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First Day to Explore the Big Island

Beaches & Volcanos

semi-overcast 25 °C

First stop on this wonderful day is Queen's Bath, a lava tube flooded with fresh spring water. You can snorkel a long way in either direction from the access point, a skylight with a ladder. It's super freaky and we don't have our head lamps or snorkeling gear, so we hang close together around the sky lit areas.

Nate in Queen's Bath

Nate in Queen's Bath

Next we make our way down the beach to Kiholo Bay in search of sea turtles grazing along the beach. The turtles are plentiful drifting back and forth with the waves in the shallow water just off the beach. Further down one is sun bathing peacefully on the beach.

Green Sea Turtle at Kiholo Bay

Green Sea Turtle at Kiholo Bay

We stock up at another local organic market and then head up to Mauna Kea volcano, the largest mountain (by volume) in the world. Our minivan isn't meant for steep off-road climbs and we'll have to park it at 9200 feet, where we tour the visitors centre and cook up some veggie burgers for dinner. If we are going to make it to 13 796 feet we'll have to hitch a ride. It doesn't take long before we spot Jonathan (body surfer in his 60's with a bald head and wicked silver beard tied in 2 knots) and Melanie (main lander masseuse learning about Hawaiian energies). Both are super inviting, and clear room in their backseat for us two hitchhikers. They inform us of the Autumnal Equinox today where the sun and moon are aligned. It's really trippy at the summit, we are in another world scattered with space observatories.

Mauna Kea Cinder Cones

Mauna Kea Cinder Cones

Melanie, Nate & Jonathan infront of telescopes

Melanie, Nate & Jonathan infront of telescopes

Mauna Kea is one of the best places in the world to observe the night sky. The way that the air currents flow up and over this hump in the middle of the ocean without turbulence creates very steady star images. Instead of flickering and flashing and twinkling, the stars from atop Mauna Kea are sharp and steady, forming crisp, clear images for astronomers. “Twinkle, twinkle little star” does not apply here. As the sun sets and the moon rises, it is astonishing to be able to see the sun and moon at the same time but on complete opposite sides of the planet. We chat with our new friends, and take in yet another beautiful day. We slowly head back down the steep washboard gravel road to the visitors centre, where we use telescopes to peep at the man on the moon and other astronomical features. Jupiter and its moons are one of the awesome spots visible this time of year.

Mauna Kea Telescopes

Mauna Kea Telescopes

Mauna Kea Sunset

Mauna Kea Sunset

The Hawaiians have many stories of gods and goddesses and it is this Hawaiian mana (spirit) that permeates the Hawaiian experience. It's like the Hawaiian spirit permeates through the natural wonders – each waterfall, each rainbow, each sunset, each moon, each sky overflowing with stars that we experience. So much beauty...

Back to Waikoloa where our comfy bed at Tony and Michelle’s was waiting. We share our days highlights with them before crawling in for the night. Thanks guys for another wonderful couch surfing experience.

Posted by ontarions 19:34 Archived in USA

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Comments

Those cinder cones are really cool.
Almost a month has gone by...so fast. You should get a geocache while you are there!

by dadnmom

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