Love & Light and everything bright...

23 Jan 2011

Updated Nov 30, 2009...

Return to the Big Island

...to the sound of running streams for the first time

FROM HAIKU, MAUI (HAWAII)

Return to the Big Island

First Day: Another Blackjack Saturday

HAIKU, Maui, Nov 30 - Our Hawaiian property quest started just before Thanksgiving 2008 on the Big Island (see Hawaiian Thanksgiving, Nov-Dec 2008). It ended with the purchase of the Rainbow Shower in March.  So we decided to return to the Big Island for a two-day vacation, this time without the company of a real estate agent.  And we had a blast...

We stopped on our way from the Kona airport at Waikaloa Village King's shops, where we were finally able to find a rainbow swim suit for Elizabeth.  We had been looking for it on and off ever since she got here last April.  You can see her modeling it on the balcony of our suite at the Fairmont Orchid resort where we were staying this weekend. 

You can see the beautiful hotel grounds reflecting in the middle left shot, as well as shown in direct shots (two right photos).  That's where I also spent 10 days during my first visit to the Big Island in 2007 (see Hawaii's Big Island: Up Close & Personally).

While moseying around Waikaloa, we noticed for the first time several beautiful murals depicting the native Hawaiian life.  They were painted by a local artist Calley O'Neill, whom I met back in 2007.  I chuckled when I looked at the mural on the right.  It is supposed to be a scene from a quarry on Mauna Kea at 12,400 ft. Can you imagine stone masons with basically only their beach wear working at such elevation?

As if to confirm my skepticism, when we awoke this morning and looked at Mouna Kea from the hotel ground, we saw two large white snow caps gracing its top.  Who says it never snows in Hawaii?  :-)  Unfortunately, we only had our beach wear and no camera with us, so you'll just have to take our word for it.  The photo of Mauna Kea (left) was taken earlier, before a storm moved in on Sunday night.

But back to Saturday evening, we took a sunset stroll along the beaches around the Fairmont resort.  The pictures that follow need no description...

And so ended the day portion of the Blackjack Saturday (11+28=21, 2009 ).

We finished the evening with a mini-concert at the Fairmont's piano bar.

Triple Ace Sunday at Hilo, Kiluaea Volcano

When we drove past the Kiluaea volcano last year, all we saw was a lot of smoke.  And by "a lot," I mean a lot!  The entire western part of the Big Island was engulfed in VOG, as the locals call it.  Since Elizabeth has never seen a red hot lava before, she wanted us to drive there and see it.  It was no small undertaking, as it is about a three-hour drive one way, followed by seemingly endless waiting for the "big one" (a big eruption) to happen and illuminate the sky with bursts of red lava.

So before we set off for the "volcanoland," we spent some time cooling our heels in the ocean.  We took a double kayak for a spin.  That's something else Elizabeth has never done.  Yours truly, on the other hand, practically grew up in one of them.  But that never stopped the crew from telling the captain how to drive the boat. :-) I tried a few splashes at first but they only produced more shrieks.  Not even a light womp on the head with a paddle managed to quell the "mutiny on the Bounty."   :-)

Anyway, we had a blast... with lots of teasing and laughter.  And then we set sail for Hilo, for the first via the newly improved Saddle Road.  Along the way, we saw two sets of wild goats and two sets of wild turkeys.  And it happened right after I had mentioned to Elizabeth that there is a small chance we might see them. :-)

We don't know exactly what elevation the Saddle Road reaches, but the temperature dropped from 85F on the coast to 54F around as we were passing under Mauna Kea.

We spent about an hour or so in Hilo before continuing to the (hopefully raging) volcano.  Hilo is a lovely town when it is sunny.  Alas, that seems to happen so rarely (Hilo gets up to 200 inches of rain per year), that we considered ourselves lucky to be able to take those pictures without a poncho or an umbrella.  (It rained nearly the entire two days we spent there last year).

When we got to the volcano park where the public observation point is located, the gates were still closed.  They open at 5PM daily and stay open for public viewing till 10PM every night.

So to kill the time, we amused ourselves by walking around, trying to get acquainted with the local flora and fauna.  The Noni plant (two left shots) particularly caught our attention.  It's supposed to produce all sorts of nutritional benefits, but has a pretty foul scent, according to a local Hawaiian with whom we chatted.  So no Noni on our menu. 

As for the local fauna, I finally established an Anglo-Hawaiian connection.  You know, of course, that we have a Union Jack in our state flag (middle right), the only state of the union that is proud to display its former ties to the British crown.  But then I saw that Rent-a-Lua sign on Port-a-Potties near the park entrance.  "Loo," of course, is what the British call the toilet.  So "Rent-a-Lua,"  "Rent-a-Loo"... the same difference, you see?  :-)

Finally, the gates opened and we walked along the lava fields toward a smoking volcano.  When we got to the observation point, we were still at least a mile away from the lava flows.  So all you could see is the smoke.  Hardly worth a six-hour round trip, right? 

"Maybe things will get better at night," Elizabeth suggested.

So we waited...

...and waited.

The above picture is the best of several dozen I took.  And it's not much to show for the effort, is it.  So Elizabeth and I patted ourselves on the back for having the foresight to BUY the above right (quite spectacular) photos of the flowing lava taken by a local photographer (ExtremeExposure).

On our drive back from the volcano and Hilo, we passed through some heavy rain and fog on the Saddle Road under Mauna Kea.  I said to Elizabeth, "bet it's snowing up there at the top now."  This morning, the white snow caps sparkling in bright sunshine were evidence of it, as you saw earlier.

Back home at the Rainbow Shower, I took a picture of the Basalt-and-Peridot gift that the Big Island had given me again (just like last year after a shamanic ceremony).  This time, it was even shaped sort of like the Big Island (right).  Finally, as Elizabeth and I took a walk down in the gulch of the Rainbow Shower along the new Tulip road, a big rainbow over the ocean in the northern sky welcomed us home.

And that's all she wrote this month from this weekend trip to the Big Island...

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