Good-bye Big Island!

We have been home for a few days now.  The longer we have been back, the more it seems that our trip to the Big Island of Hawaii was just a dream. I’m glad I took pictures so I don’t forget the things we experienced there.

I will miss falling asleep and waking up to the sound of the ocean.

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I will miss seeing the fish and eel in the morning.

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I will miss the big trees.

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I will miss the tropical fruit.

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I will miss the purple yams.

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Although I was a little scared of the tide pool/reef area, I will miss snorkeling.

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ImageImageI will miss the beautiful and scenic areas.

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I will miss being in a convertible in 80 degree weather.

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I will miss the mongoose.

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I will miss the smell of the rainforest.

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I will miss seeing the ocean from various points on the island.

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I will miss the green lizards.

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I will even miss the “hippies.”

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Psalm 33:6-9,

“The Lord merely spoke,
and the heavens were created.
He breathed the word,
and all the stars were born.
He assigned the sea its boundaries
and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.
Let the whole world fear the Lord,
and let everyone stand in awe of him.
For when he spoke, the world began!”

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii

I think one of the most dramatic things we saw on the Big Island was the Mauna Loa volcano—said to be the “world’s largest active volcano.” 

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The drive up the side of the mountain took us through “steam vents”—spots where the heat of the volcano seeps through the earth.

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ImageImageIt took us about 30 minutes to go from the bottom of the mountain to the very top. 

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When we got to the actual “volcano part,” it was just a gigantic crater—hundreds of feet (maybe a couple thousands of feet) wide and a small depression towards the middle with white smoke emanating from it. 

I had always thought that volcanoes were a large upside cone-shaped mountain with the volcano hole at the top with lots of visible lava in it, but that’s not what we saw.  The crater reminded me of a nuclear disaster movie—no plants, just scorched rocks.

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We wanted to see the volcano at night. because we heard that you can see it glowing red. The volcano must have been a little more active than usual because we could smell the sulfur in the air way before we reached the crater.  When we got to the volcano it had a huge cloud sitting in the crater (dense fog). Every once in a while we could see a dim reddish glow, but it wasn’t very dramatic, which is why I didn’t take a picture of it.

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Although we didn’t get to see it at night— I was thankful that I was able to see it during the day.

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As we were leaving Volcano National Park during our day trip, we saw that there was a lava tube on the premises.

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What an incredible “cave”– it looked like a giant worm had burrowed into the ground.

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The volcano and the lava tube made me appreciate the handiwork of God. Nehemiah 9:6, “You alone are the Lord. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship you” (NLT).

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii

Hilo is the largest town closest to us, but it takes about 45 minutes to drive there. We tried to avoid going there by shopping in Pahoa, but there’s only two small grocery stores here and no fresh fish. We made several trips to Hilo—these are some of the pictures from our various travels to town.

ImageHilo is a very pretty town with lots of beautiful trees.

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One of our trips to Hilo was for the Farmer’s Market. We had heard that there are a lot of fresh tropic fruits for sale in that one location.

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Another trip to Hilo included the Table Tennis Tournament that I entered– considering that I am only a beginner, I didn’t do too badly– I didn’t have a “0” in any of my matches.

ImageFollowing the tournament, my husband and I had dinner at a local seafood restaurant. My husband had some escargot as an appetizer.

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We tried looking for fresh fish in Pahoa, but none could be found. We heard about a fish market (Suisan) in Hilo, so we went there to see what they had– they had a lot of colorful fish.

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After buying some locally-caught Wahoo fish, we had a “cookout” on Coconut Island.

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Then we went to Rainbow Falls– located in Hilo!

ImageImageImageImagePsalm 118, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!”

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Our trip to the “Kona side” of the island

I guess no visit to Hawaii would be complete without a luau. Since we are staying in the Hilo-side of the island, the only luaus are in the Kona-side (the place where most tourists stay). I thought the price for our tickets were a little steep but we didn’t have much of a choice.

It took us 2 ½ hours to drive through the deserted mountains to get to Kona. The landscape reminded me of what Mars or some other planet might look like—barren, desolate, and a little scary.

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ImageAt one point the temperature dropped to 56 degrees (the temperature was 89 degrees at the bottom of the mountain); it was also a little rainy.

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Kona was beautiful. The town is situated on the hillside overlooking the ocean. I can see why this was the tourist destination on the island. There were many people, many cars, lots of buses, and some cruise ships—very different from the part of the island we were staying.

When we arrived for the luau, we were greeted with shell leis, and then we had our picture taken (I like the picture that I took of us).

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My husband was able to practice with one of the dancers before dinner.

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We watched as the sun slowly descended in the distance—what a beautiful sunset!

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Then it was time for the “unearthing” of the roasted pig (http://youtu.be/n1ClzYMrq1Y). Then as the last-minute dinner preparations were being made, the host prayed “in Jesus’ name” in the Hawaiian language (I guess so he wouldn’t offend anyone who didn’t believe in Jesus).

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ImageImageDinner was good, but we ate so much—this is the bad thing about buffets and high ticket prices—I feel like I have to eat as much as I can to get my “money’s worth.”

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ImageAfter dinner, the show began. My husband said it was a lot like the shows he’s seen in Disney World, but the only difference was the fire dancer (http://youtu.be/rpMvHcu4Ua4).

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ImageImageThe luau ended at around 8 pm. Since we were still not adjusted to the time (8 pm was like 2 am for us), we decided to stay in Kona. We found a place and thought that it was a good deal, but when we checked in we were charged an extra $30 “resort fee.” We couldn’t cancel our reservations since we made them through Priceline’s “name your price.”

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The best part of our trip to Kona was our drive back along the coastline.

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ImageImageJames 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…”

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Exploring the Big Island, Hawaii

On the third day of our visit to the Big Island, we decided to explore some of the state parks and swimming areas. The first place we visited was MacKenzie State Recreation Area. This place was really scary because the park led to very high cliffs overlooking the rough, deep blue ocean below. Apparently someone had jumped off the cliff to her death and the incident was memorialized with a plaque.

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I saw large chunks of rocks that had fallen from the cliff—this made me very nervous—what if the rock I’m standing on suddenly snaps off into the ocean? The thought made me run in the other direction.

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On this same day, we also visited a warm spring. I thought it was a fresh water spring with warm water, but the water was from the ocean and it was warm because lava steam heated the “pool” to 91 degrees. As I stood in the water next to the lava rocks, I could feel the warmth emanating from them. I really didn’t like being in that water because there weren’t any fish or any living creatures except for the people swimming in it. We didn’t stay very long—only like 5 minutes.

Then we came upon a black sand beach. We walked for several minutes through hardened lava—miles of it on either side of us. I can envision how the lava flowed over this place, creating patterns and cracking as hardened lava pushed against other hardened lava. This was the most awe-inspiring place so far.

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When we finally reached the beach, it was covered with what looked like black gravel. It was high tide so we really couldn’t swim in it, but my husband jumped in it anyway. He was almost pulled out.

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Seeing all these “natural wonders” made me really appreciate the work of God—“Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened.  God called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:9-10).

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Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Big Island, Hawaii, Day 2- Photo blog

We started our first morning in Pahoa, Hawaii, awaiting the sunrise. We were a little disappointed since it was cloudy and we didn’t actually see the sun, but it was still a beautiful sight.

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I am just amazed about the beauty of this place. I am also very thankful that our rental house is so close to Wai’opae Ponds (part of the Kapoho Tide Pools)—literally just outside the back part of the house—we only walk a few steps and we’re there!

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ImageWe decided to head into downtown Pahoa to buy a few groceries for the week.

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We saw a small diner along the way so we parked the car and ordered breakfast. We loved our Island Breakfast!

ImageOur drive took us through a patch of very tall trees and long vines—it was both awesome and scary at the same time.

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At the grocery store we found the baked good that I wanted to try. We had some in the car and continued eating it throughout the day.   Image

On drive back “home,” we stopped at the Lava Tree State Park since it was on our way. I can only imagine what this place must have looked like before the lava came and burnt down most of the foliage.  

ImageImageImageSome of the trees apparently “survived” the lava flow— their trunks were still upright and intact. Now they look like large stone structures.

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After putting away our groceries, we rested for a bit then got ready for snorkeling. I bought an underwater camera, so I’ll have to upload those pictures today then post them on an addendum blog.  Genesis 1:1, “…God created the heavens and the earth.”

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Big Island, Hawaii, Day 1

My husband and I are in Pahoa, Hawaii, this week so as a change to my usual blog posts, I will discuss and post pictures of our adventures in the Big Island.

Our adventure started on Monday, October 14, when we arrived at Hilo International Airport at 8 pm.

ImageThe building looked oddly familiar—a rustic version of the Walt Disney World Polynesian Resort (very similar architecture).  We grabbed our bags then headed to the car rental place where we picked up our Ford Mustang convertible!

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Although we were really tired from our 22 hour trip (drive time, flight times, and lay overs), we went to the grocery store to buy some food for the morning. We noticed that all the street lights were yellow—maybe so the sea turtles won’t accidentally cross the streets?

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On our way to our rental house, we drove through a rain forest. The trees were massively tall and it smelled like a rain forest (I can’t exactly describe the smell, just that it was the smell that I remember when going through one of the rides at Disney World).

The weirdest thing about our ride was the amount of birds (not really sure they were birds) “chirping.” My husband said they sounded like the “birds” in the “Pitch Black” movie, staring Vin Diesel—very creepy (http://youtu.be/3FQzE3VXAx0).

Because it was so dark when we arrived, we really couldn’t see much but we still experienced a lot in such a short amount of time— Proverbs 20:12, “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.” I can’t wait to see what more we will experience tomorrow!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti