“The pork chops are so ono here,” said Kaniela “Danny” Akaka.
He removed a straw paniolo hat as his wife Anna presented me with an orchid lei in the lobby at Manago Hotel. Danny always gets the pork chops. She prefers the fried opelu. I wanted the butterfish. We’ve been ordering the same dinner in the cherry wood–paneled dining room of this guesthouse for the past two decades. It’s a regular gathering place for friends and family, called ohana in Hawaiian. On a lower slope of Mauna Loa, the town of Captain Cook is surrounded by many of the island’s small-acre coffee farms, with precipitous views above an ancient place of refuge and Kealakekua Bay, where the British explorer met his end. The crew of HMS Resolution stole wood from a sacred heiau to repair a broken mast and that offense led to the skirmish that sealed James Cook’s fate.