After over 12 hours on 3 planes and ~20 hours of total travel time, we finally arrived in Hilo, Hawaii around 8pm local time.
When I turn my phone on, the first thing I see is a Tsunami Warning. My first reaction… laughter. We left Washington DC that morning happy to be getting out of town before hurricane Sandy hit. But when we land, we have another nature-related event to deal with.
We got our luggage and took care of the rental car and drove to the hotel, not realizing an evacuation order was given to all coastal areas in Hawaii. We arrived around 8:30 and the evacuation order said everyone had to be out of the coastal areas by 9:30. The first tsunami wave was estimated to hit around 10:30.
The hotel was chaos. We get to the desk and are told we cannot check in and have to leave immediately. The desk clerk had no idea when we may be allowed back, her only estimate… 7 am!
The evacuation area is a mall nearby. We had already planned on driving to see the Kilauea crater that night and decided to stick with that plan instead of hanging out at a mall with hundreds of annoyed tourists.
The volcano was amazing. The bright orange glow was easy to see as we drove towards the observation station. I took a bunch of pictures (as always) and then we had to decide what to do. We get back in the car and every local radio station was discussing the tsunami warning. Locals were calling in talking about traffic at certain intersections or asking questions about whatever area they were in, but no actual relevant information was shared except for the occasional repeat of the original warning announcement.
At this point, we had been awake for over 24 hours. We couldn’t really go anywhere and the idea of sitting in a mall for hours was not ideal. So we decided to nap in the car while waiting to hear about the tsunami. We napped on and off for about 90 minutes. Then we found out the warning was downgraded to an advisory and we could go back to the hotel…. hurray!
We got back to the hotel around 2am and we were exhausted (we were up for almost 28 hours).
Not quite the welcome to Hawaii we expected… but luckily the tsunami was not an issue (only 3-ft waves reported).
Five hours later, we would be starting our first non-travel day of the trip.
Number of times we dropped the word ‘Honeymoon’ = 6