|Hawaii 2003 ~
Memories in Picture ~ The Big Island
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| We had an
early arrival in Hilo Bay on the Big Island. While Kathy
opted to do an ATV excursion, Dad, Mom, Robin, Kris, and I rented a van
and headed off for the Park Headquarters of Hawaii Volcanoes National
Park. The Headquarters is the launching point for exploring the
Kilauea Caldera. The drive around the rim of the volcano crater
was magnificent, with great stop-offs and viewing platforms for
experiencing the crater up close. I was surprised at how close we
actually were allowed to approach the rim of the volcano. We
lingered awhile there, taking pictures among the sulfurous steam vents.
Word was out that the lava was flowing down on the east coast, so we calculated our route, packed into the van, and beelined for the flow. The ride itself was an eye-ful of petrified lava flows and scenic coastline. Unfortunately, what they did not tell us was that once we reached the parking area for the lava flow, it would be another 20 minute walk to reach the flow itself. That added at least 40 minutes to our already short timetable, and would have put us late back on the ship.
On the drive back to the ship we stopped at the Thurston Lava Tube, another fascinating geological formation where the lava created a tunnel through the local terrain. Overall, even without seeing the actual lava flow, the park impressed me beyond my expectations.
Meanwhile, Kathy was off having a grand time, bouncing around on an ATV, exploring the western slope of the Kilauea volcano-- an experience she HIGHLY recommends to future travellers.
Our next stop would be a day and a half away-- the Republic of Kiribati...