Saturday: Beach 69 and the Apple Banana


Photo May 18, 4 18 39 PM We've been working on this SwimVacation Kona trip for over a year.  Clients arrive tomorrow, so today was spent putting a shine on it; buying stuff for swag bags, renting bikes and snorkel gear, test driving some of the swims.

Guide Heather did all the scouting for this trip. I've never actually been to Hawaii. My first impressions are:

For a small dot of an island in the middle of the Pacific, it feels big to me. This massive volcano feels connected to the sea, extending it's reach. It's looming. It's extreme, with lush areas, massive lava fields, urban areas, dirt roads and major highways, and a shoreline that offers big waves and calm bays.

Kama'aina, the people that belong to this island, seem like this to me: calm, friendly, relaxed, beautiful, understanding of their place on the earth, bonded with the sea and land. They seem to have a long view of time, of their time here. I'm not sure I will ever really understand it, but I admire it greatly.  - Hopper

Heather takes over blog duties here.....

Photo-May-18-7-29-52-AM-1024x1024Starting off the day with iced Kona coffee wasn't bad. The surf is pounding the southwest exposed shoreline of the Big Island today, and there were surfers everywhere; the lineup right outside our window was busy all day.  The people of this island have a gracefulness on their boards I have never seen.  They paddle out in overhead plus waves, then glide gracefully back on their board. Over and over. No showboating or big aerials, just grace.

We see the surfers out in Lyman's bay, just beyond our door step, before dawn. They stay all day. Sharing waves, establishing some kind of order on the fly to avoid collisions. In between sets they sit on boards, congregate, talking, celebrating. The light on them is fantastic and I think it must be some kind of magical out there. We're back to our ohana at dusk and we look out to see a few surfers still out there. They'll make landfall in the dark. An unusual swell like this is not to be wasted.

_HPP5679A big swell is not common in Kona for this time of year - or really any time of year. We picked this place for swimming in part because it boasts the calmest seas in the Hawaiian Islands. Hello aberration. I'm happy for the surfers of Kona, but anxious for our guests and the opportunity to swim the sites I scouted last year. Hopper and I climb in the van, run the errands on my schedule in record time, check things off the list, and head north to the Kohala coast to look for swims out of the swell. I ran up there last year, and remember some pretty amazing beaches. We hit four of them - all potential lovely swims. We jump in at Beach 69 and pound out a swim around the point - the afternoon trade winds are blowing which is why i had originally ruled this area out, but it most likely will make an amazing morning swim. It's decided. We'll take our guests here to start the week - not an unreasonable drive for a good swim.

_HPP5698On our trek north we cross miles and miles of lava. The landscape is severe and beautiful. Black beds dotted with tufts of golden grasses yielding to reddish brown beds supporting scrubby trees of green with pink flowers.

We're both nervous and excited about picking up guests later today and starting this adventure.  We're drawing on the energy of this place. It feels powerful.

- Heather