Friday, November 6, 2015

Hawaii with Kids: Sightseeing on the Big Island

I know that this is seeming like the vacation that will never end, but since my personal blog is not just my daily journal but also my travel journal, this is the place where I put my memories!

Along with all of the really purposeful things that we did in Hawaii, we also, of course, did a lot of sightseeing of the "this looks interesting--let's go look at it!" nature.

When on the Big Island, you HAVE to go to Ka Lae. It's the southernmost point of the United States (but NOT the southernmost point of the US territories--that distinction belongs to American Samoa), and it's also theorized that this is the original landfall of the Polynesian settlers.

Hard to believe, as there's a fifty-foot cliff here:
Fifty feet straight down! Matt is about fifty feet behind us, having a heart attack. His mother is possibly shouting.
Will had read in the guidebook that people jump off of this cliff and then climb a ladder back up, and she claimed that she wanted to do this, as well. I kept my game face on and told her that we'd check out the quality of the ladder, the height of the surf, etc., when we got there, while inside my head I was pretty much resigning myself to the fact that we were probably all going to die at this cliff.

Fortunately, when we got to Ka Lae, there was a big sign stating that diving off of the cliff isn't allowed.


In addition, the ladder was a rickety, rusty old thing, and I spent quite a lot of time explaining to Will what would happen if it broke while one of the divers was climbing up and they fell back into the water, with no way to get back up the cliff, left simply to tread water until rescuers could arrive. I even had a plan for this; we had an inner tube in the car, so I figured I'd toss it to the diver so that he'd have something to rest on.

Because yes, there were nevertheless divers! While not as good as risking one's own life, I'm sure, it was quite the vicarious thrill to watch a couple of guys dive off the cliff a few times. It reminded me of a conversation that Syd had with a Park Ranger at Pu'uhonua O Honaunau. They were discussing the park's rules, including the one that forbids climbing on any of the walls.

The park ranger said, "Can you believe that we catch some people climbing on the walls anyway?"

Syd gasped with horror. The park ranger continued, "But they're never Junior Rangers that we catch. They are ALWAYS grown men."

Will theorized that it was because of testosterone poisoning, and we all laughed. And so, not suffering from testosterone poisoning ourselves, we left the illegal, dangerous stunts to the grown men and simply enjoyed the view:
You're looking due south to Antarctica.
 Driving back to our condo after some adventure or another, my mother-in-law spotted a coffee farm whose sign said that it hosted tours. This was only on my "maybe" list, so I was stoked!

When on a coffee farm, you MUST taste the coffee--

--even if you're very, very, VERY silly and you therefore don't like it:

It's even better, though, if you do:

Greenwell Farms gave us a wonderful tour of their coffee farm--
Coffee beans!
Coffee trees!
Coffee drying!
Random photo of a banana tree!
--but for the kids, the highlight of the tour took place before it even began, when an employee took them around the side of the building and showed them a pair of the resident chameleons:

On another day, we drove north past Waimea--

 --then down the Saddle Road to Mauna Kea. I'd been heartbroken early in our vacation to have my tour to the observatory canceled because of poor weather at the summit. I bet they canceled their tour on this day, as well!

It was very nice, then, that the rest of the family braved the windy mountain road just to let me have a little visit:

I was interested to see that the Thirty-Meter Telescope protesters WERE still in residence, although while we were there, they were simply enjoying a lovely potluck together.

Okay, NOW I've shown you every single thing that we've done on the Big Island.


Don't be! Next I'll show you all the stuff that we did in Oahu!


Tina said...

Love the random photo of the banana tree :0)

Wow your brave! A 50 foot drop to the ocean sounds very scary.

And that coffee farm sounds cool. I'm learning to love coffee, so I think a coffee tasting tour would be so awesome. Which one was your favorite and can you buy it anywhere near you?

julie said...

Well, to be fair, *I* wasn't going to dive, as I'm not a confident swimmer. The plan was that Matt would dive first, and if he gave approval, Will would dive down after him and he could help her climb up. The tour guide, however, was describing a rope ladder, and so my secret plan was already to jump down after them with the inner tubes after the rope ladder inevitably broke. I wouldn't have trusted just throwing the inner tubes down, lest they hit the cliff wall and pop, but if I'd had to dive off a 50-foot cliff, I think the horror of the situation itself would have killed me.

Thank goodness for that "No Diving" sign!

I like the dark coffees, but the Greenwell guide was saying that if you're not a coffee fan, the macadamia nut one is the way to go. I also started drinking coffee by pouring in loads of soy creamer, and I think it took years for me to get out of that habit and begin to prefer it black. But fair warning: Kona coffee is VERY expensive, and I didn't buy any there. That's why in the photo you can see me absolutely guzzling down those free samples!

Tina said...

Ha! Gotta enjoy the expensive free coffee while you can!

That was my one caveat when I switched from soda to coffee- I had to like it black. No point giving up one sugary-calorie dense drink for another. I've been drinking Boyd's Red Wagon coffee for about a year now (as cold brewed, 'cause I can't make a good hot cup of coffee to save my life) and I love it. That being said, I am always interested in trying other coffees. I even chatted with a guy from Europe on a flight earlier this year who's wife was a coffee connoisseur. At that time she was researching different coffees from different areas of the world and the best way to brew them. Not only was listening to his accent cool, but I enjoyed learning more about coffee.