So we headed to Hawaii 3 days early, giving us 10 days in paradise. We arrived in the evening although you wouldn't know it by the heat and the fact most of the airport is outside. After our good experience of San Fran hostel international, we went for them again, 1 block from the world famous Waikiki beach. It wasn't the Hilton but it would do us just fine. That night we dropped bags and headed for some grub, we went for the Lulu's bar over looking the beach, we weren't that hungry so decided to share nacho's which as it turned out could have fed most of the island. I managed to get down a local beer that I was under the impression was $2 turns out it was $6 so the effort drinking it was for nothing. We went to another bar and Edel was delighted with herself when she received her cocktail in a coconut shell, we sat there and enjoyed some local musical talent at the open mic night.
The next morning I borrowed one of the snorkel sets from the hostel (when I say borrowed, I mean stole as it is in my bag now on the way to Fiji) and headed for Waikiki. Very busy beach, with surfers piling on one another to catch a wave. There is a lot of coral right up to the shore so snorkelling is easy, I saw lots of colourful fish. Another first was Edel entering the sea, she wasn't going to break any deep sea diving records but she did get her hair wet.
The following day we got picked up by the shuttle for a hostel on the north shore, it is the opposite of Waikiki, no shops, no crowds. We stayed in their beach house right on the beach 9as the name would suggest) was sat on our front garden beach and watched the sun go down. The next day we hired to cruisers and made our way out to banzai pipeline beach, with the triple crown surf competition about to start, all the big names in surfing were there, we could have stood there all day watching the waves rolling in, they were huge, getting up to 25 feet. Back on our bikes we carried on to another beach famous for its big waves, Sunset beach and grabbed some food, on the way back the heavens opened and we got very wet and muddy.
Back in Waikiki, we booked a different hostel the grandly titled Waikiki backpackers penthouse, sounds fancy, and it was, basically a man called Charles bought the penthouse apartment and lets us poor travellers stay there. We went to the hula bar where I had some local fish and chips and Edel sampled the famous coconut shrimp, both were delicious. Downstairs for drinks in Dukes bar right on the beach it was really nice with flame torches burning, where we were treated to a fireworks display. When one of the staff was asked what the occasion was, he replied "we have fireworks every Friday" which I liked.
The next day we flew to the big island with Hawaiian airlines, after getting the shuttle to the hostel with two cage fighters, we headed out to see what Hilo had to offer, its wasn't a lot, so quiet, basically the opposite of Honolulu but was a nice change. On our last day there we did what we came to the island to do, visit the volcanoes. We were taken on a tour by the very knowledgeable Roy, even if he did repeat everything he said at least once. First stop was the macadamia nut factory where we tried some samples including coconut ice cream. Next stop national volcano park, as we drove through you could see steam and sulphur vents coming up through the ground on each side of the road, we stopped at a crater 400 ft deep, it look like it was on another planet. We walked through Thurston's lava tube, made by flowing lava boring through the earth. For dinner we had rolls that we had made the size of two subway foot longs. The sun was setting and we were taken to what used to be a black sand beach but was now coved in lava from a huge lava flow in 1990 that wiped out lots of people's homes and forced the sea back making 25 acres of new land that locals have planted coconut trees on to encourage growth. We then walked up to the point where you can see the still very active volcano and its lava flow into the sea, we also saw flow on land but couldn't get too close as the road had been destroyed two weeks before by lava, it was cool seeing it though and the two weeks old stuff was still warm.
Again back to Waikiki and back to Charles' penthouse on friday night where he got everyone pizza, wine and beer, goes without saying we got stuck in. We spent the last day on the beach getting our tan on ready for Fiji. I think I burnt my face a wee bit (for updates on that and other exciting things, watch this space)....