Hello Friends and Family,

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The Big Island: South Kohala, Part 2

Just to the south side of Pu`ukohola Heiau is Samuel M. Spencer Beach Park. Swimming is not allowed in the ocean where the heiau stands and signs along the shore direct you to this delightful little park. Unfortunately, this day was somewhat overcast — so the photos do not look like what the Visitor's Bureau wants prospective tourists to see. The Kona Coast of the Big Island is known for sunny days and minimal rainfall — averaging some seven inches a year. That's comparable to Phoenix! Ironically, on this visit and my previous visit to the Big Island, the weather has been predominantly overcast with evening rain. I guess I will have to keep coming back until Mother Nature gets it right.

You may have noticed this weathered fallen log — here is a close-up shot. I was intrigued by the log and it brought many questions to mind. What type of tree was it? Where did it grow? How did it get here? How is it that no one has cut it into smaller pieces for furniture or artwork? When is the big bonfire?

Even these less-well-known beaches are attractive. Spencer Beach has white (tan?) sand and small waves plus excellent facilities — and no crowds!

Overlooking the beach is an old abandoned plantation-style house. I am fascinated by such old structures and began to think about how one could restore it — a little money and a little work? Reset — a lot of money and a lot of hard work!

I happened to meet a fellow here just finishing his bike ride. He was in training for the Ironman Triathlon some two weeks hence. His accent forced me to ask where he was from — Australia. Long way to come for such a grueling event.

Driving further down the coast, I then visited the Mauna Kea Resort. First, I had to stop at the gated entrance and request a beach access pass. It certainly does not make one feel all that welcome — a feeling which is exacerbated when you approach the beach and find that you have to park in designated spots which are only for beach goers.

But at least the beach is nice and not very crowded. And the facilities, showers and bathrooms are also nice.

Looking to the north, one sees where the well-to-do sleep. Actually, I stayed here many years ago (at least one renovation ago) and thought it was quite nice.

During that first visit, I had not yet taken up golf but could admire the beauty of the course. I did manage to play Mauna Kea some years later and found it to be a wonderful golf course.

By this time, after touring much of the Kohala Coast, I was thirsty and hungry so I stopped in at the club house restaurant for lunch. It was a very nice lunch — two fish tacos and a Coke. Unfortunately the bill was not so nice — some $40 or so — for lunch! And they charged me for two Cokes — yes, I was thirsty but the glasses were rather small. It was only then that I noticed that the Mauna Kea is now a Prince hotel — and that is a Japanese firm — and typically in Japan, one pays for each service of Coke (or other beverage). Duly noted — lesson learned.

Moving on down the road I found the Hapuna Beach Resort — the sister resort of the Mauna Kea (also a Prince hotel). The public beach (yes, again a public and hotel beach) is entered along a path next to the 3 Frogs snack bar. I guess I should have eaten lunch here instead of the Mauna Kea golf club house.

The public beach at Hapuna is also quite nice. I would have enjoyed taking a dip at this point in the day.

Or maybe not — these warning signs are pretty discouraging. On second thought, I'll bet the lawyers got involved and put a damper on everyone's fun — just to make sure the resort did not get sued if someone did something stupid.

Which reminds me of a joke that an HP sales rep told me once. It seems a lawyer fell off a boat and attempted to swim to shore when hundreds of sharks showed up. Instead of devouring the attorney, they formed a protective corridor allowing the counselor to swim to shore safely. It is called "professional courtesy".

The expensive end of the beach was even nicer — and it even had better weather.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com