Over the holidays we made a quick island hop from O’ahu to the Big Island of Hawai’i to visit my dear aunt and uncle. They previously lived up north in Kapa’au, but this time we got to visit the southeastern point near Pahoa where they currently reside. People often assume that Hawai’i residents travel frequently between the islands, but the truth is that it is expensive (airfare, costly hotels, renting a car, etc) and we mostly go only when we have someone we know we can stay with, which made this short trip all the more worthwhile.
From the sleepy village of Pahoa, Aunt Jeanie took us on a scenic tour of the coast that was truly spectacular. A one-lane road leads you from the open lava fields into the dense canopy of an old-growth mango grove, where every tree branch seems to be covered with bromeliads and orchids. Into a quiet time-share development we went, parking in the residential neighborhood and popping out at a set of huge, calm tide pools filled with angel fish and sergeant-majors and coral heads and locals having a beer.
After a few hours hanging on the lava rocks in the sun and drifting back and forth with the tide, we got back on the scenic road that ends at Isaac Hale Beach Park and watched some surfers catch a pretty big set off of the concrete pier. The perfect ending to a perfect day: A slice (or three!) of Aunt Jeanie’s lilikoi cheesecake. It pays to know a local!