One of the last places to visit on our South Seas adventure was not in the South Seas, but still in the Pacific subtropics. The Big Island of Hawaii was our destination. After being cleared through US immigration, we disembarked and were met by old friends Pat and Brenda, who have lived in the Hilo area for the past 7 years. Pat drove us up to Volcanoes National Park in an attempt to get ahead of the other 3000 guests on the Celebrity Solstice who certainly were headed in the same direction. First stop? The Jaggar Museum and overlook to get a view of the Kilauea Caldera, which we heard was especially active today.
|Kilauea Caldera overlook, with Carla, Michael, Pat, Brenda, and Caroline.|
We spent the good part of an hour here, watching the magma bubble and froth out of the ground. Our vantage point was about a mile away, but with binocs we were able to see a lot of lava action. While watching, we ran into shipmates Carla and Michael, who live on Maui (thanks to Carla for sharing her binocs!).
|Caroline and Brenda|
After a quick stop in the museum to pick up a trail map (which we promptly left in the car when we started hiking), we headed to the edge of the caldera and down to the bottom.
|Sulfur vents... hold your breath.|
|Take that, Australia! You may have animals that will kill you, but we have the very air you breath!|
|There was quite a bit of rain over the past weeks, but we lucked out... mud, but no rain.|
Lush vegetation, a Conservation Corp work team repairing the trail, 'ohi'a trees, and many, many ferns framed our hike. At the bottom of the caldera, we looked up at the Jaggar Museum and the active lava bed in the distance.
|Americorp member Aspen celebrating a work day without rain. Both Katelin and Wesley worked on trails with the Utah Conservation Corps, for a total of 5 summers.|
|What is it about these signs that just makes you want to see beyond them? You can see the smoke and steam from the active vent in the background.|
Then it was back up to the rim, another photo, and off to the Volcano House for lunch.
We ended the day with a visit to Brenda and Pat's new condo in Hilo and some type of newly invented hard cider and whiskey drink, then back to the ship. No cats!
Meeting friends as you travel is probably one of my favorite activities. With Pat and Brenda, we had the chance to get an update on their family (we are so happy for you, Anastacia!) and brag (of course) about our kids. Now we look forward to seeing Carla and Michael on their home turf!
|Risk taker! Six whole steps beyond the boundary!|
|Family authors of books in the Jaggar Museum bookstore!|
|Happy face spider, endemic to Hawaii.|
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