Monday, January 23, 2017: The Heli flight that wasnít
We woke up early (aided by the 2-hour time change) and were out the door by 7:15am to catch our Helicopter tour of the waterfalls and volcanoes. Despite the fact that it was raining pretty consistently (and had been since we left Mauna Kea) the tour was still scheduled to depart. We got to Hilo airport at 8:25am for our 9:30am flight.
We checked in, got our safely briefing and were all set to go before the finally cancelled the flight at 9:20am. Our choices were to reschedule or get a full refund, but as the weather was only expected to get worse we just cancelled and moved on with our day.
Our first stop was ĎAkaka Falls. It wasnít raining when we arrived so we decided to take the long way around (15 minutes vs 3 the short way) to walk to the falls. About halfway through it started raining again. We made it to the falls, got some pictures in the rain, and returned to the car a bit wet.íAkaka FallsLong path to get to íAkaka Falls
We continued to the Botanical Garden (having been given free entrance passes by Paradise Helicopters- the company we were going to use). While it usually doesnít rain during the day at the botanical garden, it was raining quite steadily when we arrived. Because of the baby, the only thing we could have done is walk around the exposed garden in the rain. We opted to skip that and move on, especially because DD was sleeping.
We then drove just up the road to Umauna Falls. While they usually charge to see the falls ($5/person), I convinced them to let us see them for free because it was raining and we had a sleeping baby in the car so we couldnít do anything more anyway. They let us, so we just drove to the falls, snapped some more pictures and got back in the car to drive to the Mauna Loa macadamia nut factory.Umauma FallsMauna Loa Macadamia Nuts
It was just our luck that the rain stopped when we got to the factory. We ate lunch in the car and then went inside to get some free samples. I saw another frum couple there but didnít speak to them. We then did the self-guided tour of the factory which was nice. Itís not a must do by any means (their nuts arenít even cheaper there; Walmart and Costco are cheaper), but itís a good rainy day activity.
After the tour, we went to VNP. We stopped at the visitorís center for a bit before continuing to the Jagger Museum. As we pulled up to the museum the rain let up for about 5 minutes, allowing the fog around the crater to lift temporarily. Good thing we got the few shots we did, because not 5 minutes later and the rain returned, bringing with it the fog and poor visibility of the glowing lava.Jagger MuseumLava through the rain
We looked around the museum for a few minutes before driving over to the steam vents for a quick steam facial. After that we decided to drive the Chain of Craters road in search of clearer weather down the mountain. We stopped every so often to take a look another site. Eventually we made it out of the clouds and rain to where the sun was shining. We didnít drive the whole road (we stopped at the point where you can see where the lava flowed over the old road about 75% of the way down) before turning around.Chain of Craters RoadPart of the old Chain of Craters road covered in lava
We drove back to our Airbnb and finally had time to relax. We fed DD and put here to bed before doing the same for us. Before I went to bed though I decided to go back out in the rain to the Jagger museum 10 minutes away to see the lava at night. Despite the rain, it was a lot easier to see the lava at night through the fog than it was during the day. Iím glad I went.Lava through the rain at night
I want to mention a few things about the property we stayed at. It was amazing! There was a full pantry of things we could use (which I knew about in advance). They had condiments, PB & J (the J wasnít kosher), pasta, tea, coffee, oils, vinegar, eggs, milk, popcorn, plastic cutlery and bowls, paper plates and even some drinks. It was amazing to be able to use everything, especially with so many kosher options already there.
Here are some pictures:Tuesday, January 24, 2017: Back to Kona
With the weather much the same as it was the day before, we just decided to suck it up and walk in the rain. We went back to VNP to see the Thurston Lava Tube. Yes, it was raining the whole time, but we enjoyed the quick walk to and through the tube all the same. We drove back to the Airbnb, packed up and started our drive back to Kona.
[/url]Thurston Lava Tube
Our first stop was the Black Sand Beach. While it was raining a bit when we arrived, it stopped after a few minutes and the sun came out. We hung around there for a while, but despite looking we didnít see any sea turtles. We drove to the other side (the one closer to Kona) and ate lunch at a picnic table with an ocean view before continuing on.Black Sand Beach
The next stop was South Point. We drove all the way to the parking lot where you can hire someone to drive you to the green sand beach, but DD was sleeping again and we didnít want to risk another 20-minute bumpy ride (each way) with her. Sadly, we passed on the green sand beach, but we did go to see people cliff diving. We watched as a few people jump off the cliffs into the ocean (despite the signs warning against it) and walked around a bit longer to find the hole where the sign that used to say South Point was (we didnít find it).Cliff JumpingSouth Point, looking northSouth Point, looking south
We then continued our drive making our last stop at Pu'uhonua O Honaunau Park. We parked just outside the Park (despite there being no one in the booth to pay) and walked it. We looked around here for maybe 30 minutes, and it was quite peaceful and pretty.
[/url]Disabled palm tree
We hopped back in the car for the last leg of our drive arriving at the Sheraton at around 5:45pm, just before sunset.
We checked in after a few minutes of waiting, and were in our upgraded (with SPG Gold) ocean-view room (#3312) a few minutes after that. The sun had just set, but the views from the room were amazing! I got a microwave delivered to the room (thereís usually a charge, but I told them we keep kosher and they waived it) as well as a crib for DD.
We got DD ready for bed before making dinner for us. After dinner, DW and I took turns walking around the property in the dark while the other stayed with DD. We went to the lookout point behind the restaurant to see the boat tours diving with the manta rays. I checked out the gym (with its great ocean views) and pools as well.
We made it to bed not long after that.
Sheraton Pics:Theyíre an AS crew in case anyone was wondering