Kona Classic, Day 1

Filed under: — Anastasia @ 11:45 pm

We had a very long day today; it started at 2:30am Hawaiian time (“only” 5:30am pacific time, that is). The plane ride wasn’t any worse than usual, aside from the incredibly squished United seats – I’d actually just forgotten how low on legroom they are, and I’m not even the kind of person that really requires that much legroom! (I do, however, require significantly more hip room than they provide.)

We landed in Kona in the afternoon to clouds and drizzle, though everyone assured us the weather had been beautiful until just now. After checking in at our hotel, the Royal Kona Resort, we drove back up the road to Bubba’s Burgers. Walking in the back way, we chuckled at some of their goofy little signs – stuff like the “eat and get out” motto that used to be plastered all over Ed Debevic’s in Beverly Hills. So when we got to the counter and saw big “Sold Out” stickers stuck next to all the hamburger-related items, at first we thought it was some sort of joke. The person at the counter said, “As you know, today’s our last day of business – so we’re out of hamburgers! We’ll understand if you go somewhere else.”

As we know? We would know this HOW? As we drove away, we double-checked – no “going out of business” signs anywhere in sight. We got our burgers across the street.

We checked in at Jack’s Diving Locker and dropped off all our gear, then made a quick dash to the grocery store for snacks and drinks before showering and heading to the opening reception for the Kona Classic.

We were greeted with goody bags full of stickers, license plate holders, towels, etc, all from the various sponsors of the Kona Classic – and some very uncomfortable plastic leis that we were all made to wear. There was free food, free booze, and a chance to meet all our fellow photographers, as well as the photo pros who would be diving alongside us. Dave showed up with the housing he’s loaning me for the week (do I owe him a favor or what?), and we got to meet his wife Tee as well.

Dave and Tee shared some of the difficulties of home ownership on the big island. On a day when someone was supposed to come paint the house, the guy never showed up. The next day, he turned up with massive bruising all over his leg. When Dave asked where he’d been, the guy told him the surf had been up, so he couldn’t come to work! Not at all unusual out here; these people have their priorities straight.

Afterwards, we went to the opening presentation (rules, some slides, more slides, a raffle, etc). There were some gorgeous presentations by the pros, and it all would have been great fun – except that we’d been up for long enough, and Jeff and I were starting to drag. We finally escaped just in time for Dave to show me how to set up the housing, before we dragged our sleepy selves to bed.

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