Caspar Institute logoitinerary   < 7 April Hilo to Napoopoo   9 April Honaunau, Hawaii >

Napoopoo - 8 April 2013


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Day Off in Paradise

There may not be much from us today. Until today, this trip has been work. As noted, vacation has begun.

At right, the view from our window. Those who know Napo'opo'o will recognize Captain Cook's monument across Kealakekua Bay.

This morning began with coffee from Luana Farm and breakfast cooked with produce mostly from the same place by Karen, one of the Farm's owners: gluten-free crepes, Luana Farm eggs and oranges, locally cured bacon. Yum.


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Kealakekua Bay B&B is a lovely purpose built place, built by a doc from the southwest who subsequently discovered he didn't like the moist heat of Hawaii, and re-Phoenixed. We win! we're in the Ali'i Suite, a graceful large room with a bed that has two zipcodes. You know how good the weather is here by the fact that there is no glass in the wind-doors. 

Interesting story about the Bay. It's a noted tourist spot, with awesome snorkeling right in front of Cook's Monument, about two miles from Napo'opo'o beach as the dolphin flies. The hardy swim it, and I have, in my youth, accompanied partway by the resident pod of spinner dolphins. The foolhardy walk it, down 2,000 vertical feet of lava path -- and back.

The impact of tourism on the life in the Bay provides the politicos with an excuse to ban "flotation devices" in the Bay -- that would include kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, water wings ... and the locals are aware how Mickey Mouse that is.

Because, if you're well-connected, you can get a permit, and sell trips to the tourists. Maybe that cuts the impact. Sure cuts out the residents who have been paddling the Bay for centuries.

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So there's bitterness seeping into this beautiful place. Before the first of this year, when the ban went into effect, Karen, who cooked breakfast, has paddled over from Napo'opo'o several times. This morning we watched as the Fair Wind, a large motor-sail catamaran that's hauled us there from Kailua (the tourist destination just up the coast) on a couple of our past visits, hove into view, looking like an ocean liner. One assumes that its proprietors make the requisite political contributions. And one can imagine the herd of snorkelers it debouches into the water. Surely, the moray eels cringe and the Christmas Tree worms retract.

A herd of kayakers make their way over from the pier at Napo'opo'o. They too have a permit, and make the valid point that a treasure like this needs to be managed with the same care that is shown in the Galapagos. (Being "from Missouri" about the truth of this notion, having been to the Galapagos, I resist the temptation to roll my eyes.) At least they will be briefed, as the Fair Wind passengers are, about not touching the coral. It's a valiant effort ... but it's also a protection racket.

The take-away for me on this trip is that "adventure tourism" has come to this island, and, presumably, the others. ATV tours through the back country, zip lines, suspension bridges. Except for the ATV tours, no quarrel from me about these, as they get people into the outback. 

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Meanwhile, along with a vivid and varied bird population, we get a look at one of our favorite critters, the (introduced) gecko. Not completely sure who these guys are, but maybe the Gold Dust Day Gecko (Phelsuma laticauda). This one posed prettily for me.

Signing off (until maybe dinner.)


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