Continuing with our Hawaii Cruise Trip Report … our next stop was the Big Island of Hawaii. We had two days and two stops – Hilo and Kona.
Our day in Hilo started at 8:30am with our tour with Mary Lou’s Tours. Our tour guide was Ken who was super friendly and knowledgeable. We started off by going to the Volcanoes National Park, where we stopped at the museum and observed the steaming volcano. Unfortunately there was no lava visible at the time, only if you do a helicopter flight over the crater. Still, it was the closest I had ever been to an active volcano and that was pretty cool. We had very overcast and sometimes drizzly weather the whole day, which made visibility of the crater difficult. In fact, one of our tour mates’s husband was going to do a helicopter tour and it got cancelled due to bad weather! So, the pictures aren’t great but it was definitely an amazing sight to see in person.
We didn’t stop but we saw this cute Japanese garden from the bus.
We had several stops on this tour including walking through a lava tube, visiting the lava tree farm, and other lava rock landscapes. The landscape was a lot like a rainforest, which I wasn’t expecting. It was very cool!
I had put in a request to stop at the Volcano Winery and while we did stop there, no one else on our tour was excited about it so Tim and I rushed through a tasting, which in hindsight may have been a bad idea. After the winery we drove about an hour to the town of Pia’a, another special request from a passenger. During this drive I started to feel really woozy. My stomach was not settling, and I think it was because I drank so much wine so quickly and on a fairly empty stomach. Anyway, nothing really materialized and every time we got out of the van and into fresh ocean air I felt much better. Our last few stops of the tour were the Mauna Loa macnuts farm (where we finally had a chance to eat lunch), Rainbow Falls, and Richardson Beach (another black sand beach) where we saw sea turtles in the water! I tried to take pictures but those suckers are too quick. We were back at the boat at 5:15pm for a 6pm sail away.
Once back in the stateroom I was feeling really unwell again. My stomach felt like it was going to burst – and it eventually did. Once my stomach evacuated its contents I felt so much better, although I felt weak and dehydrated. I stayed in bed the rest of the evening, in and out of sleep, until finally turning in for good around 9pm.
I know when you’re ill on a cruise ship you’re supposed to go to the medic, but I knew I wasn’t sick. Probably a combo of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and food poisoning of some sort. No other symptoms – fever, aches, chills, etc. I stayed in our cabin that night and decided I’d see how I felt in the morning. If I was barfing all night I would go see the medic in the morning. Luckily that didn’t happen, and I slept a solid six hours without incident.
We arrived in Kona early, “docking” at 7am. Kona is a tender port and you have to line up early to get a ticket if you want to be off the ship ASAP.
Having gone to bed early I was up at around 3am and in and out of sleep. I was grateful for a few solid hours of sleep and feeling better. My stomach was still slightly uneasy and I didn’t have much of an appetite yet, so we made the difficult and heartbreaking decision to cancel our snorkel and sightseeing tour with Island Wide Family Tours. When I called and explained to the owner Kyle that it seemed I had a bit of food poisoning he was very gracious. I offered to pay for our tickets since we were cancelling last minute but he graciously declined. I’m glad we got to meet Kyle the day before (he is Ken’s son) and I’m so bummed we couldn’t tour with him. I highly recommend Island Wide for their professionalism, even though we ended up not experiencing the tour.
I had a bit of a slow morning and finally felt well enough to get off the ship around 11am. However, the whole tendering process and walking around left me feeling a bit weak, and we abandoned our plans of taking a taxi to Kahalu’u beach for snorkeling on our own. We ended up just walking along the main street near the port, which was very friendly and touristy. Tim wanted Kona coffee so we stopped at a cute coffee ship called San Francisco Coffee. They also offered smoothies and sandwiches, as well as wifi. They told us their shop had just recently opened. Tim got himself a sandwich and I sipped on coconut water. There weren’t too many patrons but we loved the atmosphere and the employees were super friendly. I hope they last a while! I highly recommend stopping in for Kona coffee and lunch.
We also walked by Hulihe’e Palace, which is open to the public for tours. We didn’t want to pay to go inside, but we walked around the grounds and admired the gorgeous landscape.
We walked along the shoreline/street for about a mile before turning around and walking back. Tim wanted to go to Kona Brewing Company for a beer sampling but at that point I was ready to lie down. We went our separate ways and I tendered back to the ship. Just like in the morning, the tendering process wiped me out, but after resting up in the room for a bit I felt much better. I sat out on our balcony and read while waiting for Tim to return.
I didn’t take any pictures but I was feeling well enough for a light dinner at Le Bistro, the french restaurant and it was very good. We had a friend waiting for us upon our return to the cabin.
Next up, Kauai! We had a long journey overnight to go from the Big Island to Kauai, but I slept right through the whole thing. Kauai was one of my favorite islands and I’m excited to share it with you!