A Golden Anniversary on Hawaii's Big Island

June 4 through June 11, 2011

We arranged for all of our children and their children to join Janet and me on the Kona Coast of Hawaii.  The pictures below are a partial record of that trip and our celebration.
Arriving at the open-air Kona airport, there are a lot of reminders that you are not in Kansas anymore.
Kona Airport
Another big reminder, Janet's lei, hand delivered. Lei Time
We stayed at a condominium complex called Kolea. Kolea
We all stayed in Building 6, seen here from the beach. Building 6
We occupied two units, 6B and 6E, highlighted here.  Trouble was, going from unit to unit involved two sets of stairs or elevators.  Between the two units, we had six bedrooms, just enough. 6B and 6E highlighted
From the lanais of our condos we looked out on 'Anaeho'omalu Bay, which is going to be A Bay from here on.  It is nice and protected, but part of its beach was swept away by the tsunami that hit here on March 11, 2011. View from lanai
Speaking of lanais, Eamonn managed to get a picture of all of us on the lanai of 6B.  Actually, this was June 10.  I can tell because everyone is dressed up.  (Eamonn has just outrun the timer on his camera.) Everyone on the lanai
One of the big surprised is that the Kona Coast is a near desert.  Only ten inches of rain a year, and there are a lot of lava fields.  Real desolation.  However, the resorts are all irrigated, and really green. Lava field
Where the lava fields meet the ocean, the beach looks more like something on the California coast.  This is part of A Bay. Lava Beach
Sea turtles like A Bay.  Swimmers have to avoid them, and they even take naps on the beach, in multiples. Sea turtle
We went to the North part of the Big Island, and this is a view of Pololu Beach, at the head of Pololu Valley.  Too rough for swimming.  Pretty rough to get to, as well.  The younger generation made it clear down, but not me.

I didn't get a picture of World's Surliest Waitress on the way up here.
Pololu Beach
King Kamehameha the Great united Hawaii in 1795, and this is the original 1878 statue.  It is actually a bit smaller than I had expected.  Why should it have been bigger?  Maybe because of "the Great" applied to his name. King Kamehameha
About 50 feet from King Kamehameha, Cy and Tyler found a first class rock.  Good for climbing, good for lounging. Cy and Tyler
Heading south, our first stop was at the Painted Church.  St. Benedict's Catholic Church goes back to 1842, but it was moved from its original shore location to the Kona coffee elevation in 1899.  Around that time, the priest set out to paint murals and other decorations.  This picture shows a trompe l'oeil view of a Gothic chancel behind the altar. Painted Church
Pu'uhonua o Honaunau is a "place of refuge" going back to the 16th century.  Even trivial infractions could result in execution, but if a a miscreant could get here, he and his family could be spared.   Doug and his family found some great snorkeling about 100 yards to the right of this point.Place of Refuge
At the extreme south end of the Big Island, we find the southernmost point in the United States.  We also find some awesome cliffs.South Point
On the top of Kilauea we found a surprise.  This is a rain forest!  They get about 180 inches of rain per year.  No sign of the sun while were there.Rain Forest on Kilauea
Less surprising was the Thurston Lava Tube.  This is the part that had no lights.  I pointed the camera at the voices and let the flash do the rest.  Overall, between the lighted and dark parts, this tube must be about a third of a mile long.  The dark part is REALLY dark.Thurston Lava Tube
There were no active vents when we visited Kilauea.  Within its principal caldera, there is Halema'uma'u Crater.  Somewhere down that hole there is a pool of molten lava, but it just sits there and smokes.Vent in Kilouea's Caldera
Maybe the night shot of Halema'uma'u Crater would be more convincing.  Not only is this in the dark, it is raining.  (Not too many pauses allowed if you are going for 180 inches per year.)Kilouea Caldera at Night
Still within Volcano National Park, the Chain of Craters road reaches the sea near this, the Holei Sea Arch.Holei Sea Arch
Will and Janet are trying the furniture near the Sea Arch.Will and Janet
Heading east from Kilauea and north from Hilo, we went to 'Akaka Falls.  The walk into the falls goes through more rain forest.  This is more like a jungle than Kilauea. Rain Forest near 'Akaka Falls
And here is 'Akaka Falls.  A drop of 420 feet.  As we walked back, we got more rain.  However, while the rain on Kilauea was misty, tiny drops, this rain was huge, juicy globs of water.  Completely different character.   'Akaka Falls
June 10,  Friday night, was celebration time.  Fifty years married.

(Credit goes to Eamonn for this and several of the succeeding pictures.)
Happy Couple
The kids hosted a great dinner at the Four Seasons' Pahu I'a restaurant.  Close to the surf, as you can see.  Actually, the restaurant was inundated by the tsunami, and it was closed for about 6 weeks.  (I just discovered that Pahu I'a means "Aquarium.") Dinner Party
Here we are with our children. Children
Here we are with our grand children. Grand Children
And here is the whole party, on the beach at Pahu I'a.Whole Party
At the end, we had a huge cake.  Doug and I both estimated the size of the pieces and multiplied by 11, and we didn't come up with 360.  Somebody else must have gotten fat, too.Big Cake
It is mandatory that you wrap things up with a sunset.   This is a sunset over A'Bay.  Palms and lava, sun and sea.  It was a good week!Sunset
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