Today was rather rainy, but does that stop us? never. Today we hit up Volcanoes National Park. After a somewhat late start, the first stop was the steam vents where you could see steam plumes rising from the crater wall. Unfortunately due to the rain we couldn’t see into the crater.
Next we stopped at the Jagger Museum which had some nice views of the crater, some seismographs and a lot of information about the Hawaiian fire goddess Pele. As we drove around the crater rim the weather changed many times. A few times it cleared up enough for us to get a good look into the crater. At these times we could catch glimpses of steam vents and sulfur scars in the crater floor.
The most notable vantage point was the southwest riff. This scar in the landscape was spectacular in itself but it also provided us with the ability to get close to the rim for some spectacular views. We then had the opportunity to walk across the steam vent fields to get to another viewing platform. Once we got there we couldn’t help but notice the sacrifices laid out, some even set out as whole meals, for the fire goddess Pele who is said to live in that particular crater.
Unfortunately the current lava flow is much too far away (approximately 5 miles) from the viewing locations. You can, however; see the gas plume forming as the lava meets the ocean. With any luck tomorrow the weather will be nicer and we’ll be able to see things clearer from the Helicopter. We couldn’t see the active lava flow but we could see the remains of the last lava flow to cross road. It made us wonder how often they need redo the road.
The next and final stop was an old lava tube. The entrance into the tube was pretty sweet, as it was mostly hidden by the lush jungle fauna. It was neat but there wasn’t really a whole lot to see. The roots coming through from the plants above were pretty cool. Beyond that If you are pressed for time this is skip-able.
After a big day in the park we decided to take a drive to Kona on the other side of the island to hopefully catch sunset and dinner. Along the way we stopped at several beautiful areas. One of which was a black sand beach. This was a must see as there are several different colored sand beaches on the Big Island, and it is our goal to see each of the different colors.
We arrived in Kona too late to see the sunset, and pretty late for dinner. We grabbed something quick to eat at LuLu’s and hit the road again to get back to Hilo and our hotel. Unfortunately the day took its toll and we had to stop several times to take a quick nap on the way home. And now as our heads hit the pillows of our hotel… we bid you adieu.
Randy and Rachel.
Today we had a real early start. We left the hotel at 6:45 and dropped our bags at the airport. From there we headed to The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. We learned a lot of interesting things and saw even more. There was a museum at the memorial which had several interesting displays. The most moving of which was a display containing the items corresponding to one of the sailors lost on the USS Arizona. It contained his diploma, his purple heart, the telegram sent to his mother notifying her of his death and several other times of importance pertaining to his life.
The memorial itself is very somber but an empowering part of American history. You felt a sort of pride stepping onto the deck of the memorial with the American Flag flying high above. It was inspiring to learn that even the survivors of the USS Arizona still to this day request to be buried at sea with their shipmates. When requested, they are cremated and Navy divers are commissioned to place them amongst the wreckage.
After visiting the memorial we caught a quick taxi ride back to the airport and it was on to the Big Island. Once arriving on this rainy paradise, we grabbed our rental and went out for a joyride. We took the ‘scenic route’ (which was labeled as such) and happened across an amazing overlook and trail head to the shoreline below. Since we didn’t have anything else planned we took the trek and we’re glad we did. The tide was coming and the waves were furious. Check out the photo album for some amazing shots from our mini-hike.
By the time we made it to the end of the ‘scenic route’ it was time for dinner. We found out how different Hilo is from Waikiki as it took us almost an hour to find a restaurant (we weren’t being picky, we couldn’t find ANY). However; once we found one, Hilo Bay Cafe, we determined the food was worth the search.
Another great ending to another great day.
Rachel and Randy
This morning, we quickly found out that our free one-day trolley pass was not really the ‘public transportation’ we thought it was. It was more of a tour trolley but it only took you to the shopping centers (probably the reason it was free). While waiting for the first trolley we met another honeymooning couple from Rhode Island who had the same deal as us… worthless trolley pass. After our brief 3 stop trolley ride we decided we’d have a better morning if we simply got off, walked the beach and perused the shops until it was time for our Atlantis tour.
XIV is 65′ passenger submarine which takes it’s victims down to a maximum depth of about 120′ to view the tropical fish at the artificial reefs on the ocean floor off Waikiki Beach. It was very interesting to say the least. One amazing thing is how the colors changed. Red quickly turns to brown and all other colors quickly begin to fade the deeper you go. While looking out the port hole(s) you could see lots of very cool fish and reefs, the most notable being Amberjack’s and Spotted Ray’s.
We ended the day with the Paradise Cove Luau. We haven’t been to any other Luau but from what we’ve been told (and from what we’ve experienced) Paradise Cove is the best. It certainly lived up to expectations. From the lei making, Canoe rides, the festival of the pig to the fire dancing. It simply had something for everyone. And don’t forget about those drinks! Our Bartender Lei Lei fixed us up what she called ‘AMF on Crack.’ Translation: lots of alcohol. Our package included 4 drinks and we watched as she poured 3+ shots in each drink. A very nice couple on sexy bus #2 (our bus) who were in Hawaii celebrating their 54th anniversary gave us several more tickets which we also used, although probably didn’t need to.
Paradise Cove not only has enough activities to keep you busy, but it also has fantastic scenery, and no we’re not talking about the half naked natives (although that’s pretty nice too…). The sunset from the Cove was absolutely gorgeous and there’s plenty of pictures so be sure to take a look.
During the show they inviting all the honeymooners to stand and be recognized. We expected more of the audience to be standing than actually were, there were perhaps 3 couples out of about 200 people, opposed to everywhere else on the island where it seemed like everyone we talked to was on their honeymoon. Soon after the band played the Hawaiian Wedding song and invited anyone in love to dance. Needless to say we jumped at opportunity.
On the ride home Oli (our host) showed us her hula skills as she was once a performer at the Luau festival. We were also told to ‘flash’ any of the ugly cousins (all other buses from the Luau) during what she called ‘Bus Wars.’ The flashing just consisted of keeping the bus lights off and using our cameras with the flash on. Quite entertaining although we only had one challenger.
When we got back to the hotel, we played our song (If you didn’t catch it during the wedding it’s “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds) and danced on our Balcony while onlookers passed by below. A very romantic ending to a perfect day.
A little advise for your next vacation, Ask for the upgrade! we started out with a ocean view room…meaning as long as you can see a sliver of the water…ocean view. We were upgraded to an ocean front room meaning all you can see is water. we can walk out on to the lanai or balcony and almost touch the top of the palm trees and we can listen to the waves of the ocean while we sleep. The first night was amazing but the first morning/day was incredible when we got to actually see the view!
We started off the day with a complimentary breakfast (which included pineapple, and so has every meal since. apparently they’re grown around here or something) and a quick 2 hour introduction to the islands. Here we listened to a native tour guide tell us about all sorts of wonderful things to do that we either already knew about or already had scheduled. We did however get some good recommendations and decided to take advantage.
Once we decided on a few things to do we determined that today would be a good day to climb/hike Diamond Head. Rachel was a little uneasy with the thought of hiking in a dress but we were assured that the hike was not that demanding so we trekked on. We’re certainly glad that we did. The views from the way up were awesome and the views from the top were astounding. It provides a perfect vantage point to view Waikiki Beach.
After the hike we grabbed some lunch and took it easy for the rest of the day. We took a walk on the beach and did a little bit of shopping.
At sunset we had reservations at d.k Steakhouse. If you ever have the chance at dining at one of the d.k Restaurants I highly recommend it. Our steaks were easily the best I’ve ever had. I had the Sensei Filet Mignon and Rachel had the Filet Mignon and Oscar.
After dinner we had a quick stroll along the beach back to our Ocean Front hotel room, and then crashed (which is why we’re not posting until now).
Randy and Rachel
First of all we just want to say thanks to everyone who brought down the house last night. We had some mighty fine dancers out there (you know who you are 😉 ). As our first act as husband and wife we would like to announce the MVP award. And the winner is… (the choice was obvious…) Uncle Jerry for his outstanding dance numbers. Thanks Uncle Jerry for making our first decision together as husband and wife so easy. We haven’t had that much fun… ever. To see all of our friends and family celebrating our love with such enthusiasm touched our hearts in a way we’ll never forget.
Check out some of the first available candid shots from yesterday here.
Thanks to everyone, we love you,
Mr and Mrs Aldrich
We’ll be leaving in a few days for Hawaii. First Stop? Honolulu. Stay tuned.