Today was the least rainy day since we’ve been in Hilo. I guess when you’re in a place that averages over 126 inches of rain per year and has gotten over 200 inches in the past a little rain is expected. At least it can be accredited with all the beautiful foliage and flowers.
First on the agenda was Rainbow Falls. It’s right in Hilo and since we had to be to the airport for the helicopter ride by noon we wanted to stay close to home. In between bouts of rain we ran from the car to the overlook but couldn’t spend much time due to torrential downpours.
Just in time for the Helicopter ride the rain subsided and we saw to the east that the sky was open and it would stay that way for the rest of the day. Our pilot Ray was very friendly. He greeted everyone individually and used our names to refer to directions (on Rachel’s side you can see ___). It was different but worked very well. We flew over an area to the southwest of Hilo containing lots of waterfalls, streams and valleys.
Next the helicopter did a fly by over the active vent of the volcano. Ray informed us that Kilauea is not erupting from its main caldera; instead it has formed a rift much closer to the coast and is venting lava from there. Unfortunately during the day it’s very difficult to see much red, although there were a few cracks and gaps that allowed us to see some glimpses of the hot stuff. He then took us to the coastline where we saw the newest land in the United States (and quite possibly the world). Ray told us that since it started erupting in 1983 Kilauea has added over 60 acres to the Big Island of Hawaii.
One of the employees at Blue Hawaiian Helicopters told us about a valley to the north which had some beautiful scenery. Since we didn’t have anything else planned for the day, we decided to take a drive. Our rental was a 4 wheel drive Jeep which allowed us to take several side trips towards the coastline. We first took the top down so we could enjoy the Beautiful weather.
The first side road took us to a sign that read ‘public shoreline access’ which led us to a dirt/mud road. At the end of the road (a few hundred feet from the coast) we left the jeep and hiked down to the water to check it out. The scenery at the shoreline was amazing, the waves were crashing while high tide was coming in and some lucky people had a house right off the shore.
The rest of the day consisted of a few more side trips down to the coastline and ended at Waipo Valley where we met a group of natives chanting from the overlook. Sunset over the valley was very beautiful and peaceful. However; the clouds soon started rolling in and we knew it was time to put up the top and head home.
Aloha from the Aldrichs