It was a busy week. A couple Saturdays ago I caught a 5:30am flight from California to Kona, Hawaii (the big island) following what ended up being the worst night of sleep in recent memory. I flew to Hawaii to observe on the Keck Telescopes, which means after a day of flying and a three hour time-change, I still had to stay up until midnight to ease into a nocturnal existence. That’s 3am PST, and on 2 hours of sleep you might forgive me that my first day in Hawaii was a blur. What I do remember is the surprisingly desolate landscape around Kona and some unbelievably beautiful beaches. And what else does one do to stay awake but go swimming? A snorkel was bought, tested, and quickly abandoned due to persistent waves, but I was perfectly content floating in the ocean staring at the cloudy sky (because in Hawaii, my friends, you can still go swimming when the sun don’t shine).
The food was good too, I might add. Being friends with Italians has its benefits, number one being that they know where to find good food. I was prepared to put up with normal observing fare, which generally consists of anything that comes pre-made from a grocery store or that can be cooked in under 15 minutes, but oh no, even the little town of Weimea (from which we do our observing) has multiple good restaurants and at least one funky coffee shop. Saffron, Marriman’s (for lunch), and Weimea Coffee Company (two words: coconut macaroons) are all worth frequenting.
Unfortunately the mountain weather did not cooperate, and both our observing nights were cancelled. The silver lining of wasting much of the last few weeks preparing for this observing run is that as soon as we learned we were not going to be able to observe, at all, we high-tailed it back to the beach (Hapuna instead of Mauna Kea this time).