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Kailua Bay / Keauhou-Kona Triathlon
Rating: C4+/E5/P3 (rating information)

Kailua Bay looking South
View of bay
(Click on pictures for large view)

Paddling Kailua Bay on the day of the Keauhou-Kona Triathlon can be both a challenge and a thrill.  I was one of the water safety volunteers that try to both keep the triathlon swimmers in the swim lanes and also be available if any of them need help.
Swimmers at start of race
I don't know how well you can see it in this picture, but the orange mass in the center of the picture is the hundreds of swim caps of the athletes at the starting line just before the start of the race across the bay and back (click on pictures for larger view).

The swim section of the race starts next to the Kailua pier, South across the bay almost to the Royal Kona Beach at King Kam HotelResort and then back across the bay to Kamakahonu beach at the King Kam Hotel.  If you're interested in being a water safety volunteer or joining a group paddle, check with Brock Stratton at Kona Boys Surf/Dive/Kayak (see Links page).

This is also one of two places where you can easily put your kayak into the water.  As you can see this is a protected cove with sand in and out.  Picture on left is taken
Pier ramp at NW corner of pierfrom the pier while standing on the other great access: a boat ramp.  You can get access to both by driving onto the pier and unloading.  Normally the guard will let you in if you explain what you are doing, who by the way is usually a Filipino named Greg.

The water was choppy this day and that can often happen here asEstate of Paul Allen this is an open bay.  If you head North around the point you will view the awesome estate of Paul Allen.  If you do not know who Paul Allen is then you have never been to Seattle.  He is one of Bill Gates's partners in crime. 
Expect some channel water after you round the point.  Further around the rocky lava point towards Keahuolu Point you will pass the small lighthouse, a housing development and then the lava beach along the Old Airport State park.  Its a long park owing to the the length of the old Kona airport runway.

If you decide to head South instead across Kailua Bay you will be passing restaurant row plus hotels and vacation rentals.   Eventually you will find some inlets that offer reasonable egress and almost all of them have nearby parking along the shore road Ali'i Drive.

Kailua Bay itself is rich in history and historical structures.  Just North on the other side of the cove from the pier, connected to the King Kam Hotel are several restored structures from the time of the great Ali'i King Kamehameha. King Kam hangout This was at one time his version of our "Camp David" where he could survey both his expansive agriculture holding on the Kona slopes as well as all maritime traffic.  There remains the foundation of the building that hosted the burial preparations for him upon his death.   You can also view from the bay the oldest church in the Hawaiian Islands, Moku'aikaua Church (look for steeple) and just in front of that is the restored Hulihe'e Palace.

The bay is quite clear and on a calm day is a great place to view the Kailua downtown, ships at anchor and often a large cruise boat shuffling the passengers back and forth to shore.

aloha


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