Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Enchanting Hawaii

Diamond head crater hike, Honolulu (Oahu).  Only a short ride bus away from Waikiki, a simple 1hr (or less) hike - but with a spectacular view all around.  

I've always wanted to visit Hawaii to see its active volcano (no, not to ride their scary surf), and so finally booked my ticket, packed my bags, hauled my family group and took off.

The good and bad news about the flight is that - it's relatively short from Manila (10hr 1-way), but there seems to be no reliable airline.  The local 'P' airline I used was delayed by 6hrs going out, and at least 4hrs going back.  A waste of precious time!

But Hawaii did not disappoint.  This is probably my most "chill" travel, so far - staying several days in one place, even 1 whole week in Waikiki.  I thought that spending a week each in my 2 target islands will be enough.

Big Island (Hawaii) was my first target, staying in both Hilo and Kona.  Hilo is quieter, more like a retirement paradise.  That is, if you don't mind frequent rains.  If you're after the volcanoes (Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Kilauea) - then this is a good jump-off place.
Kona is more alive with good beaches, nice restaurants and bars.

Oahu to the north is a must-see,  assuming you somehow heard of 'Waikiki' and Pearl Harbor.  I wish to hike the Haiku stairs - but not wanting 'trouble' I opted for the simpler hikes.

All in all, a great family trip.   Easy, relaxed and as I said - Chill!

Botanical Garden in Hilo, Hawaii.  It may not be as wild, but at least you got to see hundreds of species in one area!

Black sand beach (Hilo). the more famous black sand beach is way south of Hawaii (big island), this one's a short distance from Hilo town.  Black sands are from lava rocks, ground into sand by nature.

A trek in Kilauea lava field.  With a road accident, we arrived late, short-cutting our trip. Still we went ahead but came back late and dark (like good boy scouts - we always carry torch, jacket and small provisions).

Ohia Lehua tree.  Rather Ohia tree with Lehua blossom. An extreme survivalist thriving in the lava field.  This is a Hawaiian native and part of Hawaiian Mythology involving Pele - the volcano goddess. 

On deck!  The "Pearl Harbor Avenger", a submarine called Bowfish.  Sunk 40+ enemy vessels during WW2.

At Pearl Harbor, Oahu. The huge gun turret of USS Missouri.  A large battleship with fearsome firepower - big guns such as this, and various high tech missiles.

Lava Glow.  At night in Kilauea.  

At KONA, Big Island as boat rowers prepare for the day's training exercise.  Ancestors of native Hawaiians are famous for their small boats and rowing expeditions moving from a far-off Pacific island to another, navigating only using stars and gut-feels. 

Manua Kea, the tallest mt in Hawaii state (as seen from Hilo).  Huge observatory towers can be seen on a clear day - nesting its summit. 

Peacock. a short visit in Honolulu zoo.  It was but a chill day ;)

Rainbow falls near Hilo town.  It's huge and dangerous - and you could see 2 crazy girls standing on the rock edge doing selfies. 
Can you see the sea turtle?  Along Hilo bay, these creatures move near-shore and seems tolerant to humans.   

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