Monday, February 18, 2013

Part Ekahi (tranlate: One)- Volcano Park

Seth and I went on an amazing vacation (just US!) to the Big Island (Hawaii). We left on my birthday, which is February 10th- mark your calendar. We stayed for a week at a friend's condo (which was simply beautiful) in Waikoloa Village. We've been to Oahu, Kauai, and Maui. I think this is my favorite island. We spent the entire trip plotting out where our vacation home would be. We stayed busy, trying to take in as much beauty as we could. I know we'll have to go back and see the rest (and find our next home- haha!). This is a great time of year to go because you're escaping winter and the humpback whales are everywhere. They come here to breed and birth and you can see them from the shore at any given point. We spent a lot of time just watching them breach.  

Sunday: We flew from Atlanta to LA and had a 3 hour layover plus a 2 hour delay. BOO! We finally got into Kona that evening (8:30ish). 
Monday: We woke up, hit Starbucks, and started the 3 hour drive to Volcanoes National Park. We made several stops along the way and totally took our time. You can do this when there are no kids! 

Random zebra in a fenced in area on the side of the road

Ka Lae (South Point)- this is the most southern point of the US (not the Keys, as I previously thought)
Black Sand beach

We saw several sea turtles at Punalu-u Beach. The black sand was hot, hot, hot and felt different from sand I'm used to!
We did a neat hike (Kilauea Iki Trail) that took us down into the crater. Walking across this was crater was an experience!
Thurston Lava Tubes

Once the sun went down, we went back to the volacano to see the lava at night. Here is the Halema'uma- it really just looked like a smoky glow, but it was neat to see the difference from the day time. 
This Halema'uma during the day 

We stayed the night in the park.

Tuesday: We woke up early to hike to the vent of a volcano (Pu'u Oo) 

We saw this sign twice on our hike but continued on the 8 mile journey. 

The hike was 97% rain forest...

And then you came to this! We only saw a little bit of lava flowing :(

Where IS my mind? 
We did it!
Afterwards, we once again, took our time driving home. We basically did the perimeter of the island in these two days. We drove through Hilo and went to a fish market some hikers told us about. We got FRESH tuna to cook later.
Akaka Falls (442 feet- twice as high as Niagra Falls)
Tuesday night, we ate at Sansei, a sushi restaurant. There is one in Oahu that we LOVED several years ago. We ate there twice when we were there so we were pretty excited to get to dine here again. 

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