Kiholo Bay

Posted by on Nov 15, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Kiholo Bay

Wake up this morning to Billy saying, ‘John, Ray and I come over to borrow some of your fire, it’s cold.’ They stoke up the embers into a blaze, cup in the heat and take off to cast their nets in Kiholo Bay, where Ben and I are camping.
It seems only a moment later when Billy comes back saying ‘John, John you have to come and take a picture of our catch!’ So I do. The dawn is just a smear but the birds are talking. We go over to where Billie and Ray have pulled their net up and there are a flippin’ mess of four to six pound fish he lays out side by side for their portrait. I get some good ones of them arranging the fish for their family photo.
Alan and Sandy are there too, Billie rousting them from their sleeping bags. Billie says to pick out the ones we want, so I take a four pounder with a reddish look to its silver scales and take it back to the fire pit to lay out on a rusty grill we’d found in the bush a few days before. Sandy brings over curried lentils from her camp while I get the Kona coffee perking, and in fifteen minutes we are picking fish, chewing lentils, sipping coffee and inhaling smoke. Some quail are in the clearing nearby single-filing around scratching up their breakfast.
Billie says he awoke at 3:18 to see a strobing yellow light holding over the sea with a circular shaft of silver light connecting to the water, turning slowly, a triangle of red lights shifting around within the shaft. He woke up Ray to see it and they watched it for a while, then Billie flashed his LED flashlight at it and the whole thing sped off. Sandy says she and Alan saw this thing four nights before.
Now Billie tells a story about the tiger sharks in the bay and how when he was casting one morning he saw a fin in the water streaking toward something, then a turtle breaks to the surface and the shark hit, tossing it into the air, or the half that is left, the other half turtle swimming in circles.
He tells of how an eel bit his son’s hand so bad it took fifty stitches to reassemble it. He tells how when he was his son’s age his uncle taught him to net fish by observing and doing the heavy labor for three years before allowing Billie to cast a net. It was an art form from way back that had spiritual undertones where the fish gave their lives, rather than have them taken. Billie keeps coming back here to Kiholo Bay to be with that part of his life, the best part, he says. His last name is Kennedy but he is native Hawaiian, talks pidgin. He works as a carpenter, and as a gaffer on the films shot here on location.
Billie drives us in today to the small town down the coast, Ben and Ray tucked in among the fish coolers in the backseat. The old Merc is pretty low to the ground and having a time of it on the dirt roads winding over to the highway. We’ve been camping here going on two weeks and need a few things. Alan, the other camper, spends his days marking the King’s Trail along the lava cliffs with white coral he gathers, marking it for hikers following the coastal hiking trail, and to reestablish it as the ancestral trail it is so new hotels can’t build anywhere close. Law says the trails have to be preserved as part of the Hawaiian heritage. Nearby us is the Paul Mitchell estate and the big house belonging to the inventor of the Pacemaker, so all the surrounding coast and tropical woods, like where we are camped, are protected
Beaches belong to the state, the inland to whoever has to money to buy it. Mitchell’s place nearby is a Bali temple constructed in Bali and reassembled here by the Bali builders. Billie worked on it in the foundation stage. He introduced the Bali builders to power tools. He gave them the power tools to take back and they told him they’d now be able to complete a temple in six months that once took two years. He says he isn’t sure he did them a favor.
Angus Mitchell just inherited his father’s sixty billion and is set to build his own house along the southern perimeter to the coconut grove and river emptying into the bay here. It may mean the end of this as our personal wilderness get-away. Angus’s son is bringing in twenty friends tonight to camp over the weekend, dance, sing, smoke big spliffs, swim and eat. Should be fun to watch.
We hiked to Kiholo Bay from the highway a few miles and it has been good. Ben is a raconteur; it’s like having a young Mark Twain at my side. He’s been living in these islands for a few years, most recently by an avocado grove on another island. Our food is simple, no tobacco or rum, just sweet air, sweet people, sweet turtles, a tropical paradise with occasional weird lights at sea to discuss over spontaneous breakfasts of fresh caught fish.
The other day we were fishing with poles and there were three big turtles having supper right below us on a ledge, eating algae and sea grasses, when a wave threw a Moray eel up on the ledge next to us, maybe seven feet long, big ugly thing. We tried to take a photo but getting nearer on the wet rock in flip-flops wasn’t working. Another wave came in and took it back.
Time has blurred edges here except when we hitchhike to Kona, and can’t wait to get back to fold into the life we left.