Our trip from Fiji to Hawaii did not go smoothly shall we say, firstly our bus broke down, secondly our flight was delayed and finally we missed our connecting flight – they say bad luck comes in 3’s. As part of the flight we crossed the international date line which meant reliving the 14th January twice, which caused our technology and Michelle some confusion as we landed 14 hours before we took off. Also our flight stopped at Christmas Island to pick up lots of American tourists, the airport was the worst yet and looked like nothing had changed since British nuclear testing commenced on the island.
Eventually we made it to our destination of Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island and our first taste of America. Although Hilo looked and felt like it was trapped in time we enjoyed our stay. And all the stereotypes of America seemed to be true!! Everything seemed to be bigger, the cars, the voices, the arses. Apparently native Hawaiians define beauty in women as being “large”, there were a hell of a lot of stunners here!
Also everything was “fricking amazing” and “Oh My God” which made us smile. However what didn’t make us smile were the Coqui frog’s which come out at night, climb trees and croak so loudly everyone in Hilo has to sleep with earplugs in…. by the noise created we were expecting large frogs but they were less than an inch long.
Our main reason for visiting Hilo were the volcanoes. Mauna Kea can be measured as the worlds tallest mountain and dominates the skyline on a clear day, being less than 500,000 years old and still active gave a sense of the powers of the volcano, but the real highlight was Kilauea. Kilauea is the most active volcano on earth and has been erupting for the past 31 years, and it truely was breathtaking. The main observation point overlooked the crater where you could smell the sulphur, see the smoke and at night see the glow of the lava.
We also got to see the steam vents where water is heated by the magma and makes its way out around the volcano, the steam felt so nice when you stand by it but get too close and you can cook marshmallows easily. We also got to see a lava tube, walk on freshly formed rock but unfortunately were not able to see the lava meeting the ocean as this magical sight stopped last month.
After Hilo we ventured to Waikiki on Oahu island, here we were back in modern America with high rise hotels, lots of food variety and surprisingly lots of Japanese. Obviously we had to spend a day on Waikiki beach which although was pleasant enough it wasn’t amazing, and the water was freezing… well not as warm as we have been used too.
In order to get a better picture of Oahu we decided to rent a car and go on our own American road trip. I had dreams of a Chevy, Mustang or similar muscle car but unfortunately for me the only car they had was a very girly Mazda MX5.
Our road trip took us up to the world famous surf beach’s on the north shore, it was relatively calm when we arrived and the waves were only 6 metres, the next day they were going to be up to 12 meters!! We went to the pipeline beach where they hold the surf competitions and were fortunate enough to see one in place. They make it look so easy but the amateurs on Waikiki proved it wasn’t easy!
We continued our road trip around the island visiting many beautiful sights of the lush volcanic vegetation, dramatic cliffs and craters spotting where several movies where filmed including Jurassic Park.
No trip would be complete without going to the historic Pearl Harbour to visit the site of the Japanese attack on the American Fleet. The tour was very well done and explained in a matter of fact way what happened and why. The platform over the USS Arizona was a poignant reminder of that day and is well worth a visit.
Next up first class flight to Peru….