Saturday, May 21, 2011

Big Island of Hawaii Vacation - Day Two

After expecting to sleep in for hours, we found ourselves awakened to a monsoon-like rain storm. And what time was it? 6:30 a.m. Hawaiian time. Yikes. The rain dumped by the bucketful. I was almost tempted to go outside and see if it was warm, but decided why bother. Rain is rain, right? And rain in Hawaii is supposed to stop and let the sun through as opposed to Oregon, so why worry.

Regardless, we got up and had a rousing breakfast of cold cereal and leftover local pineapple. Our morning lattes were jerry-rigged from Starbucks Via packets, some sugar found in the refrigerator, and steamed milk from the stove-top. Not bad. I told you were on a serious food budget.

Before heading out for the day, we walked down our steps into our private access to the volcanically heated lagoon for a little snorkeling with fish and the three resident sea turtles. Pretty fascinating. It didn't take too much time in the water for Bill to get a rousing sunburn even wearing sunscreen. Not sure what happened there since he's pretty good about slathering it on.

We loaded up with more sunscreen and cameras and headed south to inspect lava flows. There were signs aplenty along the road..Turn Back...Road Closed Ahead...No Trespassing Between 10 p.m. and 2 p.m...but our tour book, Hawaii, The Big Island Revealed, assured us we could keep driving down the county road. They said Hawaii is funny about their signage, so we took them literally. When we finally did get to the end of the road, we met another group of visitors who assured us that the road really was open to the public. They explained that the lava flow that had abruptly ended the road and where we were standing on had just occurred this past Thanksgiving. Somehow they were in the know. It definitely looked new. We walked a ways on it and were able to feel heat coming from cracks in the contorted flow. Hmmm. We sure hoped the road was really open to the public. Truly fascinating.

We drove further and took a look at the Lava Tree State Park (which we found out wasn't officially open. Another oops), made many more stops at lava cliff beaches, and finally made our way to a naturally heated lava pool.

This dictated returning to the rental house for swim suits and snorkel gear and bite to eat for lunch. We made an impromptu stop at a local fruit stand where fruit prices did seem less than at the grocery store. We stocked up on everything local...bananas, pineapple, lychee fruit, avocados, papaya and mango. No going hungry now. But instead of heading out to continue to explore, everyone was back in the lagoon for some more snorkeling right out the back door. By this time, the clouds had parted for the most part and the sun was out big time.

Not long afterwards though we took off for the volcanic area of the island. It was a bit disappointing that we could not drive the complete route around the crater, but we did get some fantastic views into the crater, the steam vents, a hike through a lava tube, and the drive down to the coast where we had hoped to be able to see the current lava flow into the ocean. Luck would have it there were no eruptions into the sea that day.

So back home to our “cottage” and a spaghetti dinner out in the tropical air. Being so close to the equator, Hawaii doesn't experience the long daylight hours that we were beginning to have up north. We were having daylight there until 8 p.m. or so. Not so here. But it is hilarious that we were ready for bed before 9 p.m. Hawaii time. Definitely a drop-dead tired night, jet lag and all.

Links to other posts in this series:
Day One
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight

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