We woke up as our ship arrived to Hilo (The Big Island). We have an early excursion booked. Actually, we have 2 excursions. The first is the “Waterfall, Cave and Black Sand Cove” tour. Our tour guide was “Uncle” Danny, a very active native Hawaiian who still surfs! His middle name is quite a long traditional Hawaiian name. He goes by Uncle Danny because of his cultures admiration and respect for elders.
Any who, as the name of the tour indicates, we had 3 sights, which were located in different places, different stops.
Below: The waterfalls were actually on someone’s private property that the tour company pays to allow us to visit. If I remember right, there were 3 different waterfalls on the same property.
Below: We climbed down some steep ass treacherous steps and went a few feet into the cave. We could see others ahead with flashlights.
The first 3 photos were taken as we walked to the Richardson’s Beach. It’s either fresh water or brackish water (I can’t remember). Richardson Beach is the only beach in the Hilo area with black sand and green sand.
We also stopped at a chocolate factory, Big Island Candies.
We saw these chocolate dipped squid “treats” there but did not partake. Here’s a photo from their website:
The tour ended with a drop off to the ship. We boarded, dropped off our chocolately treats and headed for some lunch. We hit the buffet (excellent as previously mentioned) because we had another excursion to take! Yep. Another. Another helicopter tour to see some lava!
Circle of Fire Plus Waterfalls - Tour the most geologically active environment on earth which has been continuously erupting since 1983. Tour emphasis is on the most current areas of volcanic activity. View lava flows, tropical rain forests and cascading waterfalls while learning about the history and culture of Hawaii.
We bought the $40 video, I uploaded it to YouTube but unfortunately the tour company has music playing in the background that has been flagged as copyrighted. The video from the other day seemed to have passed the filters. I can’t cut out the music since that would also cut out the pilot’s narration so here’s a couple of short videos I took. Besides, were you really going to watch 45 minutes of their video? I think not.
On the last tour, our pilot was Kristi Hickey. We liked her. While talking to her she mentioned she was going to help on Hilo with some tours with the same company. We said we were booked for a tour around the same time (we all couldn’t remember exact dates). When we arrived here, we asked if she was working. They said yes, we requested her and we had her once again!
Here’s where it flows into the Pacific. We could only see some orange spots here and there but later tonight, we’ll see the lava at night while on the ship:
And on the way back to the helicopter headquarters (airport):
Back on board the ship, we had our typical sit down 4 or 5 course dinner. Mmmmmmmmm. I will post a sample menu sometime in this blog.
Around 10pm, the ship approached the lava flow. We were in the theater at the end of a show. An announcement was made over the ship wide PA system stating we had arrived to the lava flow. As soon as that show ended (a minute or 2 later), everyone rushed to the upper decks on one side of the ship; we began to list. OK, we didn’t list to one side. Made you think, didn’t I? We could see the bright orange glow and smoke/Sulphur/steam as it flowed into the Pacific. It was amazing. It was a little heard to see because of some plexiglass rail barriers. We didn’t get a great spot to view from. The gap between the glass was 6 inches which offered a view. The captain announced he’d swing the ship around to the other side. We rushed down to our cabin and watched in amazement from our balcony. It.was.spectacular.
My photos and videos didn’t come out that great but one of the friends we made on board, Audley, took some great phots with a fancy camera. He submitted them in a ship contest for best photo and won a photo package. Anyway, I asked him to email me a copy of his best ones:
Here’s 2 very short videos:
Exciting day… wasn’t it?