Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Sleepy Island of Kaua'i

The next morning, we woke up in Nawiliwili Harbor on the sleepy island of Kaua'i.

Once again, we rented a car, and then headed for the road on the west side of the island above Waimea Canyon.

At the end of the road, you get a view of part of the Na Pali Coast.

Tomorrow night, we'll be sailing by the coast, so we'll see it from a different angle.

You can also sort of get a view in the distance of Wai'ale'ale, one of the wettest spots on earth, with more than 450 inches of rain per year.

Another way to see all this is by helicopter - there were lots of them out flying about.

And, we saw quite a bit of wildlife - many, many wild chickens.

Do you ever wonder how things get to Hawaii?

I think this is a Pacific Golden Plover, called a kolea in Hawaiian.

We never did see any néné. They are an endangered relative of the Canada Goose.

On our way down the mountain, we stopped to see the historic Menehune Ditch.

It's an ancient water course built a long time ago by the Menehunes, or Hawaiian dwarfs.

At the same spot is the swinging bridge that crosses the Waimea River.

Kind of scary to walk across, but of course I did...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Kona on the Big Island

The next day of our cruise was spent on the other side of the Big Island, Kona. Since we will be coming back here after the cruise, we just walked around town. The harbor here is famous for being the start and finish of the Ironman Triathlon World Championship.

In the harbor area is a representation of Ahu'ena Heiau, which Kamehameha I dedicated to Lono, the god of peace and prosperity.

This might be what it looked like back in the day.

The Hulihee Palace, built in 1836, was the summer home of royalty.

It is not without it's dangers...

There were also some interesting creatures in the backyard.

From here there is a great view of our ship across the harbor.

This is the only stop on the cruise where we have to be tendered back and forth to the dock.

The evening entertainment was the ship's version of "Dancing with the Stars." Although in their version, they were looking for the goofiest dancer. Phil volunteered to participate, but since he can actually dance, he was eliminated first.

After each elimination, the backstage interview was broadcast to the audience - don't miss this!

In case you want to see why he lost (He was too good!) here's the video of the first round. (This is for Phil's niece, JoAnna, also a dancer.)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hello from Hilo

Our next stop was Hilo, on the east side of the Big Island of Hawaii. This is supposed to be the rainy side, but we really lucked out. We got a great look at Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, the 2 largest volcanoes in Hawaii.

But wait! What is that white stuff up there? SNOW - in Hawaii! Well, they are way up there - 13796' above sea level for Mauna Kea and slightly less for Mauna Loa.

Since we only had one day here, and had some ship credit to use up, we decided to go on a bus tour instead of renting a car. Our first stop was Rainbow Falls. Didn't see any rainbows, but it was beautiful anyway.

This guy tried to sell me some insurance...

These African Tulip trees are all over the place, and blooming right now.

Then we went on to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We got a good look at Halema'uma'u Crater. It's been erupting off and on for 100 years, but since it's last big eruption in 2008, you can no longer walk to the rim.

Our next stop was the Thurston Lava Tube, which you can walk through.

It is lighted, so it's not too scary.

You just have to watch your head...

There are 2 main kinds of lava - this ropey stuff is pahoehoe, and the sharp jagged rocks are a'a.

We then had a couple of commercial stops. The first was an orchid farm.

I took lots of pictures -

But didn't buy anything.

Then we went to a macadamia nut factory. The assembly line sort of reminded me of something...

We got back on the ship in time for another lei making class. They brought in 20,000 orchid blossoms! This was several hundred just for Barbara and I.

Doesn't she look like an expert!

Of course we had to wear them to dinner.

After dinner, the ship floated past the active part of the Kilauea Volcano, where you can see the lava dropping into the ocean - the newest land on earth!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Second Day on Maui

On our second day in Maui, we still had our rental car, so we took off up a very windy, steep road to the top of Haleakala.

You could fit Manhattan inside the crater of this dormant volcano. I put 3 pictures together to get the whole thing.

We were high above the clouds.

But we could still see our ship down in the harbor. (A little to the right of center)

Of course, I had to climb to the very top. Whew! Haleakala is 29703' high from the base of the mountain - higher than Mt Everest! What???? Well, here's the reason - 2/3 of it is below sea level...

Silverswords are rare plants that grow on the mountain, and nowhere else in the world.

They really do look silver in the sunlight.

After we came down the mountain, we took a short trip into the Iao Valley to see the Iao Needle.

There was a beautiful garden at the end of the road.

Then on our way back to the ship, we stopped at Savers, our favorite thrift store. Wandrin' Lloyd, you really need to come here!

We got back on board in time to go to the class on making a kukui nut necklace. A few guys even showed up. (Phil is pretty brave!)

Bye-bye Maui!

After the ship sailed, we headed down to my birthday dinner, at one of the specialty restaurants, Little Italy. Nice necklaces, huh?

And of course, there was lots of entertainment on board. Willy K. lives on Maui and can sing anything from Opera to Rock, Hawaiian to Blues, and more. And he's funny! He started out on the ukulele and then went on to the guitar. But this song was incredible - Orange Blossom Special like you've never heard it before!