The big news this week was the Senior Softball Tournament held in Kialua-Kona on the Big Island. I have become the team scorekeeper, so I was to go also. It turned out to be really fun. Our team, West Kauai Seniors, won our first two games, so were in contention for winning our division. There were 8 divisions….67 teams…so it was a big deal for little Kauai. We lost the third game to another Kauai team, Kawaihau, but won the last, for second place. It was quite an intense experience, 4 games in 3 days, with hot sunny muggy days. And the game that the team lost, they were winning 5-4 going into the last inning. But 3 errors let in 4 runs, so going into the bottom of the inning they were trailing 8-5. But the team rallied, getting the bases loaded with no outs. But then it all went south, a ground ball turned into a double play, and a final fly out, with no runs scored. Frustrating! All the Kauai teams did really well though, in other words, Kauai cleaned up…..including the overall championship.
Most of the team stayed in King Kamehameha hotel, a hotel right on the shore where the Ironman competition starts. It was a Mariott hotel and quite nice, our room looked out on a park with a view of the ocean in the distance……most everything in Kona looks out on the ocean. The weather was quite hot, due to the projected hurricane that was approaching from the southeast and there was no trade wind, since Kona is on the leeward side of the mountains…..pretty brutal for the players. Since I stayed in the dugout, I was in the shade. Since there were almost 1000 seniors playing there were several ambulance calls, one in our 3rd game when one of the opposing players torn his achilles tendon, halting the game for quite a while.
Charlie and I walked the ocean front up to a place called Hugo’s and ate dinner the first night. We noted how many more restaurant choices the Big Island has compared to our island…all on the shore…nice in the evening. The second night was the “luau” in an open air pavilion by the playing fields. Kailua pork, fried chicken, noodles, lots of rice, seaweed, and BYO beer, or wine.
The highlight at the end of the dinner was when two gentlemen (elderly, like all of us) did a “strip tease”. Hysterical….one of the fellows had at least 6 layers to peel off, a real trick for a “senior” having to hula and stand on one leg to remove each layer.
Unfortunately, the picture is a little blurry but you can get the picture.
To top off the evening, when we returned to the hotel, before we reached the elevator to go to our rooms, three kauai team members were sitting in the lobby having a jam session. This was a authentic Hawaii experience, two guitars and a ukulele and singing just for the fun of it, Hawaiian and soft rock songs. Before they were done, two hours later, we were joined by a family from France, and numerous other tourists stopping to see what was going on. At one point, two other Hawaiians stopped by with their instruments and joined in and a woman started dancing the hula. An awesome experience! Worth the cost of the trip.
On day three, we had made arrangements to visit the Marine Mammal center in Kona, where two young seals from the northwestern islands were being rehabilitated, Pearl and Hermes. They were determined to be very underweight and transported south to be fattened up. They will be returned to their islands with the next NOAA trip in September. They look fat and sassy. It was very interesting, as seal volunteers, we thoroughly enjoyed seeing what is happening on the other islands and they were also glad to see what we were doing, since they have only three monk seals on the island versus our 40+.
Luckily, Guillermo, the hurricane we were concerned about, passed east and north of all the islands and we weren’t affected, except for the heat. However, Hilda is now approaching on the same path, we are keeping an eye on her.