Sunday, March 24, 2013


Pahoa, +Hawaii Saturday, 23rd March 8 am.
NZ Time Sunday, 24th March 7 am

Time to write up the last two more days of living our dream trip. I am so glad we came to Big Island of Hawaii. This is such an interesting place and not at all like the tourist brochures.
I won't have time to write much now as we are going on a drive trip up into the mountains and crossing the Saddle Road. Will write about that next post.
On Thursday, Hawaiian time we had a bit of a slow start but eventually got going and took the road to the Volcano National Park. At the Visitor Centre we started with a quick look around to get an overall view of the volcanoes and various eruptions. I kept thinking of Sue of MOHO fame and how she would have enjoyed the geological information. Most of it goes right over my head. We watched the movie and bought our own DVD. So interesting! The park shop was also an excellent place to shop for souvenirs. Not cheap but genuine and good quality. I hope that proves to  be true when we get home.

We had not packed a picnic. Big mistake because we did have some yummy food in our fridge. Instead we went to the shop and bought a pre-packed salad and cup of coffee. Of course the coffee was in a plastic/paper cup but it was a large cup and I enjoy the black brewed coffee. John found this brew bitter and used lots of sugar .... me, I only add sugar to cappuccinos, and it depends on how I feel in the moment. We sat in a cool spot to enjoy. The crowd was light although there were plenty of people around including at least one tour bus of Asians. It's Spring Break in Hawaii so there were families too.  Some were enjoying a picnic lunch, sitting on the grass in the spacious grounds.

After eating we jumped back in the car to go to the Museum and viewing area of the steaming crater. More interesting rocks and an explanation of the green sand beach. We were able to touch various kinds of rock. There were many kinds of textures from glassy to rough air pocketed scoria. Our US$15.00 pp pass allows us to return within a week and we will go again. I'm sure we will appreciate all the information so much more. It was a bit of an overload the first time.

The circuit road around the crater rim is closed so we back tracked to the visitor centre and turned down toward the coast. We descended quite quickly with ears but the road is good. There were many places to stop and short walks to view steam, craters, petroglyphs and lava tubes. We missed some of them since we plan to come back and time was running out. At various stops we had time to chat with various Americans from Texas to Michigan.

Finally we reached the coast and the parking space, along the roadside. This is where we walked along the road to the north side of the lava flow. A few days ago we walked out on the south side at Kalapana.

It was a long walk up the tarmac road with cat's eyes still intact after all these years. We hadn't bothered to change our footwear because we knew we would not be scrambling over lava flow. BIG mistake. I had on my bling Bali jandals which are far from ideal on a walk of a mile or more.

 We stopped several times to chat and once to photograph a whale way out at sea. I was surprised my little camera caught it and when I edited on picasa there it is. I could barely make out the tiny white surf wave it was making with my naked eye.

 The Chain of Craters Road ends at the lava flow so we took photos before turning back into the setting sun. We could see the steam where the hot lava flows into the ocean. I guess we were slightly closer than when at Kalapana. It's my guess they lost at least 20 miles of road. It's amazingly that you can get so close. The folk from Texas were here during the 1990 lava flow and he described lying on the road taking photos of the lava as it began to cross the road. He said the road got a little hot, actually, a lot hot.

Back in the car again we drove up the mountain and down the mountain again. There is only one way in and out. By this time it was dark and the traffic from Hilo to Kona was still going strong so the driver had to concentrate a lot. Driving on the other side of the road always has challenges and you must stay alert to look the right direction and stay on the right side. That is not always easy with oncoming traffic. I just kept telling John to relax and stay between the lines. Someone has to encourage the driver!

I must say it was a relief to pass by Pahoa and be out of traffic for the last few miles.

We were quite hungry when we got home so had a very late dinner. I had a large New York style sirloin steak. I seasoned it with pepper and salt and cooked it in a pan. It was delicious and tender. We ate it with a fresh pre-prepared pack of Chinese style stir-fry veggies.

Yesterday we lazed a bit and caught up with laundry. I have to concentrate when drinking. My mouth is partially paralysed from the Bells Palsy. Somehow I had dribbled coffee all my clothes. Great! I need a  baby's bib! Just as well the coffee was black and washed out easily. After lunch we jumped in the car in our swimsuits and covered up with T shirt for John and sarong for me. There was no parking at the nearest warm pool, the same one we looked at a few days earlier. We continued on up the road just moseying along. I noticed a roadside market sign so we went in to look. We bought 3 pawpaw, a bunch of bananas, a cacao fruit. a small loofah and a green coconut for about $10.00. The man hacked our coconut open with a knife and gave us a straw. The coconut juice wasn't all that great as the coconuts had warmed up in the sun. When we had sucked out all the juice, and there was plenty, he gave it a hood chop to cut it in half. and also chopped off a smaller piece to use like a spoon to scrape out the flesh. It was a thin layer of very watery flesh which wasn't particularly great to eat. I've kept some in the fridge to go into my next stir-fry concoction.

We wondered if this place was some kind of alternative lifestyle community, maybe a hippie commune.The woman at the stall invited us to drive a little way up the track to view the green lake or crater lake. She told us it is supposed to have some kind of  "mythical" relationship with New Zealand. We looked for the hiking track to the crater but decided it was too primitive and too steep for us. It looked as though the lake was about 500 feet, (200m), or more, down a cliff. We would have struggled to climb back up. A car drove in from further up the track I would have followed them had we been closer. Just as well because John said the man was naked under the sarong I saw him tying. I guess we'd have seen more than we bargained for.


While we wandered around the area I noticed a tree with fragrant apple like fruit but so fragrant. We picked up a couple of windfall and split one. It smelled of passionfruit.  On our way out we thanked the owner, who I might add looked quite conventional. She told us the fruit is guava and they are currently picking them and making jam. The trees must self sow quite readily because I saw many on the roadside. I also asked about a tree by the entrance. It was candle-nut and she began to tell us how candle-nut oil is used to heal skin problems like psoriasis as well as using the nut in cooking. I must follow this up.

At this roadside, Friday Market we received directions to another area of tidal warm pools. We drove through a subdivision and noticed parking was $3.00. We had a good look and it would have been quite an adventure to soak and fool around here. We might even have seen a turtle but the rocks look very uncomfortable to walk over. Maybe if we had water shoes it would have been safe enough but the last thing we need is an injury from falling on sharp volcanic rock. It was after 4 pm and we found when we went back to the original pool the crowd was beginning to thin. We stayed for a while until we began to get cold. The water was lukewarm but the wind off the sea was chilly.

This district is not large. We were walking along the path to the pool when we heard, "Hey New Zealand." We turned to find ourselves face to face with the Texans we met yesterday. But the funniest thing of all is that I am in email contact with a cousin who lives in Auckland and plans to visit the Volcanic Park next week. We are trying to arrange a meeting time and place. We haven't seen each other for several years and this is such a coincidence.

John is now waiting for me. Lunch is packed and I must finish getting ready.


  1. What a fun time you are having! Doesn't the air feel soft and fresh, that is how I remember it... Hawaii air...

  2. It is so neat to hear about your trip, am loving reading it :)

  3. I really enjoyed seeing the volcano when we were there in the early 90s. Quite a sight for sure. I agree with Loree about the air. There is a certain fragrance to Hawaii that you don't find anywhere else.


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