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The beach in January
21 January 2013

Llama

January is a great month in Kona.  It's warm, sunny and perfect for swimming.  The weather varies on other parts of the island but here on our Kona coffee farm, January is often the most summer-like month.  It's the dry season for us so our afternoons are sunny and sometimes even a little too warm.

Hawaii is still north of the equator so our seasons aren't reversed like Australia.  January is still definitely winter for us.  The night time and morning temperatures can get annoyingly cold in January.  Some mornings I wake up and need to wear long pants!  This morning it was in the 50's!  Brrr.

The cold doesn't last long though, as soon as the sun peeks over the volcano then it starts to warm up quickly.  That's the best time to sit on our back porch and enjoy a cup of coffee while reading a good book.  Unless the surf is up, then the best place to be at sunrise is down at the beach.

Slater Getting up early in the morning, when it's still dark outside and so cold that I have to wear a hoodie, it's difficult to be in the mood to go to the beach.  I know it will be worth it though.  Paddling out early, the ocean is beautiful and often empty of tourists.  Even if the waves aren't that great, spending a little time on the water is a wonderful way to start the day.

Winter is when the big storms roll across the north Pacific.  Most storms stay way up north but occasionally one will get close enough to bring in some big surf.  Sometimes the surf can get scary huge.  That's when I stand on the shore and take pictures.  I'll never be a good enough surfer to handle the big waves.

Every year there's a Keiki Surf Contest for the local kids.  It's a big enough contest that sometimes well-known professional surfers show up.  This year, Kelly Slater was there.  He's so good he made the big waves look puny.  Actually, the entire contest made me feel like a kook.  Even the six-year-old girls paddled into the giant surf and made it look easy while I knew I belonged safely on shore.

Contest

Whale Another winter-time ocean activity that is popular here in Kona is whale watching.  I have taken my kayak out and managed to get fairly close to whales.  It's not easy to do though.  Mostly it's a matter of paddling around and hoping the whales come to you.  That's best anyways since it can be disruptive for boats to chase the whales.

Some friends recently went kayaking without me and a mother whale with her calf came up right next to them.  Pictures can never express how big these animals really are.  Fortunately, they are usually very gentle and calm.  Floating quietly in a kayak, the whales will occasionally get curious and come over for a closer look.  Sometimes really close.

Speaking of things that are better in real-life than on camera, there's a great cliff here in Kona known as "The End of the World." It's actually a partially submerged cave in relatively deep water and is a great place for cliff jumping.  Every single time I go there I think it will be no big deal but then I get there and suddenly it seems much higher than I remember.  Sometimes it takes a few minutes to find my courage but once I do, it's great fun.

The last time I went I took an waterproof camera with me.  I didn't manage to get very good first-person footage and at one point I dropped the camera, but it was still fun.  I edited it all together into a fun little cliff jumping video.  If you haven't seen it yet, I posted the video on YouTube and added a link on the Kona Earth Facebook page.

Surfing, whale watching, cliff jumping, kayaking, snorkeling... I love "winter" in Hawaii.





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