Today was back in Hilo. We originally booked the ‘Kilauea Lava Viewing Hike’ but the excursion was changed to ‘Kilauea Crater Adventure’ without any notice. Not sure if the cruise company got that wrong or the tour company. But we were excited to have the chance to see lava and ended being on a tour that stated ‘you will NOT see molten lava on this tour.’ Oh well…
Even with our disappointment, the tour was very enjoyable. We started out by walking through an inactive lava tube. A lava tube is an underground (or just under the surface) conduit of lava. Lava can move very fast and travel great distances in a lava tube. The one we visited actually extends for over 9 miles. We saw a couple hundred feet of it. Ok…. there is your geology lesson for the day. (c;
After that we started our ‘crater adventure.’ This was a 4 mile hike around and through the Kilauea Iki Crater (iki = small). This was not the main (and active) crater, but a smaller one where a lava lake once was as well as a large cinder cone that last erupted in 1959. Lots of cool stuff to see, but the most impressive thing was the sheer size of the crater.
After our hike, we went up to the volcano observatory to see the Kilauea Caldera (the active crater) – Halema’uma’u Crater. Unlike last week when we saw the crater at night (during the tsunami warning), the wind was blowing towards the observatory and the viewing area was closed due to unsafe conditions. And it was noticeable! We could smell and taste the sulfur immediately. The entire tour group started coughing immediately after exiting the van. We ate our lunch inside the observatory museum and went on our way.
After leaving Volcanoes National Park, we had a little extra time so the driver brought us to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory/Visitor Center. We had about 20 minutes to walk around the visitor center and gift shop. Just enough time to get some yummy free samples of chocolate covered macadamia nuts, roasted macadamia nuts, etc.
Then on to our last stop, Akaka Falls. A very large waterfall north of Hilo and a rainforest area. We were there for about 30 minutes and then headed back to the ship.
We were happy to be back on board and immediately went to the hot tub on the sun deck to relax and rest our sore muscles.
Dinner as usual then to the evening show. Tonight, an energetic comedian and juggler; Mike Price. He was quite entertaining although a lot of his jokes seem to have gone over the older crowds’ heads.
After the show, we were told that the captain had brought the ship around to the volcanically active side of the big island. We could see lots of lava along the sides of Kilauea and the faint glow of the caldera. They even turned off all of the lights on the sun deck so we could get the full effect of the glowing lava. It was very cool.
So, we said goodbye (or aloha) to Hawai’i. We enjoyed the islands and we will definitely be back again.
Tomorrow is our first of 5 days at sea in a row. We are really looking forward to relaxing since we were so busy exploring Hawai’i.
Word drop = 2
Pictures taken so far = 1881
Note: The internet on the ship is worse than normal. We are a day to two days behind in posting. Thankfully, (the real) today and the next four days are at sea with little activities.