In the late morning of Day 5. we drove to Kilauea, which is an active volcano on the big island. Kilauea has been continuously erupting for some 24 years! Pretty amazing stuff, and we had decided to do the Crater Rim drive and drive around Kilauea Caldera.
[[image:hi57.jpg:Me by Volcano House:center:0]]
First we stopped by the visitor center and Volcano House to pick up some literature on the volcano and map out our plan for the day. We had originally thought to take the Chain of Craters road down to the ocean and hike to the edge of the lava to see if we could see where the lava meets the ocean, but we’d gotten a late start to the day and decided to do the drive around the volcano for the day. Here’s Vin at the viewing area of Volcano House:
[[image:hi53.jpg:Vin with Kilauea Caldera in the background:center:0]]
[[image:hi54.jpg:Don’t throw things down – you might hit people!:center:0]]
[[image:hi55.jpg:Kilauea Caldera with Mauna Loa in the background:center:0]]
[[image:hi56.jpg:Close up of Halemaumau Crater from Volcano House:center:0]]
In the last picture above of Halemaumau Crater, I zoomed in as far as the camera could go for that shot – it’s pretty far away. After that we drove around Crater Rim Drive. First stop, the steam vents:
[[image:hi58.jpg:Vin by the steam vent:center:0]]
This is really hot steam coming out of the ground, caused by magma mixing with rainwater (or was it groundwater, I forget). I stood in the steam and my glasses fogged up right quick. Actually the hot steam was nice, because there was a pretty gusty wind whipping around us and we were about 4000 feet above sea level. It was cold! So the nice hot steam was just the ticket (except I couldn’t see through my glasses for a while after that).
We kept on driving and stopping at the various lookouts. Here I am with Halemaumau Crater in the background (we’re getting closer to it!).
[[image:hi59.jpg:Me with Halemaumau Crater in the background:center:0]]
[[image:hi60.jpg:Another view of Mauna Loa in the distance:center:0]]
We finally got to Halemaumau Overlook and we’re right over the crater. Look what we found there!
[[image:hi61.jpg:Vin and me and the rainbow:center:0]]
One more view of the ground steaming behind Vin:
[[image:hi63.jpg:The ground is smoking:center:0]]
That concluded our volcanic adventures. There were trails we could have hiked, but by this time we were starving and that wind is relentless! We had to hold on to our hats and zip up our jackets tight. Dries out your eyes too. Plus, the sulphurous steam and stuff isn’t really the best thing to inhale. We decided to skip the hiking and head back to Hilo for dinner. We ate at a restaurant called Kaikodo (which let us in without a reservation and without proper attire – we were in shorts and t-shirts and they had no problem serving us!). The food was just amazing! We loved it! If any of you are ever on Hilo, go to Kaikodo. The food is not only beautifully made and plated, but it sure was amazingly delicious. Vin and I cannot say enough about the food and I am SO bummed I didn’t bring my camera into the restaurant or I could put the pictures here. Bah, humbug! Regardless, if you do go there, do not miss the Tuna 3-ways appetizer (tuna tartare mixed with avocado, tuna sashimi and a fried tuna roll). To Die For. We also had a fresh mozzarella, cherry tomato, basil aioli and hawaiian fern shoots appetizer, plus a coconut crab chowder. Vin had a salmon entree, and I had manila clams and linguine in cilantro pesto. Mm mmmm. We also pigged out and had dessert – a haupia (coconut) panna cotta and molten lava cake (in honor of the volcano we’d just visited). Perfect meal for hungry lunch-skipping people!
So to end this entry, some photostitching:
[[image:hi_st13.jpg:Kilauea Caldera with Halemaumau Crater visible:center:0]]
[[image:hi_st15.jpg:Another of Halemaumau Crater:center:0]]
[[image:hi_st16.jpg:Halemaumau Crater up close:center:0]]