Our last full day in Hilo was another rainy, drizzly day. I really should have planned better and planned things that wouldn’t have been ruined by rain but it’s Hawaii! Who wants to be inside!
One of the things I was most looking forward to was only about 5 minutes from the house…Ahalanui Park. I was most looking forward to it because there was a geothermal pool! The pool butts up to the ocean, so it doesn’t get that hot, since there the cold ocean water splashes over and mingles. It still was about 90 degrees. And on a cold, drizzly day, it was pretty much the only kind of swimming I’d want to do. You could seriously miss the place, it’s a very small/unassuming park. There were probably only 5 other people there the day we were there but there were two lifeguards, so I can imagine on a nicer day it would get a few more visitors.
I only got ~5 pictures with our point and shoot because the battery died and I couldn’t find the charger…but look at the lovely green tinge of the water. (That’s Keith out there, the little girl photobombed him.)
We hung out in the pool for a bit…if it had been 5 degrees warmer, I would have stayed all day…but we had bigger plans.
I can’t imagine anyone having the chance to see a volcano and skipping it…unless it was actively erupting…but this was pretty much a life dream come true. Before we hit the actual volcano, we stopped at Volcano Winery for a tasting. I think we paid $7 each but got to try 7-8 wines, including an awesome tea-wine fusion. Tea and wine sound like they’d be really wrong together, but it really worked. I was a huge fan of their Pinot Noir and I never like red wines and never ever like dry wines. It was just so bright and crisp.
We ended up buying a bottle to take home. We had packed a lunch and they had a nice little picnic area where we sat and ate. If we hadn’t had plans to do the volcano, it would have been really nice to have bought a bottle to enjoy with lunch!
We left the winery and drove to the park. We headed in and spent the next few hours exploring. Since the volcano was erupting, part of Crater Rim Drive was closed (due to fumes) but we still were able to drive the Chain of Craters Road. It’s a 2o mile drive that winds you past all of the old craters and it was just unbelievable. You drive through all of these lava fields and then suddenly you’re in a forest. And the back to lava, and then more forest. The scale of the craters was also unbelievable. You could fit football stadiums into some of them. These photos will not do it justice.
At the end of the Chain of Craters is the Hōlei Sea Arch, and a very angry sea.
Apparently, the best views of the crater are at night…but it had been a long, cold day so we only stayed until dusk to see the glow before we peaced out. Still pretty awesome.
We had some mediocre thai food and then headed back to Pahoa and bright and early the next day we headed off to Kona.