Monthly Archives: February 2013

2013 Trip Two, Day 20, Feb. 27

Halema'uma'u crater by day

Halema’uma’u crater by day

the hiking path across the Kilauea caldera floor

the hiking path across the Kilauea caldera floor

on the caldera floor

on the caldera floor

Thurston lava tube

Thurston lava tube

After listening to rain fall all night long, we were not sure what we would experience today when we tried to go hiking at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. And when we woke up, the rain was still with us. Since Accuweather had not predicted the night’s rain, we were not too positive about their relatively sunny prediction for Wednesday during the day.

But, the weather started clearing around 9 and justified the later breakfast then was initially planned. Kilauea Lodge has provided us with a delicious breakfast and dinner so far. We ended up with great weather from 9 to 3.

THe group split into two. Sarah L and Ed went on a series of hikes that probably ended up being 10-12 miles. Chris, Deb, Sarah and Rebecca opted for a combination of hiking and park ranger presentations. They probably hiked 5 miles.

Both groups also drove down Chain of Craters Road which travels from the visitors center at 4200 feet to ocean level to observe the new lava flow that is going into the ocean. Due to conditions, very few people get to see the actual lava in person, the best we could do was observe the smoke plumes from its ocean entry.

All of us hiked down into Kilauea caldera (and back up again) and visited the overlook to Halema’uma’u crater which is belching forth the smoke plumes you saw in its nightly color show in yesterday’s post. Sarah and Ed also visited the sulphur banks and steam vents.

Dinner was Thai take out in the girl’s lodging.

Ed
9″45 pm Feb 27

Categories: road trip, travel | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

2013 Trip Two, Day 19, Big Island, Feb. 26

Kilauea Caldera at night

Kilauea Caldera at night


Hana Hou restaurant, Na'alehu, HI

Hana Hou restaurant, Na’alehu, HI

Feb 26.
As you can probably determine on your own, we made it to Volcanoes National Park. We left Kona in two cars at two different times to accommodate varying tastes in visiting sights along the way.

We met up at the restaurant in the southernmost city in the US, well south of Key West, FL and then again at the Visitors Center at the park. We wanted to make the 3 PM video at the visitors center to acquaint us with the park, its geology, and relationship to the Hawaiian people. We had sufficient time to talk with Paul, a volunteer, about various hiking options. We all agreed he did a great job. Another ranger was from Andover, MN. Paul and his wife, also a volunteer, are headed for MN in June to visit relatives.

We had to check in at our lodging nearby before 5 and had dinner reservations there at 5 also. (Only two restaurants are open in Volcano town right now.) After dinner we drove to the overlook where we took the top photo.

During the day, this site is full of steam and sulphur clouds but at night the heat produces the colors seen above. We all agreed it was worth standing in the rain and 54 degree temperature to see.

Tomorrow we go hiking.

Ed Feb 26 9 pm.

Categories: road trip, travel | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

2013 Trip Two, Day 18, Big Island, Feb 25th

Mural in lobby of hotel

Mural in lobby of hotel

Beach and bay at Courtyard, Kamehameha heiau in background

Beach and bay at Courtyard, Kamehameha heiau in background

sunset dinner

sunset dinner

A day of relaxation.

Deb and Rebecca went up to Hapuna Beach, about 30 miles north of Kona.  They swam and relaxed on this beach recommended by Dr.  Beach.

Sarah and Sarah went to the beach at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, right next to the Place of Refuge national historical park.  They snorkeled and swam and  relaxed.

Chris and Ed stayed at the  hotel and did the pool, beach and bay.  They also heard a 30 minute presentation about the historical significance of the hotel, its origins, and its ties to King Kamehameha (after all it is the Courtyard King Kamehameha).  It did suffer damage from the tusnami caused by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  Fortunately the bad incident helped generate a number of improvements to the hotel.  The hotel  acts as a repository of Hawaiian native artifacts and paintings.

We gathered for our last family dinner in Kona.  Off to Volcanoes National Park Tuesday am.

Ed Heimel and Chris Klejbuk Feb 25 9″45 pm

Categories: road trip, travel | Leave a comment

2013 Trip Two, Day 17, Sunday Feb 24th in Kona

We saw Manta Rays up close!!! Sarah, Sarah, Deb and Rebecca did at least – we booked this trip for yesterday with a scuba dive shop in Kona. Two chances to snorkel, one before sunset and one after.  It was great!  Huge kudos to Sarah L for organizing it!  I, Sarah H, will be your guide on this story.

So the highlight of the day was the time we spent snorkeling at night with manta rays feeding directly below us.   Not just some distance below us but so close to us you could have reached out and touched them; one even brushed against Sarah L!  There’s a video embedded in that link in the second sentence that shows how the manta rays would do somersaults through the water.

A manta ray as it approaches

A manta ray as it approaches

(the picture is from the web, not from our cameras; we didnt have waterproof cameras with us.)

The mantas were feeding on plankton that was also swimming around in the water.  Plankton are attracted to lights; all scuba divers sat on the bottom of a 30 foot column of water with lights pointing up while snorkelers (us!) floated on top with lights shining down (we had lights embedded into a surf board that we all hung on to).  There were also a  bunch of fish swimming around super close as well but they became an afterthought with the mantas so close.  The mantas are darkly colored on top of their bodies and lightly colored underneath.  They would initially swim towards us so that we could see their dark top sides maybe ten feet below us, then they would slowly and gracefully circle up (much more gracefully than when Deb and I tried to do this in synchronized swimming 25 years ago) so that their light underside (with all the scilia to catch plankton) was almost hitting the surfboard with the lights.  It was like they were coming to bump us out of the water.  Deb especially got a bit vocal and shrieked a few times in excitement and perhaps a bit of fear, though they are totally harmless to humans.  It was great!!    Like actually being inside an aquarium.

Sunset

Sunset

There was also a great sunset, some dolphin sightings, initial snorkeling with common Kona fish, a full moon, and a lack of seasickness – a fabulous adventure.  Pizza and beer and soda to the adventurers at the end!

Late night pizza and story telling

Late night pizza and story telling

Earlier in the day, all six of us took a trip to a local Kona coffee farm, Mountain Thunder.  We had an hour long tour by a slightly crazy and definitely talkative organic farmer lady.  Some of us might have gotten overcaffeinated on free coffee samples, but enjoyed the trip to 3200 feet, learning about how coffee is grown on trees and picked and processed.

Entrance to coffee farm

Entrance to coffee farm

Off to more adventures today!

 

 

 

Categories: road trip, travel | Tags: , | 1 Comment

2013 Trip Two, Day 16, Feb 23

Paleaku gardens

Paleaku gardens

burial grounds for royalty

burial grounds for royalty

image

roadside beauty

roadside beauty

The Big Island is shaping up to be more of the all around, preconceived impression Chris and I had of Hawaii before we came. Beautiful water, lava flows, plethora of brilliant flowers, coast line beauty, etc. Weather is as we have come to know it. Very nice along the coast with rain upcountry and windward sides. Mauna Kea was expecting 4-6 inches of snow, Kona was warm and dry with early morning showers, and when we went up 1000 feet in elevation and 20 miles south of Kona, there were downpours.

Deb, Rebecca, Sarah and Sarah spent the day taking life easy. Got up later than the 6-7 am of the last few days. Time on the beach, snorkeling, etc.

Chris and I have reverted to our touring mode. Walked around the town in the morning. In the afternoon, we visited Pu’uhonua o Honaunau. This is a National Historical Park combining the royal residences of the royal chiefs and a place of refuge due to the sanctity of the grounds due to the burial of the bones of royal chiefs.

Lunch was not pbj but a real meal in an old hotel and restaurant (same family ownership for close to 100 years) nearby. We saw the Captain Cook memorial which is a real challenge to walk to-so we didn’t. It is actually on land transferred by the Hawaiian kings to the UK.

As we were exploring the back country we drove by the Paleaku Peaceful Gardens and stopped in for a visit. This is a small garden in the midst of the coffee growing area and is a “sanctuary” for peace and harmony.

Final stop was the Painted Church, a small Catholic Church with the inside of the building featuring painted religious instruction murals on the walls. My photo is of the exterior-the contrast of the white church and dark clouds.

Once again we wrapped up the day having a joint dinner out sharing our experiences and planning the next day.

Ed

Categories: road trip, travel | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

2013 Trip Two, Just crater pictures

as promised, some pictures of the inside of Haleakala in addition to the two previously included.

imageimageimageimage

image

image
Ed Feb 23, 10 pm

Categories: road trip, travel | Tags: | Leave a comment

2013 Trip Two, Day 15 Big Island Feb. 22

40th anniversary dinner at Rays  on the Bay,Kona

40th anniversary dinner at Rays on the Bay,Kona


Friday was our travel day. I know I promised you photos of the crater area. But we haven’t worked that out yet.

So this will just be a brief note. We traveled from the island of Maui to the Big Island. We are now in Kona at a Courtyard overlooking Kamakahonu Bay. The girls took Chris and Ed out for their 40th anniversary dinner.

We went to a wonderful restaurant called Rays on the Bay. It is an open air restaurant overlooking the ocean. Is also located on a bay where manta rays frequently frolic at night.

The meal was great with local fresh fish. The selection of drinks with local fruit ingredients were well enjoyed.

Only one Manta Ray was spotted last night. But the camaraderie, meal, and views were outstanding and a great time had by all.

Ed. Saturday, February 23. 6 AM.

Categories: road trip, travel | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

2013 Trip Two, Day 14 Maui, Feb 21

Thursday Feb 21.
Not a lot of my pictures to choose from.

We all went to Haleakala National Park. Our drive this morning started much more favorably than Monday when basically the park was shut down. Those of you who read the Smithsonian magazine may remember the article in the December 2011 issue. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/Descending-Into-Hawaiis-Haleakala-Crater.html?device=ipad

The weather varies dramatically at different elevations and at different times of the day. So, each of the three groups had different experiences.

Deb and Rebecca went horseback riding down to the crater floor from the summit. Or at least they tried to. The group got started but were only out for about 30 minutes before the guides had to call it quits due to bad weather. They came back up and did some hiking around the summit. Rebecca was unable to take many decent photos. Their ride started after 9:30 so the weather was already different for them than the rest of us.

The two Sarahs set out for their 11 mile hike at 8 AM. Chris and I drove a second car so their car could be dropped off at a lower elevation at the end of the hike. We then drove them to the summit for their hike. They managed the hike from 10,000 feet down to 6,000 feet and then back up to the car at the 7500 foot elevation in 5.75 hours. The normal is 6-8 hours.

They got some nice shots, not sure yet if I will be able to post them here or if you have to check out their Facebook pages. However, the weather was never great. Sometimes okay, many times wet. (More later on this.)

Chris and I planned to do a hike from the trailhead where they were going to finish. It was about 2-4 miles depending on when you stopped but most importantly the elevation is around 7500 feet. We had discovered previously that hiking at elevations over 9000 feet caused us altitude sickness.

After dropping off Sarah and Sarah, we explored the summit area which gave us brief short views before cloud cover eliminated all views. We went back to the 7500 foot trailhead and discovered it was raining. The rain continued off and on, sometimes drizzly and sometimes very hard. We waited around for over an hour and then headed out. We only made it out for a mile or so before turning back. Few views were possible and cold rain made the journey unpleasant. It also made us concerned about the toll the weather might be taking on the two Sarahs.

We visited the ranger station and did buy some hoodies and t-shirts for them to get warm in when the hike was over. We did not remember if they had packed a change of clothing (they had so we have souvenir clothing from Maui.) We hung around the finish trail head joined by Deb and Rebecca who had finished their partial ride and hiking.

Sarah and Sarah emerged from the crater trail at 1:50 to cheers from the family. They were wet and chilly so it was important for them to get warm.

The three groups all headed back through heavy rain to Makena where it was warm, dry and relaxing. Friday we head to Kailua-Kona on the big island.

Sarah L sent me great crater views which I can not figure out how to insert here. We will have to do a separate post just for some of them.

Ed Feb 21, 10:15 pm

Deb and Rebecca

Deb and Rebecca

ed and chris crater view

ed and chris crater view

Categories: road trip, travel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

2013 Trip Two, Day 13 Maui Feb 20

The grill afterwards.

The grill afterwards.

Feb 20, 2013

Well lets just say we are all very thankful that Deb was not seriously hurt. More later. What,you want to know now? Oh, alright.

This was the night for Deb and Rebecca to make dinner. They had decided to barbecue brats, hot dogs, etc along with a variety of salads. They had checked the outdoor barbecue grill that afternoon before buying the food. It is located halfway between the pool and our unit.

I had just gone up to the unit to get a sharp knife. Rebecca was cooking in the kitchen and the others were getting ready for dinner and conversation. Deb was cooking brats. Suddenly, the propane outdoor barbecue exploded. Luckily the property manager lives on the property and heard the noise and came out. He grabbed a nearby fire extinguisher and put out any flames before a larger fire developed.

Deb was obviously shaken up and appeared to be fine. However, her legs and feet felt hot so she went and soaked them in the pool. Her upper thighs and feet have red areas which we believe may be sunburn and not burns from the propane but we are treating them with cold water and aloe freshly harvested from the herb garden here. Plus some Advil.

We ended going back to the grocery store and restocking food and cooked dinner inside. Then we discussed the rest of our day and plans for tomorrow which are exciting also.

But, back to what else we did today. For those of you on Facebook, you probably already know Deb, Sarah and Sarah took surfing lessons in the morning. Rebecca took photos. ( I do not have access to them yet.) The girls enjoyed it and hope to do more surfboarding (and snorkeling) on the Big Island.

They said their instructor reminded them of their cousin Dave. The other three people in their class were from Canada. We joked that the islands are overrun with people from Minnesota and Canada escaping the cold. (We met two couples from Canada on our tour and a family from Eagan MN this afternoon.)

While the ladies were frolicking in the sun, Chris and Ed went for a tour of the only pineapple farm still operating in the US. Maui Gold pineapple is marketed only in Hawaii and the West Coast. This allows them to ship fresher and sweeter fruit than Dole ships to the rest of the US from farms in Costa Rica and elsewhere. The previous company growing pineapple in Hawaii went out of business two years ago. Maui Gold is a start-up run by several of the previous managers.

We ate a fair amount of pineapple on the tour and it is much sweeter than we are used to. We brought two back with us–one of which disappeared in Deb’s cooking adventure. I will not go into all of the details of growing, harvesting, etc but if you did not know, you should be able to just twist off the top of the pineapple.

Our second stop was at Io Valley state park. Not much to write home about even though it was a site of one of the battles waged to unify Hawaii under one king. A further stop was a nature preserve. Also so-so.

Our final stop before the big dinner was a nature preserve about 3 miles south of our condo and the end of the road on this side of the island. It has restricted access to help preserve breeding and living grounds for dolphins, birds, etc.

The landscape here reminded us starkly that Hawaii exists due to volcanic action. So far, it is the only part of the island that strongly reflects that. However, tomorrow we try once again to visit the summit of Haleakala. Sarah and Sarah for a serious long hike. Chris and Ed for a moderate hike. Deb and Rebecca via a horseback journey. They probably made the best decision.

Ed 10:30 pm

image

image

Categories: road trip, travel | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

2013 Trip Two, Day 12 Maui

GUEST BLOGGER ALERT 🙂

Hi everyone it’s Deb! I’m in Hawaii, whee! I will try to keep this Ed-esque with a little Deb flair.

Today we went snorkeling with retired marine biologist Ann Fielding and it was super fun. We got up early – even at 6am Mom sets a table for 6 and they make us hot breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausage. As if we aren’t spoiled enough simply by the trip!  We met Ann at a local dive shop and she suited us up with fins, wet suits, and masks.

Mom and Sarah get fitted for wet suits

Mom and Sarah get fitted for wet suits

We drove to a nearby beach and she gave us about a 20 minute overview of the reef we would be snorkeling over and fish and coral we would likely see.  Then we put everything on and tried it out.

She took the younger generation out first and got us settled in so she could then spend time with Dad.  Since he can’t swim, he was really nervous and was unsure if he’d be able to do it.  But he put the mask on and put his face in the water with it!  He didn’t feel safe with the waves though and decided to go back to the blankets.  Yay for Dad for trying!  Mom didn’t like the mask/mouthpiece and had a hard time getting the breathing right so she also went back to the shore.  But the four of us had a great time and swam around the reef with Ann for about an hour.

After, we regrouped on the blankets with THE BEST PINEAPPLE I HAVE EVER HAD and some granola bars.   We talked about all the fish we had seen and it was cute to watch Leismer in full-on science mode with Ann.

Ann and her class

Ann and her class

We spent the afternoon relaxing in a variety of ways – pool time, naps, and massages followed by a wonderful sunset.

Sunset from our deck

Sunset from our deck

We ended the night with a fabulous dinner by the Sarahs. Fresh mahi mahi and homemade salsa – delicious!

Yum!

Yum!

Overall, we are having a wonderful time. Thanks mom and dad!

Categories: road trip, travel | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.