Tag Archives: Kailua Kona

I’m a Celebrity

A cruise ship anchored off Kailua Kona, Hawaii

One doesn’t have to make much effort to see whether a cruise ship is in town. It’s impossible to miss. The ship dwarfs the downtown buildings.

I’m used to seeing a cruise ship at Kailua Kona on Wednesdays, but this was a Sunday so it took me a bit by surprise. The Wednesday ships are operated by Norwegian Cruise Lines. This one was the Celebrity Eclipse operated by Celebrity Cruises. The ‘X’ on the funnel and stern is the company logo, don’t ask me ‘Y.’

Signs: Gone fishin’ and divin’ and …

Signs at Honokohau Habor, Hawaii
A sign at Honokohau Habor, Hawaii

Honokohau Harbor, on the north end of Kailua Kona, is home to a good number of small boats, many of which are used for a variety of tour activities from deep sea fishing to whale watching, to snorkeling. Signs on shore advertise what tours are available on the different boats.

In addition, smaller boats are trailered in and out each day, and launched on one of the two boat ramps at the harbor.

Signs at Honokohau Habor, Hawaii

Signs: Kona Brewing

A neon Kona Brewing sign in Hawaii
A neon Kona Brewing sign in Hawaii

Kona Brewing is a local brewery, founded in 1994. They’ve changed hands a couple of times since then, most recently being hived off to PV Brewing Partners by previous owners, Craft Brew Alliance, so that entity could be swallowed by beer giant Anheuser-Busch. PV Brewing Partners is based in Kansas City, which is probably not the first place to spring to mind when thinking of white sand beaches and surfing.

But never mind. The point is that their beer is pretty good and their Castaway IPA is generally my beer of choice when I’m out and about, which isn’t often. And, like all beer companies, they have neon signs which they distribute to stores, bars, and restaurants. These are a couple of the signs.

I prefer the top one. When I look at the red and green one, I always think the creature is an alligator, something to do with the head being the wrong shape and the lack of toes. In the top version, the gecko is more recognizable and the addition of the islands makes it a winner with me!

Cool bus

I wasn’t paying too much attention to this vehicle as I drove behind it in Kailua Kona. It had typical school bus shape, colors, and lettering, a bit rougher looking than most perhaps, but then some are. But it finally dawned on me that the lettering wasn’t in poor shape; it was deliberate. That’s when I looked closer and saw what was in the back windows.

A converted school bus, someone’s RV or mobile home, and not that cool to be honest.

Before and after

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘In Transit.’ See more responses here.

Here in Hawaii, tourism is our number one industry. In normal years, more than 30,000 visitors arrive in Hawaii every day. Currently, the number of daily arrivals is around 1,500. In this topsy-turvy world that precipitous decline is a good thing.

In the U.S., states don’t have the authority to regulate flights; that’s a federal matter. But Hawaii was able to require that people arriving in the state had to quarantine for 14 days. This effectively killed tourism. Why visit Hawaii for two weeks if you have to spend every day of that visit confined to your hotel room? This 14-day quarantine even applied to inter-island travel. Because of these restrictions, Hawaii has had a very low infection rate and very few deaths. Here on the Big Island, there have been less than 100 cases and zero deaths. Next week, the inter-island quarantine requirement will be lifted, but it will be retained until at least the end of July for visitors from out of state and abroad.

So the reason for the similar-looking photos? The top one is from a previous year and shows one of a procession of planes landing at Kona airport. The photo below shows a recent photo of a plane flying overhead, which was noteworthy because it was unusual. The planes aren’t there. The skies are quiet. Currently, the daily number of passenger flights arriving at Kona airport can be counted on one hand. The number of visitors is in the 20s or 30s. When and if those numbers return to previous levels is anybody’s guess.

Pinkhead smartweed

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘The Color Pink.’ See more responses here.

Pinkhead smartweed (Polygonum capitatum or Persicaria capitata) is a groundcover that hails from western China and the Himalayas. It’s variously known as pinkhead knotweed, pink knotweed, Japanese knotweed, pink-headed persicaria, or pink bubble persicaria. I use pinkhead smartweed for the very good reason that I like the name. It sounds like the name of someone pretentious, but slightly seedy, from the alleged upper crust of society.

In this bounty of names, a couple of elements stand out. One is ‘pink,’ the other is ‘weed.’ This is a very pink plant and, in Hawaii and elsewhere, an invasive weed. Drive eastbound over Saddle Road (officially Hawaii Route 200, the Daniel K. Inouye Highway) and, once you cross the saddle and begin your descent, this plant will become obvious very quickly. It lines the road on both sides for several miles with very little in the way of other plants competing for that space. This is because pinkhead smartweed will grow in poor ground and lava fields fit that description.

This is also a stretch of highway that, relatively recently, was converted from a narrow, winding road, that rental car companies routinely forbid their clients from driving on, to a wide, smooth thoroughfare, the only place on the island where you can legally go 60 mph, and where you can expect to receive a ticket if you go 80 mph like everybody else.

Redoing the road left verges of rock and gravel and very little else. Pinkhead smartweed was quick to move in and colonize this unpromising territory so that now the descent toward Hilo begins with pleasing pink borders.

The top photo shows the rugged kind of ground pinkhead smartweed can grow in. To the right, bees appreciate the flowers of this plant growing at an elevation over 5,000 feet. Below, the collapse of a lava tube has left a shady hole where pinkhead smartweed, an endemic amaumau fern, and an ohia tree have established a good foothold.