The Big Island – Hawaii – Day 7


We had a scheduled cave tour at 11am, so we had a pretty slow morning. We walked around the bed and breakfast property to find fresh fruit and Macadamia nuts we could eat. For the past few days Caleb had been wanting to pick and eat an orange fresh off a tree. We found an orange tree and he was able to check that off his list. It is was pretty juicy so he had to eat it out the window on our way to our next destination. 🙂

We found and ate a bunch of Macadamia nuts. We were asked to only pick up the green ones on the ground since they harvest and sell the ones on the trees. There is a special nutcracker for macadamia nuts because they have the hardest shells of any nut and require 300 pounds of pressure per square inch to crack. I loved the flavor and texture of the raw nuts even better than the cooked ones. We were sad to have to check out from this fun place.

Our two hour cave tour wasn’t cheap at $90 per person, but it was really interesting to explore. It is a dry cave, unlike Kaumana caves, and the floors were very rocky due to the roof breaking off and falling to the ground. This cave continues all the way to the ocean, so you are only able to explore a small portion – the portion that is under the owners private property.

One really cool feature of the cave was a lava column in the middle of a room – it was formed by lava moving in a vortex swirl around the large room and hardening in the middle. Another feature that was really interesting was that there were multiple caves one over the top of the other. You could see into the upper cave at places where the roof had collapsed. The Hawaiians would sometimes plant trees at the mouth of a cave entrance so that you could see them from a distance or from a boat in the ocean. Native Hawaiians likely lived in the mouth of some of these caves. It would provide shelter from the weather and a cool place to get out of the sun. They would collect water in gourds where the water dripped through the rocks.

After our tour, we ate at Thai Grindz, a nearby popular food truck. We had a variety of food including a cheesesteak, a red curry, and a stir fry, some regular and cheese fries. Katrina just loved those big onion pieces 🙂 The food was decent but not spectacular.

Our next intended stop was the Painted Church, which is an old church that the pastor decided it would be easier to teach from the scriptures if he painted scripture stories on the walls of his church. As mentioned previously, the Hawaiians didn’t have a written language for some time, so they couldn’t read the scriptures and relied on the spoken word as well as pictures. Unfortunately, the hours of the church are pretty limited and it was not open when we arrived (or at all that day), but pressing my phone to the exterior window allowed me to get this picture.

Next we went to Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau or “The Place of Refuge” which is a type of sanctuary for the Hawaiian people. If anyone broke a sacred law (kapu) the penalty was death. They believed that their Gods would be offended and cause lava flows, tidal waves, famine or earthquakes if the guilty party was not punished. However, when a guilty party or defeated warriors was afraid for their life, if they could somehow reach this place they were safe from harm. A ceremony of absolution was performed by a priest and then they could return home safely. Some of the ancient Hawaiian laws that were punishable by death seemed pretty strange for us at least. Here are a few examples:

  1. Your shadow touched a person of royalty (Ali’i) – to avoid this the people would prostrate themselves to the ground.
  2. You catch a fish during it’s spawning season.
  3. For women to eat certain types of food, to prepare food for men, or eat with men.
  4. You harm the bones of a deceased person.

No mortar was used to build the walls around the area. The lava rock was carefully placed to form a 1000 foot long, 10 foot tall wall which separated the royalty from the commoners.

An old Hawaiian game similar to checkers was often played.

Apparently even the wife of King Kamehameha once used the Place of Refuge after a fight. She reached the place and hid under a rock until she was found and the King forgave her. The place of refuge has several interesting historical areas.

We skipped two-step beach because it was fairly crowded, and went to Kealakekua Bay because dolphins often rest in the bay. Dolphins always sleep as a group for safety reasons and they are able to sleep with half of their brain awake and one eye open so they can keep monitoring their surroundings for threats – pretty neat! However, we didn’t see any dolphins in the area and the area wasn’t great for snorkeling so we would have likely been better off at two-step beach which is know for good snorkeling. There is a hike down to Captain Hook Monument but because everyone was tired we skipped that hike which was labeled as difficult. We heard that you can rent a kayak and row over to the monument which would be far less work than the hike, but no-one was renting kayaks when we arrived.

For dinner, we tried to go to Outback Steakhouse, but with an hour long wait we decided for a place we could get right in, that happened to be Denny’s. In our attempt to keep trying new food, Bryan ordered a Spam Slam! Funny that this breakfast dish comes with two scoops of rice as well. He’s never had Spam before in his life and he liked it better than sausage. Spam was introduced into Hawaii during World War II and it became a staple of the Hawaiian people.

Our lodgings for the last two nights of our trip is at the Kona House Airbnb. It was just the upstairs of a home, but they did a really good job remodeling it. It was very comfortable with a lot of nice upgrades.

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