February 21, 2012

Big Island - Day 4 - Fish & Crabs

An avid fisherman, we thought my dad would enjoy a deep-sea fishing trip! We signed up with Humdinger Sportfishing and had a great time!

Somehow I was nominated to catch the first fish, so I got the instructions. However, due to my own nausea and taking care of nauseated children, my dad actually got to catch the fish.

It started off well...

Heat+waves = not so well...

Although we all felt a little queasy, RaeRae was the only one who actually was sick. Thankfully poppa took care of most of the dirty work. You can get an idea of the timeline by how much clothing people are wearing :(

Reeling in the big one!
My dad with the big mahi mahi that was later macadamia-nut crusted for dinner! There are only a few different kinds of fish we could've gotten, (mahi mahi, wahoo and tuna) but they have other names they go by (dolphin, ono and ahi). So I still get confused about what kind of fish I'm ordering at a restaurant, especially since ono also means delicious.
We saw some whales and dolphins too! Pretty sure these are pilot whales. Which means they are actually in the dolphin family, but for our whale-sighting tally... it still counts!

Eating crackers means everyone's feeling a bit better!
Proper binocular use is not a priority in our family...
The Kona coast from afar. You can't see it here, but Mauna Kea is further south. This mountain gets snow in the winter (at the time of writing it had just come out of a winter storm - current conditions) but had not gotten any snow when we were there. So we had to pass on the skiing for this trip.
The kids got to help bring in the lines

Later that evening, tide pool exploring found this crab shell which thankfully had no crab in it.
The kids were super excited to take turns holding it
Before we knew it, Luke was kissing the crab. Yuck.
RaeRae's turn!
Hulk smash!
The water was a lot warmer in this pool for some reason, so the kids and Kyle enjoyed a sunset swim and rinsed off the crab.
Sunset from the south pool
Tomorrow we relax on a beach day!

February 17, 2012

Big Island - Day 3 - Volcanoes National Park

Our first day trip was to explore Volcanoes National Park. It's about 2 hours south of where we were staying, so we prepared for the LONG car ride. Living on O'ahu, you can't be in the car for that long unless you drive around the entire island. So, the Big Island really is BIG!

Trying to make the best use of our time, we drove during nap time, which actually worked out well.
The kids (and maybe a few adults) got to rest on the way and avoid being grouchy on arrival. You could tell we were getting close by the black rocky coastline. Volcanoes => lava + waves = black sand.
Our first stop in the park was the Thurston lava tube. It's a fun little walk down through lush forest to get to it. We all wore hiking boots, but as you can see by the paved walkway, they were not necessary. But RaeRae looks so cute in her pink boots!


 It was great having the kids spend so much time with their grandparents!

And with my parents watching the kids, Kyle and I were free to... act like kids.
Most of the park is driving through old lava fields from different eras of eruptions. If you're fortunate to visit at the right time, the lava may be flowing out where you can see it easily. We were not so fortunate - about a month before we arrived, the lava had been easy to spot, but it stopped and moved to a place pretty difficult to hike to (and definitely off the list with the kids). A week later, it burst open and I think it looked something like this:
Instead of glowing lava, we saw lots of different kinds of grey and black rocks, like a martian landscape. Still pretty cool.
The different fields were in varying stages of regrowth
Driving in the afternoon meant we had to hustle to see the park before sunset, but we did stop at an overlook to catch the rainbow. This was also at a pretty high elevation and windy, so it was a bit chilly!
Complete rainbow!

 View down the mountain to the ocean
Chain of Craters Road used to continue around the park, but lava destroyed the road. They rebuilt it and then the lava destroyed it again. So, it isn't going to be rebuilt anytime soon. Off and on, this is a good viewpoint for lava going into the ocean. For us, it's a good viewpoint of the sun setting into the ocean.
Good thing Luke was there to help Poppa out!
Maybe I would've been more frightened by Luke's exploring if I knew that...
...this was the drop off!
We took the winding road back to the museum where you can see the active vent at Halema'uma'u Crater glowing like crazy. It might look small, but it's 500ft wide!
We forgot our flashlight, but thankfully had glow sticks. Not only do they make the kids feel like superheroes, it makes it easier to find them when they dash off in the dark.
Our dining options were limited at this late hour, so we went with the first thing that came up on the GPS. It wasn't just a restaurant, but the beautiful Kilauea Lodge. Thankfully the woman on the phone said they "love keiki" or we might have second -guessed our choice. Grimy from driving and hiking all day, we stomped to our table in our dirty boots past couples celebrating anniversaries in their finest. We were under-dressed, our two were the only kids there, and it was way past bedtime. This was a recipe for disaster.
However, I had no reason to fear. The kids were loved on by our server, quietly enjoyed playing with their placemat toys, and ate the fine food without one incident. (Except for crying over an escaped balloon) It was truly a great experience with excellent food!
Our drive home was capped off with a stop to star-gaze. There is nothing like seeing the night sky in the middle of nowhere on an island in the middle of the Pacific. My camera couldn't do it justice, so another beautiful vista will close our day.