Hawaii doesn’t usually look like this. It usually looks like this. See the difference? Maybe check out the whole gallery. Sure, a lot of it is Toby’s mad photography skills but also there is one key difference: in my photos it’s overcast!
Kona is beautiful either way but what’s funny about taking pictures of a tropical island when it is overcast is that the color doesn’t really convey the warmth and how exotic everything really is. If it weren’t for the bendy palm trees and outlines of lush leaves everywhere this photo could be taken in Long Beach. Hawaii is all about color so where is the color?
It was over here on the rainy side of the island! The side of the island that is usually overcast and rainy and gray. How funny and strange, no? Why, you ask? Because of this:
This is steam from hot lava hitting the ocean. It was pretty cool. We wanted to get closer to see the actual molten lava dripping in big fiery globs into the sea but the Feds taped us off because they were worried that the whole “shelf” of lava would break off and we’d all go crashing into the ocean.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The reason I’m showing you that photo is because something something something (that I will link and document properly when Toby the Volcano Expert wakes up) is happening with the volcano that hasn’t happened since 1924!!! And because the something something something is happening, the gas and fumes from the volcano are swirling around the island and hovering like smog over Kona! Right where we were staying!
I didn’t know any different but it really drove Toby nuts. He was there to shoot a luxury home and as you know luxury homes are all about the view. He couldn’t shoot the view because there was no view! Day after day he went to the job site and scouted around for the perfect shot and day after day he came back dejected that the blasted “vog” had beat him again.
On the very last day Toby decided to take one day off work and take us to the other side of the island where the weather was GREAT!!!! Who knew? Usually the rainy side of the island is rainy!
Everywhere we looked the sky was blue and the ocean was so turquoise it almost hurt your eyes. I don’t think my photos do the views justice really. Miles and miles and miles of fresh, fresh air to breath. They say that the freshest air on earth is on this side of the island because it blows in from the ocean from miles and miles away with no land and pollution in sight. We actually know of someone who intends to move to Hilo just because he wants to breath clean air and live forever.
He shouldn’t have any trouble finding a place to live since everything is for sale on Hawaii. I’m sure it’s just a sign of the times and they are experiencing the same recession/depression we are here in California but everywhere we looked we saw for sale signs. It was almost creepy like everyone is trying to get off the island at once or something.
When we stopped for a pizza lunch before we headed to the Akaka waterfall we stood around and day-dreamed about buying this pad and building a bed and breakfast on it. Can you imagine the stories I could blog about from there?
I can see why so many mainlanders come over to visit and end up staying. It really is intoxicating. Life is slower. Springtime is year-round. Everything is beautiful. You feel like you are in another country, far far away from the hustle and bustle of home yet you are still in the United States and protected by its laws.
Then we thought about the school systems and how Baby Bug would probably get picked on and the fact that if you need decent medical treatment, you have to get on a plane and fly to another island… and that sort of dashed that daydream. It was fun while it lasted though!
We did get rained on after all. While hiking to see Akaka Falls, it rained big huge drops of warm water all over us. It was great. Baby Bug was having the time of her life running around and investigating puddles and leaves and bugs. Everything was green so she was in heaven. I think she could have stayed there forever.
But like Toby said, she was way more interested in the railing and the little puddles on the sidewalk than she was in the hundreds of feet of water crashing over the side of a steep cliff and pounding away on the rocks below. It was a little like our trip to the San Diego Zoo. Railings are sooo interesting when you are a toddler.
Then we dried off and warmed up with a coconut mocha from Starbucks! Ha ha! Who am I kidding? We didn’t need warming up, the rain was warm! It was actually freezing cold IN Starbucks and I needed the mocha to keep from shivering in their air conditioning.
I don’t usually order anything besides a grande latte when I’m at Starbucks but I decided to try the coconut mocha because you can only get it in Hawaii. How bad would I feel if I got home and found out that I’d never ever get the chance again?!!!
I wonder if that line of thinking would work for sampling everything in their pastry display? Probably not. But it was pretty yummy. A little too sweet but I can handle a little too much sugar when I’m on vacation.
You’d think we’d call it a day after all that but we didn’t. Not when Toby is in charge. He will run Baby Bug and I into the ground, fitting every single adventure in that he can. I was quite mad at him that he forced us to go visit the volcano and didn’t tell me about the required footwear rule. Everywhere we looked there were signs saying to bring water and wear long pants and proper footwear. Flip flops and a skirt aren’t exactly recommended.
I was actually quite scared that we were going to be hiking over knee high shards of razor-sharp lava the way the signs read. Poor Toby, I gave him quite the guilt trip. I had closed-toe shoes and long pants for both Bug and I back at the hotel but we were hours and hours away from there. There was no going back at this point.
Of course it was no big deal at all. The ground was rough but quite even and I skipped over the wrinkles of tar-colored elephant-skin-like lava like a nimble mountain goat in ballet slippers. Well, maybe not quite that gracefully but I didn’t trip or fall once. It was totally fun. I’d go again and wear heels even.
It was a little bit of work to carry Baby Bug the mile or so from the parking area to the actual site where the lava hit the ocean but it was totally worth it. I love adventure. I guess that’s why I’m still married.
And that concludes my vacation blogging!