$5 flower arrangement from the Hilo Market - pretty huh!
We arrived at Radio Bay in Hilo after a relatively pleasant 17 day passage between the Tuamotus and Hawaii. Radio Bay has implemented some new security practices so whenever we wish to venture beyond the 8 feet that make up the pier for transient moorage, we need to call the security company for an escort through the working container yard. At first it was a little annoying, but as we got to know the staff, we looked forward to our chats with them during our escort. It wasn't too bad at all.
Our first week was a blur, as Jay worked on repairs and we cleaned and got the boat ready for our friends who were arriving on the 15th. Busy, busy busy! We rented a car with Orca III so that we'd have wheels for errands and sight seeing and the first order of business was laundry and lunch! Unfortunately the laundry mat that was formerly adjacent to the customs office at Radio Bay has closed down, so we had to go downtown BUT what a great surprise when we visited the laundry mat there. There were probably close to 100 wasers, many which held multiple loads, and around 50 driers. WOW! This was heaven to us cruisers who've tolerated exorbitant rates or non-existent laundry facilities during this trip. Boy...you know you've been cruising too long when a laundry mat causes such excitement!
Alas, the 15th arrived and with much excitement we greeted Steve, Mary, Alanna, Shayna and Lyndsay at the Hilo airport.
With only two days for touring before we planned to leave Radio Bay, we were off before our guests even had a chance to settle in! First we visited Rainbow Falls and the Boiling Pots where the murky fresh water pool failed to entice. Next it was off to see the lava flow and then the hot pool. The hot pool, on the edge of the ocean, is heated by lava flowing beneath, and although it wasn’t hot, not even warm, it made for a nice stop for a refreshing swim.
Shayna, Alanna, Jocelyn & Jay in hot pool
The surf was huge and we got to watch some crazy surfers waiting for the perfect wave. Hawaii’s Big Island has very few beaches and these brave? Surfers hang ten on waves that meet up with the jagged lava shore – not for me!
Uneven lanes....or lines?
The lava flow proved to be a really interesting stop. We walked across sharp jagged lava and other flow that looked like rippling water ending up at a spectacular black sand beach. I thought the sand in the Tasman Sea was black, but not compared to this! Finely ground lava provides a dramatic backdrop for the crashing white waves.
Jenny, Shayna, Alanna, Jocelyn & Lyndsay on the black beach
Alanna, Jocelyn, Jenny and Lyndsay outrunning the surf
Our second day of touring was spent in the Volcano National Park, where we drove to the summit of Mauna Ulu at over 3000 feet to see the smoking crater – very cool! The drive through the park allowed us to walk on lava and view several craters. One of the favorite stops was at the Thurston Lava tube where we descended a long stairway to walk through the ancient tube where lava formerly flowed. The first section of the tube is lit, then for the more adventurous…that’s us, you could walk the second half of the unlit tube, some 350 meters. We brought torches and a lantern for just this occasion and it was really interesting to walk the cool, drippy tube that was once ablaze with molten lava.
Jocelyn in a lava hole
Steve and Mary on the black beach
Jenny, Jocelyn, Lyndsay and Alanna walking on the lava
Fam on the lava flow - aren't we hot!
Marg on lava
Lava on road
We drove all the way down to the ocean side to see the lava flowing into the ocean, but it was too far away, we could only see the steam. The shore side, however, was awesome as the waves crashed into the steep cliffs formed by the flowing lava. The arch is one of the most photographed sections on the coast.
Near the water and just a short hike in from the road, we got to see some petroglyphs that are about 300 years old, pretty new for this kind of stuff, but it’s a very large and interesting collection of images carved by the early Hawaiians.
Steve on a petroglyph hunt
Our day was complete after a dinner at Kens Pancake House. Needless to say, we all slept very well that night.
We departed Radio Bay on the seventeenth destined for Kealakekua Bay. Enroute, we passed within ¾ of a mile of the current lava flow from Mauna Ulu and were treated to a remarkable show of lava erupting as it met with the water. Lava flows at temperatures exceeding 2000 degrees F so you can imagine that its union with the cold ocean water is not too friendly. We met a local photographer, who’s been working on the island for 15 years, who told us that it was the most dramatic show in years! Perfect timing for us!
After a lumpy 24 hours we arrived in Kealakekua Bay, where Captain James Cook, who founded the islands in 1778, was killed. A monument, erected by his fellow countrymen, stands on a small patch of British soil gifted by the Hawaiians.
A Canadian plaque at the monument
Emma, Shayna, Jenny, Lyndsay, Jocelyn, Alanna and Maya in Kealakekua Bay
Off to snorkel in Kealakekua Bay
As if erupting lava weren’t enough to satisfy our sense of discovery and adventure, we spent an hour or so snorkeling followed by an amazing hour of swimming with over 50 spinner dolphins that were mating in the bay. WOW! What an awesome experience as we watched the babies swimming alongside the frisky adults. We counted 47 but we bet there were more.
Today we're off to Kailua Kona before crossing over to Maui, hopefully we'll solve our problem with our internet antenna so that I can post more regularly, in the meantime, we'll be off exploring the lovely Hawaiian Islands with our good friends.