The March 11 tsunami waves that reached the Big Island did very little to slow down the pace of the action on Alii Drive for more than a couple of days, based on my last two trips to Kona. Although a few businesses in Historic Kailua Village did suffer damage, for the most part, when I was on Alii Drive last week, the energy was high and visitors to the Big Island seemed to be having a great time!
The major exception to the good news from Alii Drive, sadly, is closing of the Kona Village Resort. That iconic property located farther up the Kona Coast suffered significant damage to its oceanfront “hales” (thatched roof bungalows) from the waves that reached the Big Island. Kona Village announced its closing last month. There’s a “Save Kona Village” Facebook page whose organizers are hoping to have some impact on that decision, but, for now, it seems the property is closed indefinitely.
This photo I took last Wednesday shows the view of the Kona pier from the vantage point of one of the newer restaurants in Kailua-Kona. Shivalik Indian Cuisine is located right across the street from King Kamahameha Hotel. I walked to the restaurant with a co-worker for the restaurant’s lunch buffet (which was quite good). As we ate, we watched paddleboarders, body surfers and boats out on the water in the shadow of a visiting cruise ship at anchor just short distance from the pier.
On the way back to our office, we took a few minutes to watch waves splashing over the rock wall by the bay and (just as entertaining) to watch visitors taking photos of visitors who were taking their chances with the splashing water by walking down the sidewalk on the ocean side of the Alii Drive. (As you can see, to complicate it just a little more, I was taking pictures of visitors taking pictures of visitors getting splashed on the sidewalk!)
If you’ve been planning a visit to the Big Island, you can be assured that things are moving along at the usual pace for most businesses and attractions on the Kona Coast. Come on over… Kailua Village is waiting to welcome you!
The week before the Alii Drive photos above were taken, I stayed in Kona for a few days at a vacation rental at Kona Bay Estates. Visitors to Kona have many choices for accommodations, from the Big Island hotels and condos on Ali’i Drive to nearby luxury vacation rental homes. These photos show the walk along the Kona Bay Estates rock wall from the home where I stayed to “Keiki Beach,” a small sandy area that is open to the public. It’s a beautiful place to watch a West Hawaii sunset!