April 11

Here we are, ready for our outing to The Big Island, Chris and Dave both having managed their entire 12 nights with carry-on bags.

Chris agreed most reluctantly to accept this challenge but she will, WILL she states firmly, be checking a bag going home. There is simply insufficient space to bring back all the gifts for the grandchildren in a carry-on bag.
First stop, checking into our really nice cabin in the woods in Volcano Village, Volcanoes National Park, and a delicious lunch which made us all happy.

(I snagged a couple of these from Sharon.)
Excellent fountain, the pinapple being the Hawaiian symbol of welcome, and I want one by my front door too.
Then we began the tour of Volcanoes National Park. Nope, we didn't get a single glow of red, it's all gone from the latest small eruption, but it is totally fantastic anyway.

(internet pix)
Following The Chain of Craters Road.

Beginning at about 4,000 feet we pass through some unique folliage - a fern forest.
More of the fern forest because it is gorgeous.
Our first stop is at the Thurston Lava Tube. Ms Wiki will tell you all about lava tubes.
The gang as we exit the tube and return down to the parking. The walk getting in was surprisingly steep though, not the easy stroll this might lead you to believe it was.
As we descended along Chain of Craters Road making our way down Kilauea Volcano, we came upon more and more different kinds of lava, some changes related to the age of the flow and some related to the type of lava and the environment when it originally shot out of the earth.

This is one of the many craters to visit but one of the few where people walk across the bowl. See those little people down there. We are looking at about one fourth of the crater.

It was raining basically the whole time until we reached this crater - I passed on previous crater viewings in the too-much rain.
Amazing stuff.
And a fabulously vistic road leading to...

There are five volcanoes that make up The Big Island. We are on Kilauea, the most active volcano in the Hawaiian Islands. The other volcanoes on The Big Island are Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, and Mauna Loa. All these are basically done erupting except Mauna Loa which makes an occasional appearance.
Dave and Chris, as we made our trek to...
...the Holei Sea Arch.
A nice map of the main crater scenes which you will see next. The Chain of Craters Road zig-zags down to the sea - you've seen those pictures already.
Part of Kilauea Crater with a weak but welcome rainbow...
...and the part that is still steaming from the fissure that opened in March of this year.

They say if you stay late enough and it is clear enough this view could offer a little red glow. When we were ready to leave it was raining again and no glow was to be had.
From the Visitor's Center up by the crater we find the goddess Pele, goddess of all things volcano. From here we return to Kilauea Lodge for another fine meal and a cheery night in our cottage that is far bigger than my big house.
April 12

We left the volcano heading for Hilo this morning but first we took a great little side tour to see a nearby lighthouse.

Check out those trees overhead. What an awesome tunnel of trees.
We didn't know what to expect from the lighthouse but we certainly didn't expect to find one made from an erector set. (Later we learned that it's called a light beacon, not to be confused with a lighthouse.)

More fields of lava flow.
That's our rental car which is working out nicely.

The dates of modern lava flows that make up this area (that I can find in the guidebook anyway) are 1790, 1840, 1955, 1960, and 1990. Some flows overlapped their predecessors and in some areas the original lava is still visible. No wonder we couldn't figure out what was happening.
Really nice.

Then just a couple miles from here we went to see the Lava Tree State Park, but it was closed for refurbishments.
So we checked into our b&b and got some advice for lunch, which brought us here to What's Shakin', festive and fun. Tasty too.
Nearby we found the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, and it is what it says, a botanical garden of tropical plants...
...and flowing water leading to the sea.
A tropical plant, just one for color.
And a couple more.
Back at our b&b in the village of Papaikou, this is the view of the gorgeous Onomea Bay...
...from here!
April 13

First course of the breakfast at our Bed and Breakfast, Island Goode's.

At least half the fruit on this plate the owners have grown including the guava fruit in the juice. After this came a scrumptious cheese pie followed by eggs from their chickens and bacon from their pigs.

It was Island Goode alright!
Lovely garden dining.

Making our way around the island heading north we stopped to see the waterfall blockbuster, Akaka Falls.

The trail to the falls leads you first past some gaga vegetation including this...
...and these. It was a bit of a stairmaster journey but well worth it.
Here it is, Akaka Falls, a 420 foot drop into a perfect pool visible from top to bottom.

We all agreed, it's a postcard waterfall, an ideal of what a waterfall is supposed to look like.
As you can tell we were the first to miss the last group that got to go from our side. It took ages to get going. We were waiting because half the road was taken up with fallen rocks!
Next stop, Laupahoehoe Point where in the 1946 tsunami twenty-one school children and three adults were swept to their deaths.

From a guidebook "...the ocean's energy feels raw and menacing. Waves come in with powerful anger." You can tell by the spray on the waves that the wind was fierce.
At this place you find raging sea, parking lot, amazing tree. Really amazing.

Then, on up the road.
We drove through the charming town of Honokaa where we first enjoyed lunch, and then drove on to the view point for the Waipio Valley.

To get down there you have to have a four wheel drive or pay someone up at the viewpoint to take you down. It is all private land now so there are many restrictions on sightseeing. Once this was the meeting place of kings.
What you can see of the valley from the viewpoint.

There is a long and complicated mythology about this place, as are all mythologies I guess, long and complicated.

I read somewhere that some Hawaiians are returning to the religion of their ancestors which of course doesn't make me all so glad as people who know me can well imagine, and not just because of the incomprehensible to me kapu system, and strangulations and such, but mostly because rules ordained by the word of magical beings makes me nuts.
Next stop, our condo on the Kona Coast, home for the next two nights. This is the view from our balcony looking in one direction.
This is the view looking straight ahead.
And this. Gasper.
April 14

After a little walk in Kailua-Kona town and lunch at a seaside pub we gathered ourselves for a fabulous outing where...
...from the comfort of our host the Fair Wind II, we enjoyed a perfect afternoon of snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay...

...home of the Captain Cook Memorial and the location of Captain Cook's untimely death in a struggle of wills over a stolen rowboat.

Captain Cook was quite a guy, not much of a villian it turns out, and well worth a read.
One of the five cutie-pie crew members on the Fair Wind II. Check out the tattoo on his out-stretched arm.

They did a fantastic job of getting everyone in the water and having fun.

First I'll extol the fabulousness of the gear they had aboard. I got a snorkel mask with a distance prescription, not too fancy but it worked Perfectly. Also the back was big and flat and didn't take great hanks of hair out my head, and it didn't fog up or flood even once. They had many kinds of flotation helpers so you could stay out as long as you liked plus a lot of other specialty gear so everyone could play.
Hi Dave and Chris!
Second I'll extol the fabulousness of the location. The swells were no problem, the fish were plentiful and stunning, the coral was thick and colorful...
Hi Sharon!
...and the spinner dolphins were such a treat. Wow, the bay was full of them. I don't think anyone in our party saw them while we were snorkeling but whenever the boat was under way there they were ready for surfing the wake.

And they did huge aerial tricks that I didn't catch on a single click.
Awww, their sweet little smiley faces, so easy to anthropomorphise their behavior (what Is that word I'm thinking of...).
Coming into Keauhou Bay, home port for Fair Wind II and as it turns out, the bay we see from our hotel. That's our condo right there, out on the point.
And this is another sunset from our lanai.
April 15

We had breakfast today at the Kona Country Club where we were joined by this little guy and about 25 of his pals.

Then Dave stayed home to swim, check out the grounds, read - or as they say in the islands, to just hang loose.

The Girls went into town and once there we split up a little between shopping and sightseeing. I'm sure you know which of those two activities I was doing.
This is St Peter's By The Sea Catholic Church in Kahaluu Bay. 'They' say this church is the most photographed in all Hawaii, especially popular for weddings.
Kahaluu Beach Park is a hot spot for snorkeling and for beginner surf lessons. Students, standing up! You can see just by a glance that the one on the left did a nice long ride while the one on the right went down a second after the click.
From the sign: "Kuemanu Heiau. In the past, Hawaiian religious practices included the worship of many gods, both through individual and family rituals at small shrines and through larger community ceremonies at heiau (temples) such as this one.

" ... Kuemanu Heiau, said to have been used to pray for good surfing conditions, has been preserved by the County of Hawaii."

Good surfing conditions, everybody's favorite.
Here are two landmarks of Kailua-Kona town. Mokuaikaua Church, first a thatched hut in 1820, the church you see now was finished in 1837, the first church in the islands.

To the right of the church is the green roofed Hulihee Palace...
...seen here on the ocean side. The tours here are interesting and well worth the five bucks.

The gift shop was closed due to tsunami damage. We also saw some tsunami damage at the pier for our snorkeling trip, the only two structures we saw damaged. We did try to have a look at the Four Seasons but the guy at the guard gate did say they were closed for repairs due to the effects of the tsunami.
From the guidebook: "Kamehameha the Great, the first king to rule all the islands, could live anywhere he wanted. He chose Kailua-Kona. This is his 'Ahu'ena Heiau."

King Kamehameha the Great restored this heiau in 1812 and I'm sure it's been restored many times since. Now actually it is under restoration from the recent tsunami from Japan.

We ate a late lunch, drove around to a few places that were closed, got gas, and went to the airport.
I'm putting this shot last because everywhere we went during our whole visit, what we saw was lava. It was surprising and amazing and entirely fun.
HomeUSA Aloha! • Hawaii • '11 Apr: Big Island

© 2014 • WhereTheHeckIsMom.com