Hilo, Hawaii

Disembarking in Hilo, we headed, by shuttle, to the airport to retrieve the rental car we had secured online. The primary tourist destination on Hawaii is the Volcanoes National Park, but due to the government shutdown the park and all roads and trails leading through the park area were closed.  Our next mission was to locate a snorkel spot recommended by friends, Rich and Gloria.  We never did find the spot they had suggested, while driving to the opposite end of the island, but we discovered the Punaluu Black Sand Beach Park.

Alan donned his snorkel gear and entered the water.  So many turtles were in the water, I was
even able to see them from the shore.  One obliging fellow even came up on the beach for a photo.  Turtles enter this cove to eat a particular sea grass available here.  Departing from Punaluu, we drove further south to the little town of Na’alehu.  At this location, we visited, Punaluu Bake Shop, the southernmost bakery in USA.  Alan tried out some of the popular Hawaiian sweet bread, but ultimately left with some Macadamia shortbread cookies to bring back to the ship.  Like bringing coal to New Castle, as the saying goes.

Heading back toward Hilo, we noticed a lagoon from the overview.  Stopping to investigate, we
found the Whittington Beach Park and Estuary.  Due to darkening skies and high winds, Alan passed
on snorkeling this time, but locals confirmed that this was another spot for snorkeling with turtles and a nice variety of tropical fish without the rougher waters of the Black Sand Beach.  Next time, maybe?

Volcano Village, near the National Park, was our stopping point for lunch.  On the south end of the island, restaurants are few and far between, so luckily this place was open.  Deciding to attempt a viewing of the lava flowing from the volcano into the sea, from another area, we continued north and then east, but heavy traffic and a deadline to board the ship subverted this adventure.

Rushing now, we returned our rental car and rode the shuttle back to the boat.  We didn't want to arrive at the port just in time to catch a picture of the ship departing!

Unfortunately, my computer, with Hawaii’s pictures, has died.  Alan had taken only a few, so until my MacBook can be resuscitated (hopefully) there are few pictures to share of this link of the trip.
Red-crested cardinal joined us for lunch.

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