Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Birthday

The starting point of this trip to Hawaii was a celebration for Tracy's 50th birthday. And what better way to celebrate than a helicopter ride over the volcanoes. The experience was dazzling!

As we took off, the shadow of the helicopter was very clear on the ground. We saw our shadow frequently throughout the ride, as the sun was out most of the time.

Soon after leaving the airport, we flew over large macadamia farms. The fields of trees are surrounded by tall firs to break the trade winds and protect the nut trees. (We saw a similar thing in New Zealand on the kiwi farms.)

We flew down to the coast, not too far from where we had driven the day before. The blue of the water is striking against the cliffs.

Our pilot flew back and forth across the dark lava looking for a breakout. The spots change daily, even hourly, so he never knows for sure where one might be. We really lucked out, finding this small crater with three flows of lava. We could actually see it move. He circled the crater in both directions so everyone could see well.

Some distance away we could see Mauna Kea poking above the clouds. There are a number of international telescopes at the summit.

After leaving the lava fields, we flew over an area with multiple waterfalls. Beautiful!

Here is Dan, just off the helicopter. We had life vests in a small pack around our waists. Fortunately, we didn't need them!

We had a lunch reservation at the Hilo Bay Cafe, but got there quite early. Some walked around the nearby Japanese garden; I found a bench (slightly wet!) and watched the bay and the people.

The restaurant was fabulous. Here is the birthday girl enjoying her drink.

After lunch we stopped for a bit of shopping and eventually headed home. What a great day!

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