Hawaii Part Three, Hawaii "The Big Island"

18th September, 1997
19th September, 1997

Thursday, 18th September, 1997

Orchids photograph

At the Orchid Farm, Hawaii

Drop Cap p very early for our flight to Hilo on Hawaii, the big island. We set off immediately for the Volcano National Park, stopping enroute to visit an orchid farm, lovely blooms. Arriving at the Volcano Hotel on the rim of Kilauea Crater we had lunch, then went to see the crater.

Caldera photograph

Kilauea Caldera, Hawaii

Drop Cap t is enormous, not as deep as Haleakala on Maui, but very impressive, especially as plumes of steam kept rising from all over the crater floor. We took bus however, to get closer and although I chickened out of a walk to a lava tube (which looked steep and pretty rough) Mac went down. Then we drove over the area of the lava flows from former years, in particular 1982, which have solidified. The volcano is continuously erupting but doesn't use this particular route any more. It has broken a rift sideways and drops into the sea some 18 miles away. The camera chose this time to seize up again, I'm getting very sick of it.

Drop Cap hen we left the crater we returned to Hilo via a macadamia nut farm where we stopped for ice cream. Then we set off for the other side of the island, Kona, via some lovely scenery, jungly gulches,lined with huge flowering trees surrounding waterfalls gushing down towards the sea. Lovely! Then we drove through ranching country, very lush and green with cows and bulls pretty thick on the ground, more head per acre than we could manage, I think, till we got to the moonscape side of the island. The lava covered the ground like asphalt, fields of it with the sun beating down. The lush hotel precincts are literally like oases in the desert. I could not live here!

Cathy and Dan photograph

Cathy and Dan, Hawaii

Drop Cap n our arrival at the Royal Waikoloan Hotel we found a message from Cathy asking me to call re dinner. It was really great, I was hoping I would not have to scour the phone book. She and Dan came to pick us up and took us to dinner at a local place for them (they live nearly 20 miles away) where we had plain basic food, except Mac couldn't eat all his "baby" burrito. Cathy is going to pick us up tomorrow morning and take us about a bit. We went back to their place and met two of their three Abyssinian cats, then they drove us back. I am really pleased to see her. It is always the same, as if we have never been apart. But it is nearly ten years and I was worried

Friday, 19th September, 1997

Waimea Lookout photograph

At the Waimea Lookout, Cathy, Rosemary, Mac.

Drop Cap athy picked us up about 8.30 and we went on a meandering scenic drive through the higher country which is considerably cooler than the coast. We stopped at a lookout overlooking a black sand beach with good surf in the Waimea valley. Then we went on a back country road through the cattle ranching area, very like Australia with its gum trees and casuarinas. Except that we don't have guavas growing by the roadside or ginger flowers with heavenly scent.

Lava tube photograph

Mac in the Lava Tube, Hawaii

Drop Cap e passed a lava tube, right on the side of the road and paused for what Cathy calls a "Kodak Moment". It was great, very impressive, a real cave with ferns growing down from the ceiling and it had very easy access. Not like the one they show you at the Volcanoes Park. I was glad I had the chance to see it.

Lava tube photograph

At the Lava Tube, Hawaii

Drop Cap e poked around antique and craft shops and a second hand bookshop and had lunch in a little Thai restaurant in Waimea town. Then we came back to the airconditioning and she went back to work. Being tourists one can easily forget that residents have to work.

Waikoloan Hotel postcard

Royal Waikoloan Hotel, Hawaii

Drop Cap he Royal Waikoloan Hotel is very pleasant. Probably not such a nice building as the Renaissance at Wailea on Maui but the grounds are even better. There is a huge artificial pool forming the restaurant floor(glassed over), with fountains and waterfalls and large fish (carp) and they have a torch lighting ceremony every evening in which a Hawaiian warrior blows a conch shell trumpet then runs around lighting the flares all over the grounds.

Drop Cap e had a good dinner at the Royal Terrace under the stars. It is relatively pleasant temperature at night, but I couldn't live here all year round. I don't know how Cathy can. Still, she was born in Malaya, and has lived in New Guinea so I guess she can take it.

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