Postcard from Hawaii - IV

The beautiful Ihilani Resort &
Spa Hotel
Day 4 in Paradise was spent mostly just relaxing around the hotel. Who could blame us? The hotel was beautiful, the private beach was beautiful, the hotel's grounds were beautiful, and our room was excellent. It was really hard to not just sit on our patio all day with a cold drink in hand looking at the beautiful view of the ocean and palm trees, listening to the waves gently breaking on the beach and just doze off with not a care in the world. Happy, happy, happy indeed!

Day 5 in Paradise began with us sadly checking out of the Ihilani, but excitedly looking forward to the short trip by Hawaiian Airlines to the island of Hawaii, the "Big Island." Time for relaxing was over and time for exploring and sightseeing had begun.

Thankfully, the return of the Hertz rental car was a much quicker proposition than picking it up and we didn't have to wait long at all for one of their shuttle buses to get us to our terminal. We were a few minutes early so we grabbed a bite to eat and walked around the really nice terminal. I even took a few pictures of Lil Dude Troll which, as usual, started some friendly and interesting conversations. Our plane pulled up right on time, we loaded up and off we went to another part of Paradise.

The metal bird that took us to Hilo
The Hilo airport is interesting as it is nearly completely open-air. The Hertz car rental office here was so much better than on Oahu. Fast and very friendly. We were soon headed to our next home-away-from-home, The Bamboo Orchid Cottage Bed & Breakfast in Volcano, a little town located in the rain forest right on the border of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Where the Ihilani Hotel had been paradise in a luxurious way, the Bamboo Orchid was paradise in a natural way. The dark green forest enclosed all sides making it very private. Without specific directions and a sharp eye, you could pass right by the almost hidden entrance and never know it was there. Our host Kathy was gracious and friendly and our little private cottage was totally charming with everything needed for a wonderful stay. There was even a fat tabby cat which had the run of the property. Of course this delighted animal-loving Youngest-daughter. Cat and daughter took a shine to each other as every day when we returned, the cat would run to greet us and follow us into our cottage where she could be petted and play with Youngest-daughter. I was a little concerned about the lack of air conditioning, but found the first night that none was needed. We left the door to our patio open on our 2nd floor bedroom and were lulled to sleep with a cool breeze of air and the gentle drops of rain on the tree leaves. I woke up in the middle of the night cold enough to pull the fluffy comforter up over us!  The next morning it was hard to get out of that warm, comfortable bed. We had to turn on the heat before taking showers. After that first night, we set the heat to come on in the morning and left the patio door open, but not as much. It rained every night we were there which was a wonderful assistance for quickly falling into a deep sleep after a full day of island activities.

The entrance to the Bamboo Orchid Cottage
After getting settled that first day, we went into town that night for pizza and just happened to be seated next to a very nice couple from Australia who were there on their honeymoon. We had a most enjoyable evening swapping information about the American mainland, which they had never been to but wanted, and Australia, which we have never been to and wanted. Good food, good company, and a most relaxing evening back at our cottage sitting on the patio just being happy.

The next morning after a great breakfast prepared for us by Kathy, we went to the Volcanoes National Park. All I can say about that place is if you've never been, if you've never seen an active volcano with your own eyes, you need to. Can't afford it you think? Start saving. It is one place that should be on everyone's Bucket List. Over the next 4 days, we kept returning to it - in the daytime and at night. You really should see it for yourself!

The rain forest from our bedroom patio

Pu'u O'o on Kilauea in the evening. Erupting since
January 3, 1986, this is the world's longest active
rift zone eruption. 

Kilauea Volcano in the rain during daylight hours

In the rain one day, we were fortunate to see a
beautiful rainbow with ends on either side of
a huge volcano caldera
Long cold field of lava with plants beginning
to grow through

An ocean of cooled lava

"Pele's Tears" - in the Hawaiian religion, Pele is
the goddess of volcanoes. These "tears" are
solidified drops of lava that form during an

"Pele's Hair" - these are thin, very fragile strands
of volcanic glass formed when molten lava is
ejected into the air during an eruption 
Walking through Nahuku, (the
Thurston Lava Tube) is an
interesting experience! 

Sacred to Hawaiians, the Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs
is on the southern side of Kilauea Volcano. Over
23,000 pecked images were made in hardened lava
before the first written recording of it in 1823.
For hundreds of years, the local custom dictated
that when a baby was born, a piece of the hardened
lava be chiseled out, the umbilical cord placed in
the hole and the rock placed back over it. The next
day, the cord would be gone, ensuring the child a
long, productive life.

Lava is molten rock which erupts in Hawaii at
1,800 F - 2,200 F and before the eruption is over,
is often many feet deep. A few years later though,
life finds a way to spring forth once again.