Home Up Waikoloa Village


Rick and Marla's Visit to Waikoloa

Story Written by Rick Archer
November 2013

Can you spot Marla hiding in the shadows?   Marla and I visited Waikoloa Village on the second port stop of our Hawaii 2013 cruise.  Waikoloa is a fascinating man-made oasis amid the barren lava fields created by the nearby Mauna Kea volcano.  We all know the Arabs are making islands out in the Persian Gulf, but this reclamation project is pretty impressive in its own way.

I admire any man who can observe a wasteland and visualize a garden.  I admire a man even more if he can somehow create that garden!  Sure enough, right in the middle of the most desolate moonscape area imaginable, lush golf courses explode from the ashes like a phoenix rising. 

Nor are they done yet.  New golf courses are being created as I type.  And when the newest golf course is finished, another multi-million dollar set of resort homes and more lavish malls will surely spring up alongside. 

Google Earth is such an amazing gift.  This picture taken from space reveals the enormous extent of the damage done to the environment by the lava flow from Mauna Kea.

The last eruption of this volcano took place between 4,000 and 6,000 years ago.  One would imagine that in 6,000 years, surely vegetation would take hold again.

However, that sea of brown indicates nothing exists in this barren no man's land... except for those two mysterious green spots on the coast. What could those green spots represent??

Golf courses!!

Using Google Earth, here is an enlargement of the smaller picture above it.  Nine holes of a new golf course development have been carved out of the lava fields.  What you see is topsoil laid atop crushed lava beneath.

In fact, those patterns contain a hint of green.  This means they have already begun to grow grass.  How cool is that?

Another pattern that shows up are the future roads.  And what about all that empty space? 

I imagine that is where the new homes, the malls and the rest of the infrastructure is scheduled to be built. 

So while the golf course slowly turns green, a new resort community will come to life alongside. 

Of course neither you nor I can afford these sort of homes or exclusive club memberships, but it is still fun to know they exist and that someone is having the time of their life chipping, putting and driving their way to golf happiness. 

One could honesty wonder if golf courses are part of the Divine Plan. 

Mauna Kea's last eruption was at least 4,000 years ago.  When you compare the progress of Mother Nature to the Gods of Golf, one has to assume the Gods of Golf are getting it done a lot faster.

They brought tons of dirt in, added plenty of grass seed, planted some trees and look at it now.

The entire area around Waikola is nothing but barren lava rocks. To see a green carpet laid over this desolation is very impressive.

Laurence Rockefeller is the pioneer given credit for bringing the resorts to the Big Island.  He hired Robert Trent Jones to build the first golf courses in the area in 1965 as part of his new Mauna Kea Resort (7 miles north of Waikoloa).

Jones is credited with developing the technique of first crushing and compressing the jagged lava rocks, then covering the surface with a thick layer of topsoil. 

With proof that these artificial playgrounds were indeed possible to create and sustain, other developers flocked to the same area. 

The Hilton at Waikoloa Village was opened in 1988. It became a Hilton property in 1993.  I wrote a fairly extensive History of Waikoloa prior to our trip.

Waikoloa's design wraps it around a picturesque ocean inlet.  There are four separate hotel areas. Those three circles at the top are the Ocean Towers.  That odd Y-shaped building is the Palace Tower.  Then comes the Grand Promenade overlooking the lagoon.  That is the Lagoon Tower overlooking the swimming pool area.

Waikoloa was there first, but since its opening an extensive amount of extremely valuable real estate has risen around the resort including a mall and private homes. 

Now that I have actually visited the place, I suspect that someone had the clever idea to build a long 500-yard breakwater landmass across the inlet.  Study the two pictures.  I cannot imagine an area blasted by eons of huge Pacific waves would have a narrow, fragile tongue of sand and rock extending across the inlet.  Surely that would have eroded away long ago.  In fact, that barrier is so convenient that I cannot believe is a marvelous accident of nature.  I am fairly sure it is man-made.

I imagine one reason to create that barrier would be to perhaps calm the ocean waters and to protect the buildings from water damage.  Another reason would be to create protected water areas. 

Count them - there are three separate protected areas.  1 - The light blue areas are swimming pools.  2 - The area directly in front of the Lagoon Tower is a dolphin enclosure.  3 - The larger area to the right of the Lagoon Tower is the lagoon itself complete with saltwater from the Pacific.

Note how calm the waters are.  Thanks to the artificial barrier, the lagoon area has a marvelous beach and protected waters perfect for paddleboats and kayaks.  Best of all, dozens of giant sea turtles visit this area all day long.  They have access to the Pacific Ocean if they wish, but these turtles seem perfectly happy to hang out in the lagoon.  Don't tell anyone, but I suspect that someone feeds them.  That would be one very good reason to hang around.

In my opinion, that artificial barrier adds immense quality to the overall design.  By cutting the inlet down to size, the barrier creates a beautiful walkway and several protected water sections while preserving the overall natural beauty of the ocean inlet. 

That sandy beach in the picture rests on the inside portion of the 500-yard artificial sea barrier.  With it, one has a perfectly landscaped private lagoon complete with fish and sea turtles.  Without it, there are huge waves, rough waters, and no sandy beach.  Someone was a genius to create this design.

The Lagoon and the sandy beach

Rick and Marla's Long Walk

The main objective of our day was to visit the Waikoloa Hilton and see how well it matched up with the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

Back in December 2012, I visited with the Clark family over the Christmas Holidays.  Allen and Polly Clark were a second family to me when I was growing up.  Back when I was a kid, I spent many wonderful days at their home playing Risk with Shari, Margaret, and Jimmy.  Considering Allen had been a conscientious objector during World War II and the Clark family were peace-loving Quakers, it never even dawned on me just how tolerant the Clarks were to allow their children to play this goofy war game over and over again.

Now you can guess why I love Allen and Polly so much.  Despite my flaws, they both had a huge heart for a lost kid like me who really needed a family. 

Shari, the oldest daughter, is the closest person I have to a sister.  Shari is an flight attendant for United (formerly Continental) who calls Hawaii her home base.  Shari had read my story about Atlantis.  She commented to me that there was a place on the Big Island known as "Waikoloa" that was very similar to Atlantis. Maybe I should visit Waikoloa on my upcoming Hawaii Cruise.

And that's how it started. I took one look at the pictures of Waikoloa on the Internet and readily agreed it was very beautiful.  Marla was impressed as well.  We agreed to use our port stop in Kona to make a visit. 

The Waikoloa Lagoon and the Grand Promenade


So how far did we walk??  Using the Ruler Tool in Google Earth, I retraced our path as best I could.  I estimate we covered about two and a half miles over a three hour span.  Since Marla and I walk three miles a day in Memorial Park in slightly less than an hour,  by our standards this particular walk was not much of a challenge. 

To be honest, we had planned to walk further.  There was a great deal of development outside the Waikoloa Village that invited exploration.  For example, I would have enjoyed walking along one of the nearby golf courses to take a look at the magnificent Trophy Homes overlooking the course.  In fact, that was my plan when I finally reached the golf course next to the Ocean Tower.  Unfortunately, I was nursing a giant throbbing toothache which greatly reduced my ambition.  

By the time we made it to the golf course, I was in so much pain that I looked at Marla and said we should probably head back. 

If it hadn't been for the magic of Alka Seltzer Cold Medicine, I can't imagine how I would have accomplished as much as I did.

That said, even in my diminished state, I was able to scoff at the commuter train and the water taxis that connected the far-flung structures.  The walking distance between the four main structures was just barely over half a mile.

Then Marla reminded me not everyone is lucky enough to be able to walk like we do.  I frowned.  Good point, Marla.

Actually, now that I think back, we did spend a considerable amount of time with extra walking.  However, it wasn't 'fun'.  In order to save time, we walked a mile from where the cruise ship tender dropped us off to the car rental place. 

This is a trick that Marla developed to beat the crowds at car rental places.  We have learned that we are hardly the only people who desire to rent a car.  Marla had discovered a taxi ride to Waikoloa would cost $90 plus tip = $100.  That would be $200 round trip.  On the other hand, a rental car would cost $50.  This was such an obvious no-brainer that Marla assumed lots of cruise passengers would reach a similar conclusion. 

The biggest advantage to taking a taxi would be to save a considerable amount of time.  We figured if we waited for the shuttle, then we would also have to stand in line at the rental place.  Typically one person slowly fills out the paperwork for ten to fifteen different waiting customers.  Waiting for a shuttle and waiting in line at the car rental office can take up to an hour's time. (Note: we confirmed this one day later in Maui. At 5 miles, it was too far to walk.)

Since we didn't have any time to spare, Marla suggested we beat the crowd by walking.  Sure enough, when we got off the tender, there was a huge crowd at the pier waiting for the shuttles to arrive to transport them to the car rental spots.  So Marla and I hoofed one mile.  It took us 15 minutes.  We were out of there before anyone else even showed up.  Nice move, Marla.

It took us about 30 minutes to drive to Waikoloa.  After parking and wandering onto the grounds, the first interesting spot we visited was Area 1, the swimming pools.  It took about one instant to reach the conclusion the swimming pool area was very attractive.

Those palm trees are planted into the artificial barrier I wrote about.  The Pacific Ocean is just beyond those trees.

I believe where Marla is standing marks the edge of the original coastline.  I think there used to be seawater where that pool is.  By placing the artificial barrier on the other side and draining the seawater, they were able to install these swimming pools between the barrier and the original shoreline.

We crossed that rope bridge to the other side of the swimming pool area.  We are now standing on the "artificial barrier". 

This was my first look at the ocean.  That is not white sand.  Those are white rocks.  They are clearly there for decoration, not for walking on.


Marla wanted to take a swim.  However, I didn't join her because I was starting to feel bad from the toothache.  Instead I pulled a lawn chair under a palm tree and stared out at the ocean.  Then I saw movement in the shrubbery.

It turned out to be a mongoose.  I thought I had witnessed something special, but I ended about seeing six more of animals that day.  They love hiding in the thick shrubbery that covers the resort

The Mongoose was introduced to Hawaii in 1883 in order to control the rat population on sugarcane plantations.  There were no rats in Hawaii until the European ships began to arrive on a regular basis.  Now the damn rats were multiplying like crazy and destroying the valuable sugarcane crops.

Unfortunately, the addition of the mongoose to the ecosystem backfired badly.  For starters, the rat population was barely affected.  The rats operated at night and the mongooses operated by day.  Their paths almost never crossed.

Meanwhile the mongoose population exploded.  The introduction of the mongoose came to haunt the islands.  Now the island had not one, but two scavengers on its hands.   The mongoose threatened the survival of various native species, particularly the birds. 

Unwilling to chase the rats, the mongoose scavenged by day for whatever food it could find.  Meanwhile the nene, Hawaii's state bird, lays its eggs on the ground.  Guess who ate all the bird eggs?  And why do you suppose the nene is stupid enough to lay its eggs on the ground? 

Because there was not a single egg predator on the islands until the mongoose was introduced and the nene was too slow to adapt. 

Not surprisingly, today the nene is practically extinct while the rat and mongoose populations flourish.   (read more about it)


The time had come to leave the swimming pool area.  Now we entered Area 2, the dolphin pond in front of the Lagoon Tower.  We were curious about the dolphins, but were more interested in seeing the rest of the resort first, so we kept going.  We would catch the dolphins on the way back.

Here is a good look at the Lagoon Tower and a dolphin crossing the pool.

I took this picture of the ocean inlet and the Ocean Tower across the water from the artificial barrier.  I was standing where the Red 2 is marked on the map above.

So what are we seeing in the picture above?   These are the waters of the ocean inlet.  This is known as "Waiulua Bay".  These waters are fairly shallow, but no one likes to swim because the bottom is extremely rocky. 

Without special shoes, the chances of cutting your feet are very high.  Most people prefer to swim in the resort's man-made sandy bottom lagoon nearby.

So how wide is this bay?  It is approximately 100 yards across.

I was standing where the Red 2 when I took this picture.  The building on the hill in the very center of the picture is known as the Palace Tower.  I marked the Palace Tower with the Red X

Try to identify in the photo the spot I have marked with the Red Y.   That spot is the "secret passage" where the saltwater of the Bay merges with the saltwater of the Lagoon.  That opening is very narrow... only 20 yards wide.

Earlier I spoke of how the artificial barrier extends deep into the bay to create protected waters.  This is what I was referring to.  I believe the "man-made lagoon" and the bay were once a single body of water. 

My guess is the configuration of the bay in the days before the artificial barrier was created looked something like the picture on the right.  Using the artificial barrier, they were able to extend land deep into the bay, fill the bottom in with sand and create an artificial sandy beach in the process.

When the process was complete, the resort now had a beautiful lagoon with calm waters, a sandy bottom perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and a sandy beach for the sun bathers to relax on.  Then they landscaped the entire surrounding area to create the area in the picture below.  Well done! 

Compare the two pictures.  I believe the original bay was much wider.


This waterfall was located exactly where the Red Area 3 is inside the Lagoon.


As I took pictures, Marla suddenly got very excited about something and told me to hurry over.  Lo and behold, a sea turtle!!   Little did I know at the time, but this lagoon was teeming with these green sea turtles.

Meanwhile, just a few feet away, I noticed a young girl had gotten in trouble for trying to play with one of the turtles.  The life guard came over and chewed that little girl out something fierce.  Don't touch the turtles!!

That bridge across the way covers the "secret passage" where the saltwater from Waiulua Bay merges with the saltwater of the protected lagoon.  That bridge connects the artificial barrier to the mainland.

One of the very attractive features of the resort is are the double bridges that connect everything together.  I am standing at Red 4 as I take these pictures.  Note the water canal that carries the water taxi.  I think that water canal was man-made, but I think they had to dig a trench to create it.

Here is the second bridge.  Behind that bridge is the Hidden Cove.  I suppose this would be a good time to admit I got a real kick studying how sometimes the designers worked with what Mother Nature gave them and other times manipulating the landscape to their own will.

Here is a Google Earth view of the complicated Double Bridge set-up. 

Note what a difference there is in the water inside the secret passage and outside the secret passage. 

This picture gives a very good view of the man-made artificial barrier that juts across the bay to seal off the lagoon area. That barrier protects the lagoon from giant waves.

This picture also gives an idea how the monorail and the water taxi system work.  The two paths run side by side.

Someone pointed out they could cross the entire resort on foot in 15 minutes or less if they put their mind to it, but when you consider the babies, all the small children and the elderly, these travel conveniences begin to make more sense.


The Hidden Cove

This is part of the Grand Staircase which is part of the Main Lobby.  It overlooks the Lagoon just twenty yards or so from the huge waterfall.


On the "mainland" side of the secret passage bridge resides a lovely wedding chapel.  Marla is taking a picture of Waiulua Bay from the side of that chapel.

The Wedding Chapel is small and very elegant.  And one certainly could not ask for a prettier view!!

At this point, Marla and I are standing at Red Area 5.  We have just crossed the "Second Bridge" and visited the Wedding Chapel. 

Now we are on the other side of the bay close to the distinctive three-rings of the Ocean Tower

Here we begin to encounter all sorts of statues and lots of mongooses... or is the plural of mongoose 'mongeese'?   If I get it wrong, please forgive me.


Alongside the Ocean Tower is a series of shallow pools perfect for small children.   I called this area "Kiddieland".

There were all kinds of statues celebrating some mouse.  I never quite figured out the significance of those mouse statues, but there were about a dozen of them.

Later someone suggested they were statues commemorating each of the animals representing a Chinese year.  I will take their word for it.


Once we reached Red Area 6, I was able to get a good shot of the artificial barrier on the other side of Waiulua Bay.   This gives us a pretty good look at the decorative white rocks that help prevent erosion from the barrier.

As I said before, the distance to the other side is about 100 yards, the length of a football field.

No matter which tower one stays in, the views are pretty amazing.  There is immense beauty in every single part of the resort.

Where we were standing now gave us our best look at the Pacific Ocean so far.  Very beautiful indeed. 

I wondered what was on the other side of the Ocean Tower, so I wandered over there. 

That is when I spotted what must surely be Shangri-la for some people - Trophy homes situated on a golf course amidst the most beautiful scenery in the world.

I had to cross that lava field on my way to the golf course.  It was first lava rock I had been near all day.  I was glad I saw it because it served as a grim reminder what the rest of this place once looked like.  As beautiful as Waikoloa is, the truth is that Waikoloa is a small pearl in a vast sea of barren, practically useless land.  99% of the surrounding area is still little more than wasteland. 

I passed right by this delicate shrub that had been planted inside the lava field.  If you look closely, you will see that the shrub has a circle of rocks around it.  In addition someone has also added topsoil.  Since rain is so scarce in this region, I wondered if this plant could survive on its own.  This area is very arid; hopefully this plant has a friend who comes to water it.

Unbeknownst to me, Marla documented my trip to the nearest golf green.

Here I am taking pictures of the golf course.  So what did I see?

I saw stunning trophy homes with perfect views of the Pacific.  I saw a beautiful green golf course surrounded by elegant palatial homes.  

One day in 2008 my son-in-law Glenn politely encouraged me to try me a round of golf.  Heck, why not?  I'll try anything once.  I hit one incredible drive on my first try and everyone thought I had been sandbagging them.  No, just got lucky.

I didn't hit another decent shot the entire day.  I was so aggravated I haven't tried again.  I suppose if I put my mind to it, I could learn to play golf.  However, everyone I know tells me the game is very addictive.  Since I have far too many unfinished goals to risk the distraction, I do my best to resist its charms.

That said, I definitely respect the people who love to play golf. I met several people on our Hawaii Trip who are absolute nuts about golf.  To them, the chance to play some rounds in Hawaii was high on their bucket list.  I wasn't surprised; I have heard everyone say that Hawaii has some of the finest golf courses in the world.  Looking around at this place, I would have to agree.

As I snapped my pictures, I noticed no one was out today.  What a waste.  I don't know where my friends on the trip played, but they told me they enjoyed their rounds of golf immensely.  As they should... after all, golf in Hawaii is part of the Divine Plan.  In the beginning, volcanoes created the islands and eons later golf came along to make everything pretty. 

I placed a Red X to mark where I was standing when I took my golf course pictures.  This overview really strikes home the fact how the green grass creates a carpet-like effect as it stretches across the ugly, jagged black rock underneath. 

While others might be envious of me that I get to take these exciting ocean cruises, I have my envies too.  It was hard not to be envious of the kind of wealth that is necessary to afford a lifestyle like this.  I have a great life, yes, but today I was merely on onlooker to a way of life that I barely have comprehension of.  No one I know has access to the lifestyles of the rich and the super-rich.  Instead all I get is this brief peak.  Trust me, in a way it is a good thing I am not interested in golf. 

Otherwise the wish to live in this strange paradise would have driven me insane with desire.

At this point I had to stop.  My aching tooth was killing me.  I had more medicine in the car, but that wasn't going to do me much good over here on the wrong side of the resort.   I asked Marla to give me ten minutes.  I actually fell asleep.  Thank goodness!

While I napped, Marla snapped... snapped pictures that is.  Here are a couple of cute little yellow bird friends Marla discovered. 


I wasn't quite sure why they had a statue of  a tiger on this end of the resort.

Or a moose for that matter.  Maybe these were some of the animals who  represented a Chinese year.  That was the only explanation I could think of.  


When I awoke, it was time to head back.  However, I was very drawn to the statue of a lonely Buddha stationed on an outcropping above the ocean.

I was fascinated by this marvelous statue of the Buddha overlooking the ocean.  I noticed someone had put some roses in his hands to keep him company.  Buddhists believe in the twin concepts of karma and reincarnation.  I have no idea if these ideas are true, but I will say I am much more comfortable with the thought that we have many lives to get it right concept than the Christian "one and done" theory.  


As we headed back to our starting point, I took more pictures of my favorite spots from a new perspective.  For example, here is another look at the lagoon from a different direction.  Can you see the waterfall far in the distance?  That spot is 250 yards away.  I sure wish I had felt better.  I really wanted to see if I could paddle on a surfboard like that lady and her son. 

This place had more statues than any place I have ever been with one exception - the Tuleries Garden in Paris, France.   Wherever I looked, there was another statue of something.  This was really quite a place.

As I was saying, wherever I turned there were more statues.

Considering how bad I felt, it took every ounce of self-control not to collapse on that bed or another one like it.  I was certain a root canal was the only solution to this degree of pain.  Oddly enough, the pain was gone the next day.  Furthermore, the pain never came back.  I asked my dentist to explain.  He shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Teeth are weird".  Good grief.  Is that the best explanation he can come up iwth?

This is a picture of the far side of the resort.  We are back at the spot where I had seen the mongoose earlier in the day.  Looking across, can you spot the white statue of the lonely Buddha?  He is between two palms out in the open.

At this point, Marla and I were walking the pink route back to our car.  I wasn't particularly hungry due to the pain, but Marla was starving.  We stopped for lunch in Red Area 7 at an outdoor restaurant overlooking the lagoon.


While we waited for lunch to be served, I stared at those boats.  Gosh, I wish I had felt better.  I really wanted to rent one and paddle around the lagoon.  It is difficult to judge size through photos, but that lagoon was a lot bigger than the pictures might indicate.  It would been fun to row a kayak and stare at the sea turtles.  Besides the turtles, there were a lot of fish to see in those waters. 

During our meal, I gave one little French fry to a bird who had been watching me politely.  Bad mistake!!  Out of nowhere another dozen birds joined him!   Those goofy birds kept me company for the rest of the meal.  I could not take a bite without the birds tracking every move I made.  Marla giggled.  She said this could be a sequel to Hitchcock's The Birds.



After lunch, we stopped by the nearby dolphin enclosure.  Waikoloa has a dozen or so dolphins who live there.  The dolphins were definitely in a playful mood.  They put on quite a show, but here's the deal - it wasn't Showtime!  No one was feeding them any fish.  They were playing around for the fun of it!  I couldn't believe how happy there were. The dolphins were a real joy to watch.

Later that night at dinner some of our friends exclaimed glumly that they had paid big bucks to take a "Dolphin Sighting" tour, but they hadn't seen a single dolphin.  They spent All Day Long on that catamaran and not one darn dolphin swam by!!  Marla and I listened sympathetically, but said nothing.  We didn't the heart to tell our friends the amazing show we had seen at Waikoloa without even trying.

I stared at this picture in confusion.  Why was the water a different color?  Finally I asked Marla to explain.  Earlier she had gone swimming in this pool while I stared at a mongoose.  Maybe she knew the answer.  Marla said the bottom of the pool was colored differently. I frowned. Why didn't I think of that?

This rope bridge crossing the swimming pool was pretty neat. 


I crossed the rope bridge to take a couple more pictures.  You can see the rope in the bottom left corner.  That waterfall sure looked inviting.  For the umpteenth time that day I wished I felt better.  It would have fun to swim under those waterfalls.

The landscaping wherever we went was simply wonderful.  Someone who possessed great skill had gone to a lot of trouble to make this resort a true Pacific paradise.  I completely agree with my kid sister Shari Clark - for sheer beauty, Waikoloa is a definite match for Atlantis.


Marla and I had just climbed those stairs.  This was the end of our meandering 2.5 mile walk.  I stopped to take one last picture of the Pacific Ocean before I left.  My last thought was of the Buddha statue sitting on that jetty staring at the ocean for eternity.  I looked for him, but my view was blocked.

Upstairs, I learned that the resort has a small nature preserve next to the Lagoon Tower.  Here is the nene, Hawaii's nearly extinct state bird.  And there's a sea turtle too. 


While we walked through the Lagoon Tower, a train passed by.  I was surprised at how big it was. 

This shows how the train tracks and the water taxi canal run parallel.


Here is the turnaround spot for the water taxi inside the Lagoon Tower.

Another look at the water canal. 


These colorful parrots were making quite a ruckus.  Obviously they wanted some attention, so I found them by tracking their screeches and took their picture.  Now they were happy.

From the Lagoon Tower, we made our way over the Main Lobby.  This is one of the many parrots who reside in the open air environment.  None of them seemed to be tethered.  I guess when you live in Paradise, who wants to leave? 

Right before we left, I noticed this picture hanging on the wall in a corner of the Main Lobby.  This was surely how things looked in this area to the Hawaiians before the first coming of James Cook and the Europeans in 1778. 

No matter where one went, there was a vast sea of jagged black lava rock and little else with the giant Mauna Kea looming in the distance 25 miles away.  Very few if any people lived here. 

There was no game, no wood to build a shelter, no fresh water and no way to grow anything.  Other than fishing the Pacific waters, there was little reason to visit this barren, desolate and very lonely place.  Nor were the fish any incentive.

The nearest people lived on the heavily forested north shore of the island 10-15 miles away. They had plenty of fish to catch off their own north coast.  Why bother with fishing here? 

As for the Hawaiian native in the picture, it took a real effort to get to this deserted spot.  There were no horses in those days. He had to reach this spot either on foot or by boat. 

As I studied the man staring off into the ocean, I was reminded of the Buddha statue again.  This man might easily be standing in the same spot where the Buddha statue now spends its eternity.

Except that now in our modern times thick green grass carpets have replaced those lava rocks.  What a difference a few centuries have made thanks to a strange game called golf.

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