The Horizon Bicycle Diaries Horizon Guest House – Captain Cook – Big Island – Hawaii

4 Scenic Lookout, Kohala Mtns in back
At Scenic Lookout, Kohala Mountains in the background

Cycling is a big part of my life and a great way to keep fit. Here on the Big Island of Hawaii there are plenty of places to cycle. One of my favorite routes is from Kona, north to Waikaloa. It’s approximately 50 miles and it takes me about 3 hours to complete the ride.

Bicycle diary

1 On the Go FoodHorizon Big Island Hawaii

8 P.M. (previous day)

Preparation is key, so the night before a ride I get everything ready for the next day. One of the most important factors is staying hydrated and having quality nutrition post-ride.

Two bottle of ice-cold water with electrolytes? Check.

Protein shake with banana? Check.

Tuna sandwich? Check.

Homemade museli bar? Check.*

Assorted gels, Cliff bars and salt pills? Double check.

Alarm set for 4 A.M. and early to bed!

(*Look for the recipe in an upcoming blog!)

2 Staging at 6 amHorizon Big Island Hawaii

6 A.M. 

After rising early I drive into Kona to park the car and get the bicycle ready. It gets warm first thing in Kona so I find it’s important to get out as early as I can after sunrise.

3 Kohala MtnsHorizon Big Island Hawaii
Kohala Mountains in the distance

7 A.M

Wide shoulders and long stretches of highway make the route from Kona to Waikaloa (and behind to Kawaihae – if you’re feeling adventurous!) perfect for road cycling. It’s a popular route with local cyclists and is used as part of the Iron Man each year.

5 Maui in distanceHorizon Big Island Hawaii
Scenic Lookout with Maui in the distance

8 A.M.

A quick stop at the Scenic Lookout on the way back from Waikaloa. Time to refuel with a snack and make sure I’m hydrated. Great views are guaranteed for the ride, and on a clear day you can even see all the way to Maui.

6 Kona Coffee and TeaHorizon Big Island Hawaii

9:15 A.M.

Finish line! I arrive back at the car and refuel with a post-ride milkshake and sandwich. The ride is over and I now need a shower (at the local gym) and then a coffee at my favorite local cafe Kona Coffee & Tea.

7 Coffee Time Horizon Big Island Hawaii

9:25 A.M.

We all need a little treat and post-ride mine is a mocha! It’s getting hot in Kona and getting out and riding in the early part of the day has been worth it – time to head back home to Horizon Guest House.

Big Island Cycling

Regardless of your level of cycling, Hawaii is ideal. Riding is possible 365 days a year. Most of the time the weather remains within a very narrow temperature range. Here on the Big Island, we have some of the best cycling conditions to match anywhere else in the world.

Kua Bay, Kona
Kua Bay, Kona

The annual Sea to Stars race is from sea level to the 9,000 ft. level of Mauna Kea. Or, staying along the coast, you can enjoy relatively flat riding (the Kona to Waikaloa route, and also the Ironman route). The scenery goes from lush, dense tropical forest to wide open vistas – my favorite cycling conditions.

Waipio
Waipio Lookout

Rentals

Bicycles can be rented on a daily or weekly basis from Bike Works: http://www.bikeworkskona.com

Or why not have a catered, concierge type experience with Lifecycle Adventures https://www.lifecycleadventures.com As a bonus, if you’re booking with LifeCycle, you can choose to stay at Horizon Guest House as one of your destination points.

e-bike RotoruaLooking for an e-bike? My partner and I tried these out in New Zealand and they were a lot of fun. In Kona these can be rented from a number of outlets including Kona Sports Center.

 

Iron Man

It’s Ironman Triathlon race week here in Kona. The 3-part race on October 12th, is a 2.4 mile ocean swim, followed by a 112 mile bicycle run, and then a full marathon of 26 miles… all done in the same race day! It’s an incredible feat. When people hear that I ride 50 miles in a typical cycling day, they’re amazed – but that is not even half of the bicycle portion of the Ironman!

https://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/world-championship.aspx#/axzz6258oldoC

Cycling on Maui and Kauai

A cycling trip around Haleakala on Maui is memorable. It should definitely include Hana. There’s something about cycling the Road to Hana that’s even better than doing it by car – it brings you that much closer to the natural environment.

Back side of Maui
Cycling on Maui

Kauai also has some great cycling. Until recently, I participated regularly in the Paradise Ride, an annual charity cycling event to benefit Malama Pono Health Services and their work providing essential support and education services for those living with HIV/AIDS.

Since the highways on Kauai are generally coastal, there isn’t much climbing. Also, the county has recently completed a wonderful coastal, paved cycle path of about 8 miles, starting in Lihue and heading toward Princeville.

Charity Fundraiser Kauai
Kauai

Cycling in NZ

In the past few years I’ve been traveling to New Zealand, where I meet my partner, Angus. Luckily, Angus has a passion for fitness, so introducing him to cycling was easy.

Mt. Eden lunch

Also, easy, is the cycling in Auckland. The city has spent hugely on cycle paths to encourage commuting and cycling enjoyment in general.

Auckland

And lastly, what would a cycling blog be without a short video of me and my shadow – shot in Kona.


For more details on Horizon Guest House:

• Check out our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request

Koa: The Big Island’s Magnificent Wood Horizon Guest House – Captain Cook – Big Island – Hawaii

3 Pig board curly Koa Horizon Guest House Big Island Hawaii
Pig board showing example of ‘compression or fire’ very rare even for curly koa

To the casual visitor, Hawaii is sunshine and beaches. But it’s more than that. If you visit often, or for long enough, or are lucky enough to live here, you’ll discover a unique product that is grown only in Hawaii (endemic) – and no, it’s not taro, lilikoi, or even lychee: it’s Acacia koa, simply known here as koa.

6 Plant stand Horizon Guest House Hawaii Big Island
Plant stand by Russ Johnson

In ancient times, it was so prized that it was made kapu, prohibited for anyone to possess except for the royal class (ali’i), by King Kamehameha in the late 1700’s. Upon his death, the kapu was removed, which allowed all Hawaiians to possess this unique wood.

5 Hawaii bowl umeke Horizon Guest House Hawaii
Classic Hawaii bowl or umeke

Similar to black walnut and known for its hardness and extraordinary beauty, the Hawaiians found a wide range of uses for koa, from canoes to household dishes and utensils. When malihini settlers arrived, they discovered that it is also a ‘tonewood’ and could be used to make stringed instruments, such as the ukulele.

7 Curly Koa Pen Horizon Guest House Hawaiijpg
Curly koa ball point pen

Koa trees can attain a height of 50-75 feet and a trunk circumference of 20 feet. They are one of the fastest-growing Hawaiian trees, capable of reaching 20-30 feet in five years.

2 detail of Koa Horizon Guest House Big Island Hawaii
Detail of fine-grained koa

Ideally adapted to volcanic conditions, the larger Hawaiian islands supported huge forests of magnificent koa trees. However, the introduction of cattle, and the resulting clearance of huge swaths for pastures, severely reduced it’s habitat.

Koa trees are not endangered and recent restrictions on cutting, and protecting the seedlings from grazing cattle, sheep, and goats, have increased its population.

BUT! The only koa that can be harvested are dead or decaying koa trees on public lands.

1 Headboard Horizon Guest House Kona Big Island
Headboard, part of 4-poster bed patterned from King Kamehameha’s bed

It can take more than 25 years before a seedling grows into a tree large enough to be useful. In the meantime, it’s a premium wood selling for as much as $150/board. A fine piece of koa furniture, such as a dining table will set you back as much as a small car. There are several galleries on the Big Island that showcase koa pieces, Hawaii Treasure Mill and Harbor Gallery among others.

8 Koa leaf pattern Big Island Hawaii
Quilted bedspread in koa leaf pattern by Sig Zane

I’ve been lucky enough to have lived on the Big Island for years surrounded by McCandless Ranch. Their preservation techniques, practiced over many decades, have resulted in some of the best stands of koa in the state. The trees are stately and beautiful, and the wood from this island is particularly dark and red. The rarest is called ‘curly’, named for its swirly grain patterns. Curly koa is found in only 1% of koa trees.

4 Curly Koa Horizon Guest House Big Island Hawaii
Curly koa

For more details on Horizon Guest House:

• Check out our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request

Portuguese sweet bread French toast + homemade wholegrain cereal bread! Horizon Guest House – Captain Cook – Big Island – Hawaii

French toast Horizon Guest House Hawaii
French toast under lights!

There are two recipes which are considered the ‘most asked for’ from guests who have stayed at Horizon Guest House. The first is usually the whole grain hot cereal which we featured in an earlier blog post, and the second, is our delicious Portuguese sweet bread French toast.

The Portuguese sweet bread I use in this recipe is made locally at the Punalu’u Bake Shop in Naahlehu, near South Point, less than an hour’s drive south of Horizon Guest House. This type of bread was originally brought to Hawaii by Portuguese sugar workers in the 19th century and is still a favorite in Hawaii today.

Don’t worry if you aren’t able to find any Portuguese sweet bread, any egg-rich bread, such as challah, will work just as well.

Challah bread Horizon Guest House Hawaii
Braided egg bread

My partner Angus made this delicious braided egg bread, above, and it worked well for French toast too. For the egg bread recipe click here.

The French toast recipe

First, cut the Portuguese sweet bread into thick (1″ or so) slices.

French toast 1 Horizon Guest House Big Island Hawaii
So good you’ll want to eat it straight away! But don’t – it’s even better as French toast

Soak overnight in the refrigerator in the following custard: (for 6 slices)

Mix the following ingredients well:

6 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1-2 tbs. rum

A pinch of salt

1.5 cup half & half

Pour over the slices and make sure to move them around so the custard soaks in all over the bread.

French toast 2 Horizon Guest House Big Island Hawaii

About an hour before cooking, remove from the refrigerator, turn over and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Fry over a medium heat in a buttered pan until golden. Watch carefully, the sugar can burn. Transfer to the oven and bake at 300 for 15 minutes to finish. If you lower the heat and flip over frequently, you can finish on the stove top.

French toast Horizon Guest House Hawaii
The finished product!

And serve! We have heat lamps here at Horizon to keep it nice and warm for when you arrive for breakfast. And don’t forget to top with all of your favorite toppings.

Our favorite toppings here at Horizon are:

Homemade lilikoi syrup, homemade jaboticaba syrup, homemade mango & ginger jam, and of course maple syrup.

Download the recipe here.

Wholegrain bread made using Clem’s cereal

Fresh bread Horizon Guest House Hawaii Big Island
Fresh from the oven…

This is perfect if you have some left over hot cereal and decide to make bread. Just use your favorite, plain bread recipe. I use about 2 cups of the cereal (at room temp) mixed in with the liquid and yeast before adding the flour. Omit the sugar in your bread recipe as the cereal already has some in it.

Also, this bread mixture works well made into homemade hamburger buns or dinner rolls, as well as a bread loaf.

We would love to hear your feedback. Let us know in the comments below, or in our Facebook post! Happy baking everyone!


For more details on Horizon Guest House:

• Check out our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request

Diving on the Big Island Horizon Guest House – Captain Cook – Big Island – Hawaii

White Sea Urchin
The rare white sea urchin. Kona Coast. 40 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

Diving in Hawaiian waters, whether it’s snorkelling or scuba, has always been regarded as one of the must-do diving experiences. But if you have ever dived in other locations around the world it may not be what you expect… *hint: it’s even better than you could imagine.

Nudibranch Big Island Horizon Guest House
Nudibranch. Big Island. 1 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

What’s different about diving in Hawaii?

The Hawaiian Islands are one of the most remote areas on earth. Not only are the islands isolated but the main Pacific Ocean currents do not intersect around the Hawaiian Island chain. This has meant that there hasn’t been the same current drift that other islands have had, and as a result the islands don’t have the same level of bio-diversity as some of the other island chains. In fact, we are missing the large amount of invertebrates found in other tropical waters.

Soft corals Kona Coast Horizon Guest House Hawaii
Soft corals. Cave diving, Kona Coast. 30 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

Around all the Hawaiian Islands are steep drop-offs into deep water and because of this there are very few shallow reefs to harbor and protect the sensitive sea fans and soft corals.

Juvenile Frog Fish
Juvenile frog fish. Kona Coast. 30 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

Having been a professional diver for many years, I was astounded when I first dived other tropical locations. When I dived in French Polynesia, in particular the Tahitian Islands, I was amazed to see the variety of marine life. Vast fringing reefs formed lagoons rich with colorful clams, soft corals, sea fans, shrimp and crabs.

Green Turtle Honaunau Big Island Horizon BnB
Green turtle. Honaunau, Kona Coast. 15 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

So what IS special about diving in Hawaii?

The Hawaiian Islands not only have indigenous and unique marine life, but of the known 24,000 species of fish in the world:

  • The Hawaiian Islands are home to over 1,100 species
  • Among this number, 149 are native to Hawaii (these include the Hawaiian Whitespotted Puffer and the Potter’s Angelfish)

Diving along the Kona Coast means you’ll be able to see over 40 percent of these native species of fish, almost all of the native corals, as well as the Hawaiian green sea turtle, and all just minutes from entering the ocean – and in as little as 5 feet of water!

Flame Angel Big Island Hawaii
The rare flame angel fish. Big Island. 40 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

Safer Diving

Diving in the Hawaiian Islands is some of the safest diving in the world. There are no sea snakes, box jellyfish or other toxic creatures. The water is warm and clear and the currents are generally slow or non-existent.

Crown of Thorns Starfish
Crown of thorns starfish. Kona Coast. 25 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

The geology can be spectacular, with wondrous caves and beautiful drop-offs.

Manta Kona Coast Big Island Hawaii Horizon BnB
Clem with Manta. Kona Coast. 50 ft depth.

Deep water, pelagic sea creatures can be found relatively close to shore. These include manta rays, dolphins, and even giant whale sharks – don’t worry they’re not dangerous, they’re in fact a docile, plankton feeder. For more detail on the whale shark: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/bigfish.html

Tinker's butterfly Horizon Guest House Big Island
The rare tinker’s butterfly fish. Big Island. 135 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

And there’s always the famous humpback whale! You’re unlikely to encounter this mammal during a dive, but the spectacular displays topside, put on by the whales when they breach, is not to be missed if you happen to be on the island during ‘whale season’ (December to March).

Masked Butterfly Honaunau Big Island Horizon BnB
Masked butterfly fish. Honaunau, Kona Coast. 15 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

Where to dive?

Horizon Guest House is just minutes from one of the best local snorkeling spots – Two Step. We also have masks and snorkels on hand for guests to use.

Big Island Divers

But if you’re looking for a more comphrensive diving and/or snorkeling experience we recommend Big Island Divers. Corrine and the team will help you decide on what experience best suits you, whether it’s snorkeling, either with dolphins or as part of a whale watching trip, or one of the many scuba diving packages. Don’t forget their legendary Kona Manta Ray Night Dive – it’s not to be missed!

For more information on Big Island Divers check out their website www.bigislanddivers.com  and their amazing Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bigislanddivershawaii/


For more details on Horizon Guest House:

• Check out our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request

Sunny : Queen of the Pastures Horizon Guest House – Captain Cook – Big Island – Hawaii

Sunny Horizon Guest House Captain Cook Hawaii

Sunny is a special horse. Not just because she’s so special to us but also because she has an incredible pedrigree.

Her official name is ‘Mirasol’ which means ‘look at the sun’ and she has been with us since 1996, when she came to us from Rancho Del Sueño in California.

Sunny’s Family History

The interesting part of Sunny’s heritage is that it’s traceable to the original horses brought by the Spanish when they first came to the Americas.

Sunny Horizon Guest House Hawaii Big Island

Sunny is unique because she’s a Wilbur-Cruce Colonial Spanish horse. The Cruce horses are direct descendants of horses that came to the New World from Spain in the 1500s. In 1989 the horses on the Wilbur-Cruce ranch were identified as a rare, genetic type – DNA results pointed to their characteristics being ‘Old World Spanish’ and ‘North African Barb’. The original stock of the herd came from Father Kino’s Mission Dolores in Sonora, Mexico. The group of horses had been breed on the ranch for over 100 years prior, having been purchased by the ranch from the Mission.

In 1990 the Wilbur-Cruce family donated the horses to The Nature Conservancy and they, in turn, partnered with a number breeders including Robin Collins at Rancho Del Sueño (where Sunny was born) in order to protect the bloodlines. Since then, Robin has maintained the genetic diversity of the horses via a careful breeding program in order to preserve the integrity of these amazing horses.

Fun Fact! The Wilbur-Cruce horses look very similar to the horses found in a lot of Baroque-era art, and are in fact closer to the horses from this era than those found in Spain today.

https://stablemanagement.com/industry-news-information/spanish-treasures-arizona-cruce-colonial-spanish-horses-25107

Sunny Horizon Guest House Hawaii Big Island

Personality

The breed is known for its intelligence, agility and hardiness. Sunny is no exception. On the boat trip from California to Hawaii she was accompanied by a large herd of goats. The barge tender told me that in the course of the journey Sunny twice untied the latch on the gate and let the goats loose on the barge…

Fiercely competitive Sunny will always seek to be number one. If I’m riding with her in a group situation she will insist on riding in front and won’t be happy until she is!

Time to get new shoes!
Time to get new shoes!

Sunny and the Gang

After Sunny’s best friend, Buck, died a few years ago she decided to ‘adopt’ the donkeys Poncho and Lefty as her new friends – allowing them to keep her company…

She still rules the pastures – Poncho and Lefty know who’s boss – but Sunny is basically now retired. However, she will gladly snack on carrots from the guests and is always happy to have some attention if you just want to spend time petting her and, of course, reminding her of her distinguished pedigree!

Sunny Horizon BnB Kona Hawaii
Buck (left) and Sunny

Support the Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horse

Interested in supporting the preservation of Sunny’s family? Rancho Del Sueño is the equine division of the Heritage Discovery Center, a registered non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the critically endangered Wilbur-Cruce Spanish horse.  Their mission is to save this amazing breed from extinction. To find out more about the great work the ranch does, and to support them, check out the link below. 

www.ranchodelsueno.com

And for more information on the Wilbur-Cruce Spanish horse:

https://stablemanagement.com/industry-news-information/spanish-treasures-arizona-cruce-colonial-spanish-horses-25107


For more details on Horizon Guest House:

• Check out our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request

 

Wild Birds of Horizon: Part I Horizon Guest House – Captain Cook – Big Island – Hawaii

Kalij pheasant Horizon BnB Kona Big Island
Kalij pheasants

It’s not just domesticated animals you’ll see at Horizon Guest House. We have abundant wild bird life here on the property and in this post, part I of II, we’ll feature some of our favorites.

Kalij pheasant

The kalij pheasant was first introduced to Hawaii in 1962. The males are black with grey and the females are light brown. The males have a distinctive red colouring around the eyes with a plume of feathers on their heads.

They grow to be between two to three feet in size. Originally from the Himalaya region in Nepal, it was the owners of Pu’u Wa’awa’a Ranch who first brought the kalij pheasants to the Big Island. You’re most likely to see these birds in forested upland areas, which is why we often see them here at Horizon due to the altitude – we’re at 1,100 feet.

Did you know? Despite it’s size the kalij is sometimes targeted as prey by the io, the Hawaiian hawk!

Red Cardinal
A friendly red cardinal
Red Cardinal

This colorful bird is fairly common on the Big Island. Also known as the northern cardinal, or redbird, it was introduced to Hawaii in 1929.

Cardinals are common in pairs and you’ll often see them in the garden at Horizon. The male is easily identified by his bright red color. The females are brown in color. When you hear birdsong first thing in the morning at Horizon it’s likely to be the cardinal as they are among the first birds to sing at dawn.

Zebra Finch Horizon BnB Kona Big Island
Zebra finch on the lanai
Zebra finch

The zebra finch is a common bird on the property and it might take you a moment to see them. The zebra finch is very small. So-called because of its zebra-like stripes on its neck and chest, and also because of the coloring of its black and white tail.

There can be great variation in the coloring of zebra finches. Generally the male is gray with a black shading around its eye and patches of red on its cheeks as well as a red beak. The female’s beak is more of a pale orange.

Turkey Horizon BnB Kona Big Island
Turkeys in the garden
Turkey

You’ll often see turkeys at Horizon moving in herds. Turkeys were released on the Big Island at the Pu’u Wa’awa’a Ranch in the early 1960s when some wild Rio Grande turkeys were introduced.

Turkeys like the higher elevations and their population has grown significantly since their introduction. Their numbers are estimated at more than 15,000.

Did you know? Turkeys are found on all islands but are more common on the Big Island, Molokai and Lanai than the other islands.

Bird in
Bird in the hand!
Saffron finch

One of our favorites, the saffron finch is commonly found on the Big Island but especially on the Kona Coast. Often seen in large flocks, you’ll find saffron finches congregating around the pond at the entrance to the B&B.


The species of saffron finch on the Big Island are originally from Columbia/Venezuela and were introduced to the Big Island around the same time as the turkeys to the Pu’u Wa’awa’a Ranch.

Did you know? A group of finches has many collective nouns, these include a ‘charm’, a ‘company’ and a ‘trembling’ of finches!

Look out for part II of our feature on the wild birds of Horizon in the future!


For more details on Horizon Guest House:

• Check out our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request

Orchid Extravaganza! Horizon Guest House – Captain Cook – Big Island – Hawaii

Orchid Big Island Horizon Guest House Kona

Guests at Horizon Guest House often ask me ‘what makes Hawaii so special?’ and the first answer that usually comes to mind is ‘the weather’.

The weather on the Big Island is consistent and doesn’t tend to change much throughout the year. The Big Island also has an added bonus – you can pick your weather within a tropical to subtropical range. Actually, you can technically find 10 of the 14 climate zones right here on the island.

Orchid Big Island Horizon Guest House Hawaii

One result of this consistent weather is the ability to grow a huge range of plants and flowers. And one of my favorites is the orchid (orchidaceae).

Orchid Big Island Hawaii Horizon Guest House

The variety of flower formations is astounding. There are about 28,000 currently accepted species and about 100,000 hybrids and cultivars.

Orchids Big Island Hawaii Horizon BnB

Developing new hybrids and cultivars is a huge endeavor on the Big Island – you can see a large number of varieties at the annual orchid show in Hilo sponsored by the Hilo Orchid Society. This year it was held on June 28-30th. I didn’t make it to this year’s show but I have been to many in past years and thoroughly recommend it. For more details check out their website here

Orchid Big Island Horizon Guest House

Fun fact! Another name for the Big Island is the ‘orchid isle’. This is because Hawaii quite quickly got a reputation for excellence in producing orchids. First grown commercially in the early 1900s, Hawaii was dubbed ‘the orchid center of the world’ when the Honolulu Orchid Society exhibited over 20,000 plants in St. Louis at the 1957 World Orchid Conference. Today, orchids are a multi-million dollar industry.

When seeing orchids out in the living room, guests frequently ask how I’m able to have them out all year. Easy – basically I feed and ignore. The weather does the rest!

Orchids Big Island Hawaii Horizon Guest House

The vanilla orchid (not pictured here) is probably one of the most well-known orchids. It is the second-most expensive spice after saffron. That’s because it’s so labor intensive. Two thirds of the world’s vanilla is grown in Madagascar and Indonesia.

I did have a vanilla orchid here at Horizon Guest House, and yes, it did bloom. The problem is that there’s a very specific window when it’s possible to pollenate – and I kept missing the window. And in the end, a turkey ripped the plant off the tree – and that was the end of my vanilla production.

Orchid Kona Big Island Hawaii Horizon Guest House

Native orchids
Jewel orchid. Photo credit: G. Daida and http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/carr/orchidoid.htm
Jewel orchid. Photo credit: G. Daida and http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/carr/orchidoid.htm

There are only three types of orchids native to Hawaii. These are Anoetochilus sandvicensis (the jewel orchid); Liparis hawaiensis (the twayblade orchid); and Platanthera holochila.

Photo credit. Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6150896
Twayblade orchid. Photo credit. Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6150896

The best place to find these orchids in the wild is on a hike at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, or in the wet forests on the east side of the island.

 

Photo credit. J.K. Obata
Platanthera holochila. Photo credit. J.K. Obata

Alternatively, for all things orchid, check out Akatsuka Orchid Gardens not far from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.Orchid Horizon Guest House Captain Cook Hawaii

But sometimes all you need is an orchid and a sunset…


For more details on Horizon Guest House:

• Check out our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request

Clem’s Hot Cereal Recipe: A B&B classic! Horizon Guest House – Captain Cook – Big Island – Hawaii

Cereal recipe Horizon Guest House Big Island Captain Cook

Over the years guests have frequently asked for recipes of items on the Horizon BnB menu. Among the most requested recipes – our wild rice hot breakfast cereal! It’s sometimes called muesli, granola or oatmeal – the name varies from region to region.

So why is it so good?

First off, it happens to be really healthy for you. The combination of whole grains is extensive. Grains take time for your body to digest. This gives you a constant energy boost without the ‘quick hit’ of processed carbs and sugar found in many other traditional breakfast cereals. The recipe is also variable. If you have a favorite grain you can add it, or substitute it for one already in the recipe.

Second, it’s very easy to prepare. Prep time is around 15 minutes. It’s oven baked and needs only one hour of attention, after that the cool-down in the oven finishes the baking.

Third, it keeps really well. You can store the cereal in containers in the refrigerator for days – heating only what you want to use that day. Longer storage in the freezer for weeks or months at a time means you can prepare a larger batch and have a supply on hand.

Fourth, it tastes good. Just the basic recipe is delicious. Add nuts, milk/cream, maple syrup, etc. to notch it up. Combine with fresh fruit of almost any kind and you have the perfect healthy breakfast.

Fifth, it’s adaptable, you can make this gluten free if needed – just substitute buckwheat for the bulgar/whole wheat in the basic recipe.

How to put it all together:

The basic recipe calls for mixing all of the ingredients in a shallow baking dish (such as a 9 x 13 cake pan).

Cereal Horizon Guest House Captain Cook Hawaii
Start with a shallow baking dish

Add all the ingredients to the pan.

Breakfast Cereal recipe Horizon BnB Big Island Hawaii
Arranging ingredients in a nice pattern is optional 🙂

Add the boiling water and then stir.

Cereal recipe Horizon B&B Big Island Hawaii
Just add water!

Then cover with foil and bake at 350F oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and uncover – careful, that’s a hot dish you’re working with. Add sufficient water so that when stirred it has a loose consistency. Make sure to scrape any baked-on bits into the slurry.

Cover and return to oven, then turn off oven, and leave overnight, or at least 4-5 hours, to finish hydrating the grains.

Cereal recipe Horizon Guest House Big Island Captain Cook
Restaurant-quality cereal!

Decant into storage containers and when cool enough, refrigerate or freeze in smaller containers for long term storage. Enjoy!

Don’t forget the extras

Some extra grains I like to add:

Kalmut: an ancient grain rich in zinc, magnesium and selenium. It’s known as a ‘high-energy grain’ because of its high percentage of lipids.

Quinoa: a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids

Spelt: high in fiber and protein it’s easier to digest than wheat

Rye: a good source of soluble fiber, vitamin E, calcium, iron and potassium.

Flax: high in omega-3 fatty acids and lignans (which have plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities).

The basic recipe is included below or click here to download the PDF.

How did your cereal turn out? Did you add any extra grains? We would love to hear your feedback! Let us know in the comments section below, or leave a comment on our Facebook post.

Wild Rice Cereal

8 c water
1/2 c wild rice
1/2 c pearl barley
1/2 c steel-cut oats
1/2 c bulgar wheat
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c chopped pitted dates 1/4 c dark brown sugar
3 tbs butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter 2 1/2 qt ovenproof dish. In prepared dish, mix wild rice with remaining ingredients. Add water [I use boiling water to shorten the bake time]. Cover with foil and bake until grains are tender, water is absorbed and cereal is creamy [about 1 1/2 hours]. *About mid-way through, I usually take it out and add more water if needed & also stir. Store in refrigerator when cool and reheat servings as needed. May be frozen.

 


For more details on Horizon Guest House:

• Check out our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request

Big Island Lava and the Hawaiian Diamond Horizon Guest House – Captain Cook – Big Island – Hawaii

A'a and Pahoehoe Big Island Horizon BnB
A’a and Pahoehoe lava

Hawaii is a series of islands composed, primarily, of lava. Lava isn’t all the same. Two main types are A’a (ah-ah) and pahoehoe (paw-hoey-hoey). There is also a third type, but you’re not likely to encounter it as it forms during submarine eruptions, this is called ‘pillow’ lava.

The dynamics of a lava flow generally dictate which type of lava forms. A’a lavas are associated with high discharge rates and steep slopes, while pahoehoe flows are associated with lower discharge rates and gentle slopes. Geology aside, pahoehoe is usually darker and a’a tends to be lighter and brownish to reddish. The reddish comes from oxidation of the iron to iron oxide.

Pahoehoe tends to be smooth. You can generally walk on it without shoes. A’a on the other hand is chunky and sharp  – think of the sound you’d make when trying to walk on it bare foot!

Two Steps Big Island Hawaii Captain Cook Horizon Guest House
Two Steps

If you snorkel at Two Steps, only minutes from Horizon Guest House and adjacent to Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, or Place of Refuge, you’ll find yourself walking over smooth pahoehoe before entering the water.

Black sand Horizon Guest House Honaunau Captain Cook Hawaii
Black sand

When the lava is broken up into fine grains we end up with a black sand. However, when the mineral olivine is present in large enough quantities, and is packed into a sedimentary formation, natural erosion creates a green sand beach.

In the photo below is the ‘famous’ Green Sand Beach – also called Papakōlea Beach. This unique beach is located about two miles from the southern most point of the Big Island, South Point, and is approximately an hour’s drive south of Horizon Guest House.

Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Horizon B&B Captain Cook
Papakōlea Beach – green sand beach

Papakōlea Beach is one of only four green sand beaches in the world, the other three are in Guam, Galapagos Islands and Norway.

The cliff in the background of the photo is a loose, sedimentary formation containing a relatively large amount of olivine as fine crystals. The green crystals are mixed with black (lava) and white (coral/shells) sand and, as a result, some patches of sand are greener than others.

How to get there

To get to Papakōlea Beach involves a drive and a hike (but it’s well worth the extra effort).

  1. Take the road to ‘South Point’ between mile markers 69 and 70 on Hwy 11 (between Kona and Volcano Village). Drive to the small harbor at the end. On the left hand side there is a car park.
  2. Walk from the car park to the ocean and take the road to the left (facing the water, toward the east). Follow the road with the ocean on your right for approximately 2.5 miles. At this point you will be above the beach. Next, make your way carefully along the lava cliff on the west side of the bay.

Tip: Leave early and try to make the trip on a weekday to avoid the crowds.

You can see in the next photo how green the olivine sand is. There is also a lava rock with olivine occlusions, and a bracelet made from larger olivine crystals.

Peridot Horizon BnB Hotel Captain Cook Hawaii
Olivine sand and lava

Fun fact! A type of olivine is peridot (also found in meteorites) and is a gem quality stone. Peridot is also referred to locally as ‘Hawaiian Diamond’. Found in only a fraction of the olivine deposits, it is the birthstone for the month of August – so happy birthday to all you August babies out there!

Strange but true! When lava is ejected into the air, it can form an usual solid lava that has an uncanny resemblance to petrified wood. These samples below came from the Hualalai mountain, which is the mountain you see when you land at the Kailua-Kona airport.

Solid lava Hawaii Big Island Horizon Guest House
Solid lava almost identical to petrified wood!

 

For more details on Horizon Guest House:

• Check out our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request

Donkey Life: BFFs Poncho and Lefty Horizon Guest House – Captain Cook – Big Island – Hawaii

Donkey Big Island Hawaii B&B
Poncho and Lefty strike a pose

Over ten years ago we added to the Horizon animal family with the first of two donkeys. Poncho was the first addition and soon after we added Lefty. Both donkeys were born in the wild but were captured when they were young. They’re quite tame and love being fed with carrots by the guests.

They look so much alike that while we can’t be certain we’re pretty sure they’re twins! They’re inseparable and you’ll often find them grazing the pastures together at Horizon Guest House, with our horse Sunny not far behind. Sometimes Clem will let Poncho, Lefty and Sunny graze in the upper part of the garden where they like to come visit, keeping us company as we garden.

Donkey Big Island Hawaii Horizon BnB
Lefty

Donkeys don’t need to be shoed like horses. Donkeys tend to have tougher hooves. This is most likely because of their wild ancestor, the African Wild Ass, that evolved in dry, mountainous environments. Studies have shown that walking causes less internal stress to the hoof of the donkey than it does to that of horses. Though this doesn’t stop Poncho and Lefty from coming to hang out with Sunny when she gets her new shoes.

Did you know? Donkeys are smart. Not only is a donkey stronger than a horse of a smilier size, but donkeys have an amazing memory – they can recognise environments, as well as other donkeys, from more than twenty years prior. And just in case you thought donkeys looked less than alert, they’ve been shown to be safety conscious too – tests have proven a donkey will not do something it thinks is unsafe. Although, there was that time that Poncho and Lefty… wait – never mind. After all it wasn’t Poncho and Lefty who ended up in the swimming pool like Buck did…

Donkeys don’t like dogs so much and this might be an evolutionary hangover. It’s been suggested that to a donkey a dog resembles a wolf and therefore remains a threat. Donkeys will often protect the herd from anything it considers to be dangerous, whether that herd includes other donkeys, horses, sheep or goats.

Donkey Big Island Horizon B&B
Lefty checking in with Gary the Goat

Origins of donkeys on the Big Island of Hawaii

Originally brought to Hawaii as work animals on coffee farms and agricultural plantations, their population soon increased and wild donkeys were, until relatively recently, a common sight.

Wandering over the Big Island unchecked for almost the last 40 years, it was only in 2016 that the Humane Society had a big drive to place the remainder of these donkeys into safe, happy homes, either here on the Big Island or even on the mainland. Wild donkeys can be challenging to train so it was a requirement that all those that adopted donkeys could provide ample space and social contact for the animal.

And the key requirement of adopting a donkey? You’ve got to have two! Donkeys are incredibly social animals, so if they can’t have another donkey to keep them company then another animal is a must.

Make time during your stay to visit with our farm animals – they love the company, a scratch under the chin and a friendly pat, and of course a vegetable snack! We always have something on hand to feed them, just ask Clem and he’ll be happy to introduce you to BFFs Poncho and Lefty as well as Horizon’s other domesticated residents.

Donkey Big Island Hawaii Horizon B&B
The whole gang! Sunny taking some time out while Poncho and Lefty stand by

 


 

For more details on Horizon Guest House:

• Check out our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request