A day in Kona, Big Island, Hawai'i

We are now aboard the Noordam of Holland-America Lines to sail from Honolulu to Sydney, Australia

NoordamSS Noordam

We sailed overnight from Honolulu to Kona, Big Island, Hawai’i. This was the Island where the volcano erupted in February 2018 but it was 100kms away from Kona. This was a small town but with an interesting history. The main tourist attractions are on one side of the mountain and the residential area is on the other.

Kona town 2Kona from the ship

The ship could not enter the harbour so we were taken in on a Tender. Right at the pier there was a wooden sign which told of how High Priest Hewahewa had prophesied that the New God would land at this point. In 1820 Missionaries from Connecticut arrived and berthed at this point which is now known as “The Plymouth Rock of Hawai’i” and the bay is called The Sea of God. (See the photo of the sign for more information. It is an amazing story.)

Kona Beach at the harbour"The Sea of God" 

Plymouth Rock sign 3Information on the arrival of the Missionaries

On the pier we booked to go on a glass bottomed boat to look at the life on the reef. It was a great disappointment as we went for just 20mins and there was very little to see. The young lady who was our guide was well qualified but she found it difficult to make it interesting. We did take photos of the volcanic rock in the harbour.

Waterfall in harbourWater pouring over the volcanic rock in the harbour 

On an outcrop on the bay there was a replica of the home of the High Priest but to access it one had to cross through hotel property so pre-bookings had to be made with the hotel.

Replica of home of Chieftain 2Replica of the High Priest's home with hotel grounds on the right

There was a little hop on/hop off bus for tourists and, as the town is built at the base of a mountain, the town is built along 1 straight, flat road with a few roads leading off it up the hill. The bus went back and forth along this road with just 7 stops. The first stop is at the end of the road and the others are on the return trip.

Boat used by localsA local raft

The first stop was a shopping mall so we didn’t get off but waited until we did so at the next one, Kahlu’u Beach. This beach was known for turtles coming on to the shore and we saw just one but it was still partially in the water. It was a beautiful day so the beaches were crowded.

Kahaluu Beach ParkKahulu'u Beach Park

Turtles beachKahulu'u Beach where turtles come ashore

The next stop was the fresh foods market but, as it was Monday, it was closed. Besides not being able to see what they sold it was the only place in the town where free wifi would have been available. We had 5 days at sea ahead of us so it would be a while before messages could be sent and received.

At stop numbers 4 and 5 on the route, which were very close together they could have been just 1 stop, there was the vacation home of the High Priest on one side of the road, Hulihee Palace, and the original church, the oldest in Hawai’i on the other. We did not spend much time at the High Priest’s vacation home as our time in Kona was limited.

Hulihee Palace holiday homeHulihee Vacation Home

Info on Hulihee PalaceInformation on the High Priest's Vacation Home

We went into the church first and it was simple but had a very comforting feel about it. It was recently repaired and restored and is in excellent condition. Just inside the rear door of the church is a replica of the Brig Thaddeus in which the first missionaries arrived in 1820 and established this church. It was completed in 1836. It is the oldest church in Hawai'i. 

Entrance to church groundsEntrance to the church grounds

Inside the churchInside the church 

Model of the BrigReplica of the Brig Thaddeus

Sign at the churchSign at the church gate

We had to be back on board by 16:30 and there was still much to see. We were fairly close to the pier so decided to walk the last section as there were preparations taking place for the Annual Iron Man competition which would take place the following weekend. Many athletes came early to acclimatise. The street was lined with booths for pain control, suitable drinks, sun protection and all the various things which might affect athletes.

Iron man preparationPreparing for the Iron Man Competition

We returned to the ship with time to spare and relaxed watching others return on the Tenders before we left at 17:00.

About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

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