October 27, 2017
After the normal travel exhaustion, we were ready to roll. This was especially the case since our bodies were three hours ahead of Hawaiian time. The B&B is located on a coffee plantation consisting of some 3200 coffee trees and a plethora of other stuff that grows well with coffee and tastes good to eat. We were treated with several fruits that we had never tried including tree tomatoes that taste like strawberries. The weird nut looking, marble sized furry berries were fun to eat after learning to peel the and not eat the smaller marble seed in the middle.
We are here with three other couples. All have their stories. We needed to hear the story of the coffee farmer first. Hans and Marsha planted their trees some 12 years ago. First they had to clear the eight acres of land on the side of the mountain. Most of the initial heavy work was done with heavy equipment. Planting the coffee seedlings required using a quarter stick of dynamite to blow a hole in the lava big enough to plant. It think that works out to 800 sticks. Hans still has his fingers. After planting, you need to wait a few years to harvest and then picking, processing, and eventually packaging. The entire process was explained by Hans as we toured his largely hand made facility. Considering that my previous knowledge of coffee growing was limited to the life of the Colombian Juan Valdez, I learned a great deal. I mainly learned that growing coffee is a lot of work and not financially rewarding. Even though Hans can sell his entire production for $40 a pound, he essentially only breaks even. The B&B is the money maker. That makes it another unlikely investment for us.
We decided to try out our new snorkeling equipment. Kailua harbor lies some 2500 feet below the coffee plantation. We did the mandatory tourist walk around the town including the early church and royal palace. Mostly the ocean front is infested with t-shirt, tattoo and massage vendors. I wasn’t overly impressed. The whole place would have been vastly improved with a promenade like those found all over the world. Maybe I am just picky. We did find a great snorkeling beginner beach that was easy to enter and flounder around. We knew it was safe since there were classes of little kids learning. We just went where they went. It took some experimentation before we felt comfortable with our full face masks. Once learned, the undersea world and the little colorful fishes were there to enjoy. We floated around and even went to the more “challenging” location on the other side of the breakwater. We felt that we were well on our way to becoming experts.
Fearing sunburn, we returned to the coffee plantation. We utilized the communal kitchen to barbecue the tuna we had bought yesterday. We were still on California time and felt lucky to make it to 8pm.