After 2 nights, we left the Hilton Waikoloa in favor of a camping adventure. We headed South, toward the black sand beach park listed on our camping permit. As we drove, clouds gathered and the sky darkened. We needed to pick up food along the way, and the fickle weather gods chose that moment to let loose. We got soaked loading up our groceries, but determined, we continued on our way.
Fortunately, as we reached our destination, the rain petered out. Unfortunately, we arrived to find that the facilities were completely run down, and both the designated camping areas and day use areas were full of people who looked like they had been there for awhile. At this point, it was getting dark, and we were a few hours drive from any other viable options, so we decided to make the best of it.
We risked taking the rental car down an unpaved road to find a sandy, flat spot big enough for the tent. I set up the camp stove, while the guys unpacked the tent. It wasn't long before I heard my husband say, "Um, I don't think we are going to be able to set up the tent. It's broken." Our boy then informed me that he had actually noticed that it was broken back at home, but my husband packed it up, as is, anyway. At this point, my mood was as dark as the thunderclouds, but I really couldn't say anything, as I was the one who said we didn't need a Hawaii travel guidebook when my husband wanted to buy one. And, believe me, a guidebook listing some other camping or lodging options would have really come in handy about then. Besides, bitching about it wasn't going to make the tent stand up!
After much finagling, we did get the broken tent pole to hold, but by that time the wind was so strong the tent wouldn't stay in place anyway. After even more finagling, we settled on the solution of putting a suitcase down in each corner of the tent to weight it down, and threw the rain fly over the jerry rigged tent. We sheltered the camp stove from the wind in order to cook some ramen noodles, and crawled into bed with the thought of figuring out where else we could go in the morning.
Then in the morning, we felt like we were still in paradise after all. In the morning sun, this is where we found ourselves:
And these were our views:
All in all, not a bad spot to knit with some Kona coffee and instant oatmeal:
The wind continued, and the surf was too rough for snorkeling, but we entertained ourselves for a couple of days by taking walks, and fishing:
. . . exploring tide pools:
. . . and watching the sea turtles come up to rest on the beach:
. . . and return to the water again:
By the third day, the wind still hadn't let up. We felt we had made the most of it, and we found ourselves spending time in the car just to have a break from the gusty wind and salt spray:
Backgammon and Yahtzee are good fun and all, but we were in Hawaii! We decided to move on. As we drove away we got a final giggle out of our circumstances when my son piped up from the back seat that the chapter he was currently reading in his Dave Barry book was titled something like, "Camping: The American Pastime Which Promotes the Hotel Industry"! On that note we drove back to the Kona side of the island and supported the hotel industry for one more night.
To be continued . . .