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Hookena Beach Park to Kona!

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Drums… I hear drumming. It is barely twilight. What time is it? Who the heck is drumming!?!? I try to get back to sleep. Not happening. I decide to get up and get going. I wake up at Hookenna beach. It is a county park that costs $5/day to camp! Nice!

I have an orange that I bought off a fruit stand the previous day and some bagels with honey. Yum! There is a German couple that I met that are camping next to me. They offer me some instant coffee which I gladly accept. It goes well with my bagels and honey.

We talk for a little and I am contemplating my day. They leave to go snorkeling at captain cook which is a local snorkeling hole. I have read and heard that it is the best place on the island. I want to check it out too! It turns out that the drummer started at 6:15am!!!

Hello!?! 6:15am. People are sleeping!!! Kids were boogie boarding at 7am before the sun is up. Now that is hardcore.

I remember that I have a 2 mile uphill climb to the hwy. What a great way to get the blood pumping in the morning… I pack up and head off. The climb is not too bad.

I get into a good gear and just jam up the hill. It was great to make it to the highway! Not sure what they were thinking building it so far from the beach!?!?

I had read that there is a great breakfast joint down the road! Alright! I could go for some more breakfast! I make it to the place and get local Kona coffee latte, smoothie and a
breakfast burrito! Yum! That hits the spot. It was a very clean restaurant.

Kona Coffee House and Cafe
Kona Coffee House and Cafe

They have an outside section that I sat in. They were also strategically located so that I could cross the street to go towards captain cook which is a monument and area. The road descends in elevation and I have read that you can rent kayaks to go across the bay to the monument.

I keep looking for this area and find it! There are two companies that operate out of this particular location. They alternate business as people come in. Only one of them accepted credit cards for payment and I had $20 in my wallet.

I was able to negotiate with one of them and get the kayak for $20. It is normally $40. Nice! I kayak across the bay and store my kayak on the rocky beach. I tie it to a tree and dive in the water. It is pretty spectacular and the coral is amazing! I only see 3-5 different species of fish.

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The monument and area are packed! Wow! There are Alot of people!!! Easily 100. I swim around and then get back in the kayak and cruise back across the bay. Afterwords, I load up and have to climb back to the highway… Again…

I would guess 1000-1500ft. The road is super narrow without any shoulder. Cars are respectful and give me plenty of space. I get back to the hwy. yes! I cruise along the hwy and notice that I’m getting closer to Kailua-Kona, back to where I started!

Woot woot! Hwy 11 is relatively flat and has some slight rollers. Then the shoulder gets huge! Practically a lane to yourself! The hwy also descends back into Kailua. I made a left on Henry street and made it to the hostel. It is 2ish.

No one is around so I drop off my stuff and decide that I want to try stand up paddle boarding! (SUP) I find a place near the pier off of Ali drive. The owner is really kool and passionate about the sport. I rent one for $25.

He gives me some pointers and I go down to the water and try it out! It was awesome! Definitely a strong learning curve! I start on my knees and then work up to standing on the board. “I’m standing! Yeah!” I start paddling and get out into the water.

The basic idea is to keep the blade in front of you and creating a tripod for support. I’m getting tired. I go out farther and try balancing as big waves come through. Not breaking waves of course. I fall several times trying to figure it out.

I’m sure it would have looked really funny. I get back to the shore and return the board. “Thanks!” I say. “I see why people get into this!” Awesome! It is 4pm. I bike down Ali drive, get some Thai food, and stop at the farmers market!

Pineapple and papaya! Score! I return to the hostel, I totally understand why people live here! Life is good!

I have 1 half day left. I’m going to try and wake up early. Grab breakfast and try boogie boarding or more stand up paddle boarding! Then I fly out at 2pm! Back to sea-town (Seattle)! Thanks Hawaii! You have been good to me! I’m definitely coming back! 🙂


Nathan currently lives abroad as an American expat and is based in Hanoi, Vietnam. He enjoys learning new languages, meeting new people and exploring new places. Nathan has been living abroad since 2014 and likes to stay busy plotting his next trip.

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