Last night, during our transit to the Big Island, our captain informed us that we were making a brief detour to Honolulu for a medical emergency, so I got to see the skyline at night. We had to anchor a few miles offshore – it was easier and quicker to off-load and transport the individual than it would have been to dock (there may not have been space or there may have been security issues preventing us from getting closer). Anyway, the view was pretty awesome.
Today is our last day on the islands, and we finally the clouds parted. We saw the sun all day long. We are on the Big Island and our excursion was to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut factory and to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
This was probably our best tour of all the ones we were on. Our guide was funny yet very knowledgeable about the geology, history, culture, flora, and fauna. Kilauea was spectacular and with the clear skies, we could easily see into the crater as well as the peaks of Mauna Loa, and Mauna Kea.
We also walked through a lava tube (600-800 years old). Lava tubes are how most of Kilauea’s lava is carried to the sea. The one we walked through was about 100 yards of its several mile length. There are others much longer. The one we were in was about 10 feet in diameter. It was in the middle of what is now a rain forest – thick vegetation because it is on the rainy side of the island (400 inches rain each year).
Kilauea crater is on the dry side (10 inches a year), just few miles away. We also made a stop where the lava flow of the 1974 eruption covered the road. The lava rocks were very rough and sharp.
With days like today, I can see why Hawaii is so popular, especially when you are on Hawaiian time. So much to see; each island is different. The downside is how expensive it is to live here. Tonight we leave the islands and spend the next four days at sea. We’ll have a brief 3 hour stop in Ensenada before returning to LA where I hear it is raining again.