Another fun day on the Big Island.
We started the day by relaxing at the pool at our hotel.
Later, we went on a tour of Mauna Kea. The tour bus picked us up at the hotel. The drive to our first stop was about an hour. The driver, the most excellent Robert, gave a short intro and asked all of us to introduce ourselves. We arrived at our first stop… dinner. Our elevation at this point ~6700 ft. Dinner was served here so we could get acclimated to the elevation. After dinner, we boarded the bus to go up the mountain. It was not a very pleasant drive… an unpaved road meant for only 4×4 vehicles.
After about an hour we made it to the top (elevation 13700 ft!). It was cold! But the tour provided parkas and gloves. We arrived at the summit just before sunset. It was beautiful up there… above the clouds. And, we were able to see the full moon rise on one side and the sun set on the other… very cool! We stayed up there for a little while to enjoy the view and the sunset.
We then headed down the mountain to the visitors center. In a parking lot nearby, our tour guide set up a telescope for a stargazing session. Because of the full moon, we were not able to see some of the deep-space objects (nebula, milky way, etc) that are usually visible with the telescope. But we did see Mars, Jupiter (and 4 Jovian moons), a bunch of stars (Vega, Polaris, etc) and of course… the moon. We star gazed for about 90 minutes and then headed back to the hotel.
It was a great experience and we will try to do it again sometime during the new moon so we can really experience star-gazing on Mauna Kea.
Word drop = 2
Tomorrow… on to Oahu!