Today we went on the Kilauea Volcano Hiking Adventure, a 4 ½ mile hike into and across Kilauea Iki crater, Iki means little. We were in a small group of 6 hearty souls, including Andrew and Suzie, and Heim and Linda. Andrew, our historian lecturer, was celebrating his 76th birthday and Heim, returning to his home in South Africa on a 90-day segment of the cruise, admitted to being 80. In his younger days, he hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Everest, and others I would never even consider. These folks were still in great shape. Amanda, our driver and guide, along with Britney, kept us safe and well informed all day. They gave us walking sticks to help balance us walking over the jagged lava. I didn’t think we needed this, but was later glad we had them.
The trail down into the crater was fairly easy, going down switchbacks and rock steps. At the bottom, we tried to stay on the well-trod path others had taken over the years, but we were told it was okay to explore and wander from the path. Amanda explained that this crater was the result of the 1959-1960 eruption, which filled this area with lava several hundred feet deep, and as the top layer solidified, the lava underneath oozed back into the vent, leaving an empty space. The heavy top layer caved in leaving what we see today. There are small plants and bushes already growing in the lava cracks. Nature is amazing!
Mac took over a hundred photos of our trek. We all went at our own pace, no rushing, and met Amanda at the far side before our walk up to the other rim. Here we saw some of the others from our ship. There were 5 vans of small groups who had this excursion. Unfortunately, one lady from another group had just fallen on some lava and gashed her leg. I was impressed that every guide had first aid kits and several of them attended to her immediately, stopping the bleeding and bandaging her lower leg. She was able to hike out and was planning to see the doctor onboard for further cleaning and possible stitches.
Across the street from the parking lot was the Thurston Lava Tube, created 500 years ago when a river of lava hardened on top and then drained out to form a tube. This tube was about 10 feet high inside and, we are told, 20 feet thick on top. We walked through this dimly lit 400-foot long tube and attempted to take some photos, very difficult in the dark. Amanda retrieved our van while we were doing this short walk, thus letting us avoid the additional ½ mile walk to our starting parking lot.
Next, we went to the Jaggar Museum and had a nice picnic lunch of sandwiches, chips, and soda provided by the tour. This museum is chalk-filled with volcanic information, pictures, and history. Outside, this area provided the most close-up views of the steam and gasses of Kilauea crater, where the lava is currently well-behaved. At night, we are told, you can see the red glow in the sky and around the caldera. The current other eruption is near the ocean, where it was emptying for the past two years, but abruptly changed course last month and is no longer spewing lava into the water. We were not close to this area.
Our last stop was some Sulphur steam vents, which, we are told, may help make skin more youthful. We all stuck our faces into the steam, but didn’t see any changes in our appearance. We returned to the ship with ½ hour to spare before departing. This was a wonderful, but tiring, excursion and Regent did it right with the very small groups. It was a personal experience and everyone got to know one another.
Mac and I tried our hand at trivia again, and this time, our team came in second and we received 2 Regent points. At the end of the segment (Auckland), we may have enough points to get a prize.
Supper tonight was with our new friends, Joanie and Art, at Sette Mari restaurant. This is the Veranda restaurant where we usually have our breakfast and lunch buffets. At night it is transformed into an elegant, table-service Italian restaurant. There is antipasto and salad at the salad bar if needed, or waiters will bring whatever is desired. I had bruschetta and veal scallopini and Mac had a seafood combo in pasta sauce. They were excellent.
Last night’s show was the final one for the Divas of Motown. They sang songs from the Supremes, Aretha Franklin, Martha and the Vandelles and others. It was a very high-energy performance.
Yours in travel,
Pat & Mac