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Once Around The Sun

65051 km


16 months have passed since I've started writing this journal and I finally realise that I have not much of the writing skills. I blame you, though. Should have told me a long time ago to cut the chase and get on with the photos. I will however finish the story, so don't be so quick on pulling your head out of the oven... In the previous entry you could have read my rant about the mishandled luggage. That I was still missing until one of the last days on the big island. But important thing is that I got all my dirty underwear back. All of it...

Our ' Big Island' week long road trip started in a clockwise fashion from Kona airport. I have rented us a Toyota RAV4 and was hoping that we can beach bum for a few night. You know, cause it's cool... Waking up on the beach on Hawaii, yes please! The weather was proving good enough so I didn't let the idea of getting a tent hurt my head too long. As a matter of fact we have gone through those Hawaii days with spending only a couple of days in a real bed. The rest of it was beaches and some nights in the RAV4. I have always imagined this exotic paradise as a beach holiday sort of thing, but as it turns out the beaches are better suited for the surfer crowd rather than the usual beach bum. The waters are pretty wild. In fact this Hawaiian island didn't offer many opportunities to get my feet wet. There is the unpredictable weather on the north, the cliffs on the east, sharp volcanic rock on the south and what you're left with is a bit here and some there. We've ended up sleeping on the beach a few times, waking up to surfers coming and going. But mostly this part of the world is about the ever changing landscape. From sea level to 14 thousand feet in an hour and half. Every single one of these islands is volcanic. Actually a chain of volcanic islands. Tectonic plates keep shifting above the magma chambers which keep erupting and 'building' new islands. As of today, Big Island is one big active volcano that with time will shift and make place for yet another new island. But for now, even today, big island is an active and fire spitting volcano. We have experienced lava flows with our own eyes and felt the heat of it on our own skin. You can't really tell the fresh lava from old rock. Unless it breaks free in which case the rock can flow fairly quick and is red. But after few moments it turned the same colour as the surrounding rock. Only thing that gives the lava away is the immense heat. I can't imagine anyone walking into a fresh lava flow as you would feel the heat from a couple of meters away. It's heat would almost sting. That made me a bit more relaxed because I've fantasised about accidentally stepping into lava. Not a chance! Still, getting close to an active lava flow is not remotely easy. It actually took a few hours hike before we were ready to step on the sharp glass like shards of previous lava flows. I very much recommend a good pair of closed and tall boots. The field is full of glass like shards that would get in everywhere. Also a walking stick that you can lean on rather than falling over due to very uneven and crumbly surface. If the walking stick is an actual stick than you get to poke the lava and set the stick on fire. Which by the way you shouldn't be doing as the Hawaiians believe the lava is the body of earth goddess and poking is not how you treat a God. Nevertheless is fun to do as long you'll stay safe and out of sight. If you plan to obey the rules you could at least roast some marshmallows. It is a super exciting experience to be so close around forces you can't control. Even the hike was worth it. My new shoes broke my heels on the half way there but there was no way that I would back out when being so close! Thankfully the bloody blisters have healed by now and all I'm left with is an unforgettable day and a reimbursement form that I am looking at while writing this entry. Yes, Fiji Airways has finally found time to reimburse me after 3 months! ...although there is little bit of a bitter taste in my mouth too. I couldn't and wouldn't wear my new pair of shoes for the rest of our planned hikes, so there were changes to our plans and that's what I was sorry for the most. But we had to leave something for the next time anyway... The last evening I have booked us in for a night swim with Manta Rays. I liked these creatures on Flores so much that I couldn't think twice about another opportunity to see them. It was absolutely breathtaking. The sunset boat ride to the Manta place, waiting for the darkness and later floating next to customised surfboards with lights pointing downwards to attract the plankton for Mantas to feed on. It was like being on another planet. Totally alien world being in the ocean after dark. Specially with these magnificent animals. If I would have seen this as a teenager I would become a marine biologist, no doubts. Parents, keep that in mind! We slept in the car one last time and in the morning we had time to visit the Turtle Beach again. Known by this name for obvious reasons, the turtles come here and lay around in the sand soaking in the sun. The calm shallow waters provide plenty of food too and is also a natural reserve, meaning that you shouldn't be disturbing the animals. If you however just hang about there is a great chance of them coming right up into your face. That would make your day, you can take my word for it.

With this picture still in our head we have returned our rental car near Kona airport and it was time for an overnight flight to San Francisco. But for that we had to fly a 'coffee grinder' to another Hawaiian island. What I call a 'coffee grinder' is a small plane that can fly 11 passengers if I'm correct. Exciting because you really get to feel 'the bumps on the road'...


​© 2022 by JAN ROCKAR

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