Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Big Island

This season we are taking quite a big break from cruising.

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.

We stayed 'on the Kona side'. Driving south, one of our first stops was the Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. It's a very sacred spot known as 'the place of refuge'. This is a royal fish pond. Out in the bay, tour boats brought people to swim with the dolphins.

Our place was in Holualoa, so we visited the Holualoa Kona Coffee Co, complete with tastings. Here is a branch, which shows the stages of coffee growth. From R to L you go from buds to blooms to cherries. The flowers are known as Kona Snow, and have a light fragrance similar to honeysuckle.

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!

Our second Airbnb was a room in a house. Jack made fabulous breakfasts, which included fruit grown on the property! Harrison had nice tourist tips. This sign is at the Ahalanui County Beach Park, which is where the 'King's Pool' is --
a geo-thermal pool.

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!

 THEN, we were on our way to the BEST highlight of the Big Island! We took a tour from Blue Hawaiian Helicopters! Expensive, but it was worth every penny. Especially since it was raining the day we drove over the volcano. NOW we get the view -- viewS.

Approach. There are tour boats that go too. But heck, we LIVE on a boat. And Al has never been on a helicopter.

Way at the top of the photo, where the lava field ends and the green begins, is Kanapali. That is where they allow tourists to park, and begin the 4-mile hike to the lava overlook.  Across the lava, in the sun, with only water you have brought - hopefully, and no potties. No thanks. Well, they do rent bicycles too. But that doesn't appeal to us as much either. We DO like the air-conditioned view from the helicopter.
Oh, look how much you can see underwater!

I love my zoom!!! See the hot spot?!  And that shelf? Overnight it fell into the ocean. We were told that it changes everyday. And we were among the last to see it this way. We were the first of about 5 or 6 helicopters on the 4:00 flights -- last of the day.
 This is a great webpage:  https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/kilauea.html

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.

Hot lava!

The finale is several passes over a remote area that the locals call Narnia. This side of the island gets plenty of rain, and it has filled the calderas. These falls are on private property, and permission must be granted to hike in. Our host Harrison says he has gone swimming here.

This is a wonderful culmination of our Big Island visit. 

1 comment:

  1. SO FUN! Your pictures are great and it looks like you've had such a nice time! I've been to Hawaii twice, and feel like I only saw and experienced a tiny fraction of what there is to offer. I'd love to go back someday.