Tuesday, April 2, 2013


We were all packed up and ready to leave our darling cottage near Pahoa by around 10 am. We had a short but pleasant time with Pam, Craig, Margaret and Richard before reluctantly saying goodbye. Oh that was so hard.
I remembered to turn on the car cam so you can see us driving through their garden. hopefully I can get some video on here before the day is over.

It was a pleasant easy drive with light traffic although the driving did demand concentration closer to Captain Cook area as the road was quite narrow and twisty but pretty.

We thought there might be somewhere to have lunch at Pahala but just as the guide book said, it is a depressed town. The people were so confident the sugar industry would sustain them for generations to come they missed the warning signs and suddenly the company shut it's doors. That was during the 90s and while most places found ways to adjust the people in this area were left behind.

We drove in again at a roadside coffee stop but that was not what we were looking for. We needed food too. We did have enough for a picnic packed somewhere in the car but we didn't feel like pulling everything out.

Next stop was at the Black Sand beach of Punalu'u. I'm not sure what the attraction is here but it gets a lot of publicity and is recommended in all travel brochures. Certainly there were people there enjoying a family picnic and there seemed to be safe swimming, good snorkeling, and a boat ramp. This is also known for turtles though not sure how far you need to walk over rocks to find them. There was a tiny commissionaire shop selling coffee, touristy souvenir jewellery and black sand. I guess the black sand was interesting but as far as we were concerned it was very fine, black volcanic gravel. It was uncomfortable to walk on because not only was it hot but very gritty and unpleasant under bare feet. I noticed that barefoot people chose to walk on the black volcanic rocks rather than the sand. I'm sure it was a lovely place to take family for a day out, a picnic at the beach with lots of water and rocks and probably turtles. We stayed long enough for a short walk and a few photos which have turned out better than I expected.
Now John was getting grumpy from lack of lunch. I knew the recommended restaurant was within the next few miles. We stopped at the first likely Café in Na'alehu, a very tiny town, and it was not Hana Hou and I never did see the name but it was a brilliant choice. I had the required coffee while John had iced tea. He ordered guacomole and chips and I a caprese salad. My salad was to die for and John was able to share in the deliciousness. So fresh, just perfectimo. The coffee, from locally grown beans, was good too. We had a leisurely lunch and the owner had time for a friendly chat. He was born in Texas but his family moved to Big Island when he was 5 so practically a local boy.

I'm not sorry we missed the restaurant we were looking for but after the following email from Pam we might just have to go back there.

When you travel over to Volcano there is a little town called Na'alehu and they have a cafe called the Hana Hou Cafe just off the main road where you can get the best Macadamia Nut Cream Pie that you have ever had in your life!  Really worth a stop - a little "hole in the wall" but the pies are to die for.

We passed by coffee plantations following a coastal route until finally we found the road to turn up to Pau Hana Coffee Estate. We drove up and up and up a narrow, one car road, stopping for the occasional car coming the other way. It was delightful but we also wondered where on earth we were going. The road has 100s of speed bumps, maybe 20, which in reality are there to divert heavy rain water. We are now at 2,400 feet so away from the humidity of the shoreline. It was good to finally see the sign and enter the gates.

We were met by Carol who is probably close to our age and runs this plantation on her own. That explained why she vetted her guests carefully before accepting their booking. This place is beautiful and when she showed us the guest quarters we were blown away. We have the most stunning view down the mountain past her plantation, over some trees and out across the ocean. You know by now we are sea people so a view of the sea fills our hearts with joy. The Studio apartment attached to the Plantation House is beautiful. We love it here. The only thing missing is a kitchen. We have a fridge, and large microwave and plenty of room to wash plates in the bathroom. The only thing I miss is a stove top so will learn to microwave bacon and eggs. What a hardship! I did not expect to bring so much food with us but while I was unwell bacon and eggs were off my menu.

The weather is fine but the temperature is unusually cool. That's no bother to us. It was interesting to find that I loved the soft air and mild temperatures in the south east, Puna area. Hilo is supposed to have the highest rainfall in the US. It was very kind to my eye and my skin. We are now on the west side of the island and there has been a bit of a dry period here.

I am now reading all about growing coffee. Do you think I can have another lifetime to live? I'm ready to look for suitable Real Estate and start my own coffee plantation and B&B with orchids and tropical fruit on the side.


  1. I would come and stay at your B&B :), and thank you so much for the email.... :)

  2. You cottage certainly looks wonderful, as well as the room in the B&B, You are having a truly wonderful vacation.

  3. Looks lovely!! Hey, I loved your great comment on Tom Naughton's blog !! Well said.


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