we started off at the seashore just down the mountain road, near the airport. The sea didn’t look too rough until it crashed against the rocks. It was a lovely area, and already there were a handful of people sketching and painting the little cove with the very white spray. Where we walked was also a sacred Hawaiian burial space, with mounds of lava rock. Then we headed north to the Kohala Peninsula, past Mauna Kea resort, which was the furthest ... read more
2 with seed
2 yellow-faced canary
3 early birding

North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island January 6th 2022

We “set sail” for Volcanoes National Park today, and it was a bright and sunny day. We went due south of Kailua-Kona along route 11, passing by our favorite snorkeling area Two Step, stopping at a few pull-offs, buying some Kona Coffee (all beans are picked by hand, hence the price) from Miranda’s, a Christian family business. We stopped at a black sand beach – evidently with very rounded lava, and saw our first 2 nene geese next to the lovely grass of a golf course. It took us almost 4 hours to get to the National Park – once again using our “get in for free because we are old” membership card. We did about .5 mi hike to get to the Lava Tube area, and another .5 through and around it – it was ... read more
Bougainvilla
Buying coffeer
Buying Kona coffee

North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island January 5th 2022

Because our hosts had warned of worsening ocean conditions, we decided to do one more snorkel in a recommended sheltered area. Evidently HI supreme court declared that no beaches could be private, so we duly approached the guard gate at a fancy resort up the road and asked for one of the 20 guest passes. Being there at 8 am we were #3. We met a man finishing his swim, however, who said that visibility and waves were both bad, even in this sheltered spot. So we turned around and went home, to grab our jackets and lunch to head off to one of the volcanoes: Mauna Kea. It was the clearest day ever, so we had great views even of Haleakala on Maui, and of course Mauna Kea, at over 14,000’, and Mauna Loa, taller ... read more
Haleakala in the distance on Maui
Hina the friendly dog
IMG_3580

North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island January 4th 2022

Is it possibly only Tuesday still? We have packed in so much yet again. Yes, we woke up with sore muscles – shoulders, arms, chest – but last night was great. I’ll try to attach some photos taken by phone too. Well, not surprisingly, we went snorkeling again, as mornings are always best here. We were in the water by 9:30, driving over 45 mins to get there. Evidently the weather is picking up swells and waves all the way from Alaska, so we need to get our snorkels in. We considered a new place, but couldn’t see how to enter or exit, so returned to Two Steps, which was just around the corner from there. Got a free parking spot this time too and had a great time. I only made 1.5 hours this time ... read more
1 Apapane
1 Birding above the clouds
1 kalij Pheasants

North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island January 3rd 2022

SUNDAY Thoughts of attending a local church went out the window as the day dawned beautifully sunny. We drove about 45 min south to snorkel at “Two Step,” so named because of the rocky entry. We drove a back windy and narrow way, filled with fascinating housing – some gorgeous, some more like trash dumps, found parking for $5 at an enterprising local’s property, and spent an amazing 2 hours in the water. What a lot of fish varieties! We sat and ate our special Canadian bacon sandwich on the stump of a tree just off the smooth lava shoreline. On the way home we yelped the top-rated Hawaiian Shave Ice place and shared the “Kona Sunrise,” and found the yellow-billed cardinal. After returning to home base to download the photos and grab a nap, we ... read more
BUTTERFLY FOUR SPOT
BUTTERFLY LONGNOSE
BUTTERFLY MULTIBAND

North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island December 29th 2021

This morning, we got up early to make the drive to Waipio Valley, on the north side of the island. We were going on a horseback tour through the valley at 9:30. It's about a 1.5 hour drive from Kona, and we didn't want to risk being late, so we left at 7am. The plan was to stop at the Hot Malasadas Truck on the way to the valley. We arrived at the location at 8am, but the truck wasn't there yet. So, we continued on our route. About 5 minutes later, we passed it on the road! It appeared to be heading to the location for the day. We thought about doubling back, but we worried the extra drive time and waiting for them to set up would be too much. So, sadly, we skipped ... read more
Waipio Valley
With our horses on the tour of Waipio Valley
Hillawe Falls

North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island December 28th 2021

There are a number of beaches within a 20-30 minute drive from our Kona resort. Our waitress at breakfast yesterday recommended Hapuna Beach (a white sand swimming beach). We were going to head there, but one of our priorities was seeing sea life. So, we decided to check out 'Alula Beach. From what I read, it's a good area for novice swimmers and also has sea turtles. Well, the second part was certainly true! When we arrived, we were greeted by a rooster. I've heard people say that there are a lot of chickens that wander free throughout the islands of Hawaii, but this was the first one we saw. We've seen goats and cats wandering the big island, but not chickens (until now). We set down our beach gear. The sand wasn't very fine. In ... read more
Sea Turtle!
They're out looking for sea life. I found some!
The rough "sand" at 'Alula Beach




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