Half way through the tour and in the morning we packed up camp filled with excitement and anticipation since tonight we would be staying in a hostel! Don't get me wrong I love camping but going without showers for two days and being pretty hot and sticky was not attractive, my hair also managed to become filled with sun lotion and morph into a greasy yet frizzy mess. I was so eager to wash it!
Our first stop of the day were hot springs which was completely unexpected it wasn't on the itinerary, but that's one of the great things about these tours, the guides will take you to different places so no tour is ever the same! The springs are located next to the ocean with a small inlet that lets tropical fish swim into the springs. Like I said before I felt dirty, so I was the first to climb into the springs in an attempt to feel clean, and to my surprise the water was nice and warm it felt good. It was like taking a lukewarm bath. I think if I lived near these hot springs I would go down there everyday I felt so relaxed with the sun beating down on us, surrounded by palm trees and the gentle crashing of waves, if only all my mornings started like this.
It wasn't long until we had to drag ourselves out, the slight feeling of being clean soon vanished as I got changed in a dingy toilet cubicle complete with nice holes so people could easily see in!
I mentioned in a previous post that something I was looking forward to was going inside a lava tube so when I found out that today we would be going down another one I was so excited!! Our tour guide told us to bring a torch and that flip flops would be suitable footwear. We made our way down steep steps then lead to the caves opening, again beautifully overgrown with vines and plants, we was given around half an hour to go into the cave and have a look around. I think the lava tube itself is around 25 miles long and if I had the time I would have loved to have attempted that.
Why my tour guide said it was okay to wear flip flops I do not know, I wore dainty sandals and the first thing I realised was that this was a BIG mistake the floor was so rocky and jaggered, as we ventured further in the tube changed in size from being openly large to having to get down on your hands and knees and crawl through spaces, only a few of us ventured in as far as we could before we ran out of time. We stopped to turn our flashlights of to take in the darkness and the eerily silence of this place and imagine how hard it would be to find our way out of here if all of our torches died. It was humid and sticky. We spotted roots of trees that had forced themselves through the ground, into this vast tube and somehow managed to plant it roots onto the rocky ground. What I loved most was seeing how lava had carved its way into the land with the roofs being so smooth in comparison to the floor. I am really quite proud of myself for managing to do this in sandals although I did bang my head a few times and came out with a few cuts and scratches, it was one of my favourite things that we did on this tour. Unfortunately I didn't get too many photos inside the cave but if you want to have a look do a google search, you won't be disappointed!
Due to being ahead of time those of us who were booked onto the helicopter ride still had time to go to the rainbow falls lookout, it was a beautiful and very picturesque setting although I couldn't see any rainbows. Near the falls is an area covered in Banyan trees, I am not to sure about the history/life of the banyan tree but I do know they aren't native to Hawaii. However they are without a doubt one of the most incredible trees I have ever seen with branches coming of in all directions, they are also insanely big. I am pretty sure they also produce some form of fruit which smells incredibly bad once it has fallen to the ground and begins to rot but it is easy to get past this to admire the beauty of the tree.
Afterwards we did a quick food shop and the four of us who were booked onto the helicopter flight was picked up by a taxi here. We was booked onto the circle of fire tours which covers the most geologically active environment on earth for volcano activity (all so I am told.)
This was my first helicopter ride ever, I was nervous and excited. I always see helicopters and think they always look so wobbly and unsteady I wonder what it feels like. After a health and safety induction and being weighed we were ready to board. We opted for an eco-star helicopter that gave better viewing. I was also sat in the front in the middle so I had incredible views. The ride felt surreal, if I had to describe it as anything I would say this is how I imagine floating to feel like, I remember looking down at the trees below moving so fast yet thinking to myself surely we aren't moving that fast when will it pick up speed to be told we was moving at 100mph! Our pilot was awesome too, full of information and super friendly, apparently this company was used to film areal views for Jurassic Park which is pretty cool. I don't know how many of you have seen the news over the last couple of months about the lava flow reaching the sea in Hawaii for the first time in a couple of years, this guy was telling us how you can hike up to the flow and get within arm distance of it which is actually pretty scary but something I would have loved to do.
Anyway this was one experience I won' forget for a lifetime and the icing on the cake was getting to see LAVA, it is one of those rare things you think you will never see but we was extremely lucky. The pilot told us he had been out flying half an hour before we got there and this particular flow wasn't there then. The pilot described lava in such a perfect way, it is scary and destructive yet seeing lava is seeing the world being created, the beginning of new life and in years to come when maybe we will all be dead and gone the lava we saw here today will be apart of new land, home to new life. It really is incredible.
Since we did the helicopter ride and everyone else went straight to the hostel I was feeling slightly eager to get there, have a shower and get ready. I was waiting for a shower for half an hour but when I got in there it felt SO good to not have to shower in a swimming costume and to have a good clean, to dry my hair afterwards and for it to feel clean, smooth and soft! The hostel is really nice as well, so if you happen to be going to Hilo I would recommend this one.
We ate at a place called pineapples and it was so busy on arrival that our group had to be split up to be seated. Whilst we waited though we ordered cocktails, I can't recall what I ordered but it had gin in it and it was good. After what felt like a long wait we were finally seated, I ordered a tofu red thai curry and it was GOOD, so good I wanted more. I can see why this place is so popular, it was divine. You know when you eat something so good you spend days thinking about it, it was like that. When I came home from Hawaii one of the first meals I made was me trying to replicate this meal. After our meal we all headed back to the hostel and I stayed up taking advantage of being able to charge my phone and gopro.
Have you been to Hawaii before?
To read about the rest of my Hawaiian adventure click here and if you want like to donate to my fund my travel for Costa Rica to work with animals click here.