Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Big Island - Island of Hawaii

This is one big island.  We did so much, wow.

Hawaii (the island of) was extra fun because our friends Mike and Cheryl were with us. They picked us up at the airport (that was nice) and had a great big van so we had lots of room. This vehicle was actually our portable air conditioning unit. It was hot and humid as hell. Just sitting in the living room where we stayed we'd have sweat running down our faces. I'm so glad they were there because I had to be on my best behavior and just be tough. They were great sports and despite us all boiling we had the best time ever. All new experiences for all of us.  I learned to always get a place with air conditioning despite assurances of "trade winds".

Marina close to airport

Happy Hour

We had lots and lots of laughs and Cheryl and I took lots and lots of pictures – we're both on about maniac level when it comes to “capturing the moment.” We also shared pictures. She had her really good camera and a better underwater camera, so I appreciate this. I don't think we missed taking a picture of anything.

Mike & Cheryl

Cheryl was our tour director here (it was nice to have her do this) and Mike drove us everywhere, so we felt a little spoiled and appreciated a bit of rest here.  Cheryl studied every detail so we didn't miss anything.  They really are just the best folks and we love them lots.

We did lots of exploring and covered the entire island with the exception of from the volcano north to Hilo. Just not enough time and Hawaii is a big island (thus, “big island”). Anyway, I don't think we missed much.

Signed up for a Luau that was cancelled due to rain.  It was disappointing, but we all went to dinner together.

Decor in the restaurant - these were so adorable

We managed to find dinner with luau cancelled.

And a beautiful sunset to end our day.


Seeing my dear friend, Leilani, who I've known since 5th grade. We had not seen each other in over 25 years!!!!!! She was my bridesmaid and I was hers. It was so great to be able to spend a little time with her and her husband Alex. Wish we'd had more time, but I took what I could get. She's the same sweet girl I've always loved and our hug meant the world to me.

Sweet Leilani

We took a 5 1/2 hour snorkel trip on the Fair Wind II catamaran. I had never seen more fish or so many different types. Clear water, nice crew, good camaraderie, We snorkeled in Kealakekua Bay and it was a perfect day.

Cheryl is ready to go.  She got prescription lenses that
helped her a lot.  They didn't work for me.

Blow hole on our way to Bay

Captain Cook Monument

Yellow Tang, there were so cute and everywhere

Gena and Cheryl, snorkel fiends.

 Hawaiian Sargeant

Black Durgeon

Sometimes when snorkeling you feel like you are flying.

Pooped, but happy after playing in the aqua water.
Mike and Cheryl

Me and my true love

Those waves really crash hard

Volcano day, we were on the go about for about 14 hours, but seeing the volcano during the day and again at night was fantastic. We saw the Southern most part of the U.S. with sheer cliff drop offs, all of the different volcano flows and we were all fascinated by how different the flows were.  Cheryl planned a perfect day and we didn't miss much.  We ran out of time to see Hilo, but that was OK.

A new food was the Malsada (Portuguese donut) at the best bakery on the island.  Leilani said we had to try them here so we stopped on our way to Volcano National Park.  They were so delicious and I had a few more than one with my coffee. 

Bet you couldn't just pick one

Bakery had entertainment, excellent music.

This musician sounded like Willie Nelson.

Along the way we stopped at a Macadamia Farm and met a lady named Diane, an ex New Yorker and quite a character who shared some great stories.  She and her husband Joe wanted to get away from the hustle bustle world and bought a macadamia nut farm.  Her husband passed away, but Diane continues to keep the farm going and selling "Joe's Nuts" which come in many flavors and are delicious.


Diane's pet spider

....and her pet rat

Further down the road and we are magically
 to the Southernmost point.

He's right at the cliff edge that drops off 40 feet. 
They catch some huge fish here.

People do actually dive down from here.  
Some live to tell the tale I'm sure.

A sheer drop off

Here you can see the cliffs

Cheryl's hair is blowing in the wind.

This is the typical restroom for the rural parks 
and many beaches in Hawaii.  There is a story here.

Don't take the rental car "off road".  We almost tipped 
the van over.  Man this was scary and a close call.  Just look 
at that "pavement"  We were screaming at Mike, turn, 
turn, stop, when he almost went down, down.

No one had to tell me this.

Next stop, St. Benedict's Painted Church over looking Kealakekua Bay.  Erected in 1899 by Father John Velghe. Without any professional training and using house paint on ordinary wood he beautified the church with his paintings. In those days few Hawaiians could read and so he taught with pictures-most successfully. 

Good camouflage

Stopped by a coffee mill and watched them process coffee beans from delivery to the plant in pickup trucks, weighing, drying, roasting and then the good part, tasting. It was a fun place, free and you got to walk around by yourself and look at the processes. Rare today when everything is a paid tour, or overly organized. Very interesting side trip. http://www.konamountaincoffee.com/Kona-Coffee-Information

Many flavors including coconut that was very good.

Beans direct from farm to mill

Washing process starts

Coffee beans being dried, so natural.

So hands on, small and personal operation 
around for many years.  These are the big roasters.

Ready to be packaged or ground

They had a lava tube here

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Sulfur Banks Trail with interesting mineral colors

Pretty little trail

Heading into the lava tube

400 year old lava tube is 600 ft. long with 
ceilings between 10 and 30 feet.

Vines growing down into lava tube

Fern almost ready to open

Some strange formations

Lava field shining like silver in the sun light

Holei Sea Arch

Steep cliffs and rough waves

Different lava flows, old and newer on top

The volcano at night with hot swirling sulfur

Mike's friend, Bill, belongs to a local canoe 
club and Mike got to go out with them.

Where the canoes are stored.

Great that Mike got to participate. 

Rainbow - look hard it is there.

Eastern Meadowlark, or as I called it a yellow bird.
It was so pretty sitting there.  A nice surprise.

Gorgeous flowers everywhere in Hawai'i

Home of Keauhou Beach Resort that will be demolished 
and 11.5 M over a period of time will be spent 
creating educational buildings here.

A Hawaiian altar, a sacred area.

More snorkeling from shore. Each time we snorkel we see different fish. We also saw a turtle each time so that was totally exciting. This was a pretty good little cove, but a bit difficult getting in and out. Colorful fish were everywhere. Sometimes you get so into the fish you actually forget you are snorkeling. ** The underwater pictures are from Cheryl. Her camera took better underwater photos. Thanks, Cheryl.

Snorkel Girl

Met with Bill and his wonderful girlfriend, Millie, for drinks at the Sheraton bar, named "Rays on the Bay".  People go out at night and swim with the mantas.  Beautiful view here and great place to watch our last sunset on the island.

Tour boats for snorkeling with the Rays at night
and there were about 15 boats out.

Many new experiences and firsts.  I bought 2 rubatans for Mike and Cheryl to try (we'd had it in Mexico), Liloki jam (passion fruit), yum.  So fun to try new food.

On our last day we had a nice beach side breakfast with fresh fruit. Then Mike and Cheryl took us to the airport and we flew to Kauai, which will be our last island.

Hula girl Cheryl

Kailua Kona Airport

A wonderful trip with great friends. They helped make this island perfect (except for the heat and they didn't have any control over that) and it was great to be able to snorkel so much with my buddy. Thanks for joining us you guys. We sure do travel well together.

As I said at the beginning, "this is a big island" and I haven't included some things we did.  I've worked on this blog for enough time now and I'm going to end it.  Posting 2 1/2 months after our time here, so time just to finish.  Aloha.