Journey to Paradise: Hilo (Big Island)

Trip Start Aug 09, 2008
Trip End Aug 23, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We started our day with breakfast at Lazy J.  As we headed to the car rental pick up, we saw Alamo and we were tempted to take it but decided to wait for Thrifty shuttle (which was a good decision). The shuttle driver checked our reservation on his list (very organized) and refused someone without reservation a ride because they don't have anything anymore available that day. He also showed us where to return the car which is exclusive for cruise ship customers only. And this is the quicker way to return the car.

We drove to Volcano National Park. DD1 decided to do the Junior Ranger Program here. Part of the program is to watch a movie or participate in a Park Ranger sponsored activity. We did both. We could have skipped the latter. We can do it on our own. Sometimes the Park Ranger gets carried away and talks too much or people asked too many questions (It should not be a problem if we don't  have a limited time).

Crater Rim Drive was closed due to dangerous gases coming out of the vent (VOG). We did the Chain of Craters Road but did not go all the way. Then we went to Thurston Lava Tube. We went to the dark side as well. We had our flashlights. If there were no other people there we wouldn't have gone in. There was an area where we had to go down and no one wanted to go because we were not sure if there was water or not. Then we heard voices from the other side. They were a group coming back. So we proceeded until the very end. It was really dark and scary. It felt like water would rush in at any time and drown us all. Or the tube would collapse and we would be buried alive. What an over active imagination we had. Outside we met our Cruise Critic friends, luv 2 cruz, Gina with her family and friends. We chatted a little bit. They were headed towards Rainbow Falls while we were going to the Jagger Museum. The view at the Jagger Museum was amazing. After taking lots of pictures we went back to the visitors center. DD1 handed in her Junior Ranger Program workbook to the Park Ranger and received her badge.

We stopped by KFC for lunch then drove all the way to the end of Highway 130 to the lava fields (Lava viewing area). The place is open from 2 PM to 10 PM. No cars are allowed in after 8 PM. It was so hot you definitely need sunscreen and water. You need good walking shoes for walking on the lava rocks. We saw a lava bench collapsing into the ocean and rocks were shooting into the air. There was a helicopter flying around the debris. You can't see the molten lava during the day. It was thrilling to walk on the lava fields where it once was molten lava. They started building houses there and are now selling properties. Anybody interested? We left the lava viewing area around 3:30PM and returned our car rental. We were on the ship at 5PM.

We ordered room service. The kids wanted ice cream and cheese cake and I wanted a pot of coffee so that I'll stay awake during the volcano sail by. The Butler forgot my coffee and I don't want him to come back and forth. I only have decaf in the room. I left a note for housekeeping to bring me regular coffee the next day. The Butler saw our room service menu for breakfast. We told him that we really want it by 0630 so that we can leave the ship by 7AM. We plan to go to South Point. He said that it's his day off but he'll tell his coverage.

We had dinner at Liberty's. We dressed nicely as advised by our Butler only to find some people wearing shorts and jeans. I thought you can't do that on Liberty. Well......

I had salmon. It was good. The rest of the family liked there food too. When we returned to our cabin, our VIP tender tickets were already there. I was really tired and didn't care much to see the active volcano. DH told me as we got closer. I just peeked and went to sleep.
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