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Hawaii - July 2004

'Vacationing' is ...

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note: Each of the photographs is a thumbnail image of the original. Just click on the thumbnail to view a larger version of the picture.

Special moments

  red lava flowing into the ocean

Red lava flowing into the Pacific ocean at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island.

catherine and friend

Catherine and new friend

at Sea Life Park on Oahu.

Local resident looking forward to seeing us!

catherines gecko

[photo by Catherine]
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Getting there

home alone impression Sonia and Catherine [despite her 'Home Alone' impression at O'Hare] spent a few days on Oahu before flying to the Big Island. Michael and Matthew only changed planes in Oahu. travel tip: For the best 'from the plane' views of the islands, be sure to pick the correct side of the plane.


For planes arriving in Honolulu from the mainland, you want a seat on the right of the plane. [Speaking of airplane seating, check SeatGuru to make sure you have a good seat for any flight.] Flight patterns are usually just to the south of Diamond Head and Waikiki beach. For inter island flights, check the airline flight paths to determine which side you want. Seating on inter island flights is open, so get in line early to get your preference.

Of course, if you just want to see an Hawaiian beach, you can always see the current conditions on Waikiki beach via the web.


Waikiki overview

  diamond head crater

Diamond Head crater

Sonia hiked inside the crater on this trip. If you are thinking about taking the hike, look at the official Diamond Head brochure.

Honolulu marina

Honolulu marina

Park information for this #1 rated beach.

hunama bayHanauma Bay State Underwater Park

  mokapu point

Mokapu Point - first landfall on Oahu

island of kahoolawe

Island of Kahoolawe

Several other aerial views of the islands.

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  arizona memorial

Arizona Memorial

[photo by Catherine]

Oahu sights

With a hotel only a couple blocks from the beach, Sonia and Catherine made good use of the local bus system to get around. The 'visitor pass' was convenient and cost less than parking a rental car at the hotel. The bus gave both Sonia and Catherine the opportunity to see Honolulu and the sites from a different perspective.
waiting for bus

Sonia waiting for the bus.

[photo by Catherine]

dinnerIn a town like Honolulu, finding a good place to eat in not much of a challenge. Most of the meals we ate were served with a flair for artistic presentation. You may think they looked too good to eat, but after a day of sightseeing or snorkling, our appetites easily won out!


oahu meal 1c

[photos by Catherine]
oahu meal 1s

  hawaiin warrior

Hawaiian warrior.


catherine in paradise

Catherine seemed to fit right in with some of the Oahu locals.


lead penguin

Penguin leader with her colony.



dolphin dudedolphinsA visit to Sea Life Park provided both entertainment and a chance to get up close and personal with some of the entertainers.

[photo by Catherine]
[photo by Catherine]

catherine and friend


oahu sunset Oahu sunsets oahu sunset
[photos by Catherine]
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Views in and around Kona

  flame tree

Flamboyante tree [Flame]
Delonix regia

monkeypod tree

Monkeypod tree [Rain tree]
Samanea saman

octopus tree

Octopus tree [He'e in Hawaiian a.k.a.Umbrella tree]
Brassaia actinophylla Schefflera actinophylla


Although we had visited Kona on previous trips, this is the first time we actually stayed there.

Our condo was within walking distance of the main strip downtown, which provided a nice alternative to driving and having to find a parking space. Walking also gave us a chance to enjoy the sights, night air, and burn off a few dinner calories.

Kona condo view looking south

Kona condo view looking South


Birds outside the Royal Kona resort

flowering fruit

Indian mulberry
Morinda citrifolia

vine on lava

Vine beginning to reclaim the lava.

  beach at hapuna bayBeach at Hapuna bay

baking children

Baking children

There were a number of small beaches to discover both to the north and south. We usually set out early and made several beach stops before returning to our Kona base.

  sunset at energy lab beach

Sunset at Energy Lab beach, north of Kona.

Vacation life proved to be challenging. Getting up in the morning, getting the family out, exploring several beaches, finding a good vantage point for the evening sunset, and, of course, finding a place for dinner. Then having to do it all over again the next day! Rought life!!

kona brewing dessert

Kona Brewing dessert

  cereus 3

Night blooming Cereus flowers.
Hylocereus undatus
We were captivated by the beauty and size of this flower. We found it growing in a vacant lot next to the condo. But later, began seeing it in various places along the road and around Kona. It is a member of the cactus family. The flowers open at dusk and close back up in the morning sun. Another site with a variety of pictures.

cereus 2
  cereus 4  cereus 1  cereus 5
  Kona sunset

Kona sunset

There are no Kona 'sunrise' pictures, only sunsets. Kona is located on the western side of the island. Kona condo sunset

Kona condo sunset

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Pictures at Volcanoes National Park

The park has several climate zones. The first thing we noticed was about a 20º temperature difference after our 2 hour drive from Kona. Not surprising, given the 4,000 foot change in elevation. volcanoes national park sign The next change we noticed was the mist and rain brought by the morning clouds that come in over Hilo and gradually loose their moisture as they make their way up to the Kilauea Plateau. pancho sonia Of course, there was still plenty of moisture to cause us to get out our ponchos. The western part of the park, however, presents a dry almost desert landscape.

Having been to the park several times before, we had a good idea of the things we wanted to see. We got our updated weather and red lava conditions at the visitor center. Then spent some time touring around the main rim crater, Thurston lava tube, museum, shops, over to Volcano Village for lunch, and then down the Chain of Craters road to the main attraction -- flowing red lava.
  fern head
volcano area fern

Ferns do well in the cool, moist climate. It rains a little nearly every day. The area around the Thurston Lava tube is especially wet, as we experienced!

thurston lava tube entrance

Thurston lava tube entrance

fern head
young branching fern
[photo by Catherine]
o... blossoms

There was an abundance of other flowers and interesting plants in an around the Volcanoes Park area. The various climates within the park, each hosted their own unique set of plants. Here is an eclectic sampling of those that we found. Our favorite, primarily because of its brilliant color, was the Princess flower. A recent rain shower provided additional interest.

Many of the plants and flowers defied our conventional ideas about 'a good place to grow'.

princess flower

Princess flower, Tibouchina urvilleanar, a.k.a. Glory flower. After returning from vacation, I found additional information about this beautiful flower. Info #1 and Info #2

  o berries

'Ohi'a... berries
Metrosideros collina
Ohi'a-Lehua Tree

'Ohi'a... flower

ohia flower
[photo by Matthew]

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  yellow ginger

Yellow ginger

White flowers

white flower
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  threesome at crater

Threesome at crater

In these pictures of Halemaaumau Crater, which is actually a smaller crater within the larger Kilauea Caldera, you can see the effects of on-going thermal activity in the form of white and yellow sulfur deposits. Lava rock itself, varies considerably, depending on the conditions during which it was formed and how it cooled.

catherine at crater

Catherine at crater

  sulfur crystals

Sulfur crystals

lava rock detail

Lava rock detail

The size of the elements in these pictures is easy to underestimate until you put people or a car into the picture for persepective.

sulfur on crater wall

Sulfur on crater wall

  kilauae iki crater

Kilauae Iki crater

If you look closely, you can see people walking along the trail that runs across the picture. At one time, the entire floor of the crater was a mass of red hot bubbling lava.
lava over pali

Older lava flows spilled over the pali. The diagonal line going from the lower left to middle right is a road. Look carefully and you'll see the white car on it.



CAUTION: Mother Nature at work! Crew #1.

Almost as soon as the lava comes down off the pali, Mother Nature continues to change the face of her creations. Ferns are the first plants to begin the process of breaking down lava rock into soil.

ferns in lava #1

ferns in lava #1

ferns in lava #2

ferns in lava #2

  sea arch

Holei sea arch

sea wall

Sea wall and waves.

A narrow black sand beach is hidden beneath the waves.

CAUTION: Mother Nature at work! Crew #2

The sea is another force that batters the newly deposited lava, claiming a portion of it for itself.


  lava on road #1

Slow! Lava on road.

lava on road #2

We surmised that the 'handicapped' access is via helicopter. Just make your own arrangements!

Each year we visit, the Chain of Craters road seems to get shorter. Portions of the road that we drove on in 1995 and 1999 are now covered with lava. To view the red lava, you need to park your car and hike.This year we lucked out and got a parking spot fairly close to the end of the road. After a final 'pit stop' [no sense carrying extra weight!], we headed out to the viewing area. Who said getting there is half the fun? What looks like a fairly even flow of lava from a distance, is in reality fairly uneven terrain. In addition to sharp edges, as we hiked over the underground lava tubes, we noticed that the rocks were climbing on were warm to the touch.

Hiker advisory!

hiker sign
sonia hiker

Sonia hiker

If you plan on doing the hike, be sure to check the park service site for viewing lava safely. We found all their suggestions helpful except for the gloves.

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The lava terrain we saw getting the to the new red lava viewing area was an educational hike through the variations of flowing and cooling lava. The thin lava crust is broken and reshaped by subsequent lava flowing under and around it. Lava rock is very porous. The multi colors come from the mineral content of the lava as well as the conditions under which it cools.

The pictures to the right show a lava bubble, pushed up by uncooled lava beneath it. Depending on its temperature, lava is sometimes an ooze that can harden quickly.

Lava texture

lava texture

and rope lava cross section

rope lava cross section
  lava bubble

lava bubble

lava ooze

Older lava ooze

  red lava #1

Red lava

red lava #2


Mother Nature provides a wonderful 'reality' show. I could sit there for hours just watching the different shapes appear and disappear. The 'oohs' and 'aahs' from the crowd of spectators indicated their satisfaction with the show.

The show is not entirely free, however. The price of admission is a 1+ mile hike to get to the viewing point. And in our case, a 1+ mile hike back in near total darkness. However, any time you stopped to rest, the view of the stars provided a fantastic sight as well.

  red lava #3 red lava #4
  red lava #5 red lava #6 red lava #7

Various pictures of red lava flowing into the Pacific ocean at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island.


red lava #8 red lava #9
  red lava #10 red lava #11

As dusk and night settle in, the character of the lava show changes.

red lava #12
red lava #13 red lava #14
  photographer catherine

We found a convenient lava rock that we used as a tripod to steady our cameras. Catherine and I experimented with taking shots through our binoculars to 'get closer'. As you can see, we were not the only ones there! A true 'Kodak moment'. other photographers

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Day trips south of Kona

Using Kona as our base, we made several day trips to the south and north. Both directions have a variety of smaller beaches and other interesting sights.


Sacred site at Kahaluu Bay

sacred place next to st peter church

The bays carved out along the rocky shore were natural gathering places for Hawaiians old and new.

st peter church

St. Peter's church

This etched glass window behind the altar was a bit distracting at times, but it certainly let the beauty and power of God's creation shine through.

back glass window in st peters church
  kahaluu bay/beach

Kahaluu Bay/Beach

Of course today, the religious significance of the bays, easily gives way to tourism. Kahaluu Bay was only about 15 minutes south of the condo. The beach was rocky as was most of the shoreline. But there were a few channels to get you out to snorkle depth and a variety of fish and green turtles.

The green turtles were a pleasure to watch as they almost effortlessly swam over the corals and lava rocks, stopping occasionally to grab of bite of sea moss or other vegetation.

  yellow tang school

Yellow tang school with parrot fish

honu - turtle


  As with every time we got in the car to drive to another location, there were plenty of beautiful flowers and plants to marvel at. I only wish I had more time to spend studying the intricacies of these flowers and figuring out how best to photograph them. african tulip tree flowers

African tulip tree flowers
Spathodea campanulata

Papayas ripening on a tree

papayas on the tree
  yellow flowers

angels trumpet flowers

Angel's trumpet flowers
Datura candida

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Place of Refuge

place of refuge

It may not look like much from a distance, but the Place of Refuge, today known as Pu`uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, is a very sacred and important place in Hawaiian culture.

Located on Honaunau Bay, the visitor center and walking tour give you a unique introduction to kapu, the elevated status of Hawaiian kings, and the daily lives of the early Hawaiians.


We hope that the gods have a sense of humor. Otherwise Catherine and I are going to be in big trouble for this picture!

sacred butts
feeling the workmanship

Sonia inspects the fine craftsmanship of the tiki.

lava wall detail

Lava wall detail

  spider top

Spider top


The Place of Refuge was also a haven for wildlife. The pictures to the left and right show the different sides of one of the giant spiders that call this home.

In addition, there were plenty of turtles around, since swimming and other 'human' water activities are very limited within the Place of Refuge.

turtle at place of refuge
spider underside

Spider underside

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More Kona and trips north

And what would a trip to Hawaii be without at least one stop at a Hilo Hattie shop? Conveniently located, just about anyplace tourists are likely to stay! Of course, in Hawaii what looks [pick your adjective] terrific, tropical, festive, colorful -- often looks quite different when you get it back home. But, if you have no fashion sense [or concerns] like like me, who cares!

His and Her's Hawaii!

hilo hattie fashion for two

  diners at bubba gumps shrimp house

Diners at Bubba Gump's

matthews bubba gump special dinner

Bubba Gump special dinner

Ms. Gump, just waiting for her Forrest!

miss gump
[photo by Matthew]
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Bird of Paradise near our condo.

bird of paradise



Plumeria blossom


Queen Emma's Lily [Crinum augustum]

  shore near mah  ukona

The far north shore road on the west side ends near Malapala and Akoakoa Point. Beyond is a stretch of pali, accessible only by boat or on foot. We settled for a view from the lookout point to the pali valleys and green Keokea beach below.

The island of Maui hides in the clouds.

maui in the distance


Pali coast line

coast near kauhola point

shore near kauhola point

Keokea beach

valley near kauhola point

Pali valley[s]

  kona sunset

King Kamehameha I stands tall. Each night on the island, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset. A great settling to a day of sightseeing and a signal that it was time for dinner.

king kamehameha 1

kona sunset

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  scene at roys

michael dinner

Dinner at Roy's.

Matthew treated us all to dinner on our last evening on the island.We started with the 'canoe' appetizer and then worked into the more serious entrees [below].

canoe at roys

We seem to have photographed all of our meals! From left to right: Michael's, Catherine's, Sonia's and Matthew's entrees.

us at roys

matthews dinner

 catherines meal   sonias dinner

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  aquasox fish

As with all vacations, it was soon time for one last swim in the bathtub for our aqua sox and then packing. It helps to bring an extra empty bag with you. Makes packing for the trip back, so much easier!

We did have to make two trips to the airport to get us and all of our stuff there, but fortunately it was only a short distance away.

  kona airport

The overnight flight back to NJ via LAX and MIA gave us a chance to catch up on a little rest before getting back to our regular routines. All in all, it was a great trip!!

kona airport

mauna kea

Mauna Kea

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More Underwater Hawaii

Our underwater shots are a combination of pictures taken snorkling and scuba diving. Michael is still very much a novice at underwater photography, but trying to learn more.


Honu = turtle

honu #2
honu #3

moorish idol

Moorish idol

  crown of thorns starfish

Crown of thorns starfish

Trumpet fish

trumpet fish

Matthew fish

matthew - diver

This is about 50 feet below the surface.


Still want to see more?? We have plenty more pictures and video. Just let us know the next time you come for a visit. We love to share our Hawaiian experiences!

Yes, we will be happy to accompany you on your Hawaiian trip and act as your guide, chauffeur, and even carry your bags. All you need to do is buy our plane ticket[s] and let us bunk with you!

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Matthew also put two photo albums together from the trip.

Various places we visited that have web sites.....

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