Day 4, Wednesday 17th June
I took some farewell photos of Lagoon Shangrila before we left. We wouldn't be sorry to leave, although it really could be a 'shangrila' if they would fix the pond access and install air-conditioning!
Having already 'done' the east coast of Big Island, we planned to drive to the Kohala Coast via an anti-clockwise (westerly!) direction. So we drove up to the turnoff for Volcano, skirted the national park, drove through a 'fault' area, where they warned of cracks in the road - and stopped at Punalu'u Black Sand beach for our lunch. It was exceedingly pleasant, sitting there by the ferocious ocean and feeding the greedy mynah birds. There were the usual zebra doves too - but they are so totally dopey that they didn't manage to grab much of the bread we threw them, before the mynah's pounced.
Then we walked along the beach and were absolutely delighted to find three green turtles resting there!
We were now in the south west corner of Big Island and the vog was becoming apparent. The Trade Winds blow the gunk from the volcano across to the south west and halfway up the western coast. In places, it was so thick, you could smell the sulphur. We stopped at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau State Park (commonly known as the 'Place of Refuge') - which was exactly that - a place to escape the cruel tyranny of the then rulers. T was going to leave the rucksack in the car - or put it in the boot - but I said we should take it with us. I ended up with it and walked off on my own (I am known to do this - I blame travel weariness, but it could just be bloody-mindedness). Anyway, there was something very tranquil about the place.
We continued on, through the gloom. It really was very depressing. The huge resort area of Kona was not spared from this misery, although, on weather forecasts, they called it 'haze' ... We were getting worried - would this actually clear by Kohala? It did! Almost miraculously! We drove down the road into Waikoloa Beach Resort under heavenly blue skies!
There was a security gate (with numbered code) at the entrance to Kolea - we felt like royalty or something! We parked up outside building 16 and took the lift to the second floor and managed to extract the key from the locked box hanging from the stair-rail. Inside condo 16B, it was beautiful! It was the best of our accommodation on this holiday, without doubt. It was HUGE! There was a hallway (where you had to sit on the bench and take off your shoes), off which was a kind of foyer (with fridge!) to a large double bedroom with an enormous en suite bathroom, with shower, huge tub and separate toilet. Opposite, there was a room containing a washer and dryer and cupboards stocked with beach towels. Into the condo proper, firstly was the kitchen area, which was immaculate with state of the art appliances. Then there was a dining area with a table and chairs which must've cost a fortune! The sitting room area had two comfortable (at least, by comparison to the hard things in Lagoon Shangrila) sofas and a very big flat screen TV. Off this room, was a large king bedded room, with its own TV and another huge en suite bathroom. The window to the lanai opened up fully, so the indoors met outdoors and created a huge space. There were comfy chairs, a grill, fridge and sink on the lanai. On the dining room table, Carol had left us a beach bag full of goodies! Coffee beans, macadamia nuts, suntan spray, notebooks and loads of brochures. We were well happy!
We decided to stroll down to the beach, past the swimming pool and hot tub. The beach is called Anaeho'omalu Beach, which everybody (thankfully) calls A-Beach. It's kind of salt 'n' pepper sand, but it's very sheltered. We sat for a while, on the Marriott's loungers, before walking past the ancient fishpoonds and through the Marriott grounds, back to our condo. I felt a bit sorry for those staying in the Marriott, because they were probably paying as much, if not more, for one small room, as we were from our huge condo! From our condo, we drove up to Queen's shops and had a look around several shops, including a very useful market (Island Gourmet Markets), selling all sorts of foodstuffs and souvenirs (a lot of it branded 'ABC'), before finishing off at the small food court, where I shared a fish dish (mahi mahi) from Paradise Grill with T and Paul had a Subway. We slept very well!