Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hawaii Trip 2010: Day Two!

This was the view from my hotel room the first morning that I was in Kona. I was on the other side of the water, but it was pretty beautiful. I don't think you can tell, but all of the trees had really pretty giant blossoms on them!
I stopped at a pullout to take pictures, and found a pretty butterfly. Wish I had my long lens on!
Looking for Captain Cook's Memorial, I found turkeys. Turns out, you can't drive to the memorial. Silly Google!
Sweet old temples . . .
And if you could see to the left, you can actually see the memorial, all the way across the water. When I was in Hawaii last time with my 8th grade class, we took boats out to that spot to snorkel. This time though, I saw dolphins!

Looking for the City of Refuge . . . The way that I understand it, is that if you were to even touch the Kings' shadow, he would behead you! If you could run to the City of Refuge though, you could live there for the rest of your life. Pretty tough.
This is where I spent at least 5 of my 7 days. It's right next to the City of Refuge, and I came back every single day to snorkel. By far, my favorite spot -- tons of coral, really large fish, and the spinner dolphin's resting area. SO AWESOME. I also acquired the most gnarly sunburn that I've ever had in my life here. It hurt to lay down, wear clothes, or move. I wore my swimsuit underneath a dress every single day. So much for my over-packed suitcase. :/

Heading to the other side of the island . . .




And of course, I had to stop at the black sand beach! When I was here before, we camped at this beach for a week, so it was fun to be back in a different way.

Can you see all of the sea turtle backs? SO MANY.
Black sand!

My little turtle buddy!


I think he was pretty much over me by this point . . .
I couldn't get up the guts yet to go snorkeling out there by myself. I remember last time, it's really shallow, and you're right above the turtles. No one else was swimming, so I wasn't comfortable, yet. A few days later, I psyched myself up, and went back. I arrived right the one other person who was swimming/snorkeling was getting out of the water. I couldn't convince him to go back in, but he convinced me to go alone. SO SCARY. I went in(!), but didn't stay in very long. It was still very shallow, and the waves were kind of nuts. At that point, my sunburn wouldn't actually let me move my arms very well . . . not exactly the best case scenario. But I did it!

I made my way to the Volcanoes National Park, just in time to see this gnarly crater, and take a walk for a couple of miles around the crater and through the lava tube.


Can you kind of see the steam (gas?) coming up?
Lava tube! So cool!







I got back into the car and drove through the entire park, stopping at every single turn-off.
And then took an epic walk to see petroglyphs.













It was obviously incredibly beautiful and interesting, but I was all alone, far off the road, and it was getting dark! I hightailed it back to the car as fast as I could, and tried to get directions to see the lava flow.
I made it just in time (with 10 minutes to spare before they stopped letting people in!), and had to buy a $10 flashlight to walk the mile there and back to see the lava. Best purchase ever. It was stupidly dark, but worth ever penny. The lava was really cool, as you can see below (especially the red steam where it was flowing into the ocean), but what really made it worth it was the stars. I haven't seen stars like that in, I don't know how long, if ever. So beautiful.

I made it back to the car, and drove for another hour to Hilo, where I had Pricelined to stay at the Hilo Seaside Hotel. Kind of weird, but still nice. You'll see in my next post! :)

Love,
Sarah

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