27th September - Set the alarm for 8am - a bit of a lie-in today. We had booked to go on the Kona Sense-ational tour. Today it was a tender boat so we headed to the Phantom lounge to meet with the rest of the people going on the excursion. We boarded the tender boat (they used the ship lifeboats as the tender boats!) we met a lovely couple from New York - they too said this was the worst Carnival cruise they had been on, however they were surprised when we explained we had enquired about leaving the ship in Hawaii and flying back to the main land (after spending 3 - 5 days extra in a hotel in Hawaii rather than spend the 5 days at sea) We explained we were informed this was not possible due to "Jones' Law" whereby anyone leaving the ship would be charge $300 each by the US government! As this is our holiday of a lifetime we decided to stick with it and make the very most of it!
We headed to the Coffee farm - once there we were each given a cup of "Kona" coffee which is made on the farm - our tour guide then came and got us and told us he should have taken us to the chocolate factory first so we all had to board the bus again to go there and he would bring us back to the coffee farm later!
After a short journey we reached the chocolate factory and were each given a paper cup containing the three types of chocolate they made. I preferred the last type which was dark and yummy! The guide showed us the cacao fruit which contains approx 20 cacao beans. We were then taken to the cacao orchard to see where and how the fruit grow. After this we were taken to see the beans drying out on the drying racks. After sitting down, they cut the cacao open to show us the beans inside - it looked nothing like we thought it would! We were also entertained by the many little lizards that were around - one even went up to the knife they had used to cut the cacao open and was licking it! We were then taken inside the factory to see how the chocolate is made.
After the chocolate factory, we were taken back to the coffee farm. Again we tried the coffee and were shown round to see how the coffee is made and finally into the gift shop. I tried a sample of the chocolate covered coffee beans which were gorgeous!
After boarding the bus again we stopped in a village where we could get out and shop - we had a look around, however it was rather pricey!
Before going back to the ship, we were taken to a soap factory. The owner met us and showed us around the grounds - he explained he started the business 10 years ago and the site used to be a quarry, he showed us all the plants and trees he grows (all organically) and even has a large number of chicken (scary things!!) who roam free and help to keep the bugs down. He uses a lot of the produce from the plants in his hand made soap. We then went inside - the smell was very heady from all of the essential plant oils - some of the oils were passed around for us to smell and try. After being shown how he makes the soaps we went to the gift shop.
Once back to the dock we did a little shopping in the ABC stores before boarding the tender boat back to the ship.
Gaz had booked a spa treat for me at 5.45pm so I went off for a wonderful back and neck massage, ankle and foot massage, facial and head massage - what a lovely treat!