by Nina Sabin - Travel Blog
Yeah! We finally made it to Hawaii. After five days in a row on the sea, we were excited to be on land. Our sea legs were better than we thought.
Breakfast today was in our room. Faster service so we could disembark early and begin our exploring of Hilo. If you haven’t noticed already, we don’t like to be caught up in crowds, or do the touristy things. We like to go where the locals go. While many of the passengers were getting in the line for the shuttle to Walmart, going on excursions with the cruise ship or getting the bus to town; we went the opposite direction walking to local beach parks to enjoy the views and waves.
Hilo is a town on Hawaii, commonly called the Big Island, in the state of Hawaii. It was first settled 1100 AD by South Pacific Polynesians who established a way of life with rituals and cultural practices. In 1824, New England missionaries settled in Hilo. Part of Hilo’s charm is it’s rich culture, art, nature with dramatic gardens, valleys, waterfalls, and tide pools. This is what makes East Hawaii so unique. The population as of 2020 was 45,248. We started by walking to Keokea Beach Park. The views of Hilo were beautiful from there and locals were selling food and trinkets. Further to the East, we went to another park, Chock’s Beach. There the views were even more incredible and we could see our ship even better from that location.
What was really special about this beach park and the adjacent one - Onekanhankaha Beach Park, was how the waves broke against the rocks. The hight of the water was incredible and each time the water broke was amazing. I think we could have stayed there all day watching the explosion of the waves. When we finally decided to leave the parks we walked back to the ship to freshen up. We even set up a spot on the shuttle that went into town. They told us the shuttle was running 15 minutes early. Since it was 10:45, we thought we had enough time to change and make the 11:30 bus. They told us to be back by 11:15 am as the shuttles were running early. However, by the time we arrived at 11:15, the shuttle was already gone. So we ended up walking two and a half miles in our flip flops.
The good part of walking and not going directly into town is we went the scenic route along the bay. We saw another park, Reeds Bay Beach Park, where the locals were swimming, kayaking, and having family BBQs. We also had another view of our ship from the west side of the Island. From there we walked passed many hotels along the bays. Some very nice ones and some that are run-down or closed. The contrast was interesting.
Right passed the hotels was the Liliuokalani Japanese Garden. There was a beautiful pond in the middle of the Japanese bridges and statues. We also saw an adorable dog and two twin cats at the garden. After the garden, we still had about a half hour walk to town. It was pretty tiring but we did get good exercise and over 20,000 steps. Once we finally made go to town, we walked through the Farmers Market, which was open because it is Sunday.
We grabbed a local chips and and ice tea for our snack and watched the pigeons. Then we were able to catch the free city bus back to the ship. We were so grateful not to have to walk again. Though on the bus we did get to see most of Hilo, including Walmart and the mall. Once back on the ship, we freshened up, had drinks at the Crows Nest, and dinner in the dining room for open seating (which means you can sit with others you may not know).
We finished the evening with dancing at The Rolling Stones Lounge and the Comedian from the other day on the Main Stage. Both the band from the Rolling Stones Lounge and the Comedian are leaving at Honolulu and new entertainment will be coming on the ship. What a fantastic and full day. Tomorrow we are at Honolulu around 8:00 am.