Surrounded by ancient lava flows on three sides and the Pacific Ocean on the fourth, the enclave of Waikoloa on the west coast of Hawaii’s Big Island is a destination in itself. And one for me that was very much needed following back-to-back assignments in Japan, Turkey, Israel, and throughout the US.
After weeks on the road, the only driving I wanted to do was in a golf cart.
Flying to Kona, I secured transportation in advance with Big Island Transportation. As we were driven up the coast to Waikoloa past seemingly endless lava fields, dormant Mauna Kea loomed large to our right. At 4,205 m (13,796 ft.) above sea level, its peak is not only the highest point in the Hawaiian Islands, it’s actually the tallest mountain in the world at 10,000 m (33,000 ft.) when measured from its oceanic base.
After checking in at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa it was time to turn in city clothes for a swimsuit and flip-flops. The waves we could hear from our sixth floor balcony were beckoning us to Anaeho’omalu Bay’s white sand beach. I could feel the tension of weeks on the road dissipate with every step toward the sparkling Pacific.
Two days of R&R on the beach restored enough energy to trade in flip-flops for golf shoes. Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed the Ocean Course at the Waikoloa Beach Resort using his Zen inspired “Landscape of Harmony” concept. The renowned golf course architect weaves the course through a dramatic landscape of lava, palm trees, and sand traps. The 7th, – an oceanside dogleg left – is one of the most scenic holes in the game of golf.
One last change of footwear, this time to hiking boots, let’s us take advantage of a walk through lava fields on the Kings’ Trail, examining its ancient stone petroglyphs along the way.
Inevitably the sun had to set on this extended weekend getaway, but what a magical sunset it was.
Photographs and Text © Mark Edward Harris
Mark Edward Harris Photographer Bio
Mark Edward Harris’ editorial work has appeared in publications such as Vanity Fair, Life, GEO, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ Thailand, Tatler Russia, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, and The London Sunday Times Travel Magazine as well as all the major photography and in-flight magazines. His commercial clients range from The Gap to Coca-Cola to Mexicana Airlines. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a CLIO, ACE, Aurora Gold, and Photographer of the Year at the Black & White Spider Awards. His books include Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work, The Way of the Japanese Bath, Wanderlust, North Korea, South Korea, and Inside Iran. North Korea was named Photography Book of the Year at the 2013 International Photography Awards.
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