Kona is situated on the big island of Hawaii. Hilo is the other main town on the island. I have been to both sides and they are quite different. The Hilo or east, side is tropically lush and the lava flows on that side. The Kona side is drier, grows all the coffee, and is more developed. There are many microclimates on the Kona side resulting in a wide variety in the coffee grown here. King Kamehameha’s heiau (temple) is on this side as well as the bay where Captain Cook was killed.
Two of the world’s most active and accessible volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kilauea, and the Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site are on the Kona side. I was here in 2007 prior to starting my blog. I visited the Volcanoes National park and I include a few pictures of a lava tree formed when lava encircled a tree, and two lava fields including the once beautiful beach used for the Elvis Presley movie Blue Hawaii.
Today I wandered around the town. I first visited the Hulihe’ e Palace. It was built by foreign seamen using lava rock, coral lime mortar and koa and ohia wood for the governor of the island of Hawaii in 1838. Many members of the Hawaiian royal family have lived here. The furnishings are made of the most beautiful Hawaiian woods. Unfortunately photography was not allowed. However, I have attached a photo of the exterior. I also visited the Mokuaikaua Church, the first stone church on the island of Hawaii. It was built in 1837, the year before the palace (photo). I also attach a photo of the harbour taken from the ship. Our next port is Apia, Samoa which we will reach on October 10th.