Monday, December 19, 2005

Hilo, the Big Island

We were up early and one of the first people off the ship. We spent the next 20 minutes waiting for our Alamo shuttle to take us to the airport to pick up our rental car. Once there, check-in was quick and we were on the road in our Pontiac Grand Prix. I hooked up my new GPSMAP 60CS and followed the directions to our first stop the black sand beach. It was a sight to see, and since we went there directly there wasn't a crowd. On the way back we hit a few geocaches and then stopped at volcano national park. We spent a good 5 hours there driving around and seeing all the sites. We even found one hidden spot that was a geocache. It was called the Devil's throat and looked like a quarry. As is typical for most geocaches we had to park on the side of the road and hike a bit to get there. We drove all of Crater Rim Drive, ate at the Volcano House and drove to the end of Chain of Craters Road that led to the active lava flow. All we saw was the steam from it hitting the ocean. We ended up rushing back to make the ship in time for departure. We missed out on the Mauna Loa, botanical garden, chocolate factory, and several other places. We needed more than a day here. That night we were supposed to cruise by the lava flow which is visible at night. But a few miles short the Captain came on saying we had to turn around due to bad weather. This has been a recurring complaint in the forums and I would have been sceptical if we hadn't actually hit bad weather on our way to Maui. Rikki didn't handle the 4-8 foot swells very well.

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