Getting to the Big Island, 2021

It’s a short taxi ride to the SFO airport from the El Rancho Inn, but a bit farther to get on the plane to Hawaii in this age of Covid. When we made our plans to visit Hawaii, Covid was abating in the US, and our Moderna vaccinations were believed to keep us from serious illness. That’s still the case, but infection rates are soaring among people who have held back from getting vaccinated. Since some of those people travel, airlines are becoming sensitive to an individual’s vaccination status. The state of Hawaii sees a lot of coming and going, and has instituted requirements for visitors to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test.  

After a smooth check-in for our direct flight on United, we went to the Hawaii Pre-Screening area, gate F15-16. We showed our age at the pre-screening stop. Our goal was a wristband that would let us pass the Covid screening upon arrival in Kona. We had our vaccine cards and our IDs, and we had filled out the information as required on travel.hawaii.gov—all we needed was the QR code that they send passengers on the day of their flight. We hadn’t received our codes. To try and find them, we had to go to the website via our phones (we usually do this on a laptop) and log in. Who remembers their password? I sat near a very patient gate agent resetting my password to travel.hawaii.gov and misspelling my email address several times in the process. As the minutes ticked by and our boarding time approached, I finally logged in to a page, but saw no code. In desperation, I passed my phone to the agent who clicked a few more options and found it. After scanning the holy grail of QR, she passed my phone back to me, suggesting I save a screenshot of the code. I had to look up how to take a screenshot, as I mostly save them accidentally. However, Success! Our wristbands attached, we headed for our nearby gate, noticing that the line for pre-screening was now much, much longer than when we arrived. Our pre-screening worked, if not smoothly, and we arrived at our gate with a few minutes before the start of boarding.

View of Maui as we descended to land in Kona, Hawaii

I have only flown through Honolulu on one trip, but that was enough. Our direct flight from San Francisco to Kona was an easy five hours in the air. With three hours of time change between the west coat and Hawaii, we arrived only two hours after we took off. Our wristbands allowed us to go straight to baggage claim. Jonathan’s bag was just about the last item off the plane, but it appeared, and we caught a shuttle to the car rental area and picked up our gigantic Chevy Tahoe. It will hold all our visitors in the coming weeks.

An hour later we were at the Kohala Grown Market getting a few items for dinner and breakfast. Our host advised us to stop in before getting to the house, because all the stores close at 6 pm and we could get stranded without supplies. It was good advice, as we pulled in to the store at 5:45 pm. Shortly thereafter, we met our hosts Tom and Samarra, got a tour of the basics and settled down to have a bite to eat after an extended day.

The house is large and comfortable, with a view of the ocean in the distance across pastures of young animals. We’re on the dry side of the island, full of cattle ranches.

We went out by the pool to look at the stars, and even on a partially cloudy evening, the view was remarkable.

The house has lots of recliners in the TV room, a long lap pool, and an orchard with mango, lime, orange, and avocado trees. It’s going to be a good month.

It’s windy this week, which keeps the humidity at bay. With all the screen doors open, we’re comfortable, and can hear the doves and sand grouse calling in the morning. Aloha!

Published by winifredcreamer

I am a retired archaeologist and I like to travel, especially to places where you can walk along the shore or watch birds. My husband Jonathan and I travel for more than half the year every year, seeing all the places that we haven't gotten to yet.

6 thoughts on “Getting to the Big Island, 2021

  1. This looks like a perfect landing spot for you both! It has all the essentials–hope to follow in your footsteps one of these days! Warm wishes from seaglass beach in PG

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