Where had the time gone? Five days blew by in the blink of an eye, and now the morning of day six my hubby and I were already packing for our journey home. The saying is true - time flies when you're having fun.
But our flight didn't depart until 10 pm, leaving us one final bonus day in paradise.
Since hotel check-out wasn't until noon, hubby and I took one last long walk around this lovely resort. I discovered a second, larger koi pond with incredibly friendly fish, who followed me like puppies as I traversed the adjacent walkway.
|Bright pink blossoms|
Oh how I loved all the brightly-colored flowers in Hawaii! I passed one tree that had the loveliest pink blossoms. They looked like the flowers used to make leis.
|One blossom on the ground|
Discovering a few blossoms lying on the ground below, I couldn't resist picking one up and sticking it behind my ear. Feeling like a real Hawaiian princess, I debated taking it home with me. Then I remembered the stories about people having bad luck after bringing rocks home from the islands. Although uncertain if the curse applied to flowers, I decided not to take the chance, and left the bloom behind in my hotel room.
|Pu'uhonua o Honaunau (Place of Refuge)|
Nearing midday, hubby and I packed the rental car with all our luggage and headed towards Kona to see more big island sights. One place on our list was Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, known as Place of Refuge. We'd snorkeled in the adjacent bay and seeing the thatched buildings from our guide boat intrigued us.
|Konane - a Hawaiian strategy game|
In ancient Hawaiian times, the royal grounds of Pu'uhonua o Honaunau were considered to possess extraordinary mana (spiritual power). The Pu'uhonua also served as a place of refuge for those who broke sacred laws, called kapu. If someone violated any kapu, the penalty was instant death. But if the accused was able to elude their pursuers and make it to the Pu'uhonua they were safe. After being absolved by a priest they were free to return home.
|Hale o Keawe|
This historical park was located on beautiful Honaunau Bay. A self-guided tour led visitors along the adjacent shoreline, displaying artifacts and buildings that depicted ancient Hawaiian life.
Large thatched a-frame buildings were replicas of places that housed canoes.
|Close up view of Hale o Keawe|
One prominent structure in the park was a thatched roof building located beside a small cove. This was known as Hale o Keawe, a heiau (temple) used as a royal mausoleum housing the bones of 23 ali'i (chiefs). The bones were thought to give this place immense spiritual power and it was revered by the Hawaiians, even to this day.
|Oceanside view of royal mausoleum|
The park was divided into two areas - one was the ancient royal grounds, and the other was the Pu'uhonua (place of refuge). A large rock wall defined the Pu'uhonua area. This wall was amazing - up to 12 feet tall, 18 feet wide and over 950 feet long.
|Massive stone wall|
The park literature stated that this wall was built over 400 years ago. And, incredibly, it was built using dry-set masonry. The stones were painstakingly fitted together without use of mortar.
|This stone wall separated the royal grounds|
After admiring the fascinating craftsmanship of the stone wall, hubby and I returned to the Hale o Keawe for another look.
|Ki'i (wooden images of Hawaiian gods)|
Two large ki'i, wooden images of Hawaiian gods, were situated at the head of the lagoon. These fierce-looking carvings were placed on shore to alert visitors of the great spiritual power that existed in this place.
|The ki'i alert visitors of the great spiritual power here|
In the heiau itself were more carved wooden figures depicting Hawaiian gods. Some very intricate woodworking!
|More carved wooden images|
I was very impressed by this National Historical park. It did a great job of explaining the fascinating Hawaiian history that took place here.
|Gecko sighting at Kona Brewery|
Only late afternoon with still lots of time to kill, hubby and I decided to find the Kona Brewing Company. We had a great early dinner and brews, and I enjoyed a sinful chocolate brownie topped with ice cream. But the highlight of our visit was spotting some cute geckos that resided in the brewery's immaculately landscaped grounds.
|Crashing waves at Wawaloli Beach|
After topping off our rental car's gas tank, we headed to a nearby Wawaloli Beach. Only a mile from the Kona airport, hubby decided it was a great place to watch the sunset.
|The waves don't bother this fisherman|
But before the sun sank, I had a great time trying to capture the waves crashing over it's lava banks.
The churning sea was fascinating to watch. Quite a few locals were hanging out on the rocks, some fishing, others exploring, while a few just sat quietly, enjoying the lovely evening.
|Sunset over the water|
I watched the sky begin to turn orange, as the sun slowly sank towards the horizon. My last sunset in Hawaii!
|Sunset reflections on the lava shore|
The big island saved the best sunset for our last night. As the sun got lower, the sky erupted in a fiery glow. This glow reflected on the waves and in a tiny pool of water trapped by the lava rocks.
|Colorful sky and clouds|
Truly a spectacular way to end our trip! As the sun disappeared from the sky, I bid this lovely island a fond "Aloha"(goodbye) and "Mahalo"(thank you).
A memorable vacation I won't soon forget!
(In case you missed any of my Hawaii posts, here are links:)
Hawaii, Day One
Day Two, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Day Four - Snorkeling and Luau