I just realized I haven’t done a blog posting since January 21st!! That’s a long time ago. May I just say I’ve been busy? Let’s start with Hawaii!
John and I attended the Quilt Passions Quilting on the Beach retreat in February. It’s hosted every year by Karen and Robert Berry at the quilt shop in Kona, Hawaii and I’ll go any time they want me again! This is just the BEST WAY to make a living!!!
The opening of the retreat was held just outside the King Kamehamea Hotel on the lawn by the sea. They had some wonderful young hula dancers to welcome us.
Two young hula dancers entertained us.
Karen had asked me to contribute some guitar to their version of The Quilters (the play) during the retreat. I’ve only seen this play once before, and I remembered the music to be very challenging. In fact, it’s the SINGING that is challenging in this score – the guitar part was quite easy (no Eb chords or anything strange). It was a play reading, so everyone sat at their place for the most part and read and sang from there. That being said, there had been a huge amount of work put into this, and they all did a great job. The harmonies were great, and I even shed a tear here and there with the poignancy of the stories they told. I hope it wasn’t obvious to the audience! This is the view I had of the gals in the cast. Thanks for letting me be a part of it! I do so miss doing theatre.
The cast of The Quilters
I still had lots of time to experience Kona, and one of the days John and I took a tour around the Kona Energy Lab. Fascinating to learn about using water from very deep in the ocean to generate power, and conduct many many scientific experiments. We stopped for lunch at a cafe after visiting the abalone farm and meeting some grouper fish. Check out the menu below (Sonia’s and Lionel’s especially). I’ll be you won’t find Spam on your breakfast menu at home!
Rice and Spam seem to be breakfast staples.
We had some more time before my classes started and we explored some beaches with our new friends Pam and Rick Bocko. They are from Eugene Oregon and we had a great time with them! This was one of our secluded spots where we did some wave jumping.
I taught Mock Mola as well as Hand Mola at the retreat, and we were almost beachside at the hotel. Here’s what we looked at when we wandered out for lunch every day. The mountain wasn’t always shrouded in clouds, but it was always warm enough for a swim. In fact, my fellow teacher Rob Appel, went snorkeling during his lunch break every day!
My classes went very well. There wasn’t much to see at the end of the Hand Mola class (although Nora has now completed hers!), but here’s what they created during the Mock Mola class the next day. I loved their design ideas!
Mock Mola Class at Quilting on the Beach
My good friend Daphne Greig was there too and has been blogging about her trip to Hawaii, but I really didn’t see her after the opening reception. We were all kept busy having fun!
I told you about our new friends, Pam and Rick Bocko. Pam runs Pieceful Designs and makes really lovely, quick wall quilt patterns – you may have seen her at a quilt show near you. I love them – they’re charming and fun. Rick is, among other things, a ukulele player (although he bought a new guitar while they were there, so he’s adding a couple of extra strings to his repertoire). We had a wonderful time with them and laughed a LOT.
This was taken after the breakfast ukulele jam session. Imagine: musicians getting up early to play!
When we finished with the retreat, John and I spent another week on the Island, doing some exploring. I’ll be back in late September on the 2015 Aloha Quilt Cruise, so I wanted to find out a little more about the Hilo side. We won’t be stopping in Kona, alas.
It’s much wetter on the east side of the island, and the flora reflects this extra moisture. As soon as we crossed over from the rain shadow, things started getting lusher. Rainforest conditions with ferns and trees and vines and flowers everywhere! Did you know that the Big Island of Hawaii has all but 2 of the world’s growing zones? Between the desert (west) side and the wet (east) side, and everything from sea level to the top of Mauna Kea (13,796 feet/4205 metres), you can pretty much grow whatever you want there. There’s ranchland grazing, cactus, coffee, fruit, sugar, etc, etc. It was one of the reasons I wanted to return last year to the Island, to explore it more.
And there are waterfalls – this one is Akaka Falls which is 400 feet tall – higher than Niagara Falls, to be sure!
South of Hilo is where all the volcanic action is happening too – there are vast lava fields everywhere on the island, but the newest land is in the southeast. We saw some smoke rising from Kilauea while we were there, but nothing flowing into the sea.
We drove a most spectacular drive down from there – a road called the Chain of Craters Road. It’s in the national park, and it is well worth the trip. On the way we saw lots of evidence of previous eruptions – lots of craters and lava. On our way down the hill to the ocean, there was an incredible view where the lava flowed down from above. Nothing is growing on that side yet, and there are vast vistas of nothing but black lava. We took a hike over it to see some Petroglyphs.
And got to the end of the road.
The end of the Road
I did have a traditional Hawaiian breakfast (with some international content) on our last morning there – Karen made us Danish pancakes called Aebleskivers withLilikoi (passion fruit) syrup, Spam, fresh pineapple, Kona coffee and POG juice served in a hollowed out pineapple. Wow. Only in Hawaii!
A huge Mahalo to Karen and Robert for inviting us to come to the retreat, and for the loan of the snorkel gear and for showing us the best of their adopted island.
I’ll be going back, as I mentioned above, in September. I’ve checked out some of the local quilt shops on the east side of the island, and I have recommendations of things to do there. I’m very excited about it. Would you like to join me? Check out www.alohaquiltcruise.wordpress.com to find out more.
I’ll continue with my update in my next posting.