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Monday, January 23, 2017

PAT GOES TO KONA

I'm off to Kona.  It was hazy, so my photos will not be the best.  From the Honolulu International Airport, over Diamond Head, followed by a view of Haleakala and Molokai, then to the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA), located adjacent to Kona Airport, surrounded by lava, with still active Hualalai in the background:


Immediately above is the Kona Airport runway, and the lava you see here is from the 1800 Hualalai (in background) lava flow.  There is a 30% chance this volcano will erupt in the next century.

Maybe I'll drop by NELHA on this trip, for I was in a crucial meeting around forty years ago when John Craven (Dean of Marine Programs at the University of Hawaii), John Shupe (Dean of Engineering), Paul Yuen (Associate Dean) and Hideto Kono (Director of the Department of Planning and Economic Development--before Tourism was added) carved up their energy territories, where Craven got anything dealing with the ocean (like NELHA), the College of Engineering took control of renewable energy, and the State of Hawaii became responsible for energy conservation and commercialization.  I served as Secretary of NELHA (at that time it was a combination of the Hawaii Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii and Hawaiian Ocean Science and Technology Park) during the '80s.  The Blue Revolution began here.

I took SpeedieShuttle from the airport to the Sheraton Kona Resort.  One important hint, taxis cost $55 plus tip.  Do not try to secure a shuttle transport reservation through the internet or when you get to the airport, for they'll charge you more than $40/person.  Call the concierge at the hotel, who will arrange for a $23 fare.  The Sheraton is surrounded by the Kona Country Club golf course and the Pacific Ocean.  I was given a fabulous suite fronting the ocean, where I can hear and feel the pounding waves:


My dinner table at Ray's is at the water's edge.  This hotel was originally called the Kona Surf, which opened in 1972.  Sheraton took it over and significantly improved the property.

I first went to the recently opened Kaiulu Club Lounge, open only to Platinum members, where they served modest pu-pu's, wine and beer.  I had a simple salad with a Pinot Grigio:


Dinner at Ray's was better than expected, where I started with a Mai Tai:


I had a Caesar Salad, followed by a steak and cabernet sauvignon at sunset:


Dessert was a Lilikoi Creme Brule:


One interesting view was of the dozen or so tourist boats offering an opportunity to swim with manta rays (the bottom photo was taken by Bryce Goark):


Depending on weather conditions, you can also see mantas during dinner at Rays.  My evening ended with Planet Venus:


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