Besides the moonsets, what else captivated us in Hawaii? More nature! More science!
We visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The island of Hawaii is made up of five volcanoes, and you never forget that you’re on them. Halema’uma’u Crater in the center of Kilauea Caldera continues to smoke.
And the edge of caldera continues to steam. The heat under the ground makes the rainwater in the cracks steam.
We had a pretty ambitious day planned, and got to do most of it. We took a short (2.5 mile) hike that took us around the edge of the caldera, and down to the caldera floor.
Cairns mark the trail. I love how little plants have sprouted in the cracks on the floor, tiny attempts at new life. There’s actually a trail that crosses the caldera, but it’s been closed for years because it’s not safe.
We took a stroll through the Thurston Lava Tube. It was actually underwhelming, but out of the oncoming rain! No pic; it was over almost before it began.
We drove to the end of the Chain of Craters Road. Why is it the end? Lava overran the road in 2003. So cool that nature has her way.
Looking west back towards the usable road…
Looking east. Road closed, indeed.
Hōlei Sea Arch is here, too. You’re 90 feet above the water; don’t lean too far out over the edge to see it!
I’m not sure why there’s a lone stand of palm trees near here; I tried googling but didn’t come up with a definitive answer.
I wanted to visit the petroglyphs at Pu’u Loa, but it was near dark when we left the end of the road. And it gets really dark. No lights on the road, and it was raining, too. My biggest regret? I forgot that I wanted to see Halema’uma’u Crater glowing in the dark! I guess I’ll have to go back, soon.
We went snorkeling at Kahalu’u Beach the next day. This is the easiest snorkel spot, ever. You can walk into the water and see fish, but they really look better if you put your mask on. Lots of honu (sea turtles) visit here, too.
They’ve named this fellow Rocky. Maybe he’s the same one I saw in January.
We toured a chocolate farm, Original Hawaiian Chocolate. This is the first chocolate venture to go from farm to chocolate bar in Hawaii. Single origin Hawaiian chocolate, mmmmm. Cacao pods form from tiny flowers on the wood of the trees.
They come in different colors, but they all make chocolate. Inside the pod, the beans are covered with a white sticky substance. Geckos find it delicious.
We like the part from the inside!
We also visited Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, or Place of Refuge. In olden times, if you had broken the strict kapu laws, you could be put to death…unless you made it to the pu’uhonua first. My family thought of it as “base,” and they felt a need to visit. Feeling guilty?
And remember how I said that you never forget that you’re sitting on a volcano? Our last evening there we felt a disturbance, unnerving enough that I checked with the US Geological Survey’s site. A 3.2 earthquake, off the coast. Just a little rumble.
Back home, and back to knitting!