Day Six: The sunshine welcomed us warmly as we made our final trek to the breakfast buffet. The palm trees swayed in the distance, the colorful birds twittered merrily above, and the beautiful beach beckoned us to stroll upon its soft sand one last time. Then . . . Packin' Time (you can't touch this!) *break it down with crazy sideways crab dance*
After stuffing our clothes into our bags and our bags into the car, we checked out and drove to Hilton Waikoloa Village for our whale watching cruise. As we waited on the beach for the Red Sail Sport's catamaran we realized that we left the binoculars in the car. TP and I ran to retrieve the binoculars (one person per nocular) and that was the most exercise I had all week. We returned just in time to be the last to board the Noa Noa. We were given a safety speech, offered some pupu (hors d'oeuvres with a crazier name), and told to LOOK OVER THERE! A BALEEN WHALE! Once we knew what to look for (the bit of black breaking the surface of the water) and listen for (poofs of water when the blowhole blew), we saw the humpback whales popping up all over the place. Fearful of dropping my digicam into the ocean, especially after witnessing someone do just that, I had to photograph what I could from a safe distance away from the edge.
In the distance, we could see the snow-capped Mauna Kea. It was pretty exciting to see these giant beasts slide quietly by and in such close proximity to us tiny land-lubbers. Like Dory, I wished I could speak whale.
In the evening, we stood on the shores of Kona Beach for our last Hawaiian sunset before going into town.
LB and TP wanted to try a drink of kava, a member of the pepper family and a relative of our good buddy betel. They stopped by this place and watched a burly guy ladle a grimy, muddy-looking liquid out of a huge cauldron and serve it to them with a smile. Kava is like an herbal tea (still legal in the U.S. but perhaps not for too long) that has the effect of making your tongue tingle and then is supposed to leave you feeling relaxed and tranquil. That's assuming you can gag it down in the first place. That is one nasty, foul-tasting drink, yo. Here is a sample of some reviews on the taste:
"It was sort of like drinking dirty phlegm."
"It numbed my mouth well enough but I only was able to choke down three or four tablespoons before my gorge threatened serious rising action."
"Like chalk swimming in body sweat."
My take on it? Not quite make-you-want-to-pull-your-eyelashes-out bad, but I'm certainly not going to suggest anyone try it if they want to keep their taste buds happy (and who doesn't?). Grody to the max. Plus, no real effect on us. Granted, we only had a few sips each before our throats began picketing and warning us of a strike, but still.
We chased the atrocious kava drinks down with some disagreeable Thai food. We rounded up the night with some extra-special fun security treatment for Dad at the airport. Finally, we braced ourselves for the long journey home replete with a drunk and unruly passenger (who was greeted by the police when we landed in LAX), sleepless flights with awful movies, seemingly endless layovers (why must all of the seats have arm rests, WHY?! Interrogrumpy!), and bitingly cold and snowy weather upon our arrival. But just so I don't end on a completely downer note, check out this sunrise and enjoy: