Day Two: Woke up at 6:00 a.m., went out onto the balcony, and watched the full moon sink into the Pacific horizon. I tried to take a decent pix of the moonset but my digicam wasn't quite up to the task. We were Dadless this morning because his conference had begun for the week so we were left to our own devices until he was free after noon. We got our daily shot of macadamia nuts at breakfast (seriously, they put it in everything from pancakes to granola to omelets to coffee) and made a beeline for the beach. Not surprisingly, the beach was pretty empty that early in the morning. The white sand was incredibly soft and I took much joy in curling my bare toes into it. Merrily, we strolled along, keeping a close eye out for rocks and shells that washed up on shore and could either viciously scrape our tender feet or sit pretty and look nice on our desks. Or both. The beach did not extend very far before a huge wall of lava boulders separated the private beach from the public one.
A little toe-dipping session later, we decided that we'd wait for Dad before leaping into the waves. Instead, we thought ahead to snack time and agreed to go into town for some groceries. We drove past the brownish-black a'a' with their brilliant, bleached coral graffiti for about an hour until we reached Kailua-Kona, home of the Ironman Triathalon: a 2.4-mile ocean swim, 112-mile bike race, and 26.2-mile run all within 17 hours. Alas, the event is held every October, so we could not participate. The grocery store's selections were heavily influenced by Japanese tastes and that's how we ended up with green tea ice cream flavored hard candy, fish jerky, lichee candy, sushi, and panda biscuits along with our salt and vinegar chips and dark chocolate bars. TP and I sat in the parking lot and gobbled down the sushi. It really wasn't as distasteful as it sounds because the parking lot was clean, quiet, and shaded by swaying palm trees, and overlooked the sparkling blue Kailua Bay.
Dad was free from his classes at noon, so we plied him with sushi and then all trekked down to the beach. The resort provided each of us with soft, clean beach towels and lounge chairs on the sand. We staked out a section that could accommodate all of us and was away from everyone else. Then, the leaping began. Mom watched over our gear as the rest of us, in varying displays of courage, plunged headlong into the ocean. Dad, in his short, rainbow-patterned, 1970s swim trunks, and TP, with his two-stitches, still-healing finger now unbandaged, were the most daring with their dives and body surfing and splashing around. The waves were strong enough to keep us awake but not so dangerous that they kept us on land. Because we were in a secluded area that was surrounded by jagged lava rocks, we had the whole section of the beach and water to ourselves. An hour or so later, we were all tuckered out and flopped onto our chairs to gaze upon the ocean and zone out. We read, we snacked, and we created great works of art in the sand. The towering waves and darkening skies triggered conversations ranging from the tragedy of the recent Asian tsunami to the stunning suddenness of the sun setting on the ocean in a blink of an eye.
Our evening ended with a conference-sponsored pasta dinner in the courtyard of the hotel. Booo-ring. Zzzzzzzzz.
Next up: Akaka waterfalls, rooster prisoners, and wayward mongooses . . . er . . . mongeese . . . uh . . . moxen?