April 29, 2009

Helicopter in Kailua Kona

It was an overcast day in Kailua Kona,, but we had had our hearts set on a helicopter ride since getting to Hawaii. We caught a taxi to the airport, where there are many different helicopter lines. There are different places the helicopters can take you - to the waterfalls and/or volcanoes, depending on weather and location. Our helicopter, which sat 6 plus the pilot, took us to an active volcano. Surrounding the volcano was over a mile of Igneous Rock. Some spots on the vast grey and black floor had holes with steam seeping out! It was a crazy site to see. Apparently the magma has shifted over the years from the original exploding point to another place under the ground, so there is even a place where molten lava is peaking out at ground level. We flew right next to the actual volcano, which is still considered active. There was tons of smoke coming out of it. I literally had to pinch myself! Before the volcano errupted, people had been living in houses close to it. Many of them were destroyed by the molten lava, but some still remained. One house in particular was surrounded by the dried rock, but was still in perfect condition. There was a helicopter parked outside, as that is their only way to come and go from there now (I think it's been made into a hotel/house for rent). We then flew over to the water, where molten lava collides with the crashing waves. Steam is outlining the coastline. You can catch glimpses of the neon red lava before it hits the water. It was such an interesting and exilerating experience.. I never imagined seeing a volcano so close and personal!

April 26, 2009

Hawaiian Birthday Cruise

I was fortunate enough to embark on a 12 day cruise on the Celebrity Millenium over my birthday (May 1). We started in Hawaii, and went around the Hawaiian islands for 6 days, then went on a 6 day-at-sea voyage up to Vancouver, Canada. This was the second ship I had ever been on, and it was 3 times bigger then the Azamara Journey. At first I was very overwhelmed, but once I got used to the extra lounge areas and wider range of entertainment options, I made myself (temporarily!) at home. The first port was Honolulu, where the ship embarked from. It was quite a tourist driven spot, and the main street was filled with high end stores (Bulgari, Coach, etc,) and a million souvenir spots. While the locals I ran into (which was mostly on the beach) were friendly, it felt a little like Miami. We did stay in the tourist area though, and did enjoy the main beach. We didn't exactly feel like it was a tropical paradise, but luckily, we were in for a treat in the following days....