Overnight, we sailed to the Big Island of Hawaii and our first stop there at Kailua-Kona. Kona is on the west side of the island along the Gold Coast. The Big Island got its name honestly as it dwarfs all the other Hawaiian islands combined. Kailua-Kona played its own unique role in Hawaiian history from the unification of the islands to the advent of Christianity. Missionaries from New England landed here around 1920 and built churches for worship and to spread Christianity. Kona also has the coffee-growing region where world-class gourmet coffee is produced.
This is a tender port for the ship so we were all ferried ashore in the tender boats, a pretty smooth process.
So, our first stop was at the Royal Kona Coffee store so we could sample the brew and, of course, purchase some to bring home as well. It has been raining steadily and we hope it dries up before we get to our next stop.
Kealakekua Bay was where Captain Cook was greeted and believed to be a god. He was also killed here for being an imposter. St. Benedict's Catholic Church, also known as The Painted Church is just up the road from the bay. The interior features lovely dramatic murals of Biblical scenes painted by a Belgian priest in the early 20th century.
At Honaunau, we visited Pu'uhonua O Honounau National Historical Park. This is known as the Place of Refuge and a restoration of an ancient religious sanctuary. Defeated warriors, and violators of 'kapu' or taboos could come here (if they made it by swimming across the bay) and receive absolution and go home. Taboos were various and included such things as not walking on a royal's shadow, men and women couldn't dine together, etc. King Kamehameha II abolished traditional religious practices in 1819 and the temples here were left to the extremes of the elements. In 1961, it became a national historic park.
Back by the port, we walked around, popped in and out of some shops, had a cold drink, and checked out Hulihe'e Palace and the Moku'aikaua Congregational Church. The church was built in 1837 and was the third church at the site; the first two burned down.
Back on board ship, we discovered dinner was formal. We're not really into formal occasions and this cruise has three formal nights so we decided to blow it off in favor of a casual dinner at the Windjammer Buffet. The show's entertainment featured a fellow doing magic and we're not into magic shows either so we hit the bar instead for a glass of wine and a margarita. Tomorrow, we will be in Kauai.