Gallery » USA & CARIBBEAN » Hawaii 2020
We spent six lovely days/nights on “The Big Island” – the island of Hawaii. We did spend one evening on Oahu in Honolulu in transit before arriving on The Big Island. During our stay which began on Tuesday, 14 January, we had rain, more rain and more rain until we woke up to a bright & sunny Friday morning. While it only lasted till mid-afternoon, it was a nice break. We can’t complain, however, because the weather was mild and comfortable and we both have great hooded rain jackets. So, we didn’t miss a moment of touring.
Our home for this trip was the Dolphin Bay Hotel in Hilo. We previously stayed at this property in 2016 when we were visiting the island with Ken & Cathy as part of their 25th wedding anniversary trip. Amazingly, we had the same room as we did on that trip – room no. 3. When we arrived near 12:00P, our room wasn’t quite ready. So, we spent some time with John, the manager, who provided us with a great orientation regarding things to see on Hawaii, especially after the massive 2018 lava flow. Afterwards, we did some shopping at a nearby Safeway. When we returned, our luggage was waiting for us in the room. We settled into our suite with a full kitchen, a table for two, a desk area and comfy chairs for watching television.
We spent our time on the island of Hawaii enjoying some favorite spots, especially Volcanoes National Park. It’s amazing how much the Park has changed since our last visit due to the 2018 lava flows. Crater Rim is now closed to traffic. The Kilauea Caldera is now totally void of lava. Instead the Caldera is full of boiling, steaming water that is perhaps 100 feet deep. During one our prior visits, we watched the molten lava in the Caldera dance and light up the night sky from the dining room of Volcano House Hotel. Wow, what a change! We were able to hike overland to get somewhat closer to the Caldera and its steam vents on Devastation Trail. Then, we were lucky to visit the Holei Sea Arch right on the edge of the island on the sea coast. We reached it via the Chain of Craters Road before the Arch was closed indefinitely due to seismic activity making visiting unsafe. Whew, that was a close call; we’re so thankful we made it there!
As you likely know, the 2018 lava flows moved molten lava to the east – south of the town of Pahoa – and destroyed over 700 homes. The lava buried 13.7 square miles of land (30’ – 80’ in spots) and created 875 acres of new land. Most roads in the area remain closed but we were able to explore the area on those roads that have been built or re-built. It was amazing to see what places were spared – like the boat ramp near Issac Hale Park as well as a nearby picnic area. Then, while driving through the flows, there was still a lot of activity such as steam vents. Also, you could actually feel the heat if you opened the car windows. It’s such an amazing sight and thankfully no one died since this was a slow moving flow. As we drove north along the coast above the flow area, we were amazed at how thick the vegetation was in its natural state.
Another day we spent our time between the Pana’ewa Zoo and Akaka Falls. This was on Friday, 17 January, the first partially sunny day on The Big Island. The Zoo grounds were lovely and it was a nice place to wander about and relax. The highlight for animal viewing was two Bengal Tigers – one of which was white. They were so majestic! Although the afternoon turned cloudy, we drove north of Hilo to visit Akaka Falls. It’s a beautiful and special place.
On Saturday, we decided to drive the Pu’uo’o Trail (Highway 200) in hopes of seeing the crest of Mauna Kea. The gods of the volcanoes were with us and we were able to photograph the snow and ice covered 13,796 foot volcano, including the huge telescopes located on its crest. Mauna Kea is home to the largest single-mirror telescope (8.2 meters or ~27 feet wide), Japan’s “Subaru”.
On our final day of touring, we spent time in the downtown district of Hilo. It was booming with tourists, especially since it was a long weekend due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. There was a Farmer’s Market that had more food trucks then farmers selling goods. Also, the bay was filled with lots of sailing vessels – kayaks, long boats, etc., etc. Despite it getting cloudy late in the day, the place was definitely hopping.
Take a few minutes to look at the photographs below. The Big Island is a very special place indeed and one that we likely will return to again!