Tuesday - July 2nd
Once again we hit Cagney’s for breakfast. Thomas came over and asked if we had any ideas for dinner – we didn’t. He said to let him know. Then Nikkia came over to see how we were enjoying our cruise. She told us she would be working in Moderno this evening, and we should come try it. I told her I really didn’t eat meat – but she said they had a really great salad bar. So we said we would. John waved at Thomas when he went by and asked, and Thomas said he would set us up with Nikkia for dinner.
We then got ready and started to make our way off the ship.
I had made reservations with a private tour guide nearly a year ago. When Sheila was reading up on different tours, I told her about the one we had booked (which got great reviews on tripadvisor/cruise critic) and she booked the same one for her family. Earlier this year, when Robin joined the cruise critic roll call, she mentioned thinking about a different Hilo trip, and invited us all to join her.. I read up on the one she was doing, but unlike our's it was one you had to pay up front & offered no refunds for cancellation. . .so Sheila and I decided to keep the ones we already had booked (you pay at the end of the tour in cash). In the end, Robin ended up booking the same tour we did. The tour was run by a husband/wife team - who had two vans, each would accommodate 7 people. So we would be broken up.
We were told to get off the ship we needed to head to mid ship deck 4. So, we ran into Robin and her family waiting for the mid ship elevators. We all got on, and Wayne was acting a bit odd. Again, there were bursts of anger, some awkward things happened - and we walked a bit quicker to just remove ourselves from them.
So. . .we finally get to the guides waiting outside, and there are 2 other people from the ship going too that we had not met before. Once we were all accounted for we headed over to the vans.
Sheila and her family moved to the 2nd van. . so I motioned my family to the first one (since Sheila has 4 people and so do we, it seemed a given we would not be in the same van). Well the 2 people we didn’t know started to get in the van with us and Robin yelled at them “We want to ride with our friends in this van, get in the other one”. John and I shot each other a look. It was going to be a long day. LOL
So, John quickly offered to take the 3rd row and hopped back there with the M&Ms. I was in the 2nd row with Robin and her son Ethan. Wayne was in the front seat with the tour guide. Our van got the wife of the team, Tina. Which tickled the M&Ms. The other van had the husband, Gil.
First up was an Orchid farm. We got to look at the orchids, as well as purchase our lunch box for later in the day (they packed them in coolers in the trunk) for later. They also offered free samples of different macadamia nut candy, and a tour of the macadamia nut candy factory if you wanted one. I will never admit how much candy we bought to take back to the ship. :) Never.
Let's start with an orchid that costs $20,000. That is no typo - it is a rare, $20,000 orchid.
The girls found one that smelled like chocolate.
They enjoyed smelling the different varieties
Next we headed over to Punalu’u Beach – a black sand beach. Tina dropped us off in one area and pointed to the bathroom area down the beach. She said she was going to move the van over there so we could picnic and use the facilities after our beach time. She then left, and we made our way around the beach. Her husband Gil had dropped off his group with the same instructions.
John and Mickie set off in search of sea turtles. They waved Maddie and I down when they found one.
Can you make out his shell in the water?
We watched him for a bit, as he made his way into the ocean. I had a pretty descent shot of the turtle when a wave knocked him over. . .so it looks like he is mooning us now.
Sheila motioned to me at one point and said she wanted to get a pic of just our family and her’s. One of the two-some that was in their group was nice enough to take the pic. Kind of made me feel short. LOL
She said they felt lucky as the 2 that joined their group were very interesting. They were a nice couple from Austraila. I told her she lucked out as we almost had them ourselves and we had a good laugh at that.
The beach was pretty – and we were able to see a few sea turtles in the water, but they never actually came up onto the beach. We all slowly made our way over to the shower/bathroom/picnic area. Tina & Gil unloaded the ice chests and we got our lunches/drinks out and enjoyed. Well, everyone was there but Robin. She was still waking around the beach.
After a while Robin joined us – red in the face, she thought we had all left her as she had no idea where we had all gone. Again, the situation was uncomfortable - I mean seriously, would any of us have left her? Well. . .LOL. . okay, maybe now we would. . but not before. :)
Once we got back in the vans we headed up to the Volcano National Park. I really enjoy how much the M&Ms like things. They asked questions, they wanted to touch all the equipment (thankfully that was allowed) they found the crater & lava very interesting. Maddie asked Tina if there were any towns like Pompeii there. LOL. Tina told her she would find her a Pompeii type tree, but no people. J
Mickie holding lava. . . .
This graph shows how they measure movement in the ground. You could jump up & down and watch the needle move. The girls found it really interesting to watch as people walked by it. And of course they had to jump a few times too.
Steam coming up through cracks in the ground over the volcano
Maddie shouting "I'm Queen of the Volcano"
After the Volcano National Park we loaded up again and headed down to a Lava Tube.
Along the way we passed the Kilauea Military Camp. My family stayed here for two weeks back in 1977, so I asked if we could slow down so I could take pics to send to my brother. It brought back some nice memories to see it again. My DDs wanted to know which cabin we had stayed in - but you know. . .all these years later it somehow has slipped my mind. LOL
Nene Geese - the Hawaiian State bird
Lava tubes form when lava on the outside cools faster than lava underneath – and it makes like a cave. Well, Ethan had to go to the bathroom – so Robin and Wayne started to argue over who was going to take him. I motioned to John and we moved toward the line to head to the lava tube. . .I told Tina we would just meet her on the other side, and we walked quickly.
This lava tube was much bigger than the one I saw back in 1977, the girls thought it was “cool” And stopped here and there to touch the sides. AT some point Tina caught up with us and said she would watch for Robin’s family but for now she started to tell the girls about the tube. She then said “I think I see Robin” and I told her we would keep going. . .LOL. . .so she headed back toward Robin.
Once out of the tube Tina caught back up with us. It was starting to rain and she was armed with rain coats/umbrellas. The girls looked so cute following behind Tina.
When we were heading back to the van John told me he had enough of this tour, not the fault of Hilo or Tina, just the constant fighting. So when we were in the van and Tina said we still had time to go to the waterfall, Makayla whined as she really wanted to see it – but Robin and Wayne said they had enough. I agreed, saying as it was raining it was time to head back to the ship. . .and we did.
When we got back to the ship we paid Tina and thanked her for her time. Wayne questioned paying her in cash, asking if she planned to report it on her taxes. LOL
We then got on board, showered and cleaned up. John told me that he didn’t want to spend any more time with Robin and her family, and to be honest I agreed.