We have been on the big island of Hawaii for ten days now but today was the first day we went to the beach and swam in the ocean.
We are staying at a wonderful Bed and Breakfast called Ka’awa Loa. The house has an expansive view of the Kona coast. When we got back from the beach this afternoon we showered in the outdoor showers then sat in lawn chairs under the trees and read. When it started to rain we moved to the lanai. Around four o’clock one of the owners, Michael took some homemade chocolate pineapple upside down cake out of the oven. Oh my was it good!
The east side of the Island of Hawaii is a very wet rainforest and the west side is dry semi desert. We got proof today! When we left our hotel in Honomu we were in a torrential down pour. As we crossed the top of the island the weather dried up. When we arrived at our hotel overlooking the west coast of the island it was sunny and dry. It appeared not to have rained in a long time.
Today we drove across the north end of the island. We drove through part of Parker Ranch, one of the biggest cattle ranches in the country and we stopped at the Parker Ranch Shopping Center and visitor center.
We drove a four wheel drive road on the extreme north coast and hiked to an ancient Heiau where early Hawaiians performed human sacrifices.
Our last stop was the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Factory. We could see the processing area through the glass and enjoy the free samples.
Mauna Kea is over 13,000 feet high. We drove to the top today. When we got there the temperature was 32 degrees and the wind was blowing hard. Since there wasn’t much air and it was so cold we didn’t stay there long. But oh what a view and what unearthly terrain. From the main highway it is just under 15 miles straight up to the top.
On our way back down to Kona we stopped at Wai’ale Falls and Rainbow Falls.
We also climbed down into a two mile long lava tube called Kaumana cave. Although you can take a flashlight into the tube and explore we decided not to. It was very dark!
Our last stop of the day was a visit to the Lyman Museum. We ate dinner at Hilo Bay Cafe overlooking the ocean.
I love breakfast in Hawaii. We have had the most wonderful papaya every morning.
Today we drove north up the Hamakua Coast. We took several detours paralleling the highway on the old road and stopped at sites along the way. We took a short hike to Akaka falls.
There is beautiful lush vegetation along the narrow old road.
We also stopped at Laupahoehoe Point and memorial. A terrible tsunami hit the Hawaii coast in 1946. On this small peninsula 21 schoolchildren and three adults were killed by the tsunami.
For dinner we had pizza in Hilo at Pesto Cafe.
Even though the government shutdown is over they still weren’t collecting money when we reentered Hawaii Volcano National Park this morning. We rewatched the video about the 2018 Kilauea eruption. I was able to understand what happened much better having seen all the locations. The lava traveled from the summit caldera near the visitor center underground twelve miles to Pu’u O’o Coldera where more lava joined the flow and then another twenty miles underground to fissures in and around Leilani Estates where the lava came to the surface and flowed to the ocean.
From Volcano we drove to Hilo where we walked through Lili’uokalani Gardens.
Then we visited the Pacific Tsunami Museum.
We are staying thirteen miles north of Hilo at Palms Cliff House Inn. Our room has a wonderful ocean view. For dinner we went back into Hilo and ate at Pineapples Restaurant. The setting is open air and very relaxing. We started with some really really wonderful Ahi poke.
Then Duke had coconut crusted fish and I had coconut crusted shrimp.
Today we drove to where last year’s Kilauea eruption occurred. The first signs of the eruption were at the summit and at the caldera near where we are staying but the lava actually erupted from fissures on the side of the volcano many miles from here. The lava went into the ocean in several places. They have just recently opened the shore road through the flow. We stopped at a beach park that was almost completely overrun. After that the road was still closed.
Next we drove into Leilani Estates where many homes were overrun. The lave flow is st least twenty feet thick and goes right across the roads completely burning many homes and leaving nearby homes apparently untouched.
We spent today in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park around the massive Kilauea Caldera. Many of the roads and hiking trails were closed because of the government shutdown but the visitor center was open and was manned by volunteers who were handing out a map of where we could go that wasn’t closed.
We even got to see a pair of Ne Nes, the endangered Hawaiian state bird.
Some of the roads were closed because of the big eruption last year.
We ate dinner st Volcano House in the park overlooking the caldera.