31 May 2008

Shopping at Hilo Hatties

TWITTER: Spent too much money @ Hilo Hattie's. 05:51 PM April 19, 2008 from txt

Not much to say here. Shopping. You know, Hawaiian shirts, soaps, candies, etc.

30 May 2008

Vomit girl

TWITTER: Girl came *this* close to puking on me... And we're not even in a boat! 04:28 PM April 19, 2008 from txt

The mermaid was just a few doors down from the place we had breakfast and Mike can't resist.

Is there anyone else in the world that has to drink a 5-shot white chocolate mocha coffee with 3 splendas every day?


Beckoned to the nearby Mermaid. Walked down, entered, stood at the counter to order. You know what Mike orders every day (see above, silly) and I got my regular Cafe Americano.

While waiting, I decided I would like to use the restroom. The door was locked - it was busy. So I waited outside the door. Just stood there, minding my own business.

As SOON as the door opened, a girl ran from behind me -- one hand on her mouth, the other on her stomach -- I could barely make out what she was saying to me as she ran in front of me toward the opening door.

"I haffa frow up!!!!"

And then she did. In a perfect arc over my shoulder and all over the wall of Starbucks.

It made me think of the sea horse guy on the Sea Witch.

The one-pound lau-lau

TWITTER: Sitting outside Kuhio Grill eating breakfst and writing postcards. 03:44 PM April 19, 2008 from txt

Kuhio Grill was recommended by the owners of the Hilo Coffee Mill. We went there for breakfast. Just to hang out, eat breakfast and write post cards.

Kuhio Grill is the home of the "One-pound Lau-Lau." The 1-lb Lau-Lau ingredients include:
1 1/4 lb pork butt, cut into large chunks
2 tablespoons Hawaiian salt
1 lb salted butterfish or salmon, soaked in cold water for 3 hours and drained
1 lb lu'au or fresh spinach leaves
12 ti leaves

... not for me. Do not want!

But the breakfast I ordered was fine. :-)

We sat outside, wrote post cards and lazed. It was a nice, relaxed time -- in contrast to the two days before!

Paradise in your cup

TWITTER: Another lovely morning on the Big Island. Ready for a day of exploring. 02:12 PM April 19, 2008 from txt

Tasting local coffees at Hilo Coffee Mill's coffee bar. 03:14 PM April 19, 2008 from txt

The only way to start a morning: Hilo Coffee Mill's coffee bar.

The coffee mill is only a couple of miles down 11 from the Wild Orchid House. We park on the lava-gravel parking area and follow the black lava gravel trail through the lush green grass and tropical bushes toward the building.

Roosters and chickens are clucking and pecking, free to roam the grounds (that's GROUNDS, not GROUNDS, if you know what I mean).

The smell in the air is a heavy nutty coffee smell, mixed with tropical breezes.

Inside, we are greeted with smiles and helped by a new-hire, under the watchful (and helpful) eye of owners.

Three coffees were available for tasting that day, and they were all delicious.

We bought coffee samplers for Kristin and Irene, plus locally made soaps.

We stayed and talked for a while. It makes me wonder, what would it be like to live this life style? What would it be like to live, breathe and work on this island, in this culture?

29 May 2008

Johnny Depp makes a mahvelous waiter

TWITTER: Ate at Merriman's in Kamuela. Johnny Depp (as Capt Jack) makes a mahvelous waiter! 12:50 AM April 19, 2008 from txt

On our way back from the "fishing" trip on the Sea Witch, we stopped near Waimea to eat dinner at Merriman's. This made the whole day worth it. They use only ingredients grown by local family farmers.

Our waiter was a Johnny Depp look alike and played it for all it was worth. It was quite entertaining. At the table next to us were 7 little girls and their nanny. When he took their drink order, one of them said "Do you know who you look like?"

He said "Yes-s-s-s," with a big smile and a wink.

Then all the little girls - with him in unison - say "Captain Jack!" Silly.

He played it to the hilt: even acting drunk as he crossed the restaurant with a bottle of wine.

This was the best meal we had in Hawaii (maybe anywhere, actually). It's definitely a "wow" place!

One island, 11 climate zones

Renata explained to us that there are 11 climate zones on the Big Island. The place we stayed, the Wild Orchid House, was somewhere around 2500 feet above sea level, in the rain forest. But the Kona area is more like a desert.

On our way there, passing the miles and miles of black lava fields, we saw graffiti. A lot of graffiti. But totally NATURAL graffiti.

I tried to take a photo out the window of the car as we were driving:

The graffiti (you know, like "Jen + Bob," various myspace urls, etc.) was in white coral rocks. The white rocks are arranged on the black lava field to make the graffiti. How ecologically responsible!

Sea wife is sea witch


---Early morn. Leaving for Kona today. Afternoon fishing. 12:10 PM April 18, 2008 from txt
---Driving along north coast of big island. Up and down thru forests, jungle...blue ocean whitecaps to my right. 02:48 PM April 18, 2008 from txt
---Boarding 'The Sea Wife' for fishing. 04:53 PM April 18, 2008 from txt
---From the deck of the Sea Wife: still no bites :-( 06:15 PM April 18, 2008 from txt
---Fm deck of Sea Wife: shipmate 'calling the fish' (puking overboard), so maybe a fish will strike soon! 06:33 PM April 18, 2008 from txt
---Fm deck of Sea Wife: 'seahorse shirt guy' just keeps puking overbd. No fish yet:-( 07:30 PM April 18, 2008 from txt
---Fm deck of sea wife: guy called the fish (puked) enuf that we finally caught a couple wahoo. 08:58 PM April 18, 2008 from txt
---The SEA WIFE is a waste of $, time, suncreen and dramamine. I feel ripped off. 10:00 PM April 18, 2008 from txt

Got up early to drive the 3 hours to the other side of the island. We had a fishing charter booked out of Kona.

Warning: if they advertise themselves as "the only ship in the fleet that is Coast Guard certified" do NOT book a trip. Back away!

Mike grew up in Miami. He's been fishing more times than I've been in a corn field (that's an Iowa joke, people). Then for 4 years, we lived on Cape Coral and went out fishing all the time. Charter boats typically take six fishers out at a time. It's called a "six pack." News flash: Apparently, if a boat is "Coast Guard certified" it gives them dispensation to take 12 -- yes, 12, one dozen -- people on board. Something neither Mike nor I knew until we boarded.

What a total rip off! They put 12 people on the boat and then went around in circles in the bay. Everyone had to draw a number for a CHANCE to fish. Only 2 people got to touch fishing poles the whole, long, boring, afternoon trip.

Of my 11 shipmates, one was a newly-married couple on their honeymoon. She was 3 months pregnant and not feeling too great. So she stretched out for a long nap on one of the only two benches on the boat. Most of us just stood on deck the entire time.

Another shipmate was "seahorse shirt guy," a small Asian man wearing a t-shirt with several different varieties of sea horses on it. He was puking overboard the entire time. We were hopeful that would draw an unwitting fish (it usually does the trick). No such luck.

The first mate was a real trip. He spent most of the trip down in the hold, playing his PSP.

First time in my life I've gotten off a boat and seen Mike NOT tip the mate. He was steaming mad.

Again, in case you didn't get my main message: Do NOT go on the Sea Wife out of Kona.

27 May 2008

Earth, air, fire, water, spirit

TWITTER: Will be dark w/in 30 min. On our way to see lava flowing into the sea... Dark hike in a dangerous place. 11:01 PM April 17, 2008 from txt

TWITTER: Wow. We survived. Black night. Treachorous lava field. Red burning lava meeting the sea in boiling steam. 01:20 AM April 18, 2008 from txt

Donned the required long pants, sturdy shoes, gloves, flashlights. Set out for the southeast part of the lava flow, where the ocean meets the magma, near Kalapana.

Renata had told us it would only be a 1-mile hike over the lava field to reach the active flow. She was right. But she neglected to mention that we would probably have to park at least a mile away from the trail head. So it was a dark 2-mile hike (1 mile on black top road uphill, another mile over the lava field). We were exhausted after the exertions from earlier that day.

It gets so dark here! There is no light pollution. And walking across the lava field was difficult enough in broad daylight. This is treacherous. If you fall, the lava lacerates without mercy.

There are many other people making the inky black, blind, trek. Many are talking as we all try to follow the little flourescent strips that mark the way to our destination.

It comes into view. Voices are silenced. Orange fire spews into the night sky. The lava has found an egress in an ocean cliff. Molten earth spurts from the cliff into the ocean. Mighty waves crash upon the lava, bubbling, squeaking, hissing, as they touch the magma.

Here's what it looks like after dark, where Madame Pele spews into the raging ocean (Windows Media). I think my heart stopped.

EARTH... AIR... FIRE... WATER... and my sated spirit... all in one place, a conflagration of such proportion that my heart had trouble holding the moment.

There was little conversation on the long hike back to the car. We were introspective. The earth is an amazing place.

If you know Mike, you know he can talk just about anyone into just about anything. He actually convinced a couple we'd never met before to give us a lift to our car (they had gotten into the closer parking area), so it was only a 1-mile hike back to the car. Great couple... based on the 4 minutes we were with them. :-)

Flower power, mini wahine style

First project working with the Hawaiian fabrics I brought back with me from the Big Island (oh, I haven't blogged about that part of the vacation yet!).

Dress and hat (modeled by my iron) for the lovely mini-wahine, Caille.

As usual, click on the photos for larger pictures.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that this is McCall's 4432 and the dress was SO-O-o-o-o easy.

23 May 2008

Don't forget water

TWITTER: Don't forget water when you hike over the old lava flow to the Pu'uloa petroglyphs (*gasp*) 09:08 PM April 17, 2008 from txt

85 degrees. Walking on a field of black bolders. Following a path marked only by piles of stones.

Yes, sorry this is taking so long

Sorry it's taking me so long to get my vacation blogged. Thanks for being patient!

Chain of craters, fields of lava

TWITTER: Via 'chain of craters road' down volcano to where old lava meets sea: the Holei Sea Arch is awesome. 08:09 PM April 17, 2008 from txt

16 May 2008

Lava tube

TWITTER: Hiked down into the world's largest lava tube. Umm... Now we have to hike back out! 06:54 PM April 17, 2008 from txt

Volcano house: pukey food, great view

TWITTER: Lunching at the VOLCANO HOUSE overlooking kilauea crater. 05:21 PM April 17, 2008 from txt

Lunch was awful. Nasty. Uck. It was an "all you can eat buffet" with 2 choices. Mostly rice.

But the views are absolutely incredible.

15 May 2008

The mermaid beckons and we write postcards

TWITTER: Stopped in at the kilauea military camp to use the post office...still in volcanoes natl park. 04:29 PM April 17, 2008 from txt

Where was a post office that would have the Kilauea postage mark? We asked, and were told to go to the Kilauea Military Camp, still within Volcanoes National Park.
The front desk staff told us that this is where military personnel come for R&R. It's a military resort.
Look at the cute cottages. They are adorable. Each one has a fireplace. And two stained glass windows.

Mike saw the sign of the mermaid, so we stopped in the mess hall for Starbuck's coffee and wrote postcards. Then we went to the camp's post office and mailed them.

Kilauea caldera spewing poison gas

TWITTER: Standing at edge of Kilauea caldera- sulfur smell, eyes burning, giant plumes of gas/smoke from bottom 03:51 PM April 17, 2008 from txt

No lava in the crater. But gaseous poison spewing out from the crater floor. My throat was burning, eyes were burning and tearing. I was looking into Madame Pele's heart.

Poison poison everywhere

TWITTER: Just entered Hawai'i Volcanoes Natl Park. 02:59 PM April 17, 2008 from txt


The sign says VISITOR ALERT. And then talks about high levels of sulfur dioxide poison being spewed from the volcano. The day before, they had to evacuate a city nearby.

We asked where we should go first in the park. The ranger said we should go to the caldera first, because it was likely to be evacuated withing a couple of hours.

Computer was in a coma; alive again now

My home pc is ancient. It died for a few weeks, but was resuscitated (barely). Actually, maybe it was just turned into the non-dead. Yes, a zombie pc.