Day 8: The Day We Say "Aloha, And Mahalo For All the Fish"

The morning of our last day here has arrived far too soon. Lucie and I have pretty much decided by now that as far as we're concerned, one of the main reasons we'll be working the other 50 or so weeks out of the year is to come back here for a week.

In only a week, it really does feel like a place I would happily call home.

Now, if only Hawai'i could open up a nice technology park or something, so I could get a job out here, we'd be all set...


We'd already packed up the night before, so we have a couple of hours to kill. We head on down to the Royal Kona's private lagoon and get our rented snorkel gear wet for the first time. While it's not as pristine as hitting the actual open ocean, it's a good start, and it whets our appetite to do the real thing the next time we're here.

We see crabs -- lost of crabs, moving far more quickly than I would have expected -- jumping amongst the rocks, several small fish, and some sea urchins. I take several shots with the underwater camera, hoping I get something decent, and we head back to our room to change for the flight.

Well, okay. First, we stop by the front desk and get a new room keycard, since Lucie thought I had mine with me, and I... thought she had hers with her. Whoops.

Back in our room, as rinse off the salt water, put on our airplane clothes, and head off to the airport, waving a fond farewell to the town that we called home for a week.

At the airport, we check in only to find that our flight has been bumped back an hour (thanks, Aloha Airlines!), so we've got nearly two hours of time to kill before our flight takes off. I do my best to make it exciting, getting pulled aside by TSA security and getting the once-over with metal detectors. Forgot my spare change when I walked through the gate, you see.

However, the increased security measures only give us ten minutes or so of fun, so with over an hour and a half to kill we go to the airport cafeteria for a light breakfast of airline-quality loco moco for me, and a toasted bagel for Lucie. One last guava juice, and we head over to the departure gate for a long wait.

The Kona airport is a quaint setup, with lots of open-air buildings nestled closely together like a series of bungalows. I personally find it somewhat charming, and am a little distressed to hear that some plans are in effect to update the airport, and I imagine them changing it to the typical airport setup consisting of a big nondescript off-white building that lacks any sort of charm. I hope that's not the case.

At any rate, being outside for over an hour gives me a chance to break out the camera and take pictures of several of the birds flitting around, hoping that I might stumble across the mythical nene. I don't.

If the nene exists -- and I'm still doubting that it does -- it's probably hiding deep in the bushes, getting its other bird buddies to come out and get my hopes up.

Our interisland shuttle arrives, and skip over to Maui. The scenery here is just as beautiful as on the big island, and we have a very nice view of Haleakala from the walkway. Unfortunately, because our interisland was bumped back an hour, we don't even have time to take a picture, as we have to rush through the USDA checkpoint and then to the next departure gate, where we arrive just in time to board the plane to Oakland. Hey... thanks, Aloha Airlines.

A somewhat delayed departure once we're boarded, and we arrive back in California about 45 minutes late.

We're home.

We loved the Big Island.

And we're going back, as soon as we can.



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