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bed and breakfast tour of Hawaii

Trygve's travels

Hawaii, "the big island"

Kahuna Falls, Hawaii

Crater in Hawaii

"The Big Island" -- that's what everybody calls it. Hawaii, the island, is bigger than all the rest of the islands put together, but there are surprisingly few people out there. The main road that encircles the island has one lane going each direction and much of the time when driving around the island there wouldn't be any other cars in view. The side roads are often only one lane altogether, so it's lucky that there's so little traffic.

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From the seacoast to volcanic mountain, dry side and wet side of the island, most of the standard "climate zones" are there somewhere. I'd gone on a meandering round-the-island bed and breakfast tour, with some extra time in the Kona area for scuba diving. Fruit-bearing trees grow everywhere around the island, so much so that grocery stores and restaurants seem especially scarce, since so much of the food simply grows on trees down there.

Except for Spam, of course; that might be the main product that keeps grocery stores in business in Hawaii. Hawaii has the highest Spam consumption per capita (Alaska is number two, but maybe they try harder). Lots of Spam on the store shelves.

Hawaii Forest
the end of the road

Most of the bed-and-breakfasts out there served food fresh from their own backyards. I was fortunate enough to miss any "Spam nights" that they might have had.

Several years ago, on the south end, a whole pie-shaped piece of the island was covered by a lava flow. This is where the world ends, in a way, or at least where a new world begins. The roads just come to an abrupt halt where the lava destroyed everything in its path.

Or, almost everything. One of the most stunning sights of was when crossing the miles of ropy, twisted lava, this desolate landscape with twisted fragments of what had once been the frames of cars or other steel structures occasionally poking out of the rock, there would be "islands" of entirely untouched forest, sometimes only a hundred feet or two across. Sometimes the rainbows would seem to end at those islands of green, sometimes there would be a single house left untouched by the lava flow in the midst of the trees. People still lived in those houses, though it was miles of treking across the unfriendly lava fields to get back to a road.

rainbow over lava flow
the remains of the Hawaiian visitor center

Near the center of this newest part of the world, the lava was still flowing out from the earth and spilling into the ocean. The last untouched island of green left far behind, the only sign of a human hand on this land is the twisted wreckage of the Hawaiian Visitor Center, completed just prior to the eruption. All that's left is a few twisted I-beams embedded in the black stone.

Near the lava flow itself, the air and the ground are hot. There's a hint of green in the iridescent sheen of the ropy twists of newly hardened lava here, and in some parts of the land, the deepest parts of the folds between the twists of the rock I stood on was still glowing a deep red. This was a part of the Hawaiian coast which hadn't been there that morning.

As the sun set, the red embers of the fresh lava flow underfoot could be seen; looking north to the source of the lava, the "windows" in the lava tube leading down to the ocean could be seen glowing red.

Fire and flood, two of mythology's favorite agents for bringing about the end of the world, met here at the southern end of Hawaii to create the world anew. By morning, there would be a little more of this island, and perhaps the ground upon which I stood would itself be replaced with a new flow of lava. Better to go to the bed-and-breakfast booked for that evening, and leave the sea and the volcano to work things out themselves.

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