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Kona to Upolu Point (Through day 3)

Hamakua and Hilo Coast (Day 4-8)

Downwind past Puna To South Point (Day 9-12)


South Point to Kona: Day 13-16, The Final Leg!                                         
 

 

Day 13 Waiahukini to Pohue Bay

      We're passing remote green and black sand beaches that very few people get to visit. They are far off the beaten path and, when accessible by 4 wheel drive, are usually beyond locked gates.                                                                                                                                    Pohue Bay

     We approach Pohue Bay and the wind picks up strong (25mph+, now a headwind) and we decide to stay at this idyllic spot making it a short day. We enjoy the beach, bodysurf with the local kids and wander the local area . We meet the owner of the property, I can't remember how many thousand acres he was in charge of but are jaws were dropping as we tried to grasp the number.

Day 14: Pohue Bay to Honomolino:

     Again we're passing deserted beaches finally arriving at Honomolino which is a fairly isolated beach, a one mile walk, from the end of the lightly traveled, paved road which stops at the Milolili fishing village. Finally we're back to a familiar part of the coastline for me! 

    

    We didn't know but an article had just come out about our trip in the Honolulu paper. I have a hard time imagining that any Honomolino resident would get the Honolulu paper but one did, we were soon recognized, welcomed, and a party was quickly set up with us as the VIP guests.

                The Party

     We were treated to quite a party, steak, chicken, rice, salad and assorted courses with beer and wine. I'm sure no one could believe how much we could eat (including ourselves), but there was more than enough and we were given zip lock bags to take with us on the remainder of our final leg. We owe a great thank you to our hosts, one of whom is the owner of a highly successful island manufacturing company who I think will enjoy his anonymity.

Day 15: Honomolino to Captain Cook Monument (20 miles)      

     Again reluctant to leave, our friends wishing us continued success on our journey, we head north. We cross a big bay and angle in to what we think is the City of Refuge.      

     Mik took advantage of the beer and wine last night when he wasn't thinking about the upcoming 20 miles and now he's dragging a bit and wishing he went easier on the mood enhancers. We find we are a bit off course and get a view of Hookena Park.                                                                 Cave South of Honaunau

    We round the next point and find a large cave, big enough to paddle the kayaks inside (waves permitting) and get some photos. A few minutes further north we come into Honaunau (city of refuge). We stop for a break and to resupply water so we'll be sure to be hydrated for our upcoming final day.

     Honaunau is a National Historic park recreating the scene where once upon a time a law breaker could find safety, often with warriors chasing him down and his life in the balance. Upon entering the City of Refuge, his pursuers could not follow. After spending a certain amount of time and receiving absolution and blessings from the priests, he would be allowed to go free and return to his community.

    Mik looks up at the mountain and can't believe that we are still rounding the same Mauna Loa Volcano. This 13,000+ volcano has been our constant companion since leaving Hilo and has dominated our view for more than half of our circumnavigation. 

                                                                                                                                          The Kayak scene at Kealakekua Bay

     We paddle on to Capt. Cooks monument. Besides being one of the major kayak tourist destinations, this is the spot where the great circumnavigator Capt James T. Cook (certainly an inspiration for Capt James T. Kirk of Star Trek Fame), on his 2nd visit after discovering the Hawaiian Islands, had his godlike status tested by the natives and was found wanting, as a Hawaiian spear ended his life. We camp just a few feet from the spot of his demise.

April 10th Day 16 Final Stretch Capt Cooks to Kona (16 miles)!

     Our Last Day! We've had such optimal weather the entire trip, it's not surprising that we would be tested on our final day. A large zodiac (tour operation), comes by and congratulates us, saying we are in the local paper again today. We pass by Coffee and Mac nut farms up on the higher slopes. The headwind picks up and gives us a good workout as we push in the last 5 miles to the beach at the King Kamehameha Hotel.                                                   King Kam Hotel

     We are not quite finished but we stop for a break before the final hour and a half stretch into Honokohau Harbor which was our original starting point. The local reporters hear that we've landed and come down to give us an interview. Our friends show up to congratulate us, give us leis and take us out for a pre-victory lunch celebration.

     The final push. The newspaper photographer is waiting at the entrance to Honokohau to get our photo at the finish. The headwind is stiff and the backwash off the rocks severe. If it were up to us we would wait for easier conditions but everybody is expecting us at the finish so we battle upwind around the long point. Ironically on what is usually the calmer side of the island, an hour from the finish, we are having our roughest paddle of the trip.

     Mik comes from behind passing me like the favorite on the home stretch of the Kentucky Derby. He is apparently annoyed with our plodding progress and starts to leave me in the dust. I boost my power up to 100% and slip in behind him, hoping to catch any current he might be riding. I am annoyed a bit now myself, wondering why he would be trying to injure us so close to the finish. After five minutes following his line I realize he's not riding any current but Mik is still walking away.    

     He has finally perfected his paddling technique and that combined with his 16 days of distance training, his superior upper body strength, and his 30 pounds of reduced load due to his missing appendage have created a formidable paddler. I yell at him to wait up and ask him what the hell he's thinking sprinting for the finish. He replies that he is just ready to be done with this headwind and wants to get past the last point. We compromise and notch down to 75% power.

                                                                                                                                                       Our finish at Honokohau

     We are joyous with our accomplishment as we enter Honokohau Harbor. At the same time we are sorry the trip is at it's end and we joke about pulling a Forest Gump and just keep on paddling around again. We enter the harbor right on our photographic schedule, like the swallows returning to Capistrano, which incidentally was my hometown, where Mik and I first met (in 1970) and began challenging each other to see beyond the majority worldview about what is acceptable and/or possible.

     We finish feeling better than we did during the early days of our trip. It seems as though we have been out for months when we remember all the experiences we've had and the people we've met. We freely admit that we were lucky dogs when it came to weather. We felt the Hawaiian spirits were with us and guiding us through a weather pattern that has not been seen in a decade.

     Our final tally was completing approximately 300 miles in 16 days with no support crew. We figured we'd take rest days due to adverse weather but we ended up taking none. We paddled an average of 5 hours per day.

                                                                                                                                                          Calm day at the valleys

    For any one interested in repeating the adventure, take into account that we caught an escalating El Nino condition where the March and April trade winds were suppressed, the exact opposite of the regular trade/gale conditions that tend to prevail around the Eastern side of the island. Don't expect anything like we lucked into. You better be serious watermen, regardless of your kayaking skills, capable of swimming onto a treacherous rocky or cliffy coastline at night. Your kayaks, physical bodies and Big Island weather knowledge will surely be tested.

     Don't think I'm trying to say that others are not capable of the adventure. Just that it's a serious, more than likely dangerous, challenge and safety/rescue gear would be wise to carry, besides having the skill and knowledge to handle the islands wind, waves and weather.

       I am tremendously in debt for the support I was given from friends and family that do believe that dreams can become reality. And thanks to Mik for again proving to be a fearless, talented, athlete and friend.

        Aloha and A hui hoe (until our next meeting)

                                                                                                                                                                  Kelly Kayak Surfing Kawaihae

     Kelly Harrison is the son of legendary waterman Lorrin "Whitey" Harrison and resides in South Kohala on the West side of the Big Island. He is the owner/operator of Plenty Pupule Kayak (retail store) in Kona.

  Hang Gliding above the clouds

   

    Mickey Sarraille lives in Lake Elsinore CA, one of the worlds Hang Gliding meccas. He recently stepped down as president of the Lake Elsinore Hang Gliding Association and is somewhat famous in regional hang gliding circles. Neither is commenting on the question "What's next"?

 

Kona to Upolu Point (Through day 3)

Hamakua and Hilo Coast (Day 4-8)

Downwind past Puna To South Point (Day 9-12)