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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I'M IN KAILUA-KONA

FOR THOSE WHO CAME TO THIS BLOG SITE WISHING TO CONTINUE READING MY E-BOOK, PEARL'S ASHES, I PUSH THAT OFF TO THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY IF I'M ON A TRIP....WHICH AM NOW.  Sorry.  Return next Wednesday for Jindai Botanical Garden and Pearl's statue.

It was raining in Honolulu when I left, here, a clouded-over Diamond Head below:


I flew Hawaiian Airlines to Kona:


Caught SpeediShuttle to the Sheraton Kona.  Got a grand suite with ocean and golf course views:


Kailua-Kona (there is another Kailua on Oahu) has around 12,000 people, and is noted for:
  • coffee
  • manta rays
  • billfish tournament
  • Iron Man World Championship
You know about Kona coffee, so let me go on to mantas, where the Sheraton Kona page says:

Picture a large, shadow-like creature gliding like an acrobat through crystal clean ocean water.  Hauntingly beautiful and graceful, what is it you have seen? You have seen a manta ray, the largest of the ray species, reaching wing spans up to twenty feet and weighing as much as 3,000 pounds. Guests are able to observe mantas most evenings from the lanai (balcony) of several of our ocean front guest rooms or from a special viewing area near Rays on the Bay.

That fishing tournament has expanded:
  • June 24-25:  Kona Kickoff, with cash prizes for marlin, ahi, ono and mahimahi
  • June 28-29:  Marlin Migic Lures
  • July 1-2:       Firecracker Open, awards for biggest marlin and ahi
  • July 4:          33rd Annual Blue Marline World Cup
  • July 4-6:       Kona Throwdown for the largest marlin
  • July 7-9:       Skins Marlin Derby for the largest marlin each day over 500 pounds (which carries over to the next day if none caught)
Mind you, there is that 58th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, from September 9-17.  I've long felt uncomfortable with events like bull-fighting and whaling.  I do go fishing, and don't suffer any guilt.  Must be the size and endangered nature of the beast.  A 1,368 pound blue marlin was caught two years ago, next to largest caught here, a 1,376 pounder in 1982.  The biggest ever on rod and reel, known as Choy's Monster, goes back to 1970 off Oahu, weighing in at 1805 pounds (left).

More and more there is a fish and catch mentality, but the cruelty of the sport is the quandary.  Plus, after hours of battle it is dubious whether the fish will survive if let go.

I identify most with the Ironman Triathlon.  It was almost 40 years ago that Judy and John Collins organized the first Ironman, 140.6 miles long, combining:
  • Waikiki Rough Water Swim
  • bike ride around Oahu 
  • full marathon
Judy was working for me at the University of Hawaii, and I tried to talk them out of it, for I thought this was crazy and dangerous.  Well, no one died in 1978 and the event was in time moved to Kona, keeping the bike distance of 112 miles.  

For the record, I was unfortunately right.  One hundred and nine competitors have died, but the rate is "only" 1.5 deaths for every 100,000 participants, about double that of marathons, mostly during the 2.4 mile swimming leg.  We still get together every few years to discuss their monumental contribution to sports.  Here, we're having brunch at Michel's.

So, anyway, I went up to the Kaiulu Club Lounge for free wine and beer:


I get this all free as a Platinum member.  Gold's need to pay $50/day, and others $75/day.  This is per room, so those with many in the room are smart to take this option, for breakfast is also free.  Thus, the tranquility that was here the last time I stayed was gone.  There were assorted children all over the place.  Six gray parrots entertained me.  Can you find them?

I wanted a nice sunset dinner at Ray's on the Bay.  It closed for refurbishment yesterday and won't open for another month, at least.  The only option was next door, Ainakai, a restaurant not even mentioned on the official Sheraton Kona page, and in the past was used for breakfasts, mostly tour groups.

It was clear that the kitchen and staff couldn't keep up with the customer load.  However, the ribs and Caesar salad came, and they were okay:


All in all, this was a mixed day.

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