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21 July 2024
Alan Morris at a volcano crater on Hilo, Hawaii.

Today, I took an escorted tour of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Hilo, Hawaii.

I awoke at 5:45 am and got up at 6 am for a shower. After showering and getting dressed, I went to The Local for breakfast. The waiter arrived, and I asked for eggs benedict but was told I could only have what was on the limited menu. This surprised me as the main dining rooms didn't open till 7 am, and most people would want to leave to go on their day trips by just after 7 am.

I think the waiter was either hard of hearing or didn't yet understand English very well as I had to repeat my order several times. I asked for oatmeal with cinnamon, cheese and ham omelette, and orange juice. The omelette arrived with nothing else, so I ate that while waiting for the oatmeal and cinnamon. It still hadnt arrived when I had finished so I ordered it again. He brought me the oatmeal without cinnamon, but I was still waiting for the orange juice. My orange juice didn't arrive, so I left to make sure I got the bus for my trip to the Volcano National Park.

I was surprised that the buses were uncomfortable and weren't as large as previous days. As usual, lots of ignorant Americans pushed their way to the front of the cue and jumped in the disabled seats, meaning disabled people couldn't sit comfortably or get a seat they could reach. The driver moved some of the people who had sat in the disabled seats, but even when I did get one, it wasn't very comfortable and was very cramped. There seemed to be a large box or compartment under the seat in front of me, and no way to stretch out my legs.

The coach set off on time, and we drove for around 45 minutes until we got to the Volcano National Park. A winy lady who had jumped into a disabled seat in front of the row I was sitting in (she was not disabled) turned around and told the disabled man next to me to be quiet because she couldn't hear the driver. If she had stopped talking to her neighbour for five minutes, she may have been able to listen to him.

The drive was pleasant but not as lovely or engaging as the previous days' journeys. When we arrived at the Park and the driver had parked, he gave us directions to walk the short distance to the Volcano rim. Once off the coach I walked through the lush vegetation to the crater rim. It was enormous and was lined with trees. As the crater went down, the trees dissipated, and you could see burnt, blackened vegetation until it dropped again. In the inner circle was a dark rock with smoke rising from the crater below it. I took some photos and briefly walked along the rim before returning to the coach. It started raining on the way back, and I had a quick look in the visitor centre but there was little to interest me. When I walked back to the coach, I climbed on and sat in my seat until the other passengers returned and we headed off to the second spot we would stop at.

The second spot we stopped was where water collected under the soil, and the magma below heated it to around 197 °c. The heat and pressure forced steam to vent through various cracks in the earth, and we could see many columns of steam rising into the air. I walked closer to the crater rim again to get a different view of the smoking crater before returning to the coach.

Photos from the Volcano National Park.

On the drive back to the ship, the driver stopped at a coffee and chocolate factory. Usually, I wouldn't say I like these stops as they only drop people off to buy something to get the drivers a commission. As I walked in, I tried some coffee, expecting great things. I was very disappointed with it, and if they had given us the best they had, I don't think they would sell much. The biscuits and chocolate, however, were beautiful and I did buy a small bag of crispy macadamia nut chocolate that was gorgeous.

When everyone had finished buying their chocolate, cookies and coffee, the driver drove us around the waterfront in Hilo, pointing out the only hotels still on the Island and telling us who planted the trees along the drive. After that, we were dropped back at the ship, and after going through two x-ray machines within a couple of hundred yards, I bordered the ship.

I returned to my room to rest my feet, and after a short rest, I walked to ´The Local Bar´ for food. There was a long wait to be seated, and not wanting to wait, I went to the buffet. I got myself a chicken burger, a few meatballs and some fries, washed it down with some lemonade and then returned to my room to collect my laptop and reading glasses.

I walked to the Spinnaker Lounge, sat at the bar, and had the day's cocktail. I then moved to one of the window seats to watch the world go by as I used my tablet. A waiter approached me shortly after I sat down and asked if I wanted another drink. I ordered a Guinness and typed some notes on my laptop.

I went to the Stardust Theatre to see an illusionist's entertainment there this evening.

Dala Illusions.

Dala Illusions were a magic and Illusion act. I did enjoy this and some of the stuff was very good and had me wondering how it was done.

 

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. 

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hilo protects some of the world's most unique geological, biological, and cherished cultural landscapes. Rising from sea level to 13,680 feet, the park encompasses the summits of two of the world's most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa. It is a designated International Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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