The past two days have been full of fun, relaxation, sun, scenic walks, and amazing food.
We are not complaining. We could get used to this 🙂
These first several photos are just from around the resort, and I’m pretty sure we could explore this place for weeks and still not have seen it all. I love this tree that is growing horizontally through the ground, and it sits right on the coastline. Very, very cool. I sat in it while Rich took a few photos:
Then I snapped one of Rich on the crab-covered rocks:
As the premier resort on the Big Island, our resort (Mauna Kea Beach Hotel) is absolutely incredible. We have never been somewhere as gorgeous or luxurious as this place. It’s a slice of heaven on earth. It’s not much to look at in terms of the building itself, but the grounds/property are stunning, the beach is pristine, the entertainment and dining are incredible, and the rooms are amazing. We have been enjoying every second we’ve had here.
The Mauna Kea offers both pubic and private (hotel guests only) portions of the beach.
The Mauna Kea Beach, perfect for sun bathing, swimming, walking, and snorkeling…all of which we’ve been busy doing. 🙂
This is me hanging on one of several perfect hammocks – strategically placed right off the beach for maximum comfort and peacefulness! We are in heaven.
More of me lounging!
With my mom, Amber, and Nick watching Alana back home, this trip has felt like a second honeymoon for Rich and I…
Fun hammock silliness…
Drinks and fruity concoctions served beachside:
Here are a few macro shots I took while wandering the property:
Yesterday morning, Rich and I headed about an hour south to Kona to go parasailing 🙂 I’d been twice before, both times off the Florida coast, but I wanted to enjoy it again – in Hawaii!
Rich had never been – though he has gone sky diving which is something I don’t know if I could ever work up the nerve to do!
Rick took these from the Kona Pier, while we waited for our parasail boat.
Super fun times parasailing!
This is what 1,200 feet looks like from the boat 🙂
Here I am getting “dipped” – which turned out to be more like “dragged”!
My sweetie – going up!
He saw flying fish, a large yellow fish of some kind, and about 10 dolphins while he was up there while I managed to see nothing at all! But it was still very, very fun and completely gorgeous. I was excited that he enjoyed his first parasail trip and got to see so much from 1,200 feet!
And I was happy not to have dropped our camera into the ocean! The speed boat was racing along while I gripped the camera (with the 70-200 mm lens) tighter than I’ve ever held it before! I’m stunned that any of these photos are in focus – it was so difficult to steady my arms!
Back on the shore, we saw funny Kona street signs…
Once we got back to our hotel, we took a few photos of the area. It is just sheer beauty everywhere we look, and honestly, it’s hard to know how best to document it.
We can’t believe we are staying here:
Then, last night was an adventure all it’s own. Rich and I decided to drive to the summit of Mauna Kea Mountain to watch the sunset. The drive would take us about two hours from our hotel, and we really, really wanted to go. We had read about the mountain and knew it was the highest elevation in all of Hawaii and the summit houses the largest (astronomy) observatory in the world! We knew that it would be cold, but we’d been told that it was an incredible experience because at 13,796 feet, we would be both above the clouds and below them.
And an incredible experience it was. All along the steep and winding road up the mountain were views like this one: beautiful clouds as far as the eye could see!
And the largest, most amazing, mind-boggling telescopes and astronomical equipment:
Note the size of the telescope with the truck parked next to it. Talk about an example of scale!
Yes, snow. In Hawaii. Crazy.
A couple photos from the summit, freezing to death.
I love this photo of Rich with the sunset in the background, but I cannot even imagine how cold he was. He was literally the only person on the mountain (other than myself) who was not bundled up in a parka, boots, hats and gloves, etc. A group of Japanese tourists even asked to take a photo with him because they thought it was so crazy that he was wearing short sleeves up there. There goes my hope that we’d have the clothes we’d need for our various activities. Didn’t see this one coming! That’s what I get for reading the Hawaii book on the plane and not beforehand 🙂
Rich captured the sunset brilliantly!
It was incredible! With clouds below us and clouds above, it felt like we were halfway to heaven.
We had originally planned on staying at the summit after the sunset in order to do some stargazing, but we had no idea just how cold it would be, so we quickly decided to forego it in order to stay alive 🙂 We were disappointed but also hungry and tired and knew it was going to take a long time to get back to civilization, so we began our downward trek.
The last lines of color disappear from the horizon!
And this is a HORRIBLE photo of Rich and I, but it just happens to be the only photo we have from the summit, so there you have it!
Gas prices: very expensive (along with everything else here!!!) but not actually quite as bad as I’d expected!
Stay tuned for the next couple of days as we have a chance to blog!