Monday, January 19, 2015

Day 9 -- Our Last Day in Hawaii

Day 9  January 4, 2015

We had just a couple of places left on our list of things to do today. 

Our first stop was Richardson Beach Park.  Well it was not exactly where we were headed but it was where we ended up and it was beautiful.  

We saw a Hawaiian Monk Seal.  

Next we drove Rainbow Falls, I was not exactly happy about hiking to another falls.  However I was so happy when we pulled up and we did not have to hike anywhere!  Yeah!  We did not see rainbows in fact you can see the shadows in my pictures.

Then it was time to drive back to Kona.  We wanted to stop and see if the Queen’s Palace was open.  It was not….so we decided to have lunch at a Pub on the ocean so Joe could get football updates.  I wanted to order sweet potato fries that were orange. 

We walked around the town for a while and then for dinner we ate at Kona Brewery Pub.  I had a delicious strawberry chicken spinach salad and Joe had fish tacos.  As we drove to the airport we saw the moon rise above the mountains.  First we saw a bright glow above the mountains and then slowly the moon rose.  We were on the freeway and we could not stop to take a picture but it was so beautiful. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Day 8 -- Hawaii

Day 8  January 3, 2015

We set out on our adventure to Volcanoes National Park.  We were all prepared with our plan to go do all the outdoor activities this morning because rain was in the forecast for the afternoon. 

Stop 1:  The Steam Vents
We noticed a lot of branches down on the road as we drove there from the big storm last night.  The steam vents were what we expected steam rising from the ground.  They did not smell.  However there was lots of coins and garbage inside the vents. 

Stop 2:  The Hawaii Volcano Observatory and Jaggar Museum
The Kilauea Caldera was huge and had lots of steam coming out of it.   The museum was closed we arrived too early.  We saw a rainbow in the sky.  We didn’t want to waste time so we went on.

Stop 3:   Waiting for the road to open
The road is closed due to a tree down.  We waited for a while and it appears it will take at least an hour.  So we went to the ranger station and watched a video about volcanoes.  We went back to the Jagger museum.  Joe’s fun fact for today:  The big island was created from six volcanoes.   There is still one active under the ocean.  OK the road is still closed so we decided to move on to something else.

Stop 4:  Akaka Falls
It was about an hour drive away and we had to hike just a like bit through a rainforest but it was beautiful.  Joe even found another fun fact:  Akaka Falls is higher than the Niagara Falls. All the different types of leaves fascinated us and Joe found a green lizard.

Stop 5:  Real Lava Flow
We went to see actual lava flow.  It was slowly creeping through a town.  It had burned one house and covered a road.  Joe was very interested in how they covered the electric poles but not the telephone poles.  The lava was black, huge, gooey and hot.  The National Guard was there to make sure people did not try to climb on it. 

Stop 6:  Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook

Stop 7:  Lava Tubes
We walked through another rainforest to find a lava tube.  It was basically a tunnel made from lava 500 years ago.  That was very cool. 

Stop 8:
Now we were running out of time so we only had time to drive to Holei Sea Arch.  It was all the way down to the ocean.  I thought it was amazing.  I love being down by the ocean.   

We drove all the way back up the volcano to the Volcano House for dinner and then we went to the last stop of the day.

Stop 9:  The Hawaii Volcano Observatory
Why did we go back to see The Kilauea Caldera again, because when it is dark out you can see it glow.  That was awesome.  We got some great pictures. 

We did a lot of things today because it was our last full day in Hawaii. Today was my birthday as well.  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Day 7 -- Hawaii

January 2, 2015

We headed south today toward Volcano National Park.  It is about 90 miles from Kona on a two lane highway. 

Our first stop was at Ka-Lae (South Point.)  It is the southern most point of the United States.  It is the closest I will ever get to Antarctica.  Unfortunately I did not see any penguins.

Next we stopped at the Green Sand Beach.  The book says it is a 2 1/4 mile hike to the beach one way.  We thought we can handle this.......I grabbed a bottle of water and we could see the ocean in front of us.  How far could it be?  It didn’t look that difficult. walk down to the beach and then you begin the 2 1/4 mile hike south through what looks like desert to the green sand beach.  I was ready to wimp out many times, it was hot, it was a desert, it was very far away, it was so rocky at times.  However Joe encouraged me to make it up to one more hill, twenty hills later, we finally saw the green sand beaches.  The best part of the hike was that we saw a humpback whale in the ocean.   

Then we had to turn around an hike back!  Sue’s lesson of the day:  The next time a sketchy looking man in a run-down looking truck offers to give you a ride for $15 one way instead of hiking…..say YES!

We returned to the car, sun-burnt, thirsty, tired and extremely dirty from all the dust.

We drove on some more and we found the Punalu’s Black Sand Beach. 
It was super windy out so we did not spend a lot of time there. 

We were still recovering from our last stop and we were hungry.  The beach was beautiful however we did move on. 

Now we are at our new lodging and we decided to take a break from the big hotel chains and stay at a little quaint cottage, with no tv.  It is rainy and windy out.  We had dinner at the Volcano House Bar and went to the Volcano visitor center so we can plan our adventure for tomorrow. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Day 6 -- Hawaii

January 1, 2015
Happy New Year

We learned our lesson from the day before and we planned out our trip a little better.  First we went to Puukohola Heiou National Historic Site and we learned all about King Kamehameha and how he united the island tribes.  We saw the temple remains that he had his people build and it is referred to as “the hill of the whale.”  We continued to drive north and we saw the statue of King Kamehameha.  Unfortunately we struck out on the other places we were looking for.   We could not find them with our iPhones nor could we find signs along the highway. 

We gave up and went back to the hotel and sat in the hot tub until it was time for the luau.  At the luau we had lots of fun and met some new people from New Jersey and Washington State.   We drank mai-tais, we got stamped tattoos of turtles and we learned how to do the hula.  

The dinner was delicious and Joe ate all the cake.  The performance was wonderful and the evening was beautiful.  We could not ask for a better evening.  Oh and the best part of the luau was that is was free because our children had given it to us as an anniversary gift.