Well, we are back on the ship, leaving our last port before we get home. We are not sure how we feel about this. We are excited to get home, but sad that this once in a lifetime experience is coming to an end... but, it isn't over yet, so let's talk about Hawaii.
For the past two days we were on "The Big Island". We docked in Hilo and headed to the airport to pick up our rental car. First we dropped off our things at this STUNNING bed & breakfast called the Palms Cliff House Inn. They have an 8 room place that is literally on the side of a cliff with a beautiful view. It was nice to stay in Hilo because most people headed over to the west side of the island since it is a little more touristy.
After we scoped out the Inn, we headed to Kilauea Volcano. It is the world's most active volcano but there was no lava flow while we were there. We saw the steam vents, this is where rain that has seeped into the ground is heated by Kilauea and issues forth as steam. You could walk right up to the vents, it was really neat. Up on top of the crater it looked like the surface of the moon. Everything was the color of the lava rock and not much was growing besides little shrubs and ferns. The actual crater used to be much deeper, but additional lava flows have filled it up.
We also visit Thurston Lava Tube. This is basically the natural plumbing for a volcano. These tubes form and carry lava to different locations. This particular tube is one that you can walk through and it is about 6 feet tall and wide.
Next, we drove down Chain of Craters Road and saw where different lava flows had taken out villages and covered the road. There are several different flows, but most are recent. The latest big one was in 2008... really cool! Usually, there is lava flowing at the end of this road but booo! we didn't get to see any.
After Chain of Craters Road we headed to the village of Volcano where we visited their winery and sampled some of their wines made from local fruits and grapes... interesting. Then we headed back to Hilo and had dinner at a nice Italian place. All of the other places we wanted to go were closed because it was Sunday. Then we headed back to our lovely B&B.
The next morning we woke to the sunrise which we could see from our lanai (balcony)... gorgeous. We headed down for a wonderful breakfast of coffee cake, papaya, banana pancakes and sausage. WOW! I definitely recommend The Palms Cliff House Inn, they know how to do it right.
We spent the day visiting waterfalls and other sights. Here are some of the ones we visited: Rainbow Falls, Akaka Falls, Pe'epe'e Falls, Boiling Pots, Banyan Drive, Cape Kumukahi Lighthouse, Champagne Pond and the lava flow below Puna. As we were driving out in a lava flow we almost got stuck... SEVERAL TIMES!!! We were on a 4WD only road and it is only because of Geno's great driving skills that we made it out of there without sinking into the lava field (my mom is groaning right now). Anyway, we made it out to this lovely shoreline and back without any major trauma so YAY!!
Now we are back on the ship and on our way to San Diego. Tomorrow we have a Reading Day, followed by Exam A day, Exam B day, the Global Studies exam and then reflection and re-entry days. Should be a pretty good last 6 days if we can get started grading now.
-The Tutus invited us to a reception tomorrow night
-Geno and I are still speaking to each other after living for four months in one room!