After our early night we all woke early at first light, to the sound of surf and the dawn light illuminating the surf with a pink glow. Mike and Chris set off on a training run heading south on Ali'i Drive and Bill and I headed north. Sharky decided to swim across the bay and do some snorkelling.
Despite the early hour we were in good company. Swarms of runners and cyclists were already up and about - a mixture of local joggers, ironman athletes and holiday makers like us, all struggling in the hot and humid air.
By 7.30 we were at the north end of town in time to watch the Ironman 10k event get started. An impressive mix of elite athletes, kids, pensioners and Mums pushing baby buggies. All smiling and having a great time. Onwards to the harbour and to watch other Ironman competitors training for their open water swim. A long line of buoys stretched away from the harbour steps into the distance and a steady line of hatted and goggled swimmers ploughed along it.
We ran home for breakfast and arrived very sweaty indeed, necessitating a cool off in the pool.
A sumptuous breakfast of scrambled eggs on toast, and a pineapple and melon fruit salad followed.
After consulting maps and guides we decided to get away from the town and its people and head north to a remote beach, Makalawena, accessible only by a rutted track described as a 'very nasty 4WD road'. Undaunted by this information and as experienced drivers of 4WD vehicles, the plan was approved. Chris set off north on his bike for a 125 km training ride and we agreed to meet at the beach later, on his way home (a complex arrangement of leaving keys hidden so that he could collect beach stuff and store bike in the car later).
Although we set off at the same time, Chris arrived at the turning to beach at the same time as us.... Just as well, as apart from a few tyre tracks the 'road' was pretty indistinguishable from the surrounding lava field!
A few metres along the 'road' discovered why so many islanders drive round the island in ridiculous looking jeeps with huge wheels and pumped up suspension....it would be the only way to negotiate that road and we were certainly not going to try in our shiny new hire car!
After parking we set off on foot down the rocky and Boulder strewn lava trail it became abundantly clear that we had made an excellent decision! The '15-20' minute walk was challenging but scenic and we eventually arrived at the coast and trekked south to find the beach, passing a handful of parked trucks and jeeps with surfboards on their roofs and many cool local Hawaiians nearby.
The beach was something else... Remember the Bounty adverts? White sand, blue sea, white surf, palm trees and a few bleached tree stumps along the way? That's the one! It didn't take us long to drop our picnic bag and towels in the shade of a tree and run into the surf!
Then followed a pretty blissful day of swimming, boogie boarding and beer drinking on the beach. Mike and Sharky dropped off some pretty high waves and Sharky was always easily identified by the go-pro stick popping out of the water just before his head!
The afternoon was briefly marred by the arrival of a large party of very happy beach party goers who arrived complete with ghetto blaster and tent and made their camp about 3 feet away from us. This was curious behaviour and mildly irritating, but easily solved by us moving up wind along the otherwise deserted beach for a few yards, the other side of a sand dune and closer to the sea! Out of sight and out of mind and some serious waves to thrash about in!!
Then over the sand appeared a very sweaty Chris, covered in thunder flies. 100km completed, he was more than ready for a couple of Mike's special 'cheese and ham with every thing' bagels, and a long drink followed by a long swim and some more spectacular surfing. The dilemmas arise over flippers... Useful to power you out, yes, but how on earth to keep them when being 'washing machines' under a load of surf!!!
As the sun started to fall lower in the sky we thought we would wander home to watch the sunset from our balcony, but as is usually the case in the tropics, late afternoon, sunset, dusk and darkness all followed rapidly over the ensuing 30 minutes! By this time we were safely back at the car (where Chris had stored his bike) and watching the last rays of light disappear. Chris headed off south on his bike, worryingly invisible but for the small LED torch that happened to be in my rucksack! As might have been expected, he arrived home only a short while after us and we spent a happy hour enjoying cold island brewed beers (big wave considered the best so far) and salted macadamia nuts on the balcony and getting showered.
An excellent fish dinner followed at the Fish Hopper restaurant, with great views overlooking Kahlua-Kona pier and the bay. Some of the hotels have lights illuminating the ocean in front of them, so at night the surf still glows white in the darkness. Beautiful.
By this time jet lag was making its presence felt and we all turned in after brief but tired conversations regarding plans for the rest of our trip.