Woke up this morning in the port of Hilo. We were being picked up at 10.45 for our helicopter tour over the volcano and waterfalls! After breakfast we disembarked the ship and went to the pier. We decided when we got back from our tour we would try to find a local bar with free Wifi and chatted to the lady at the information desk who advised there was a bar a few minutes' walk from the pier with Wifi and a bus that went to some local shops including Wal-Mart!!!! (YAY!).
The car from Safari Helicopter tours picked us up and our driver was Doreen. She drove us to the airport where we were weighed (eek!), met the other people who were going on the same helicopter as us and given safety instructions. Soon the helicopter landed (from a previous tour) and we boarded. This time I was number 1 and had to sit in the back behind the pilot, Gaz sat next to me and two others next to him.
We took off and headed for the volcano, we could see the smoke from the forest fires caused by the erupting volcano and the trails of magma from the lava flow just under the earth. When we reached the top of the volcano, occasionally we could see a hole with the red lava glowing through! It was truly amazing! The pilot explained that it takes just 20 minutes for the red hot lava to cool and make the magma crust above the lava flow and he flew the helicopter following the trail of magma from the top of the volcano, he explained the lava had been flowing at 1000 feet per day until recently when it had slowed to 50 feet per day - it was heading towards a town, however had suddenly changed direction - good news for the town!
After seeing the volcano, forest fires and magma, the pilot flew us to see a river and waterfalls - these were truly beautiful and I took loads of photos. Occasionally we went through heavy rain but it didn't last more than a couple of minutes.
After our another amazing helicopter tour we got back to the pier and boarded the bus for the local shops - we were dropped at Hilo Hattie's and went in where we were given a shell lei each. (Hilo Hatti was a local lady who in the 1950's went off to promote Hawaii as a holiday destination). After Hilo Hatti's we went to Wal-Mart and bought a few bits and pieces. We then got the bus back to the pier and walked to the bar "Margarita Village" where we connected to the internet - free and had several ice cold buds and a couple of Pina Colada cocktails - YUM! Gaz got chatting to David who was the boyfriend of the girl who worked behind the bar and they played a few games of pool while I updated the blog and left messages for the kids on Facebook.
We left the bar around 5.15pm as had to be back on board by 5.30pm ready to sail the 5 days back to the main land.
When we got back on board the ship we picked up a couple of burgers and went back to our room to sit on the balcony and watch the sunset as we left Hawaii for the last time this trip.