The Big Island

31.05.2016 – 03.06.2016

The big island of Hawaii is just as it suggests — BIG! Our primary motivation for visiting this island was to see the impressive and scientifically important observatories on the summit of Mauna Kea (a dormant volcano). Our stay was filled with adventures, as we experienced vandalism to our rental car. We learned a great deal about history, culture, and food on this island.


Final stop, The Big Island of Hawaii



First stop after landing: Lunch and a beer tasting at Kona Brewing Company to celebrate Rachel’s 26th birthday.




We drove in and out of rain as we set out for our hotel and saw several rainbows along the way.


Lava fields flowing into the ocean


Welcome to the the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. We cannot recommend this hotel enough – absolutely gorgeous mid-century modern hotel. Beautiful hotel and grounds, incredibly gracious staff, and delicious food!


Champagne sunsets
Hotel interior [Photo credit: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel}
A nerd’s dream is realized: sunset visit to Mauna Kea observatory.


From sealevel to 13,800 feet in the matter of hours. We joined a small tour group to visit the top. After 30 minutes, we were both feeling very dizzy, disoriented, and Parker’s old ankle injury was extremely painful.


The summit of Mauna Kea, an extremely sacred spot to the native Hawaiians.


Once in a lifetime visit to the top of Mauna Kea.


We were bundled up against the cold at such high altitudes.


After descending from Mauna Kea, we found the tires slashed on our car and three other rental cars. There is a great deal of unrest with many natives. They resent the technology and tourism of the Mauna Kea observatories located on their sacred mountain. After a long long night sorting out tow trucks, police reports, and rental car companies all was well. Our tour company was especially wonderful, the owner stayed until all were taken care of.


Police report


Our guardian angels were looking out for us and we were able to get a taxi from the middle of nowhere back to our hotel.


After receiving a new rental car, we had an early morning coffee plantation tour.


Breakfast overlooking Captain Cook.


We had heard there was a green sand beach on this island and wanted to check it out. We found it was a 3.5 mile hike from the parking lot. It was an overcast but beautiful day to adventure.


We were surprised to find such fine dirt along the way to the beach.


“Shuttle” in the distance


Green sand beach was not so green but still worth the hike.


A perfectly beautiful end to a perfectly beautiful trip.

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