Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hawaii - One Last Thought

For you immature people:

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hawaii - Part 3 - The Final Chapter

The next day, we decided to drive to the Volcanoes National Park. It's almost exactly on the opposite side of the island, and we were told that there were two ways to get there. We decided to take the slightly longer, but more scenic, route so that we could see more of the island.

It was a good decision, because we were able to take a short hike and see more waterfalls.

And more waterfalls.

And more waterfalls, just a little further down from the other waterfalls.

We also saw these shoes tied to a power line. I thought they looked cool.

After Kona, Hilo seems to be the biggest city on the island. We stopped there and walked around. There are all kinds of cute stores.

After Hilo, we took a detour off the beaten path to visit the area of the island known as Puna. Puna is very close to the volcanoes, and volcanic activity as recently as the 90's has changed the landscape dramatically. We particularly enjoyed the naturally heated pools...

Since 1983, nearly 200 homes have been destroyed, and over 600 acres of new land has been created. The entire fishing village of Kalapana was destroyed. It's fascinating that the border of the island continues to expand. There used to be a famous black sand beach called Kaimu that no longer exists. However, you can walk past where it used to be and visit a new unnamed black sand beach. This is the beginning of the walkway.

This is the new terrain. You feel like you're at the end of the world, or at the beginning of the world.

The beach is a beautiful sight.

We couldn't get enough of the black sand. Here is Gina's feet in the black sand.

Here is Gina holding the black sand.
After the 1990 eruption, one dying woman planted a sole coconut tree in an effort to jump start the rebuilding of the land.

Others followed her lead, and began planting coconut trees all over the new Kaimu Beach. Now, life peers out from amongst the black rock almost everywhere you look. It's a sight to behold.

We said aloha to the beach, and made our way to the (still active) Kilauea Volcano.

We hiked along the Mauna Ulu Crater.

Then, I realized that we were gonna be hiking down into the crater!

The experience was overwhelming and awe-inspiring.

It's always stunning to see life suddenly appear amongst the devastation.

Inside the crater, there were steam vents everywhere.

Now we're back to the old "Different Planet-Prehistoric Times" debate.

We climbed out of the crater, just as the sun was setting.

Our last day in Hawaii, we decided to just relax and go to the beach.
The water felt so good. Gina is clearly enjoying it.

We still managed to take a nice drive and take in some Kailua views.

By the end of the day, me and Gina were both very relaxed.

Maybe too relaxed.
For the last time, we watched the ugly sunset from our room.

We're already talking about going back next year!
It seems hard to believe that there are more pictures, but there are. You can look at them here.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hawaii - Part Two

From Kauai we traveled on to The Big Island. Even though we managed to get direct flights from LA to Kauai, and from Kona to LA, our flight from Kauai to Kona had a layover in Honolulu. We checked into our hotel just in time to see the sunset. This is the view from our room!

The next morning we drove along the coast. This beach was just south of where we were staying.

We stopped to take in the view, and we saw a bunch of seaturtles. They swim right up to the edge of the water.

We also saw a stereotypical Hawaiian surfer.

Nearby, we found this beautiful little church. When we drove past it later, there was a wedding going on.

Dig that crazy tree!

There was no shortage of beautiful ocean views. Since the island is pretty much the result of volcanic activity, the land is predominantly black rock.

People were diving off this cliff into this cove. Crazy people.

We entertained the notion of ocean kayaking, but it seemed kind of intimidating. After seeing these people though, maybe it would have been kind of fun.

Another nice ocean view...

Another turtle...

Love that black rock.

We visited an area known as the Place of Refuge.

Apparently, in the good old days, there was a serious class system at work on the Big Island. People on Hawaii were frequently sentenced to death for a variety of infractions - from using the same trail as an upperclassman, to letting your shadow fall across a Chief.

Once you were sentenced to death, you had one chance for reprieve. If you could make it to the Place of Refuge before your enemies got to you, you were allowed to live.

The black rock makes you feel like you are on a different planet.

Or maybe back in prehistoric times.

Nah. More like on another planet.

One of the fascinating things about the Big Island is that is in inhabited by almost every conceivable climate - from desert to snow to rainforest.

Every time we turned a corner there was another stunning landscape.

After the Place of Refuge, we visited The Painted Church.

(It's the inside that's painted.)

The church has been standing since the early 1800's. Father John Velge painted the ceilings, and frescos along the walls in the late 1800's, early 1900's.

We ended our first long day in Hawaii with some pizza back at the Kona Brewing Company. They have excellent food, and excellent beer, but is packed with more flies than people. We went back three times anyway.

Then, back to the room to watch the ugly, ugly sunset.