I’m not sure who was enjoying Hawaii more – the girls or Jene and I. But it was wonderful to see the island from a different perspective. All of this was new to them. Their family vacations have always been to Disney World and although it is the happiest place in the world to them, Hawaii ranked up there. The itinerary was of Rose’s choosing as it was “her birthday adventure”.
Day 4: Jene was doing some work around the house for John in the morning and we practiced our snorkling techniques in the pool. Packed a lunch, and then drove to the Hawaiian National Park after stopping to shop in Hilo. The volcano was spewing lava in 2 areas which of course was deemed restricted. We hiked the Rim of the Kilauea Iki Crater, down and across the 1 mile wide crater floor and then back up. Phew! (Difficulty: moderate to challenging, distance and hiking time: 4 mile, 2 to 3 hours). Kīlauea Iki Trail starts in the rain forest on the crater’s rim. The trail descends 400 feet to the crater floor. We crossed the still-steaming crater floor, past the gaping throat of the vent that built Pu’u Pua’i cinder cone – climbing back to the top. (Thank you Gordon, owner of My Island Inn, for recommending that we take the more difficult route for our descent). The teens had no problems either way but for us seniors, it was a bit of a struggle, lugging backpacks and cameras that weighed heavy strapped around us. It took us 3 hours and I was glad that we didn’t do it in the high heat of the day. Rose and Sara really enjoyed the hike and would go home with the bragging rights of having explored a volcano in this manner. Jene trekked the 1/2 mile to get the car while the girls crossed the road to the Thurston Lava Tube. As dusk arrived, we watched the sunset from the Volcano House restaurant and caught a glimpse of the lava glow. After dark, we drove to Jaggar Museum overlook to get a closer look at the glow.
Day 5: Jene worked on his project in the morning and the girls and I drove to the Parker Ranch rodeo to start our 4th of July celebration. Cattle country’s green pastures is at the cloud belt and rain is a ranchers’ friend. So we sat through the mist and light rain for 1-1/2 hours watching cattle roping and horse races. Lunch back at the homestead, a dip in the pool and then another trip into Kona for shopping, watching a small town 4th of July parade, dinner at the Canoe Club restaurant with gorgeous sunset and topped it off with fireworks.
Day 6: Booked on the Wahine Charters snorkel and dolphin swim, we woke early, had breakfast and headed to the Honokohau Harbor. Tim and Dave greeted us and three fellow snorkelers, readied the boat and off we went into the wild blue yonder. (Sara is not a fan of the ocean, much less boats, but she sucked it up and put her fears at bay). We donned our masks and snorkels, slipped our feet into the fins, grabbed our noodles and shimmied our bodies into the ocean where the spinner dolphins were spotted. I assured Sara that I would not ever put her in harms way and she followed me into the water. At times I held onto her noodle and made sure that the 3 of us were within a few strokes of each other. Before I knew it, she morphed into Ariel (of The Little Mermaid). In and out of the boat a number of times to follow the spinners and glimpse the coral reef and fish below us. At one point a couple of spinners swam just below our reach. (Jene opted out of chasing after the dolphins and stayed onboard the boat to capture our activity). Next we headed to a reef, the fins were bothering her ankle so Sara took them off. By now, she didn’t want the noodle either as she was diving deeper into the water, holding her breath instead of just floating on the surface. Rose and Sara the “Mer-sisters”. This was the greatest experience for me – to help Sara overcome her fears and enjoy the thrill of being adventurous. As MasterCard says… “priceless”
Jene and I are trying to check everything off their “wanna do” list. To be continued…