Happy birthday Michael.
We got up and I opened the clinic. Nothing much happening, so Laura came in a let me go just before 0900 so we could go pick up the rental car. Then it was off to Volcano National Park. We drove out of Hilo and into the country. It was beautiful. 30 miles away we entered the park. I guess I should have expected it to remind me a bit of Yellowstone, but it caught me by surprise. We visited some steam vents and then hike out to the crater rim. Well, we were in the caldera of one crater looking over the rim of another crater and at the edge of another crater. It makes more sense when you see it. Speaking of which, no picturs today, maybe tomorrow. I just can't stomach another 30 minute upload for 4 pictures episode.
We hung out and went to a visitor center and generally oohed and ahhhhed. Looking down into a crater that was very obviously crusted over lava, we could see the orange glow shining out from a hole near a steam vent. It was pretty cool.
Then we headed back into Hilo for a lunch of Hawaiin style pizza from Big Island Pizza. Michael checked out the geckos on the patio while we ate. Then across the street for some Kona coffee and to gawk at an amazing tree. Man, some of the banyon trees are just incredible. This one wasn't like the banyon tree in the International Market, but it was just as amazing.
We were trying to decide whether to drive up Mauna Loa or to drive around and see some waterfalls when the weather made the decision for us. It was cloudy and threatening rain so we figured it was pointless to drive up a mountain when we couldn't see the summit for the clouds. So we went chasing waterfalls.
More scenic driving led us to Akkaka Falls. There is a circle trail that leads through a gorgeous and lush rainforest area to an overlook of Kahuna falls and then right up to the front of Akkaka falls. I will upload pictures, it was very cool. Then, we went to WalMart.
Yup, WalMart two days in a row...in Hawaii. Michael had some birthday money he just had to spend. To his credit he didn't spend it all. he bought some Star Wars legos that he and Max could share and build. He even let Max have some input into which one to buy. Sweet kid.
Then we returned the rental car and made it back to the ship in time for me to finish the last hour of clinic. Turns out they disembarked two people while I was gone. 15 minutes before we left, we sent off another one. Dang.
After dinner we came back down to medical where Susan had cake delivered and everyone on the medical team bought Michael presents and sang him happy birthday. It was awesome. Michael said it was a great birthday. He also said Kiluea was the coolest place he had ever been. Awesome.
I will try to get some pictures up either tomorrow or the next day. Promise.