As we pull away from the shimmering city lights of Honolulu and embark on a 10 day trek through the pacific towards Japan, all I can think about is what adventures lay ahead. With such a little taste in my four day excursion through two major cities of Hawaii, I can’t help but crave more.
Our first glimpse of land was the city of Hilo on the Big Island of Honolulu. With the whole island at our finger tips, we decided to use this port as a buffer point for the rest of the trip. It was time to hit up the beach and soak in the rays. Nearby was a local black sand beach: Richardson’s Beach. Besides the fact that the sand was virtually all black, the lava formations created fun obstacles to climb, and created little ponds where live sea turtles roamed. We aren’t talking about the little kinds; we are talking about the BIG GUYS. They are so used to people that they will just swim right up to you and circle you.
The snorkelling was incredible there. (If I could, I would put up pictures). Some of the most colourful fish and coral were just a couple of meters from the shore, and the lack of tourists in the area allowed some preservation of the area. We met a local Hawaiian man on the beach, he must have been in his late forties but he introduced himself to every one of us and told us stories of Hawaii’s history and heritage. He was a social person, very into befriending the foreigners and his life moto was sharing. He introduced himself to us as Cool, his English name was Gordon and his Hawaiian name was Wakili.
After a long day in the sun with Cool’s company and with pizza that was delivered directly to us on the beach, Cool offered to drive us back to the ship. All 9 of us! I won’t lie to you when I tell you this: there was no sense of hesitation when we all piled into the trunk of his pick-up truck. Sitting there like packed sardines, we joked about never making it back to the ship and ending up in a sex trafficking operation, but ten minutes later we pulled right up to the pier and hoped out. He even gave us the name and number of his friends who could pick us up later that night for a private tour. Which, we didJ
10:15 pm after our first dinner official dinner on main land another 8 of us jumped into a shuttle bus and set off to see the sights! I was exhausted and slept on the forty-five minute ride to our first location, but once we got there we actually were able to see real lava pouring down from the active volcano that has been erupting for over 23 years now. Usually you can see the lava fall right into the ocean but for some reason that only Mother Nature knows, that ended about a week ago and is now all the way back at the top of the mountain working its way down again. The lava kept changing shapes and colours, lighting up all the steam and clouds around it bright reds and oranges. Teresa, our tour guide, (** Whom is amazing beyond beliefs) told us how the lava just keeps adding up to 75 acres of land mass to the island per year, which is a significant amount for such a small island.
Around 1 am we ended up at these geothermal hot springs, at this point I was ready to pass out from exhaustion. Teresa went right up to the hot springs and just jumped in yelling at us all to get in. Two minutes later after a minute of hesitation we were all in our underwear jumping in! There were no lights anywhere to be found, the only source of light we had was one flashlight and the moon. The pool of hot springs was surrounded by palm trees that outlines were lit up by the stars that took over the sky. The water was extremely warm too and little fish kept nibbling at our feet out of curiosity.
It was actually amazing. Getting out was another story. We had no towels or change of clothes since it was such a spontaneous decision and had to go through security to get back on the ship holding our undergarments in our hands with our hair soaking wet. We did get some funny looks, and I have to admit, walking back to the ship commando wasn’t the most comfortable experience.