Our time in Hawaii was a completely different way of life than we'd experienced on this trip previously. We have developed the art of finding the cheapest motels and hostels, but in Hawaii we lived in luxury.
It was a vacation from the trip.
We had very few expectations. Knowing what a popular holiday destination it is for mainland Americans, I guess we were prepared for development; starbucks and drive through everything. But in fact it was not like that at all. I'm told the other islands are different, but this big island seemed to have retained a lot of the local small scale feel.
We had a car for the week, and played along with all the other tourists. Out here we were no different to anyone else on vacation. No longer overland super heroes.
I'm not quick to use the word cute, but when this couple turned up in a motorcycle and sidecar it seemed just that. They got a carpetted box out of the sidecar to ease the dogs climb down, then when it had urinated they erected a parasol to cast shade over the resting hound. Ahhh
One of the big attractions on this island is the frequent volcanic activity. We drive the 100 miles or so to Kilauea crater, said to be one of the worlds most active volcanoes. It was well worth the drive.
I'd guess that most people will go through life and never see a spectacle like this, so we felt privileged to witness the aftermath of the hundreds of previous eruptions, and the active crater billowing smoke.
We don't often seem to travel with a guidebook, but we got on really well with 'The big island revealed'. Amoung other things it guided us to a natural hot pool in the jungle.
The beaches were spectacularly beautiful, and as we chose to hike to the more remote areas, we generally had them to ourselves. It's great to see this incredible coastline so under-developed. I don't suppose it will stay this way forever, but for now it's just perfect.
The water was clear and warm.
Another days hiking took us to a spot that the trusty guidebook recommended for 'spectacular snorkelling'. My word were they right.
We turned up at the rocky shore to see dozens of yellow leaves being washed around the
shoreline. It was only when we got in the water we saw they were fish, and the water was simply teaming with tropical fish. I've never seen anything like it, hundreds of different special. Colourful like you wouldn't believe. Neon blues and pinks, the stuff you see on discovery channel and can imagine only at the bottom of some deep sea rift.
The sea stormed up a bit, and grated Char and I over the sharp rocks. Char's not a huge watersport fan, and after this bloody roughing up, she retired. I fed the fish with pineapple, while Char watched mongooses have sex. It't not mongeese, I just checked!
The flora on this island is as impressive as anything else. Much of the island feels like a rainforest; huge trees with bizarre root systems, ferns and vines, mangoes falling off the tree by the hundred, and flowers that look too complex to be real.