I was up most of the night worrying about work. Remember that crisis I mentioned on Day 4? I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Finally, about 5 a.m., I double checked something, figured out the problem, and was able to fix the work problem.
Suffice it to say that I wasn’t too keen to do much today. I was tired! So, we had some breakfast, and slept in for a bit.
Around 11, we wandered over to the Hulihe’e Palace (which was a short walk from the hotel) for a tour. We attended a concert at the Palace on our second day of vacation, and we’d walked by it many times, but we’d never walked in.
When you think “Palace”, you think Versailles or Hampton Courts. However, the primary definition of “palace” is “the official residence of a sovereign.” Until 1893, Hawaii was ruled under a monarchy. The monarchy was relatively short-lived, the Islands having been united by King Kamehameha I in 1810.
The Hulihe’e Palace was built in 1838 and remained a vacation home for Hawaii’s sovereigns until 1916. The house itself is built in the Colonial Style, with a grand entry and two side parlours on the first floor, and a family sitting room on the second floor with two bedrooms off to the side on the second floor. It did not have indoor plumbing; nor did it have a kitchen. The rooms are extremely spacious, but as you walk through, you never get the feeling that this was a royal residence. Don’t get me wrong, the house is well appointed, and many of the items were original to the home. It’s just that these were not pretentious people–at least not on vacation. The house is presently used to house Hawaiian artifacts, as well as to teach about Hawaiian culture.
Later that day, we scheduled a sunset dinner cruise to Kealakekua Bay and Captain Cook’s monument through Body Glove Cruises. As we went to the dock to meet the cruise, there were hundreds of people in a single file line waiting to go back to a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. While we waited for our boat to begin embarkation, we watched the big cruise passengers get ferried back to their mega cruise ship via three tenders. It was a very slow process, and reminded me why I avoid cruise tenders. I think you’d get “museum feet” waiting in line that long, especially after a long day of sightseeing.
Finally, our little boat was ready for us. We took a seat up top, mainly because I love the way you feel when you are on top of a boat…. the wind and the surf just makes me feel so alive. Crew members came to take our drink orders, and we found our sea legs (something that can be difficult–tip: take your shoes off).
Like most of our evenings in Kailua-Kona, it was raining lightly. It wasn’t that bad, and I figured that it would clear up in an hour or two. I was wrong.
We were just about to cast off, when a rowdy group of ten came aboard, led (at least in spirit) by the well-beloved rogue “Captain Dan”. Captain Dan and his wife were locals. Their party was a group of extended family who were from the mainland. It was Captain Dan’s birthday, and if I had to guess, he’d started celebrating a couple hours before the cruise. Captain Dan was a bald headed squinty eyed pirate, who took tourists on whale watching and snorkel trips. He knew all the crew members, and appeared to be friends with our Captain, who was, thankfully, sober.
As we cast off, the crew set up the hors-d’oevres, and the historical narration began. Our guide did a fabulous job. I learned a lot about island history. When we arrived at Kealakekua Bay, the skies darkened significantly, and it was clear that we were going to be in for a rocky ride back. The crew put dinner out, and we all made a beeline for the traditional Hawaiian buffet. The poke was really good (have I mentioned how much I like poke?)
By the time we got dinner, the light drizzle had turned into a bona fide downpour. We were all a little cold, but some of the passengers were toasted. Captain Dan was chatting up the newlyweds, and telling them they should come out to his boat the next day. He was especially interested in the bride, who was clearly uncomfortable with the attention. Captain Dan’s wife was bringing everyone drinks, sometimes before they’d finished their last one.
Mind you, this was not an open bar. As you boarded, each person got two drink tickets. I had two stiff mai tais. I don’t know how anyone could have tolerated more with the motion of the ocean, the wind and the cold. Something about being on the water exaggerates the effects of alcohol. Nevertheless, the party atmosphere made the ride back to shore tolerable in the midst of a complete downpour.
We were huddled together in the cabin portion of the ship, holding on for dear life. Walking became dangerous. The evening’s entertainment was an amazing singer/guitarist. I think he could have been professional. He also was extremely good at keeping us busy singing while the boat was slogging through the storm. (He was also really cute!)
At some point, Captain Dan ended up next to me. His wife was lunging back and forth from the bar. Her balance was amazingly good, considering how much she’d drunk…. Our guitarist ended up playing one of my favorite dance songs… and I decided to risk dancing a little. Yes… I was the only one daring to dance…. and I got big props from the crew and Captain Dan for it.
It was hilarious! And cold and miserable…. The following are some of the pictures I took. I would have fixed some of the darker shots, but I really wanted you to see exactly how dark it was….