Our second morning we woke up to find the bright blue skies of the Big Island. We had arrived in Kona.
Denis got up early and went to secure us tender tickets so we would be one of the first groups off the ship. After breakfast in the Solarium, we proceeded to the tender deck, boarded the boat and took the quick trip into Kailua Village. Immediately at the end of the pier was the King Kamehameha Hotel where we had pre-arranged a car rental from Thrifty Car Rental. We were glad that we had pre-booked since they had no available cars aside from the reservations made in advance.
We were ready to go earlier than expected and decided to head to the snorkel gear shop first. We found Snorkel Bob’s right off the main road on Kahakai Street. It was very close to the pier. There was a wonderful woman who rented us the necessary gear and gave great advice about where to find good snorkeling and a spot to purchase authentic Kona coffee. We immediately headed up the road to Green Flash Coffee where Denis ordered Kona coffee and we had super flavourful smoothies. Great start to the day.
From there we drove down the coast to the Kona Country Club where Denis had booked a tee time. It wasn’t busy and he was playing by himself so he took his time and thoroughly enjoyed the surroundings. The grounds had lush greens, gorgeous flowers and views of the sea that were all spectacular. He had a terrific day playing golf and enjoying a lunchtime meal at the club house.
After dropping off Denis, the kids and I headed off to a recommended spot further down the coast to snorkel at a place the locals call Two Step. The coast line along this area is made up of large black volcanic rock. While this makes for wonderful snorkeling – it can prove challenging to enter the water. You don’t walk in like you would on a beach but instead, you pick your way along the rocks, look for an area that has shelf like steps where you can sit and then jump from them to get into the water. Once in the water, it was an incredible sight. The water was so clear you could see all the sea life underneath as if you were looking in an aquarium. Tropical fish, colourful coral and so much plant life it was stunning. We circled around for 1 ½ hours enjoying the warm water and pointing out all the incredible fish to each other. This was a fantastic experience.
While heading back to our towels and bags, we noticed up on the rocks were crevices where water collects and in one of them there was a sea turtle swimming. He was drawing quite a crowd so we sat and watched him for some time.
Afterwards I rested on the rocks and watched the numerous butterflies flying all over the area. Laura spent more time with the turtle and Ian recorded a little tune on the uke. See his performance by clicking here.
Eventually we decided to start the trek back. Along the way we stopped to take pictures of the lush surroundings including gorgeous road side fruit stands and properties that were abundant with flowers. We also went to a few other beaches to see if we could find more turtles but unfortunately didn’t have any success.
We came back into the charming little town of Kona that looks like a California hippie town from the 1960s. The shops and restaurants that line the main street are really cute and we loved the laid back feeling of each person we met. We stopped at the restaurant Lava Java and enjoyed a meal where we had a wonderful view of the sea. Everything was simple and fresh – Ian and I had avocado and chicken sandwiches and Laura had a hamburger. It filled us after a busy morning at the beach.
We continued our drive along the coast and realized we were back at the hotel. I decided to leave the kids here so they could enjoy the air conditioning and wi-fi in the hotel lobby. I then made my way back down the coast to go and pick up Denis. After exchanging stories of our great experiences, we made a stop at a local market to purchase Kona coffee beans to take home.
With our shopping complete, it was time to head back to the ship. We picked up the kids at the hotel, dropped off the car and made our way back down the pier to the tender. We boarded at 4:00pm on one of the last scheduled boats for the day and by this time there was a light drizzle starting. This we would find is the norm is Hawaii.
Upon our arrival at the ship, we showered, had some wine and then headed off to dinner. Again we loved our meal of lamb, stuffed pasta and a white fish.
We didn’t go to see the show this evening but instead opted for the Karaoke night at the Quill & Compass Pub. Always fun to watch amateur singers and of course we enjoyed Ian when he was at the mike.
We also went to the evening Abba Tribute in an effort to stay up until 11:30pm. That was when the captain navigated the ship around the southern part of the Big Island for us to see the molten lava spewing into the sea. The captain brought the ship quite close and since it was so dark, we could see the steady stream coming from a break in the side of the volcano. This was quite a treat to see from the water and definitely made the late night worth it.
Happy In Hawaii onboard the Radiance of the Seas - Day 1 - click here
Happy In Hawaii onboard the Radiance of the Seas - Day 3 - click here
Happy In Hawaii onboard the Radiance of the Seas - Day 4 - click here
Happy In Hawaii onboard the Radiance of the Seas - Day 5 - click here
Happy In Hawaii onboard the Radiance of the Seas - Day 6 - click here
Happy In Hawaii onboard the Radiance of the Seas - Day 7 - click here
Happy In Hawaii onboard the Radiance of the Seas - Day 8 - click here
Happy In Hawaii onboard the Radiance of the Seas - Ship Review - click here
Sharing Our Travel Dreams
Sharing our personal experiences onboard and on the road, along with tips and insight for creating memorable vacations.