Our first stop is The Big Island. That's right -- HAWAII!
|'Pumpkin' was a nice perk of our Airbnb, along with a covered patio. Two big drawbacks -- there was no AC, and there WERE coqui frogs, whose mating call can reach 90 decibels. Yeah. VERY difficult to sleep.|
|Back home on our patio, I was amused by many geckos.|
|One day we drove north to the Kohala district. |
We visited the original statue cast of King Kamehameha, near where he was born.
|We drove to the end of the road, at the Pololu Valley overlook.|
|We stopped at the Keokea Beach Park to watch the waves, and these birds disproved the 'birds of a feather flock together' saying. Five different birds! A red-crested cardinal, a Northern cardinal, saffron sparrows, a common myna, and a dove.|
Our drove over to the Hilo side was expected to be rainy -- if you can call 8 inches 'rainy'. The worst of it held off until just as we were finishing our visit to the black sand beach at Punalu'u.
|Large grit, but VERY black, and a bit difficult to walk on, especially in bare feet.|
|I rolled up my pant legs, but the ocean jumped me!|
|We stopped at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, but the rain was POURING! We didn't see much, but watched their movie and visited the gift shop. This is a 3-D map of the island, in the correct orientation, north at top.|
|We did walk a little ways through the Thurston Lava Tube. I was amazed how well this photo turned out with no flash!|
|This road ends near Kalapana, a village overrun by lava. We drive to the end, but don't want to attempt the 4-mile hike to the lava overlook. But even with rain clouds, the steam cloud where the lava meets the ocean is very evident -- 4 miles away!|
|This Airbnb had cats too! This is Diego, who liked to spend time near us. He was LARGE, and affectionate and talkative, but not cuddly. His brother Boots came to check us out, once, but we would see him in the field on occasion.|
|Papayas at sunset|
|The next day we spend an hour or so at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory.|
Yes, there were free samples.
We were surprised to find that we preferred the milk chocolate ones to dark chocolate!
|Approach. There are tour boats that go too. But heck, we LIVE on a boat. And Al has never been on a helicopter.|
|The pilot takes us up the slope to a steam vent, where a lava tube has collapsed and made a crater. The next photo is a zoom of the small crater above the big one.|
|This is a wonderful culmination of our Big Island visit.|