Originally published: 8/3/2003; 12:02:50 AM

Akaka Falls

Checked out of Volcano House this morning. The hiking was good, the lava was awesome, and the view was nice, but if we did it again I don’t think we’d stay there. It was extremely noisy. We could hear our neighbors’ conversations easily and the upstairs guests sounded like they might come through the floor any minute. I’d look into a B&B in Volcano Village. Also, we felt like we stayed about half- to a full-day too long. If hiking was all we wanted to do it would have been good but halfway through yesterday we were ready to move on.

Today we headed north along the east (windward) side of the island. Our first stop was Akaka Falls. We followed a paved path to Kahuna Falls and the Akaka Falls. Akaka is a real pretty waterfall that is 442 feet tall. It’s probably the prettiest waterfall we were able to get close to on the trip. Lots of orchids and ginger on the path.

Next, we went to Waipio Valley. In the day, 40,000 Hawaiians lived there. Now, there’s about 50. You can’t get down into the valley without a serious 4×4 but the view is worth the sidetrip.

We had a delicious lunch in Waimea at Maha’s Cafe. I had an ono (type of fish) sandwich. It had an olive relish on it similar to what you’d find on a Muffaletta. Christy had a tuna sandwich. Both were great. The cafe is in an old house that’s pretty neat.

Next, we drove to North Kohala to see the King Kamehameha statue and then the Pololu Valley lookout. The overlook was stunning. We didn’t do the black sand beach. We were kind of hiked out.

We cruised on down the Kohala Coast to the Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site. We got there at 4:00, just as the gate was closing. We walked to the base of the polynesian template but it was so hot we decided to head back to the car.

I called the dive shop to check on my reservation. They didn’t have it! At this point it sounds like my Manta Ray dive is still on but my dive in the morning probably won’t happen.

Our hotel in Kona, the Kona Tiki, is really cool. It’s a 15-room hotel built in the 50’s(?) that is operated by Jim and Shirley like a B&B. [As it turns out, Jim and Shirley split the responsibility with three other couples. They each do four-month tours-of-duty.] When we checked in, Jim took a break from grilling his chicken by the pool to get us checked in.

Kona Tiki Hotel, Kona

The hotel sits right on the water. The ocean waves break against the hotel’s sea wall, occasionally sending sea spray into the oceanside pool.

The room’s so close to the ocean (I could spit in it from the lanai if the trades weren’t blowing) that the crashing surf is about all we can hear. That’s a welcome change from the last three nights!

Dinner was at Quinn’s, a local spot. I had the ahi fish and chips (daily seafood streak continues!) and Christy had the shrimp. For dessert we had Macadamia Nut Pie which was the tastiest and most unique dessert of the trip so far.

On to Hawaii Day 9 — Kona