On the Cruise…. First Stop, Hawai’i, the Big Island

            We had decided long before to plan our own shore side adventures, including renting a car, rather than follow the flock around going to and seeing things someone else decided we should see.

            Geoff and I have both participated in ship designed excursions. The problem I had on the Panama Canal trip was having to hustle to get back on the bus just when something interesting caught my eye and I wanted to see more of. Like in Cartagena, Columbia, with the small statuary distributed across the town square and the peddler hawking hand-made rosaries.

            For example, on the drive away from the Kilauea Caldera in Volcano Nat’l Park, we stopped and watched some of the Hawaiian Ne Ne geese alongside the road.

            Early in the morning we took a helicopter ride over the Volcano Nat’l Park. That was a neat experience. Geoff made the reservations with an outfit called Paradise Helicopters. I can’t resist saying we took a Hilo Helo ride. The unique part was Geoff and I had the back seats to our selves with the rear doors off. Talk about a great view!

            The flight went out over the lava fields laid down by  still active volcano action. Truthfully, still active. We saw several places where red hot molten lava was flowing out of the ground. I’m disappointed in that even with the doors off, I didn’t get any really good pictures. I’ll take most of the blame but I do have to say our required altitude above the lava field and the motion of the aircraft made precision photography difficult.

            The dark shiny “stream” is new lava. We saw several streaks like this. Geoff and I were both surprised by the heat radiating up from the ground when the helo banked into a turn. Especially since we were at least a thousand feet up.

            We flew over and down the coastline but on that particular day no spectacular flows were dumping lava into the ocean. Heading back across the island we flew over several sprawling macadamia nut plantations. That is a major industry there.

               Several waterfalls are scattered over all the Hawaiian Islands. I think I heard the helo pilot say this one is named Rainbow Falls. It is one of half a dozen within just a mile or so, but I liked it the best.

            After we landed we hopped back in the rental car and drove out to Volcano Nat’l Park; about 30 or so miles from Hilo. First stop some steam vents right alongside the road. Sort of a spooky thought that this was real evidence that right below us was a giant inferno hot enough to melt rock.

            A couple more miles down the road we came to a scenic view point overlooking the Kilauea Caldera. Several decades, maybe a little more, this particular caldera was a lake of molten lava that persisted for a long time — until a huge magma explosion. Today it is a constant source of smoke pouring out of the ground.

            Geoff and I both enjoyed occasionally operating someone’s camera so the folks could take home a true group photo. We made it a point at virtually everyplace we stopped for the four days touring the islands. We got to pose in a few ourselves that way.

            I’ve got tons more pictures to show… but not now.


Hugs to all,

                        The GOG