Between emails, Facebook, Punaweb, Yahoo groups, our hale listings & website, other forums, on & on... I can easily spend waaay too much time online! Where to cut back? Lately, it's been my own blog that's getting the short straw. And sometimes we just leave it all and go camping!
Our first Big Island camping trip, a month or so ago, was at Spencer Beach Park just south of Kawaihae Harbor. We picked up a friend on our way out of Puna, and made a little stop at Lapahoehoe Point on our way up the Hamakua Coast.
Two nights on the dry side was a nice change of pace. Pu'u Kohola National Historic Site, which is really two huge heiau, is right close by, with a very informative visitor center. Then there's another underwater heiau in a little bay, dedicated to the shark god Ku, with accompanying black-tipped sharks swimming back and forth. That was exciting and enough to make me think twice about an evening swim!
We had a great steak barbeque the first night, then ate out at Tres Hombres Restaurant in nearby Kawaihae the second night. Jellyfish warnings had the beach closed the first day, unfortunately, but we enjoyed watching lots of humpback whales frolicking about offshore!
The second camping trip was just a week ago. We drove around the southern tip of the island to Ho'okena Beach Park to stay for a couple nights. I love that southern route, past Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, through the Ka'u Desert, past the little towns of Pahala & Na'alehu, and around up the leeward side a little ways. To reach Ho'okena, you turn off the highway and take a steep little road for 2 miles, down, down, down all the way to the shoreline. All along this road is a water pipe lying on the ground, winding around every corner with you. When you reach the bottom, where the campground, picnic area, beach, and a few houses are, you realize that all the fresh water for the area comes through that pipe - and it gets HOT!!!
This is a really nice little spot where you get to camp right on the sand. The waves were a bit rough the first day, but mellowed nicely so that I got a lovely morning swim in the open ocean, a real treat. Others went kayaking, hiking, snorkeling... but I truly enjoyed exploring the tidepools, reading, watching the spinner dolphins, and playing in the water.
The second day started out nice, but somehow during the 20 minutes I lay down for a nap, the skies clouded over and sure enough, it started to rain. This is one of the driest spots on the island - and it looked it! - so we really couldn't complain about them finally getting some much-needed rain... but it sure did change the camping experience. Wet sand clings to everything. But we made it fun anyway, reading, chatting, playing dice. And we all got to find out where our new tents leaked! (Only one little spot on ours; we'll goop it up with seam sealer before the next trip.)
We have another camping trip planned for next month, too. Whittington Beach will be our destination, with a day trip to Green Sand Beach. Our group of camping buddies keeps growing as others are finding out how much fun this is! I wish I had kept our old camp pots. We're having a hard time finding anything similar here. But I love our new tent - with its little front porch and big enough to stand up in! And we have a queen-size air mattress, so we can sleep in relative comfort. Hey, it definitely beats an old Insolite pad!!