This is our fourth winter trip to the Big Island in as many years, and the coolest and least sunny of all. There is always a little haze to be expected on this side of the island, due to the vog (volcanic smog) that blows across from Kilauea when the wind blows from the southeast. But this year, we have had more cloud cover than usual, which keeps the temperatures down, making pool time less desirable and a light sweater a necessary wardrobe addition.
Strong surf warnings interrupted our snorkle schedule on Friday, as swimming against the current was difficult. The short amount of time we were able to be in the water, though, allowed sightings of a dozen or more different types of fish, a myriad of colors, shapes and sizes. A juvenile needle fish even turned and looked at me, eyeball to eyeball!
From the dinner deck of Sam Choys restaurant, we oohed and aahed over a beautiful sunset as it changed from soft peach and mauve to brilliant orange and red. Almost as if the tiki torch was adding fire to the sky!
Yesterday, we trekked to the wet, rainy, east side of the island and were greeted by brilliant sunshine and a beautiful day enjoying a small fraction of the attractions there. The Hilo farmers market sports about 200 vendors, neatly divided into sections of food, and food related items, artists and craftsmen, souvenir goods, and a small food court.
Neatly wielding his machete, this fellow was selling fresh coconut milk, conveniently packaged in its own container, untouched by human hands. All you need is a straw!
This strange fruit is called a pineapple something or another. Possibly a type of dragon fruit or bread fruit. And Jason was all smiles as he demonstrated and hawked his wiki wiki! As seen on TV - a one size fits all kitchen tool!
Of course, we bought one, and he threw in two additional tools for making julienne and grating everything from carrots to papaya!
After lunch we went our separate ways, the guys to the Pacific Tsunami Museum, Judi wandering shops and I went hunting for a ceramics gallery ( surprise)! Reconvening at the parking lot we loaded into the car and headed for Rainbow Falls.
If you don't see the rainbow, it's because it isn't there. Apparently we would have needed to be there in the morning, and this shot was taken about 2 in the afternoon. The falls make an 80 foot drop into a sea green pool, but due to a low flow this time of year, they were a little less than spectacular. The sun was lovely and warm, and the giant philodendrons made a great backdrop for a picture of us.
The final stop for our day was at the 9600 ft visitor center for the Mauna Kea international telescope site on the summit. The road beyond was closed to vehicle traffic due to icy roads and a 10 ft snow pack on the way up.
We discovered we can drive back up to the visitor center on a clear night and see the universe thru large telescopes. The sun was strong this March afternoon at 9600 feet! We found it!