Today we started the day with laundry… One of the problems of packing light is that you have to do laundry one way or the other. Our steward on the ship spoiled us by doing it for us. Now chance of that here. TBG ran out to check on when the laundry room opened while I sorted and bagged everything. He came back reporting that it was open and bringing me some of Jeff’s things (I’d offered).
We loaded everything up and hauled it over to the laundry – of course, no quarters. What the heck? I’d set a roll aside, then didn’t bring it, just like poor Fred. Got over there and only two of the six machines were being used, so I loaded while TBG got quarters from the Tru Value store (they also operate the laundry, so they can’t complain).
After that, we went to the Lava Rock for breakfast. TBG has biscuits and gravy and I had a fabulous omelet with perfectly cooked green peppers and onions. Yum! By the time we finished eating and paid the bill, it was time to swap from the washer to the dryer. We did that and then TBG took me back to Hale Ohia and picked up Jeff. They went to the farmer’s market and it sounded like they had a blast.
Meanwhile, I stayed behind and packed up a box to ship back to the mainland. TBG was grumbling that everything would fit in our suitcases, but I knew better. Heck, the stuff he bought from Big Island Candy practically filled the entire box. Yeah, he likes that place a lot.
The guys returned and with folded laundry. So we loaded up and head back to the volcano. Today we hit the Thurston Lava Tube (lava crusts over as it flows and that insulates the lava inside. That keeps flowing, leaving behind a tube. Some at tiny, some are huge and can run over a mile. This one goes for about a half mile, but we are only allowed into a small portion of it. It’s pretty awesome and explains how the lava can travel from the volcano to the ocean. This latest flow (erupting started in 1983) has added over 500 acres to the island and changed Hawaii’s shape on the map.
Jeff declined to join us on the hike down, so we took plenty of photos for him. It was a bit of a climb down, but there are railings and steps. There is one set of stairs back out and then a gentle walk back to where Jeff waited for us.
Then we headed to Kilauea-iki – the only time Kilauea exploded. The side blew out and devastated the rain forest in its path – think Mt. St. Helen’s. This was in 1959 and many parts of the forest never came back. The devastation trail is a half mile walk, but Jeff didn’t feel comfortable with it. As we were leaving the spot, we spotted a nene – a Hawaiian goose. They have lost the ability to fly long distances and because of that, they were nearly killed off by people and animals. They are now slowly coming back from extinction.
We then took Jeff to Mauna Ulu. It erupted for five years, starting in 1969. The park service even erected benches so that people could watch the erupting. Now it’s a 2.5 mile trail. We took Jeff out onto the flow so that he could say he stood on actual lava and showed him the various lava types (pahoehoe – smooth and ropey, like cake batter and a’a –crumbly and sharp).
After that, it was time for a trip down Chain of Craters road to the palis so Jeff could see what Pele had been up to. He doesn’t do well with heights, so we didn’t take him out on the observation platform. He decided that he’d seem enough and we headed back to the park for some lunch at Volcano House.
It was nearly one when we got there, so the restaurant wasn’t too full. That meant a table by the window so that he could see the Kilauea crater. There were lots of yummy choices. TBG got a pulled pork pizza, Jeff got crab and lobster cakes and I got fish and chip, but the fish were crusted with macadamia nuts and coconut – yum!- and the fries were super light and crispy. Jeff ate nearly half of them. :D
While we were there, we took Jeff to the Volcano Art Gallery where he marveled at the art and the
price tags of the pieces being displayed. Then it was on to Akatsuka Orchids. It has a huge collection of orchids (all available for purchase). Jeff was overwhelmed by the variety and colors.
A friend of his father’s invented the machine that picks macadamia nuts, so it was on to Mauna Loa Macadamia for a look around. It was Sunday, so the factory was closed, but at least he got an idea of everything that went into harvest them – and he got some photos for India.
It was time to head back up the mountain one last time. We decided to have dinner at the Kilauea Lodge again and it was as good as Friday night, except they were out of a mess of things, including what I wanted to order.
We started with some baked brie, which was super wonderful – it was crusted with coconut and macs, then served with apples, papaya and a mango chutney. Then the soups were Potage St. Germaine (pea soup with a touch of curry in it) and Alsatian (beef broth with pureed veggies). Both were wonderful! For his entrée, Jeff had a kick ass eggplant parmesan, TBG had the German Sausage platter (the founder of the lodge is German) and I had duck that was pretty much beyond compare. Overall all, a fabulous meal and a great ending to our time here.
Tomorrow we had over to Kona for a bit more fun in the sun (only clouds on this side) before we fly home Tuesday afternoon.
Sleep well, my friends!