Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Big Island - Day 2

Day 2.

1. After a Locals Breakfast (including eggs, bread, and potatoes with Skin – Yummy!) at the Coconut grill, we headed out for the Volcano tour.  Our guide, a wonderful and witty old man came on time at around 8.30 am on Saturday morning to pick us up.  The holy almighty did answer my prayers with minimal rain on this day. 
2.  We once again drove past the Coconut Island, black sand beach, downtown Hilo and the statue of King Kamemeha to Rainbow Falls.  What a beauty! Though the falls are not super high they are beautiful and we were lucky to see a rainbow at the Rainbow Falls.
3.  Our next stop was the Macadamia nut factory.  Our guide told us to sample the macadamia nut coated with coconut and dipped in chocolate and boy he was spot on!  I am bringing back tons of macadamia nuts in a variety of flavors.  
4. After a beautiful drive, we then stopped at the Volcano village for lunch.  The order of grilled Mahi-Mahi and veggie burger was made to perfection.  Lunch in a perfect scenery is something to be really thankful of!
5.  The next stop was the most looked forward destination for the trip – The Hawaii Volcano National Park.
6. This was my first guided tour experience and I feel like having a local tour guide really helps a lot as they can tell you the tiniest of details that can be overlooked easily.   He took us to the Jagger Museum and Sulphur Banks first.  It was literally an out of world experience to see continuous cloud of  Sulphur smoke coming from the surface.  We  were also lucky to get an up –personal view as the wind was flowing away from us in the opposite direction.
7. We then stopped at the Kiluaea Iki Crater.  Our tour guide tells us that many-many- many years ago, he was showing the crater to another group, when lava came bursting out as high as xx feet and filled  400m out of the 800m crater.
8.  After this we stopped at the Steaming bluff, which out of everyone present there, I enjoyed the most.    It has started raining a little bit and hence when water fell on the hot lava rocks, it created a natural steam.  I enjoyed the nature’s steam a lot and literally had to be dragged out to continue with the journey.
9. We then explored the Thurston  Lava Tube.  This was formed when lava went gushing towards the ocean.  We walked through the lava tube, which is covered beneath a lush green rainforest.
10. We then drove past Tree fern and Ohi’s forest.  Ohi is a local variety of plant, which as far as I remember correctly is the first plant to grown on lava.
11.  Next stop was Keanakakoi crater, unfortunately, of which we did not have a good view due to Vog combined with fog and rain.  VOG = Volcanic Fog
12.  We then drove past 1982 lava flow.  While it is a once in a lifetime experience, I did not leave happy.  To me lava brings some sort of sadness.  Just black lava everywhere.  To add to this, I was able to see patterns in lava, which  was later also pointed to by the guide.  You can see a side-profile of a face looking up and lava shaped as dead bodies piled one over the other ( I think I might have saved a picture, it was so depressing I deleted the set !)
13.  We then drove all the way down from 4,000 feet to the bottom of the ocean to see where lava meets the Pacific.  The drive was beautiful and so was the day.  Even caught a couple of rainbows.  We even saw the “Sea Arch”, which is a beautiful arch formed naturally by the ocean water in a huge rock. 
14. After spending some time at the bottom walking on lava, we headed back up.  We made a stop at the Orchids garden nursery which houses hundreds of orchids of different kinds, including a chocolate orchid – looked and smelled like a chocolate, didn’t have the guts to try eat it.
15. Dead Tired when dropped back at the hotel, and before I knew it, I was in another world.


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