Home > A Visit to Kealakekua Bay, 19 July 2005

A Visit to Kealakekua Bay, 19 July 2005


We spent Sunday, 17th, and the morning on Monday, 18th, at the Volcanoes National Park (extremely worthwhile by the way: it is best to pay the slight extra and stay inside the park at Volcano House overlooking the Kilauea Caldera. Drive down the Chain of Craters Road to the coast at night as then the red hot lava is readily apparent as it very slowly dribbles a few miles down the hillside from the Pu’u O’o vent and hisses into the sea in clouds of steam. By day the viewing remains excellent but in daylight the red colour of the hot lava is not readily apparent. You will need to allow at least four hours to walk across the cold lava to arrive nearer to the active flow.)

On the Monday afternoon we drove around on route 11, the only road via the south, to proceed to Kailua-Kona for the night. On the way, about 30 minutes drive south of Kailua-Kona on the west shore of Hawaii Island, we drove down to Kealakekua in order to see what it looked like and to reserve our kayak for the following morning. We booked by chatting to a pleasant local lady on the quay, one Regina. She charged us $25 each, so, as my wife took the morning off, $50 for the two of us for the kayak for the morning/day.

The entire south side of the island appears to consist of lava though mostly covered by plant life. On route 11 one is driving around the lower slopes of Mauna Loa, 13,679 feet, a dormant volcano of which Pu’u O’o is merely an active vent.

Jonathan Parkinson


Click an image for a larger version

Kealakekua Bay. The picture is taken from rather lower down the slope than route 11. To the right or north side of the bay can be seen the gentle cliffs which can hardly have changed since 1779. The water is deep and the bay is rather nicely sheltered.

Quay at Kealakekua Bay, at the bottom of the hill leading down from route 11. As can be seen there is a slight surge alongside but there are young men looking after the kayaks who will launch yours for you and be generally helpful.

There is a surge at the tiny jetty at the obelisk so we pulled our kayak up on the rocks to the right, as did everyone else. The corner of the bay by the obelisk has been selected by boat tour operators. As a kayak paddler it is up to you to dodge snorkellers.

These two photos give some perspective of the bay in which Cook will have anchored. The cliffs to the left are on the north side of the bay. It is best to hire your kayak and paddle out at about 08.30 a.m. As may be seen we were about an hour late!

The Captain Cook obelisk from the water. I suppose that it is about a mile across the bay. Depending how hard you go that takes from 20 minutes upwards.

The small jetty at the obelisk was erected by the Australian government. In that vicinity, set into the concrete, are a number of ship's crests. Unfortunately some have been removed by vandals.

"In memory of the great circumnavigator Captain James Cook, RN, who discovered these islands on the 18th of January, AD 1770 and fell near this spot on the 14th of February, AD 1779
This monument was erected in November AD 1874 by some of his fellow countrymen"

The inscription on this plaque at the jetty has not come out well in this photo.
"This jetty was erected by the Commonwealth of Australia in memory of Captain James Cook, RN the discoverer of both Australia and these islands"


Originally published in Cook's Log, page 46, volume 29, number 2 (2006).


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