H = Hawaii

The Big Island of Hawaii had long been a coveted destination and we finally found our way there in 2012.

We were there for the World Ironman Championship with Gilles finally fulfilling a major bucket list item.

H = Hawaii 5

However, it wasn’t all swim, bike, run.  I had my first helicopter ride and an amazing tour of the Big Island from the air.

H = Hawaii 7

We went to the space observatories high above the clouds at the top of Mauna Kea.

It’s rather ironic we would go to a tropical island and end up shivering in Arctic outerwear at almost 14,000 feet above sea level to gaze at the pristine night sky.

Mauna Kea 3

High on my must-do list was visiting Volcano National Park to see an active volcano.  It had been spewing lava for months prior to our visit and of course settled down into a grumpy fume until after we left.


… but our unexpected treat was to spend an hour on a private tour carefully picking our way through the darkness of an old lava tunnel.

H = Hawaii 6

Hawaii really is an island paradise with a wide variety of activities to keep these adventurers happily entertained.  Not surprisingly, we were very sad to eventually leave.




  1. “H” was a really fun post, Joanne. I have gone caving in wild areas and bigger caverns but never where volcanoes erupted and created caves! The Ironman Contest, with all kinds of international people, must have been amazing! My brother runs marathons and some triathlons, but I think he particpated in only one Cleveland similar competition. I cannot for sure say it was an Ironman. I enjoy mapping out places to cheer from and pass his own liquids to him. Bettendorf, Iowa has three states that meet in one corner and this meant his running a marathon across a bridge over water to an island, and back. Susan, his wife, usually doesn’t go with him, sometimes he is alone but if he gets his room “comped” as a seed runner, he will share the “wealth” and I stay in other double bed. 🙂 Felicia, youngest daughter was one of twenty University of Dayton seniors chosen to be exchange students at Chamunade University, Hawaii. She worked 3 jobs the summer before they went so she could do all sorts of exciting adventures. 🙂


    • What does it mean to be a seed runner? Does he run pro or semi-pro?

      Personally, I think spectating at a race is really hard. It is definitely not one of my favourite things to do!


  2. Your trip to Hawaii is the most interesting version I have encountered. It’s neat to see things from another’s perspective. I have never been, but your trip makes it sound appealing.


  3. Joanne, thank you for an enlightening post. Hawaii has never been on my list, but I enjoyed a sneak review of your time there. Perhaps I’ll have a rethink about the place.


  4. I think the Big Island is often overlooked in favor of the very touristy Oahu and Maui. Maui being a little quieter than Oahu also has some breath taking experiences. I love the Big Island for it’s less hectic pace and for the beauty of Volcanoes National Park and the Black Sand Beach. We have done the circle island tour with tour guides a couple of times and on our own twice. It’s a huge island to get around it in one day and see the falls and the quaintness of old towns like Kealakakua (birth place of astronaut Ellison Onizuka). Ka Lae is the most southern tip of the United States and also on the Big Island. Beautiful ocean views. Lighthouses. I hope to go back one day.


    • I had heard that Hawaii was very touristy, and yet – just as you said – the Big Island seems to have avoided it.

      I loved how at the end of the afternoon around 4-5pm, the locals would fill the beaches to play in the water until dusk. The beaches took on a totally different vibe later in the day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Looks like you had fun. My wife and I were there last year. We didn’t do the helicopter ride or tunnel hike, but we did drive partway up Mauna Kea (it was cold up there), and also saw Kilauea. We loved it and may one day go back again.


    • It was REALLY cold at the top of Mauna Kea. At first I snickered at the assignment of Arctic gear before we left sea level. As a northerner, I thought it was just the sensitivity of the thin-blooded people used to the warm tropical air.
      YIKES! I was soooo wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My husband and I were lucky enough to spend three weeks on the Big Island two years ago, housing courtesy of a friend who has a beautiful home there. She was also an amazing tour guide and extremely knowledgeable about the geography, geology, and history of the island. Sadly, she is now in the process of selling her home and moving back to the US. I’ll be happy to have her close by but we are very bummed to lose that wonderful resource.


  7. I would stand on top of Mauna Kea to see that gorgeous sky. Then I would have the helicopter pilot fly me to the nearest beach to warm up 😉 Here’s another state in the US that I’ve never been to. It ‘s on my list, now off to go buy a lottery ticket :-p


    • I’m not a beach bunny so the idea of a beach vacation doesn’t hold a lot of appeal for me – unless there is a lot of other things to do.
      In Hawaii that included the most amazing snorkelling and body surfing.

      Actually I’m starting to wonder whether it’s the location we travel to that’s special or simply whether we find ways to create our own version of fun 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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