May 2005

16 May - Pizza, Water, and Lava

We have done so many things on the Big Island so far that instead of making a long journal that isn't very well written I am going to choose four of my favourite places or things to talk about. This may seem cheap, but as momma say “Quality not quantity”.

#1: The coolest thing we have done on this trip would have to be seeing lava in Volcanoes National Park. We had decided earlier on that we were going to stay in a hotel, and what spot was better than Volcano Village, the town just two miles north of the park? We stayed in Lokahi Lodge, a property of Chalet Kilauea, one of the closest hotels to Downtown Volcano.

The first day we were there we went on the six mile hike to see the lava. The hike was on some of the roughest and most inhospitable terrain I have ever been on. We knew that we were getting close when we began getting blasts of heat from the direction we were going. Not only could you feel the heat from 200 feet away, you could also see the shimmer of heat above the shiniest lava. Most of the lava here travels in tubes under the ground, so you only see the dry bit, until the lava burst out of a crack. When this happens you get an amazing blast of heat. Another thing that amazed me was how orange the lava is. The hottest lava is orange, and as it cools it becomes red and then silver. The lava is right by the coast, so we climbed down the cliff a bit and we got to see the lava drop onto a lava bench and into the sea. We started back after watching the lava for 45 minutes, and got to the car just before dark.

#2: We found a spot called the Boiling Pots just north of Hilo. When there has not been much rain, you can go swimming here. As the name suggests, it is made up of many pots of water, connected to each other by waterfalls. But this place is different than others because of the amount of places where it is possible to jump off. I know of one route that lets you jump off 5 spots while working yourself down the river. My favourite spot to jump off is a jump I call the Cathedral. It is about 25 feet high, and deposites you in a small kidney shaped pool. What makes this jump different than others is the fact that the walls are Hexagonal strips that lean out and make it look like a cathedral, hence the name. The second bit makes the jump scary. The pool has no opening to the next pool over, so I deduced that the water must flow underwater. Whenever I jump here I make sure I don't go deep. There is one pool that gives me the creeps. Nikki and I call it the Silent Pool, as there is no ripple of movement on it. This is probably because both connections are underwater tubes. This pool also has jumping for all ages, because the side slope up gently, letting you just walk up to where you want to jump. This is more fun than Josephine falls or Alara Boulders in Australia

#3: One thing makes all of these activities better: good restaurant food. And we have had a lot of it. My favourite restaurant in Hilo so far has been an Italian place called Cafe Pesto. They have the best pizza ever, and for those of you that have had Scott's Shrimp pizza, this is where they got the recipe. Another restaurant that was really good was Edelweiss in Waimea. We went there when we drove through Saddle Road to get to the east side of the Island for a day. All in all, the big island has some really good food, especially after having been without going to restaurants for a whole week while traveling to the Big Island.

#4 We have been to a lot of museums lately, but the best has to be the Lyman Museum. If all the museums we went to came together and had a contest, these would be the top four (if I were the judge.): 1st Lyman Museum 2nd Volcanoes National Park Visitors Center 3rd Jagger Museum 4th Tsunami Museum The Lyman museum is not big and it does not bombard you with facts. The exhibits are well laid out and interesting. Presenting just the right amount of information to keep your attention. This may have been because of the content. They have one of the best crystal collections that we have seen since the Australia Museum in Sydney. They also have an interactive shell finder that lets you find shells by their families. Of course, they could have that shell finder thingy without having a world class shell collection as well. On the upper floor they have a mock up of a 19th century Korean home. We had a private tour and looked at everything from a different angle. The only place that I personally didn't find very interesting, was the part on the Hawaiian history and the different cultures that influenced it.

Number 5 was put here just recently when momma bought tickets to see Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith on opening day. Just when I thought our stay in Hilo couldn't get any better.

30 May - Hilo and Maui

Ironically, during the last two days in Hilo, we made some new friends on the cat Gambit. They were Joanna, 15, and Rebecca, 11, Don and Susan. This was the first time we had ever met kids that were both around the same age. Joanna likes computer games, and Rebecca has to force other family members to play a game, just like Nikki. On the first day, we spent the morning on their boat, and then took them to the Boiling Pots, where everyone but Joanna jumped off the Big One. We found a small waterfall that was a bit like a slide, and a brand new jump that became the highest. I would have jumped but it didn't look like there was a way to get back up. We invited them over for dinner that evening as well. They have The Sims 2, a game I have been looking at, and it is really good. I would get it if only it didn't need a 32 Mb video card. Papa has that, but he won't let us use his computer. The next day, they were gone for most of the morning, so we did some homework. When they did came back, they invited us to go to the Boiling Pots with them. We showed Susan the mega jump at the bottom of Daredevil's Valley. I was surprised that she actually went down as far as she did. Don didn't go in the water, but he was amazed when we jumped off the Big One. I had a lot of fun with them, and I wish we didn't have to go. That night at 2200 hours, we upped anchor and motored out of Radio Bay and set sail for Makena beach on Maui.

When we got there we were all exhausted and everyone was in bed by 9. The wind had dropped off, and we were broadside to the waves. Momma said “I knew it” in a sort of dejected voice, but fell asleep anyway. I thought it was mildly annoying, kinda like having a Mozzie in my room. The next day we decided to go snorkelling on the nearby point. After some snorkelling, Nikki called me over and pointed to a crack. In there, I saw a 20 DOLLAR BILL!!!!! I couldn't get it (I wish I could have) because my ears wouldn't pop, and I would have to have half of my body in the crack to get it, so we called in Da Salvage Masta. Papa took a look, dove down and took a closer look, and then slowly worked his way into the crack and grabbed the bill. What I forgot to mention was the fact that there were five ore six nasty looking sea urchins in the same crack. That also put me off a bit. Papa demandad some sort of salvage fee for braving the urchins. Momma decided that it would be Nikki sharing it with me. Woohoooo!!!!!We split the money 65-35, so I got 7. That night we had really bouncy weather (again), and momma was so sick of it that she said that we would go to Lahaina tomorrow and stay in a hotel for two nights.

Lahaina is Maui's Waikiki. Just as touristy, just as crowded, but a fraction of the size. While Waikiki was always just a tourist haven, Lahaina has quite a bit of a history. There is the Old Pioneer Hotel, the Old Courthouse and Jail, a Buddhist Temple, The Missionary House, the Seaman's Hospital, and many more. The Seaman's Hospital was originally built by Kamehameha III as an excuse to get away from the missionaries to gamble and drink. Recently, while the building was being restored, a skull of an Ancient Hawaiian was found, keeping watch over the building. The skull was not disturbed, and it still keeps watch over the building today. While we were in the hotel, Nikki and I took turns watching TV (Must melt brains!) and playing on the computer (Must melt more brains!) the whole day, except when we went somewhere, which we didn't do a lot (Uugh. Brain kaput). We got two rooms there, one with queen, and one with two singles. We went out for breakfast at a place called Moose Macgillycuddys. There they have the best biscuits in the world! While we were in Lahaina we also saw The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Even though the movie doesn't follow the book exactly, I still thought it was a hilarious movie. For those of you who have not read the book, I highly recommend it, because it is the funniest thing that I have ever read! (Thank you, Nik.) After our two days and two nights in heaven, we moved to Honolua Bay, which is our current position.