Lava Lakes, Ti Leaves, and the Juvenile Yellowtail Coris
Kona is a water place, filled with water people. Nowhere is this more evident that at the pier. It acts as the center of town. Local kids, tourists, fishermen, triathletes, wannabes, burnouts, canoeists, open water swimmers, craftsmen, surfers, and gawkers all come to this place. We're here to swim the Ironman course. There's a nice line of buoys to the 1/2 way mark, then wide open till you get to a medium-size pink ball with the Ironman logo sharpied on it. I swam with guests Alison and Paul, and we set a really smooth, comfortable pace as we swam across the bay. Jill was right behind us. She's got a confidence in the open water that's fun to be around. Unable to actually see the pink buoy, we had been sighting on a hill far behind it, on the horizon, as I had sent Ryan back to provide a line of sight for the rest of the group. We all more or less navigated pretty well, having to tack back less than a hundred yards to reach our destination. We were quickly joined by guests Leslie and Debbie, and guides Heather, Will, Carter, and Ryan (McGooks!). Our return swim was assisted by a little swell from behind us, and we all finished the 2.7 miles with a smile.
Even SwimVacation celebrates taco Tuesday. Lunch was spicy ahi tuna, shredded local chicken, fresh avocado, crispy cabbage, homemade salsa. Guests spread out into the spa, a lounge chair, the hammocks, or the couches in our open-air living space.
We decided on a splash rather than a full-blown swim in the afternoon, at our favorite local spot, Kahaluu. It's the Peter Island of our Kona trip, if you follow me. Heather challenged everyone to find a specific species of fish called the Yelowtail Coris, in both its adult and juvenile forms. No luck on the little one, but plenty of the bigger ones. And lots of Moorish Idol, one of my favorite. Many of us collected sand, rocks, shells, etc for our dining table centerpiece, which we began creating yesterday.
Next we tied Ti (pronounced like Tea) leaves to the back bumper of our van. Why? Because we planned an excursion to the active volcano named Kilauea, and we needed the leaves to protect us from the fickle, fiery tempered Pele, goddess of the volcano. It's a 2.5 hour drive to the other side of the island, through the town of Hilo. We stopped at a lava tube on the way for a break. Kind of a soggy place. When we arrived at the volcano, hundreds of people were streaming in and out. Unfortunately, the lava lake inside the crater had drained somewhat, but the fiery glow and smoke and pink-tinged clouds it created made for an ancient feeling, earth-heavy scene. We celebrated the sighting with black bean and pumpkin soup, a plate of charcuterie, and a red wine from a volcanic region of Italy. We do special.
I started my day 19 hours ago, at 5am, finishing the previous day's blog. I'm looking forward to seeing the photos that Heather pastes into these words. Aloha!