Note: I thought I’d call this post “Hawaii Five-8” because that’s my age and I always figured that “Hawaii Five-0” was so-named because it was probably Jack Lord’s age when the series was filmed.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m back from my cruise to Hawaii but have been laid low by a terrible cold which then somehow turned into the flu….so as I’m
lying sitting on my sofa for the third straight day I thought that surely I can muster up the energy to write a new blog post…we’ll see….this may be the shortest post I’ve ever written.
The Hawaiian cruise was wonderful–my sister-in-law, Faye, and I got along famously and not once did she
try to smother me in my sleep complain about my gentle snoring. Although I did notice that she always wore earphones plugged into her iPod when she snuggled into her twin bed to settle for the night I’m sure that had nothing to do with me…
Back to the cruise: Our ship left Los Angeles, California on a Wednesday afternoon and four-and-a-half-days later we arrived at Hilo, on the big island of Hawaii. Faye and I had originally booked a helicopter tour on that island, but all helicopter tours were cancelled by Princess until an investigation into the latest helicopter crash in Hawaii was completed; in that crash, which happened only a few days before our scheduled tour, four tourists and the pilot were killed when their helicopter crashed into a mountainside. I felt terribly bad for all the people involved and had no desire to test the fates myself so was happy that Princess made the decision to cancel.
Instead, Faye and I booked a bus excursion to the Volcanoes National Park on the island of Hawaii. After we lined up and boarded the bus, Leroy J., our extremely
talkative informative driver, introduced himself and didn’t stop narrating or commenting on sights and Hawaiian facts for the next four hours. Leroy J. was from Wisconsin, the cheese state, he said, but had come to Hawaii twenty-odd years ago and never looked back. Wouldn’t live anywhere else, he said.
Leroy did know a lot about the island–about the weather–on one side of the island it’s wet–rain-forest wet while on the other side of the island it’s dry–desert dry. He knew all about Pele (not Pele the soccer player but Pele the goddess of Volcanoes), and he said that if Pele decided it was time for a volcano to erupt then there was nothing Leroy or anyone else could do about it except run out-of-the-way of the lava and fire. He said his home, and most of the island homes, are built on stilts, so that if Pele becomes angry the homes can be cut away from the stilts with chainsaws, loaded onto flat-bed trucks and moved to a safe point on the island. He said that if we ever see Leroy J. running down the road behind a flat-bed truck that we’d better haul our butts into gear and start running, too! I think that Leroy J. is
most politely best described as being a ‘character’…
Once we entered the National Park we made our way to the lookout point on Crater Rim Drive, where we saw volcanic gases rise from the Halema’uma’u Crater. I snapped pictures of the crater and thought that it could have come straight from the set of a science fiction movie or television series…(Hawaii Five-0 In Space, perhaps?)
Then we checked out the Jaggar Museum and saw a variety of lava samples–from huge rocks to thin hair-like strands that are aptly called “Pele’s Hair”, and we visited the museum’s gift shop, where I bought a beautiful 2012 calendar and a jigsaw puzzle of a volcano that I’ll work on this winter.
Our tour of the park also included a stop at the Thurston Lava Tube, a cave-like structure left behind after lava from a volcano cooled and formed floors, walls and ceiling. We walked along a rain-forest trail and down
thousands many steps to descend into the tube and followed other tourists through the near-darkness through the tube until we reached the end. Then it was back up more steps and along the trail to where our air-conditioned bus sat. Oh joy, oh relief to feel a cool breeze on my face!
I Left the park suitably impressed with the volcanic craters and the lava tube and highly recommend a visit to this little jut of rock in the Pacific Ocean.
Our bus tour with Leroy J. was
long great, but by the time we returned to the ship I was more than ready. It had been days four hours since breakfast and I was starving. We arrived at the pier and waved goodbye to Leroy J. from the Cheese State, then snaked our way through the security line and back onto the Golden Princess. I was anxious to change into my bathing suit and cool off with a relaxing dip in the pool, but first things first.
I could hear the buffet calling my name…