A very slow start today. B and K were up with the lark, well earlyish, anyway, but after a very late return last night there was no sign of life from the boys.
Bill surfed the Banyans break and Kathy snorkelled the reefs around the Banyan headland. We returned to the apartment just before ten and find Chris awake but feeling weary with painful blistered feet and Mike and Sharky waking with distant memories of evening in Humpys, an Ironman after-party with free beer, and many encounters before a long walk home in the small hours. It sounded as if a good time was had by all and it was probably all worth the slow start today!
Brunch consisted of porridge with maple syrup, scrambled egg on toast and fresh fruit salad followed by coffee and blueberry muffins on the balcony. A turtle appeared just a few metres away under our window.
Then, with picnics made and all beach equipment stowed we headed off to explore the South Kohala coast.
First stop, the golden sands of Hapuna. A huge beach with blue seas and light surf, backed with lush greenery . Everyone except Mike set off to snorkel, although this was disappointing close to the beach as the combination of surf and white sand made the water cloudy. After a while Bill turned back, and he and Mike put the world to rights lying on their towels, reading in the shade of a tree.
K, S and C set off on a bit of an adventure that turned out to be more adventurous than expected. We had read in our guide book that there was good snorkelling to be had near the rocks at the Southern end of the beach when the surf was not too rough. We also read that it was possible to snorkel out along the reef to the end of the headland, and then swim on round the rocks to see a sea arch and then an otherwise inaccessible black pebble beach.
The snorkelling was good although the reefs were deeper than in other places and the water less clear due to the surf. We found the black beach and then Chris and Sharky decided to adventure on to the next bay. In so doing they created some anger amongst local fishermen and so about-turned and caught up with Kathy at the sea arch. I had been watching surf surge and roar in and out of the arch with a great deal of awe and trepidation. When the boys appeared the waters smoothed and gentle waves lapped in and around the inviting looking sea arch. We decided to explore and were just perching ourselves on a convenient underwater rock for a few artistic selfies when the surf returned, sweeping Kathy up into the arch (actually a cave) and my mask and snorkel in the opposite direction. In the ensuing hubbub, I managed to scramble up into the beach at the back of the cave, whilst Chris and Sharky watched helplessly as the snorkel gear surged back and forth in the surf before disappearing. Eventually I scrambled back out of the cave and swam back out to sea. The boys searched for the snorkel gear for a while without any success and so we swam back to the beach.
Picnic lunch on the sand followed, by which time it was 5.15 and time to seriously consider the sunset! Anaehoomalu Bay was the place to go according to the Big Island book. Otherwise known as A-bay, it is a long black sand beach facing west. Perfect. It is also home to the Lava Lava Beach Club. Better than perfect.
We arrived at 5.30 to be seated at the last available table on the beach, under the palm trees and overlooking the ocean and the sunset. Our friendly and generally excellent waiters brought more iced water than you can imagine, followed by Mai Tais and a round of Big Waves. The menu looks great and we order a variety of starters including Wasabi Fritto Misto, Sizzling Shrimp, Parmesan Lava Tots.
Meanwhile the acoustic guitarist and aloha dancer played very mellow Santana-like music as the sun slowly set behind the clouds on the horizon.
To quote Chris 'I wish this would never end'.
Eventually we had room for main course, followed by iced coffee and we enjoyed the loveliest last evening in Kona. Conversation ranged from the details of toilet roll manufacturing to plans for Ironman Barcelona.
We returned home to spend our last evening overlooking the surf from our balcony but failed to stay awake for more than 20 minutes!