My friend Jeff is here this week and being a long time friend, I shared this blog with him so he could get a lay of the land before he got here. He enjoyed the blog, but he had a few things happen during his stay that I think would be good to share with my readers and others considering coming to Kona.
I am saying “Yellow Flags” because I don’t want to use the word AVOID due to people thinking I am trying to dissuade tourists altogether from doing any of these things, however forewarned is for armed. Get it?
1. Lodging on All’i Drive: Jeff stayed right on All’i across from White Sands. The view was great, but the road noise and the boom boxes from the young people hanging at the beach were annoying. The pictures from the condo web site told a different story to what he actually experienced and he ended up leaving and staying at a hotel up the coast where it’s more quiet. We stayed at the Kona Bali Kai when we first got here and we, too, were surprised by the road noise from All’i. I just want to let you know ahead of time.
2. Snagging waves from the locals: There are very few really good surf spots in Kona. The training beach is at Kaaluhu and the experts and enthusiasts have ceded control over that area unless its just an awesome wave day. Boarders and surfers who are local do not like it when tourists snag their waves. Don’t surf off of Banyan’s (near the Kona Bali Kai) if there are a group of locals there. That’s kind of known as a local beach. Enough said. Sometimes people get a bit testy at White Sands..they will let you know if you need to be aware of this.
3. Hanging on the beach at night: Some people have romantic notions of watching the moon rise over the ocean at night on a beach while on vacation here in Hawaii. Or, like we did, start a BBQ at 5:30 and think you can just stay there drinking some wine with your friends until after sunset. There ARE some beaches you can do this like Kiholo Beach while you are camping, but for the most part, the Park Rangers close the public beaches at 6:30 or 7 pm. We tried to do a group beach BBQ at Holoholokai Beach near the Fairmont, but it closed at 6:30..and YES, they really do kick you out and lock the gate. We moved our party to 69 Beach and we were asked to leave by 7:30. And yes, he escorted us out and locked the gate. This keeps crazy things from happening on the beaches, I am sure, but wanted you to know. Also, the beaches near downtown Kona are not places you want to sit with your honey after 8, either. Just sayin’.
4. White Sand and Kua Bay waves. Here’s one from my body surfing husband: Be careful of the waves at these two popular beaches. The waves can be bigger than you think and they can crush you right into the sand. There are rocks near the wavebreak at White Sands that are buried deep and make for a terrible surprise when you find yourself going face first into them. A man who was body surfing at White Sands a few weeks ago, hit his head here and almost drowned. Another hint: Don’t go in without fins on big wave days. The lifeguards are pretty tough on ANYONE trying to get in without fins, but the lifeguards are not always there. If you are not too sure how to deal with the waves, watch others for awhile. Most of us RUN towards the waves and duck into them before they crash. Standing there, facing the wave, right when the wave breaks on you is a recipe for disaster. DUCK! On a calm day, both White Sands and Kua are such beautiful and idyllic beaches..but I have now seen three ambulances come and get unlucky tourists off the beach.
5. Lava, Lava Everywhere: They having a saying here, “Lava bites”. This is what you get when you are not paying attention and slip and fall on the lava. It digs in and tears up your skin. Since we have so much fresh lava here, it’s used in landscaping, as paving and wall material, and it’s on every path in every park and going down to almost every beach. We had a 10 year old friend running behind our truck coming back from Makalewena recently and we told her to be careful..she slipped on the dust covering the rocks, tripped and landed on the lava. Her leg was a mess. So when I saw my friend, Jeff, bounding over the exact same area last Sunday, I kept yelling to be careful and wincing about either him tripping and cutting himself or the next thing that gets you here, is Kaewi tree thorns, that are so sharp and long they puncture your thongs and shoes. Lava bites are also found on the back bumpers of many vehicles here, as the lava walls are built EXACTLY to the height you can not see them when you are backing up and they literally tear a hole in your bumper. Advice: Wear good shoes, never run over lava, and watch your shorts when you sit on it, too. I spent a small fortune on Tommy Bahama linen shorts a few weeks ago, sat down on a lava wall and tore my pants. Goes right with my torn bumper. Damn that lava!