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Published: November 15th 2017
We haven’t been to Kona in a few years...it has grown quite a bit and is now a busy little city with lots of hotels and condos strung along the coast. Kona is considered the sunny side of the Big Island but on this particular day we had a bit of rain. We took an open-air shuttle bus around to see the island and to pick up a few necessities. King Kamehameha spent his final years in Kona. A Chinese restaurant seemed just the right place for lunch. Sam Choy, a guest chef on board, is quite famous throughout Hawaii for his innovative cooking style. When we told the owner of the Chinese restaurant that he was on our ship she was very proud to hear that. She said that Sam always tells her she has the best Chinese food in Kona. After a hike back to the harbor, we spotted a small beach by the pier which we took advantage of with a swim. It is located right next to Paul Allen’s waterfront estate. He is one of the richest men in the world and has one of the biggest private yachts afloat.
The Sojourn steamed around Diamond Head
These can be seen all over the islands.
and into the port of Honolulu. Ordinarily ships dock right at the Aloha Tower, but since it was full, we docked at an adjacent pier. It was Sunday, so we opted for a visit to China Town. The vibrant and lively markets and restaurants are open on Sunday. China Town is becoming more like a little Saigon. The Vietnamese restaurants far outnumber the Chinese eateries. There are quite a few homeless folks around this part of town and we saw several cardboard shelters along the river. This surprised our guests, but like many big cities, homelessness is an issue here. There is not much evidence of it in Waikiki where most of the tourists congregate. The most popular tour in Hawaii is Pearl Harbor, which was visited two days prior by President Trump.
Our arrival was a milestone for the small island of Lanai. The Sojourn is the first passenger cruise ship to call at Manele Bay. It is also our first time here. Ninety seven percent of Lanai is owned by Larry Ellison, the high-tech billionaire. There are about 3000 residents. Again, the ship couldn’t anchor as Lanai law does not allow the coral to be disturbed in
LAVA ROCK GARDEN
Lava dominates the landscape on the Big Island.
any way. Hunting and horseback riding are the main activities on the island. Deer hunting is done mostly by bow and arrow which helps keep the wildlife population in check. Lanai used to be covered in pineapples until about 30 years ago. Dole was a big name on this island. Now Lanai caters to tourists at two deluxe hotels. There is one hospital and one school and no traffic lights. The town of Lanai is very small—just one short main street. Many residents take the ferry over to Maui which is 9 miles away to do their main shopping or for work. This quiet, peaceful island is very far removed from Honolulu in many ways.
Since the shuttle vans were packed we walked to Hulopoe Beach which is considered one of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the world. It lived up to its reputation and the water was delightful. It is a favorite of locals and tourists alike.
On our hike back to the ship a couple came by in a golf cart. There were no golf clubs to be seen but instead several surf boards were strapped to the roof of the cart. I guess
A Hawaiian treat.
you would call it a surf buggy. Richard and Kimmy offered us a ride up to the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel. On the way we started chatting and found that we have several mutual friends in California. It was one of those fun travel encounters. They have a home on the 18th hole of the golf course and are living their island dream...surfing and golfing in Paradise.
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