Friday, August 26, 2011

Great New Places to Eat in Kona

Newly opened restaurants on the Kona Coast are serving up excellent dining options for residents and visitors alike. Whether you're in the mood for Pacific Rim cuisine, traditional Hawaiian fare, Asian specialties or a good old-fashioned steak, you'll find a bounty of choices during your stay on the Big Island.

Eddie Aikau Restaurant and Surf Museum
Surfing enthusiasts should definitely check out the new Eddie Aikau Restaurant and Surf Museum located at the King's Shops in Waikoloa. The Hawaiian-owned and operated venue pays tribute to the late, big-wave surfing legend who lost his life at sea in 1978. With two bars upstairs and downstairs, the restaurant features lakeside seating outside, as well as an upscale menu created by Chef Scott Lutey, formerly of Tommy Bahamas at the Shops at Mauna Lani. Don't miss the Aikau 16-oz. ribeye or the Kalua pork Spring Rolls laden in secret sauce. If you're in the mood for a luau, try the luau plate served with taro hash and a scoop of ahi tartar. Eddie's brother, Solomon, lives on the Big Island and is one of the restaurant's owners. He and his family donated most of the Eddie memorabilia on display, including his famous red and white surf trunks, plus a replica of his longboard, which hangs above the bar.

Lemongrass Bistro in Kailua-Kona
Ono Sashimi at Lemongrass Bistro
Closer to town, the Lemongrass Bistro is a best-kept secret, conveniently located across from the library at Kuakini and Hualalai roads. One of the owners is also the resident chef at Brown's Beach House. He and his wife have collaborated on a menu that specializes in Asian-fusion cuisine, featuring everything from Thai, Laotian and Vietnamese to Japanese influences and more. The affordable menu features an excellent roster of appetizers under $7, while entrees average between $10 and $15. The restaurant accommodates late-night patrons until 11 p.m., and is also open for lunch daily.

Here at Holualoa Inn, breakfast features the culinary creations of our own Chef Brian Conaway. He's always in the kitchen cooking up something special with the many fruits and produce that grow on the property. When you stay at our tropical Hawaiian bed and breakfast in Kona, you're likely to be treated to his special Punalu‘u French Toast, fresh-baked banana bread and many specialties featuring lilikoi, guava, pineapple, figs, avocado, mango, banana, and of course, our own homegrown 100-percent Kona coffee.


Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Friday, August 12, 2011

Manta Ray Gives Birth in Kona Waters

Big Bertha, as photographed by James L. Wing.
Our friends at Fair Wind snorkel cruises just informed us that a female Manta Ray known to frequent the waters near Keauhou Bay has recently given birth. Affectionately named Big Bertha, the mother ray is one of the most recognizable among the Manta Rays that glide along the leeward coast of Hawai‘i Island. With a wingspan of 16 feet, this gentle giant has been observed and chronicled by Fair Wind videographer James L. Wing during her 13-month gestation period.

According to Wing, Big Bertha had been courted by two males, Miles and Lightning, beginning in May 2010. It wasn't long before Big Bertha began to show signs of being pregnant. For months, the videographer tracked her progress. Two new pups with markings similar to Big Bertha have just been spotted, giving rise to the theory that Big Bertha produced a set of twins. Manta Rays are not paternal, so the newborns are on their own after they are born.

The Hula Kai departs for Manta Village at sunset.
Nighttime Manta Ray dives are among the most unforgettable of Kona's water activities. Fair Wind offers a Manta Snorkel and Dive adventure just outside of Keauhou Bay. The area, known as Manta Village, can also be viewed from the lanai of the Sheraton's Crystal Blue lounge. Spotlights shining on the water's surface create plankton that attracts Manta Rays. Another prime Manta Ray destination is located offshore of Keahole International Airport. To learn more about Kona's incredible family of Manta Rays, visit MantaRaysHawaii.com.

Holualoa Inn is located about 10 minutes down the hill from Keauhou Bay. Our staff can assist you in planning your Big Island itinerary, which could include a nighttime Manta Ray dive and/or snorkel in the gentle waters of the Kona Coast. Our romantic Hawaiian bed and breakfast makes the ideal home base for a plethora of island activities.


Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Saturday, August 6, 2011

New Lava Eruption at Kilauea Volcano

Lava is currently flowing down Kilauea's east rift zone.
Visitors on the Big Island are in for a treat, as a new lava flow has just broken out of Kilauea Volcano at the Pu‘u ‘O‘o Crater. Contained entirely within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the flow is located less than a half mile from the Kamoamoa fissure that erupted in dramatic fashion this last March.

Oozing down the east rift zone, the latest lava breakout has been putting on a spectacular show, flooding areas downslope with fiery, molten lava. After the initial breakout, Pu‘u ‘O‘o Crater then collapsed almost 280 feet, according to scientists at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Helicopter footage from two days ago.
In March, the crater had collapsed in similar fashion prior to a four-day fissure eruption, and within a month, lava was refilling the crater. Then just last week, lava began to spill out of two small pits just west of the crater. On August 3, lava burst from the west flank of the cone, pouring down the slope and forming a branched flow.

Scientist say that based on similar events through the years, the flow could last anywhere from weeks to months. "The volume of the erupted lava has already equaled, or exceeded, the volume of the Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater collapse, so the flow is possibly being fed directly from the rift zone," according to the weekly "Volcano Watch" by Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

This is Pu‘u ‘O‘o Crater just prior to the current eruption.
Visitors may view the glow from several vantage points in the park, including the Pu‘u Huluhulu overlook, which is a short 1.3 mile hike off of Chain of Craters Road. The trail is clearly marked with reflectors to guide the way. Up-to-the-minute details are posted at HVO's Kilauea Status page. Updated information about lava viewing can be found on the park's website.

The staff at Holualoa Inn can give you insider tips on how to get to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and what to take with you for your lava-viewing adventure. Our tropical Hawaiian bed and breakfast provides a splendid retreat just above Kailua-Kona in the heart of Holualoa.


Innkeeper Holualoa Inn