Ireland day 0981. Wednesday 05 June 2024- Big Island 4

Ireland day 0981. Wednesday 05 June 2024- Big Island 4
Today’s summary Another interesting day.  After breakfast, drove to the Holualoa artists’ village and looked in some of the studios.   Then down to Kona to check out the Ironman course (I can only dream) and finally on to inspect the coral propagation tanks at Ako’Ako’a.   Dinner at Black Rock Pizza again
Today’s weather Dry and warm but still a voggy haze.   Light westerly wind.   Appx 29c
Today’s overview location
(The green mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The orange line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Ironman recce Kona

(Summary blog only.   Last full blog was Day 0368).

It may sound odd, but our main objective for today was to get a free coffee mug from the local ABC store.   You can claim one with every $100 you spend and as we had already almost reached that target (on crisps and wine, I should add with some embarrassment) in Honolulu, we worked out it would only take a couple of cans of beer to get us to the magic goal of a free mug.

So with this plan in mind, we got up, had breakfast, and set off in the general direction of the nearest ABC store, which was in Kona.   But we thought we should probably be a bit more ambitious in our travel plans today, so we decided to make a detour to the Holualoa artists’ colony on the way.

It turned out to be a very worthwhile diversion.   The village as a very fringe-y feel, and is lined with studios, shops, bakeries and what would, only a couple of years ago, have been called hipster cafés.   We had a wander along the main drag and Val treated herself to a rather lovely bracelet in Barbara Hanson’s boutique.

From Holualoa it was an easy roll down the hill into Kona and the ABC store where my coffee mug was waiting in exchange for just a couple of cans of beer (and, as it turned out, some macadamia nuts).   The helpful traffic warden (who had just moved to Hawaii from Pittsburgh) explained that we could have 90 minutes’ free parking, courtesy of our ABC shopping (what a worthwhile visit that was!).

So we used the time to cruise into Kona proper and to check out the starting line for the Ironman Triathon.   I can hardly believe that once, many (many) years ago I seriously thought about entering, but now it’s a very exclusive event and you have to be invited to take part.   Mind you the oldest person ever successfully to complete the Kona Ironman, Hiromu Inada, was 87 so I reckon there’s still time to give it a go.   Val is rolling her eyes at this point.

In need of something a bit more thought provoking, we travelled a bit further north up the coast to visit the NELHA-HOST science park.   There used to be a visitor centre there, but unfortunately it’s closed now.   It’s a very big site, mainly focused on all aspects of marine science, from energy generation to habitat conservation.

We stopped by one particularly interesting looking facility which proclaimed that it was the Ako’Ako’A coral nursery.   As we were peering through the chain-link fence, a young scientist, who introduced herself as Grace, invited us in to have a look inside the tanks where they were cultivating various local corals in a carefully climate-controlled environment.  We subsequently learned that the site is sponsored by the University of Arizona, who have put in $25 million.   Very good to see that this sort of work still goes on, without a Treasury-like obsession that every dollar spent has to generate an immediate positive cash return on the investment.

Buoyed up by our discoveries, we headed for home and en route dropped into Black Rock pizza for a quick dinner.   Now it’s time for drinks on the lanai, and another dawn chorus-beating early night.   What a day!

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Every garage should have a couple of bunches of bananas, recently harvested from the garden, ripening on the shelves In Barbara Hanson’s art shop.   Val bought herself a bracelet which goes perfectly with her summer dress!
Down in Kona.   Swarming with tourists.. ..and this is why.   The “Pride of America” cruise ship had just docked and the residents were being shuttled back and fro between ship and shore in the lifeboats.   The bars between us and them seem to say it all, really.   Maybe when I’m too old to contemplate the Ironman I might be tempted to give it a go
The coral nursery on the NELHA-HOST (Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority – Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology) park.   Grace, a Prof from the University of Arizona, who works there, kindly showed us round Cauliflower coral – which shows a wide range of genetic diversity – the hope is that some variants will prove to be better adapted to the hotter waters of the greenhouse world which will be upon us soon
Well we can dream!!
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 3534 m
Max elevation: 7 m
Min elevation: -0 m
Total climbing: 31 m
Total descent: -31 m
Total time: 01:24:06
Download file: Ironman-recce-compressed-corrected.gpx

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