This will be a shorter story, but affords the opportunity to share a few extra photos.
We left the ship and travel-buddies and now we are on our own. We decided we needed to try to get in a snorkel before heading to our condo. Our goal was "2-step beach" which is just below where we had gone snorkeling the day before in Captain Cook's Cove. There is a Historic Park there we wanted to explore, too.
Well, this didn't turn out as well as we had hoped. I don't know why we thought the waters would be any calmer just because we were no longer on the boat. Sue watched as I did the obligatory "2-step" -- lava cliff drop down onto lower lava cliff, push off across the breaker into calmer snorkeling waters -- except, there was no "calmer snorkeling waters." Instead, it was all about swells pushing me back into the lava ridge. Not fun. Get me out of here.
In short, then, here was the rest of our stay on the big island.
From our condo in Waikoloa Beach Resort area we could walk the Petroglph/Waikoloa Kings Trail hike. These are petrogphs dating 1400-1800's. The entire field of the hike is covered with these drawing. The entire hike is on lava.
Actually most of the big island is lava
Steven and I played golf one day, and this next shot pretty much tells the tale. First I'll put up our excuse -- we were using rented clubs so we didn't have a lot of confidence about club distances. Anyway -- here ya go. If you fade (push right) you go into lava. If you draw (pull left) or hit short, you're in a deep sand trap. Too far, your ball is in the ocean. Well, how much fun is this!
We did a day trip to Volcano National Park - yes the Kīlauea Volcano is still very active. The VOG (volcanic gases - aka a fog-like effect with high levels of sulphur dioxide from the volcano) was pretty strong when we started - even the park Visitor's Center was closed. But as we moved upwards, we were fine. We did several good hikes across lava fields, in lava tubes, and in the rainforest. We were hoping to see/photograph one of those fabulous lava explosions. But, (a) that kind of activity doesn't happen now, (b) we were on the ground and if we wanted to see the fire-like lava flowing into the sea at night we needed to be in a helicopter or switch our all day hiking to an twilight 10 mile hike down to that viewing area. Next time. We did get a photo of the lava lake activity in Halema‘uma‘u Crater from the visitor'c center (1+ mile away). The fog was rolling in so we were lucky to see even this.
Keanakakoi Crater: 115 ft deep; 1500 ft wide, from the 1974 eruption
Lava Trail Hike
Steam from lava
Rainforest end of hike just before sunset
This is just such an interesting fern. A descendant from prehistoric plants, the fiddleheads of this tree fern are covered with pulp - golden wool, amazingly soft to the touch - that protects its new growth from drying. Soft pulu was used as a dressing for wounds or for stuffing pillows and the like.
Lava Lake from the Visitor's Center. The evening fog rolled in just as we got to our viewing spot, so we were luck to see even this.
Just a touch of humor. En route to the park we stopped for a snack at a local cafe. Here is a shot of their "Tea Garden."
While I'm at it, here's another touch of humor. This is a shot at a restaurant - up to you to decide how this happened.
Sue went diving for dolphins with Linda Trostle. We went fishing for marlin. Sue and Linda swam with dolphins. We toured the ocean for 4 hours, saw some dolphins, a shark, and some humpback whales. None of the boats in the area caught anything. We seem to be caught in a questionable karma space. On the bright side, we are playing in Hawaii and other people are working. It's all about perspective, right?
That's pretty much the end of the tale. We had some excellent dinners around Waikoloa, and went back to Kona for the farmer's market and lunch one day. We walked down to a local beach near the Honokohau Marina and waded out to to find the turtles. We found some good beach bars for watching those unbelievable sunsets. And then, as one of my friends messaged, it was time for us to return to Paradise (aka sunny Palm Springs).
Steven got this shot of a swarm of mussels at the "turtle" beach
Thanks for taking the time to let us share our travels with you. As always, we look forward to your comments. Next up: Mojave Desert/Valley of Fire photo group trip, and then sometime this summer, the Channel Islands.
bette & steven