Weight=181.6 pounds, Steps=14,668
The Big Island of Hawaii is the only island that has two landing ports on the cruise schedule for the Pride of America cruise ship, a popular cruise line that covers the Hawaiian island chain. They arrive at both Hilo on the eastern side of the Big Island and later at Kailua-Kona on the western shore. The arrival at Hilo is 8:00am on Tuesday of the cruise schedule and they depart that day at 6:00pm. The following day, Wednesday, they arrive at Kailua-Kona at 7:00am and depart that evening at 5:30pm. In Hilo, there is a dock which can accommodate up to two cruise ships. Kona requires ferrying the passengers to shore and back.
Other major cruise lines which dock here are Norwegian, Holland America, Princess, Carnival, as well as other cruise lines. About three or four cruise ships dock in Hilo each week.
The Hoppa-On Hoppa-Off tour company operates a sightseeing bus which allows a flexible tour of Hilo's sightseeing spots. Enjoy black sand beaches, Rainbow Falls, parks, great shopping, museums that focus on Hawaiian history and restaurants. A $20.00 day pass gives visitors unlimited boarding and re-boarding privileges.
The Hilo Farmers Market offers free shuttle rides to the market and downtown area.
In the past, many cruise ship passengers opted to go to Hilo Hatties at the Prince Kuhio Shopping Mall. While the merchants love this choice, and you can find things to buy you won't see on the mainland, it is still just a big shopping mall and not at all quaint like the actual town of Hilo, which has survived (mostly) two tsunamis. Alas, Hilo Hatties is went out of business in 2015 in bankruptcy proceedings.
For those in the mood for walking, it is a bout a two-hour stroll, mostly along he waterfront, from the cruise ship dock. It takes about 45 minutes each way.
Weight=183.4 pounds, Steps=5,866
A Bit of History:
Hilo, which rests on the crescent-shaped Hilo Bay, possesses a rich cultural history. It's in Hilo that King Kamehameha is said to have fulfilled a prophecy of uniting the Hawaiian islands by lifting the ancient Naha stone, which now sits in front of the library. Cultural history is still being written. Hilo is the one place in the world to get a college degree in hula. Public school students have also started to take classes in the Hawaiian language
Around 1100 AD, the first Hilo (meaning "to twist") settlers arrived in voyaging canoes, bringing with them Polynesian knowledge and traditions. Although archaeological evidence is skimpy, oral history has many references to people living in Hilo, along the Wailuku and Wailoa Rivers during the time of ancient Hawaii.
Englishman William Ellis and a small band of missionaries were the first Europeans to arrive in the Hawaiian Islands in the early 1800s. Other missionaries came to the district in the early-to-middle 19th century, eventually founding Haili Church, in the area of modern Hilo. After several devastations by storms, the present structure was started in 1854 near the Lyman house. The name of this church comes from the forest where the ohiʻa wood was gathered for its construction. Pews made of Koa wood were installed in 1900. The original 1859 bell was cracked in 1979 fire, and is now on display in the church.
Today, the Haili Church is still used by the Hawaii Conference of the United Church of Christ. Some families have had members in the choir for four or five generations. The choir was honored in 2001 by the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame. The church is located at 211 Haili Street.
Hilo expanded as sugarcane plantations in the surrounding area created new jobs and drew in many workers from Asia, making the town a trading center.
A breakwater across Hilo Bay was begun in the first decade of the 20th century and completed in 1929. On April 1, 1946, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake near the Aleutian Islands created a 45-foot high tsunami that hit Hilo 4.9 hours later, killing 160 people. In response an early warning system, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, was established in 1949 to track these killer waves and provide warning. This tsunami also caused the end of the Hawaii Consolidated Railway, and instead the Hawaii Belt Road was built north of Hilo using some of the old rail bed.
On May 23, 1960, another tsunami, caused by a 9.5 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Chile the previous day, claimed 61 lives, due to the failure of Hilo residents to heed warning sirens. Low-lying bayfront areas of the city on Waiākea peninsula and along Hilo Bay, previously populated, were rededicated as parks and memorials.
Hilo expanded inland beginning in the 1960s. The downtown area found a new role in the 1980s as the city's cultural center with several galleries and museums being opened. The Palace Theatre was reopened in 1998 as an arthouse cinema.
Closure of the sugar plantations (including those in Hāmākua) during the 1990s led to a downturn in the local economy, coinciding with a general statewide slump. Hilo in recent years has seen commercial and population growth, as the neighboring District of Puma (Keaau, Pahoa) became the fastest-growing region in the state.
Nevertheless, Hilo retains its funky and subdued atmosphere. Recent efforts by politicians show efforts to redevelop and revitalize the area.
Downtown Hilo is Hawaii Island’s biggest small town featuring centuries-old wooden storefronts — many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places — housing a variety of galleries, shops, restaurants and cultural sites.
Visitors stroll down Kamehameha Avenue facing Hilo Bay and discover a variety of local shops, restaurants and attractions including the modern aloha wear at Sig Zane Designs, the neo-classical Palace Theatre built in 1925, and the bustling Hilo Farmers Market. The Pacific Tsunami Museum chronicles the cataclysmic natural disasters of 1946 and 1960 forcing Hilo to rebuild further inland using parkland as a buffer. The Lyman Mission House and Museum features a historic house built in 1839 by American Christian missionaries. The Mokupapapa Discovery Center shows depictions the culture, history, natural science and virtually untouched environment of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.
Blink and you may think you’re in Japan as you stroll through peaceful Liliuokalani Gardens, named after Hawaii's last reigning monarch, Queen Liliuokalani. Located on Hilo's Banyan Drive, this authentic, 30-acre Japanese garden was dedicated in 1917 as a tribute to Hawaii's first Japanese immigrants who worked in the Hawaii Island sugar cane fields.
This beautifully landscaped park features arching red bridges over fishponds, rock gardens, pagodas, Japanese stone lanterns and a teahouse. Views of Hilo Bay and Moku Ola (Coconut Island) enhance this peaceful setting. It is located just across the street from Hilo's "hotel row." It is about a 1.5 mile walk along the waterfront from the downtown area.
Weight=183.2 pounds, Steps=3,868
We made the 1.5-hour trek to Kona for snorkeling in the morning and Costco afterwards.
Kahalu'u Beach Park
Kahalu'u Beach Park is located south of the main Kona town, near Keauhou, and it is a popular spot for visitors (more than 400,000 per year). There is a rock reef on the outside of the cove that usually protects it from rough ocean conditions, and the shallow waters are filled with lots of fish for snorkelers to view. Sea turtles (Honu in Hawaiian) swim through the cove eating seaweed and he mosses off the rocks. There are over a hundred species of tropical fish which inhabit the nutrient rich bay. One of the more prevalent, Parrot fish can get a little snippy if one hands out around their spots to long.
One of the reasons for Kahalu'u's abundant fish population is that most of cove is less than neck deep. The deepest spot barely exceeds 10 feet even at high tide. The shallow water allows sunlight to penetrate all the way to the bottom growing lots of healthy coral. The coral, in turn, houses and feeds all the cove’s marine life. The bottom of the cove is made up of a base layer of lava rock and coral with scattered patches of sand.
Organized volunteers in and out of the water help in protecting the coral and the marine life. These volunteers from ReefTeach remind visitors that coral is a living animal and will die if you step on it (which many people do!). These volunteers help preserve and improve the quality of the marine life in the bay. They have a large display board by the pavilion with volunteers educating about the coral and how to protect marine life. Volunteers also stand by the easy entry point into the water and tell newbies that "the hardest part is getting wet." Two rules: don't stand on the reef and no touching turtles ($25,000 fine if caught). Keep an eye out for sea urchins which can hide between rocks.
The bay is shallow within the reef, mostly chest high, but deeper in some areas. The visibility is very good but there could be a strong current running at various times in the year. Overall, a very safe, accessible snorkeling beach which will appeal to adults, as well as novices and kids.
A covered shelter has several large tables for picnicking, and a food/beverage truck, plus a snorkel gear rental business, are usually there during the day as well. This beach also has lifeguards on duty. The actual beach is not very large, so arriving early might be a good idea in order to find a place to park (free) and to secure a place in the sand for your gear and sunbathing.
Since Kahalu'u can be crowded in the middle of the day, the best time to arrive is earlier in the morning. In the morning, the water is calmer and the clearest. The beach is ranked in the top three for snorkeling in the Kona area -- others are Honaunau and the Captain Cook Monument. It is only five miles south of Kona but takes about 20 minutes to drive on Ali'i Drive due to the congested traffic.
Every Costco store is somewhat localized to cater to local tastes and products. The Costco in Kona is no exception. Some of the notable local products are shown in the pictures: Spam, Kona coffee, macadamia nut products, poke salad, sashimi plates, aloha shirts, and surfboards, among others.
One of the items that Hawaiians cannot do without is Spam and Costco has the standard cans, as well as, snack variations. They eat Spam with fried eggs and rice — breakfast, lunch, dinner -- basically any hour of the day on any day of the week. Spam Musubi, a sushi-style slice of Spam served with rice and seaweed, is a local favorite. Hawaii consumes more Spam than any state in the U.S. — in total about seven million cans a year.
The island’s unique love affair with Spam began in World War II, when GIs were served the salty luncheon meat because it didn’t require refrigeration and had a long shelf life. The Hormel Corporation, which manufactures Spam, provided 15 million cans to solders every week. Between 1941 and 1945, Hormel had shipped over 100 million cans overseas. Spam has spread to other Asia-Pacific nations such as Guam and Korea. As a result of the Korean War, Koreans enjoy Spam kimbap, a rice and vegetable filled seaweed roll.
Nicknamed the “Hawaiian steak,” Spam is short for "spiced ham." According to Spam's website, the canned meat contains only six ingredients: already-cooked pork (two different cuts: pork shoulder and ham), salt, water, potato starch (to keep the meat moist), sugar and sodium nitrite (a common preservative). For nutritionists, it is sometimes called "mystery meat." Why it's not good for you: A single serving of spam has about 53% of the recommended amount of sodium. It's high in cholesterol and fat, and it has limited nutrients or vitamins. Aren't new studies showing that cholesterol and fat are not as bas for you as originally thought? In any case, it is a Spam world in Hawaii--almost the national food.
Weight=185.2 pounds, Steps=14,500
Kimchi is loaded with vitamins A, B, and C, but its biggest benefit may be in its "healthy bacteria" called lactobacilli, found in fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt. This good bacteria helps with digestion plus it seems to help stop and even prevent yeast infections, according recent studies. And more good news: Some studies show fermented cabbage has compounds that may prevent the growth of cancer.
Koreans eat so much of this super-spicy condiment (40 pounds of it per person each year) that natives say "kimchi" instead of "cheese" when getting their pictures taken.
Here is my sister Gyongyi's version of an easy-to-make, homemade kimchi recipe which she has perfected over the years. Spiciness can be adjusted by the amount of Korean red pepper used.
Weight=183.2 pounds, Steps=18,300
While Gyongyi was attending a hydroponics class in the morning, I walked about downtown and played chess at the Hilo Library.
For lunch, we had brown rice sushi at the Dragon Kitchen, small 'puka' (hole-in-the-wall) restaurant along the Bayfront which shares space with four other kitchens. The rolls are very affordable (most under $5 per roll). There is a small, but good selection of rolls, nigiri and hand rolls. We tried the spicy ahi and salmon handrolls, as well ahi/avocado and fern shoots/avocado rolls. The fish was super fresh and the brown rice worked well with the fish. They also offer poke bowls.
In the afternoon, I went with Gyongyi to her monthly Hilo Orchid Society meeting where we heard a talk by one of the organizers about how to interpret orchid labels.
Orchid raising and trading is big business. Worldwide, the retail economy in orchids adds up to some $9 billion; in the United States, wholesalers ship nearly 8.5 million plants a year, while in Holland a single nursery produces 18 million. Several million people worldwide now grow orchids and this botanical craze has already eclipsed both the nineteenth-century frenzy for orchids as well as the tulip madness that gripped the Netherlands in the seventeenth century.
If you are in the orchid world, you could be a bit obsessed and bizarre. Orchid family of flowers, which are said to have an astonishing variety of around 30,000 known species and 160 thousand registered hybrids, larger than any other known plant.
Orchid is said to signify many things; love, wisdom, beauty and thoughtfulness. Notably, a pink orchid is said to convey affection, and is more commonly used for celebrations such as Valentine's Day. They send the message of exotic seduction. If someone gives you orchids on Valentine's Day, they're a little wilder than the person who goes for a dozen roses. Orchids also hold up well over time, both in bouquets and pots.
Weight=184.2 pounds, Steps=3,768
A minor catastrophe happened. Gyongyi's five-year old espresso machine's built-in grinder unit failed. It was believed to be a small stone in the beans that made its way into the burr grinder's gears. After some screeching and loud noises, it decided to quit working reliably. Grinding stones was a bit too much.
I spend the day tearing down the Delonghi automatic machine. Then I removed the grinder-motor assembly. Finally, I completely disassembled the grinder part and cleaned it out. Re-assembled and tried it out, but still working only very reluctantly. A replacement grinder-motor assembly needs to be ordered (about $120).
The tinkering and figuring out how to tear it down took most of the day, but once this task is learned, it takes about one hour to replace the grinder-motor assembly with a new one. Those Italian espresso machine makers know how to make machines compact and easy to clean. As you can see in the picture, everything is packed in tight for compactness and small footprint on the kitchen counter. I have a somewhat similar unit at home in Bellingham and will know what to do, if the grinder ever fails. As cruising sailors say, it is not if a part will fail, but when
UPDATE: The $120 grinder assembly arrived on 2/26/17 and having done the tear-down routine earlier, the installation of the new burr grinder-motor assembly took about an hour. The espresso machine is as good as new again. Many of the Delonghi models use the same grinder-motor assembly. Replacing it involves removing the side panels, the back panel, the upper front assembly with the knobs/displays (pull the steaming knob off first), and finally removing the top. The plastic bean hopper is removed by unscrewing five obvious screws and one hidden screw under a small cap of the grind adjustment knob. Use a small knife tip to pop off the cap and then remove the screw. After the bean hopper holder is removed, all that remains is to disconnect the black and red wires from the PC board (pull off the connectors). The grinder-motor than pulls out easily from the top. Replace the new unit in reverse order.
Weight=184.2 pounds, Steps=17,176
A good soup recipe for weight loss.
Chickpea & Cauliflower Tomato Stew:
About 4 servings
Hemp Seed & Kale Pesto
Serves: about 1 cup
City of Refuge
Hawaiian Paradise Park
Hawaii Volcanoes Nat. Park
Hilo Farmers Market
Hilo Orchid Society
Imiloa Astronomy Center
Kahalu'u Beach Park
Kapoho Tide Pools
Kilauea Iki Trail
Pacific Tsunami Museum
Suisan Fish Market
Uncle Robert's Night Market
Wailoa Sampan Basin
Sig Zane Designs