Ireland day 0978. Sunday 02 June 2024- Big Island 1

Ireland day 0978. Sunday 02 June 2024- Big Island 1
Today’s summary Caught a mid morning flight from Honolulu to Hilo on Big Island. Excellent views over Diamond Head and Molokai en route. Visited tsunami museum in Hilo and drove over the Saddle Road to Captain Cook where we are staying for the next few days. Dinner at Black Rock pizza and red wine on the lanai afterwards
Today’s weather Mixed. Overcast with occasional drizzle in Captain Cook. Light westerly wind. Appx 24c
Today’s overview location
(The green mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The orange line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):

(Summary blog only.   Last full blog was Day 0368).

Time for another change of scene again today. We set our alarms early this morning, packed up our things, and headed down to Honolulu airport for flight number 4 of our Pacific odyssey. Our destination today was Hilo (pronounced Hee-loh) on the Big Island, the next Hawaiian island where we will be staying for the next few days.

The flight was straightforward and quick (well under an hour) and gave us great views back to Diamond Head crater, and of northern Molokai island. Once we had landed in Hilo and quickly disembarked (thanks being given once again to carry-on bags only), we picked up our hire car and drove into town for a look around.

It’s an interesting spot, charming in its own way and a complete contrast to Honolulu. There are lots of small boutiquey shops and cafés and an excellent outdoor fruit and vegetable market. Unfortunately it also seems to have a bit of a homelessness problem.

We paused in the Puna chocolate company for a coffee (made with beans grown on the island) and muffin, then dropped into the Pacific Tsunami Museum to see what we could learn. Basically, it seems like every decade or so, Hilo is struck by a tsunami. They can be either generated locally from tectonic activity on the islands, or come from afar on the western, northern or eastern margins of the Pacific Ocean. The warning systems seem to be quite good now, so loss of life has been minimised – though material damage can still be substantial.

Once we had finished alarming ourselves, we drove west, right across the roof of the island, taking the Saddle Road which traverses the plateau between the two massive volcanoes – Mauna Kea, to the north (the highest island volcanic peak in the world) and Mauna Loa to the south. The road itself tops out at 2021m (6632ft). It poured with rain as we passed through the cloud on the way up, but at about 1800m we broke through the upper cloud boundary and found ourselves in a brilliant sunshine in a barren volcanic wilderness. Quite an amazing place.

We descended the western flanks of the island after about an hour of driving, then headed for Captain Cook (a place, not a person) where we are staying in the Ka’Awa Loa guest house for El the next few days. En route we stopped off at a supermarket in Kona for essential supplies (i.e. wine and crisps) and finally arrived at the guest house at 5:30pm.

We quickly settled in and made ourselves at home on the lanai (ground level balcony) with a cup of tea. Then it was off to Black Rock pizza for a quick (and delicious) dinner before retiring back to the lanai for red wine. So now we’re relaxing to the sound of the distant sea and the frogs chirping and ribbit-ing like a mad orchestra tuning up for a frenzied concerto.

What a wonderful day.

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Northern Molokai – looks far less vegetated than the other Hawaiian islands.  Definitely worth a visit one day “Downtown” Hilo – a very laid back town, completely different to Honolulu.   But sadly a bit of a homelessness problem
Cocoa pods for sale in the local farmers market.  No idea what you do with them (except for the obvious) Val trying her hand at creating a tsunami
On the summit of the saddle road, at about 2000m / 6600ft.   This is the point where the road to the observatory at the top of Mauna Kea turns off – at  about 4205m / 13803ft, it’s probably the highest in the world Relaxing on the lanai of our guest house
Beautiful aerial view of Diamond Head crater, showing almost the whole of our walking route yesterday
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 3118 m
Max elevation: 8 m
Min elevation: 3 m
Total climbing: 21 m
Total descent: -21 m
Total time: 01:46:08
Download file: Hilo-compressed-corrected.gpx

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