Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hawaii - the Big Island

The last stops on the cruise (before sailing back to Vancouver) were in Kona and Hilo on the Big Island (Hawaii). The youngest island in the Hawaiian archipelago (a mere half-million years old), Hawaii Island is still growing thanks to an energetic volcano. The Kilauea volcano is one of the major attractions on the island but we found that Hawaii has so much more to offer. In Kona, we rented a car with Susan and Henry and toured around the whole island in one day! We travelled from the seashore through tropical rainforests to high plateaus with grazing lands and then, finally, to Volcano National Park. It was amazing to see such diverse landscapes in one day.

We visited the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum to learn about the volcano and saw the plumes of sulphur dioxide coming from the huge crater.
Part of the crater road was closed due to this gas in the air. We also stopped along the road to see numerous steam vents. A bit unsettling to think this steam was coming from the depths of the earth!

Then it was back to the ship - in time for dinner!

We sailed along the coast at night and saw the lava flow in the distance. Unfortunately they were impossible to photograph but I can say I saw them.

The next stop was Hilo where Alan and I golfed and did our final shopping for souvenirs. If I go back to Hawaii, this is definitely an island where I'd like to spend more time.

Our last view of the islands was this rainbow - another iconic image of Hawaii.

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