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Hilo, Hawaii

Our next port was scheduled to be Nawiliwili, Kauai but it was not in the stars for us. We woke up bright and early for our 8:45 departure for "Tubing the Ditch". We were supposed to dock fairly early but when I turned on the TV to see our location, it looked like we had turned around. At about 9, the captain came on the intercom to inform us that we had an unexpected sea day due to 40mph winds. Nailiwili is a port that has a very narrow entry and the pilot and the captain decided that it was just too dangerous to attempt. So, we rocked and rolled all day as we navigated to Hilo, our next port.


Everyone seems to be taking the weather in stride. Last night La Veranda turned into a Luau. All Hawaiian food with the wait staff and cooks decked out in Hawaiian shirts and leis. Everyone was in good spirits and it was quite a bit of fun.

After our unexpected sea day, we were eager to get off the ship and get some exercise. Chris opted to take a helicopter flight over the volcano and really tried to strong arm Georges to go with him. I had vivid fantasies of both of them going down in a lava pit. I have some influence on Georges but not on Chris. He had a "bucket list" moment and lived to tell the tale.

Georges and I signed up for the Kilauea Volcano Hiking Adventure. This was advertised with a fitness level of three little men meaning it was for the fairly fit. We all agreed it should have been advertised with five little men as it was not a hike for the faint hearted.


Twelve of us piled into a van with Jason who served as our guide and leader. He was a laid back young man who was raised in Hawaii and had a love of science, Hawaiian folklore, and the diverse flora and fauna of the big island. He regaled us with stories of his life and the myths explaining volcanic eruptions and periods of quiet.

After leaving the pier, we begin a 60 minute drive south into Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The terrain and natural diversity here are so extraordinary that UNESCO deemed the park both a World Biosphere site and a World Heritage site. The primary volcano within the 330,000-acre park is Kilauea, which has been steadily erupting since 1983.


We started at the active crater and the Jaggar Museum of volcanology. We then drove on to the Nahuku (Thurston) Lava Tube, a lava cave created 500 years ago when molten lava inside drained out.


This was about a half mile walk which was our warmup for the more rigorous 4 mile hike across Kaluea Iki. We descended to the crater floor through a beautiful temperate rain forrest. This part of Hawaii gets abundant rain, but we were fortunate to have clear skies and mild temperatures. I can’t imagine the path in rain, as when we got to the floor of the crater, footing became precarious and all of us were imagining our fates if we happened to fall and get injured. I asked what would happen if we took a tumble and broke something. "The most expensive helicopter ride of your life" was the response.


The walk across the stark crater floor was about 3 miles and then a hike, up and up and up to the car park. At one point, I asked Jason how much longer and he replied like a good guide “Oh, just a couple more switch backs”. Fifteen switchbacks later we reached the van. A welcome site and a wake up call for my fitness plan!

Posted by Culinerrion 16:00 Archived in USA Tagged hawaii hilo

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