Magic Carpet Journals

Cruising through Paradise continued: Hawaii Calls

The next ports of call for the Dawn Princess were the Hawaiian Islands of Maui, Oahu and The Big Island of Hawaii 

Story and pictures by Heather and Barry Minton


The Hawaiian islands were our next stop. Originally called The Sandwich Islands, they were initially settled by the English and Americans. King Kamehameha united the islands and became supreme ruler in 1810, and in August 1959 they became the 50th state of the United States of America.

On our itinerary were the islands of Maui, Oahu and “The Big Island” of Hawaii. As we had previously holidayed on Maui and Oahu and had explored both islands quite thoroughly, we did not participate in any of the organized shore excursions.  In Honolulu we strolled the shopping strip at Waikiki and swam at probably the most famous beach in the world!


Waikiki Beach

In Lahaina on Maui, we explored this historic town and were intrigued by some of the architecture to be found there. Some of the older buildings were built with a mixture of bricks made from lava or coral, giving them a checkered appearance.  




However, on “The Big Island” of Hawaii, there was much to see!

On the southern Kona coast, Pu’uhonua O' Honaunau preserves aspects of traditional island life. This was where the royal chiefs established their most important residence.  Separated from the royal grounds by a massive wall was Pu’uhonua, a place of refuge for defeated warriors and those who violated the sacred laws. It was used for several centuries until abandoned in 1819. It was renovated in 1961 and became a national historic park to maintain a setting where many of the old Hawaiian ways are preserved.


 Pu’uhonua, a place of refuge


Pu’uhonua, a place of refuge


Also on the Kona coast, on the edge of the remote Kealakekua Bay stands a monument to Captain Cook, who was killed by natives on this spot on 14th February, 1779. This remote spot is not accessible by road and can only be seen from the land as a tiny white speck in the distance at the edge of the bay. Interestingly, it is recognized in international law as belonging to England.

However, the bay is one of the best snorkeling venues in America and the monument is a very popular photo opportunity.


Captain Cook’s Monument.   (Photo courtesy of fellow passenger Brenton Ramsey)


Another place of interest on the Kona Coast is St. Benedict’s Church at Honaunau. A former priest, Father John Berchmans Velghe, found that the natives were hesitant to come inside the church, as being enclosed in four walls was foreign to them and they felt claustrophobic.  He proceeded to paint inside the church (1899-1904) with scenes of open spaces and flora and fauna familiar to the natives. He also painted scenes from the bible to catch their interest. 


Interior of St. Benedict’s Church at Honaunau


From the port of Hilo, still on the island of Hawaii we took an excursion along the coast to Lava Tree State Park, in Puna.  The lava tree molds are formed when lava surrounds a tree and cools against it, before draining away.

Lava tree provides backdrop for Barry and Heather Minton


We then visited the Ahalanui warm springs with its volcanically heated water. The highlight of the tour however was Kaimu Bay. A great favourite with locals and visitors the bay was noted for its beautiful black sand beach which was surrounded by shady palm trees. However in 1990 the township of Kaimu and nearby Kalapana were completely destroyed by a flow of lava from the Kilauea volcano. (Thankfully there were no lives lost.) Now the whole area is completely buried under 50 feet of  lava. We walked across the lava flow to the new beach and looked back about 500 metres to the line of trees that were the old shoreline. Locals and visitors are helping to restore what was lost by bringing sprouted coconuts and planting them.


Lava flow


New growth springs to life on Lava flow.


A new road has now been built on top of the lava flow and new houses are also being built as the land is inexpensive. The people won’t have much grass to mow!!

New houses on lava flow

Cruising Through Paradise continues: the next ports of call on this Magic Carpet are 

Samoan and Fijian Islands via this link.

Story and pictures by Heather and Barry Minton

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Last Updated on November 04, 2011 by M. Maxine George editor.

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