The Big Island of Hawai'i: Part 2. Volcanoes, Vistas and Futher Explorations

And a few weeks later,
as promised, I post again.

Not that life gets in the way or anything . . . Unfortunately I've been dealing with some things I've never dreamed in my entire life that I would be dealing with . . . and my energy has had to go towards basic survival mode: hence, my blogging energy has been "sucked out to sea".

I have to say, though, it is fun to look at pictures of warm places being back here sitting in our winter snowstorm . . .

We went towards Volcanoes National Park and had to drive through this jungle to get to the highway.

Never a shortage of surfboards, or of fruits, vegetables, and flowers!

Finally at the VNP: Kilauea Crater and Lava Lake.

We hiked the Crater Rim trail a ways. It's not necessarily "beautiful" here, but definitely fascinating.

Steaming up.

We hiked through the hardened lava lake--- if I am remembering correctly, it took decades to completely harden because of the residual lava flows, that finally ceased.

From Blog_Hawaii
Thurston Lava tube

Kilauea Crater, a little closer: It has been continuously erupting since 1983 (when I was just a baby!)

We went to the lava viewing site: I was anticipating seeing lava up close and flowing into the ocean, but the flows had just stopped 4 weeks prior. So, we had to use our zoom lenses and long shutter speeds to capture these. This one was one of the guys'- they insisted they could get a better photo than T & I without a tripod.

It was a windy place! This is the "steadiest" pic I got, even on tripod, with using the self-timer to release the shutter. The red glow is from Kilauea Crater.

Next day, it was rainy in Hilo, but we drove up Mauna Kea, Hawai'i's highest point. As we gained altitude, we also gained sunshine.

Much advice was given to us to stop at the Visitor's Center at 9,000 ft to acclimate for the ~14,700 ft summit. Since Mauna Kea is a big astronomy research area, they had some viewing for us to look at sun flares, etc.

Almost to the top.

These buildings hide millions in telescopes and whatever other special equipment. It is an ideal place to study the planets, stars, etc because there is very little light interference being in the middle of the Pacific.

The clouds started rolling in as we made our way back down.

Heading back towards Hilo, we stopped at the caves. The guys so graciously posed.

Then, the much anticipated Rainbow Falls. "Are these really it? Seriously?!"
I guess Hilo had been in a drought, too so these falls have really dwindled.
We overheard some other tourists who busted out in hysterics when they got here: "We drove all day and this is it?" They were good natured about it, though. But they hype didn't match the reality at the time.

We took the "scenic route" past Hilo to our rental house. These lovely orange blossoms cover the treetops, but I was finally able to get some up close.

There was a cute white wooden bridge. We stopped to get photos and then the exploring began.

Nate had wandered off and came back to report a cool waterfall . . .

Here it is: But don't fall.

Yikes. There were a couple crosses in remembrance of people who'd fallen down these falls. A stark reminder.

After some hearty few hours of sleep, we woke up at 4:00am to drive to the Kona side to catch the boat for fishing. I had talked with the captain to discuss a time to leave and he said, "Well, usually we leave by 7-7:30 am, but for the hard-core fisherman, we leave at 6:30."
Well, the guys were there and ready to go by 6:15.

Or was it 6:05? My morning brain memory fails me. ;}

(despite having to drive halfway across the island in the pre-dawn hours.)

The first fish was a needlefish. Hawaiian's don't like to catch these because they have teeth along their whole pointy mouth that shreds the line.
Lots of fishing strategy talk . . .

The captain, Craig, found us a pod of dolphins to snorkel with. They were amazing! They did flips up in the air-- wish I would've gotten in on camera.

The lone pic I got of a dolphin. There were tens of them!

Nope, not dolphins. Trish and Nate.

While we were trolling for marlin or tuna and what-not, the whales gave a good show.
These are some of the same whale that migrate up to Alaska! That was exciting to find out.
Nate got these following two photos. He's pretty proud of them. Pretty cool, though, huh?

The guys went fishing the next day without us (by our choice- and probably theirs, too)

Tricia and I shopped at the farmer's market, sampled "100% Kona coffee" --yum-- and got some groceries for dinner: grilled marinated chicken with fresh green beans and wild rice pilaf. Just for a Hawaiian touch, we drank "POG" juice: passion-orange-guava juice with dinner.
Oh, yes, and we managed to get locked out of our condo for awhile, too. That was fun. Especially when you are hungry and dehydrated, but a minor detail.

While we were locked out (ok, ok, it wasn't more than 1 hour), the guys were catching Mahi and Tuna:

Tricia picked some hibiscus and plumeria to garnish.

The sunset from our condo in Kona.

It turned into a soft pink ball.

Definitely the sunset was what I envisioned Hawai'i to be like.


Jan said...

gorgeous. Makes me want to be there.

Brita said...

Ohhhh, the sunset!

Juli said...

Looks like a truly relaxing vacation! Love that you got to swim w/ dolphins, and wow that water was a beautiful shade of blue...

joan j said...

Beautiful. You are so lucky!

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the glimpse of a different part of Hawaii....away from the tourist area! Beautiful pictures.

Anne H said...

Beautiful pictures!! I had to show my husband these pictures. We are planning on returning to Hawaii next year for our 35th anniversary. Boy do your pictures give me the bug! I have to say, in response to your earlier post. I was very surprised the first time we went to Hawaii. I had expected it to be ALL lush, green and flowers. I was AMAZED at how rugged it was.

Katelyn said...

Wow! Looks like you guys got a lot of sight seeing in! Hopefully someday we will make it out that way to enjoy the gorgeous scenery :)

~ Junkyard Jennifer said...

These are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

~ Jennifer

hl said...

So pretty! It looks awesome!And warm!:)- Megan L