Sunday, January 1, 2012

Vacay Report Days 2-3: Turtles, Lava, & Petroglyphs

We've had a lot of awesome memories packed into the last 2 days. Here's what we've been up to!

Before heading to check of the ongoing lava flow yesterday, my DH and I decided to hang out on the beach and do a little snorkeling. We weren't sure what to expect, but we were told that some people had seen sea turtles in the recent days. I was super psyched! We strapped on the gear and headed out. I had my waterproof camera with me and started snapping pics of all the coral and the cool fish I saw. It was amazing. Then out of nowhere, I saw this huge rock like thing starting to move. I was like, "What the?!" Then I realized, it was a turtle! I swam over to it asap and was just amazed at how beautiful it was! I started taking pics like crazy! It was just hanging out munching on some algae. As it floated along, I tried to follow it to get more pics. My husband said I was like the paparazzi! I ended up seeing a few more that morning... It just so awesome to see such beautiful, peaceful creatures in their natural environment! Here's a pic of a turtle eating algae off one of the piers.

Later that day, my husband and I took an evening tour to see the volcano and its spewing lava. The journey there was a little treacherous. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive to the site, which included some uhhh, interesting side trips. Our tour guide Jana, decided to take a scenic route which led us down a cinder "road". And by "road," I mean a cinder path through crazy thick jungle-like vegetation with insano ditches that sent us flying up out of our seats just about every 3 seconds. This was a fabulous experience to add on to the motion sickness I was already experiencing. Anyhow, Jana told us that most of the people who live in this area are either hippies or people trying to escape the law. Yikes! She said that it's a good hiding place for outlaws since the houses are hard to see through the thick vegetation. Uhhhh, should we be here then? And how do you know about this place?! Anyway, after some crazy detours, we made a stop at a macadamia nut farm. That was pretty cool. After stopping for some eats, we finally headed down to the volcano site. It was insane to see how the previous flows already affected the land. It was like we were on another planet! But then out of nowhere, we saw these houses plopped down right over the hardened lava! I guess those people lived there before and decided to reclaim their land despite the lava. Pretty wild! I was hoping to get some pics, but we were still driving so I wasn't able to. Anyhow, once we parked, we had to hike a little over the lava flow. It was actually easier than I thought. Then, once we got to the end of the path, my DH and I were able to see one of the most awesome sites we'll probably ever see in our lives! Here is a pretty crude pic...

We had trouble getting awesome pics since we didn't have a good zoom lens, but oh well. Just seeing it ourselves was phenomenal... a true testament to mother earth's power.

Today we just kind of hung out around town. We had planned on driving to Hilo, but after all the crazy driving from the day before, my stomach wasn't ready to take on another day of sickening driving. We ended up going to Kona instead which was just 30 minutes away. We checked out a Kona coffee farm and sampled some different coffees. One thing that actually caught my eye while we were there was a few of the wild mango trees that were growing in the parking lot. Now this caught my eyes because I seriously love mangoes! I mean, I pink puffy heart mangoes! I rarely buy them though because they are so $$ where I live. And to see them here just growing wherever... wild!

Now here is where things get really bad... you might want to skip down the next paragraph... After taking a pic of the tree, I looked down in the parking lot and saw a most egregious crime. Some of the mangoes had fallen off the tree, and instead of someone running after the mangoes, cradling them in their hands, brushing the harsh dirt off and carrying them into their loving kitchen, the poor mangoes were... run over by cars! Oh the horror! If you have a weak stomach, you might want to avert your eyes from the following crime scene photo.

***Drying tears*** Okay, onto more uplifting things... After that we headed back to our hotel, and then went on a little hike. We checked out this path called "The King's Path". I guess way back when, one of the kings had a path build that connected the major cities on the island. Much of the path still remains, but along the path, are these images carved in stone called petroglyphs. What was really fascinating is that I guess nobody really knows what these images mean. On one of plaques, it said that many of the natives told the explorers what they mean, but many of the explanations were conflicting. They now believe that the natives likely told the explorers many different things in an attempt to hide their true, secret meaning. What do you think they signify?

After our hike, we headed to Roy's, a local restaurant. It was crazy $$, but pretty good. We were just excited to get semi-dressed up and try some different foods.

Well, that concludes days 2-3. Tomorrow we have nothing planned but a little snorkeling and laying by the pool. We might do a little shopping as well. Should be a nice, relaxing day. To finish off, here's a pic of DH and I before heading out to dinner. (While I do like this pic, I will admit that is a shameless attempt at getting one last pic in of my awesome shoes -- love 'em!)

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