14.11. After a long flight (it were two flights altogether, the second one took me about five hours without meal, just like American airlines usually seems to do), I was landing at Honolulu late in the evening, took a burger and went to bed at a hotel – the longest 14th November of my life :-)
15.11. We made a tour around Honolulu, to the Diamond Head, had a car break down, visited Koko Head, the beach „Hanauma Bay“, the Botanic Garden. Report Honululu
16.11. We took a flight to Maui, found a lodging-place with very stylish furniture, made a short trip to the jungle while it was raining.
17.11. “Sunrise” or better say foggy swathes on the top of the Haleakala (more than 3,000 metres of height), I made another visit to it’s top in the sunshine, two short walks through a tight jungle just to visit waterfalls, it was a very entertaining day. Report Maui
18.11. Our early flight to Big Island didn’t take place. We spent many hours waiting at the airport until we finally could change the island in the afternoon. We rode alongside the Iron-man course and passed by at Mauna Kea direction to our lodging place at Hilo at the opposite side of the island.
19.11. Going by helicopter over a big part of the Kilauea, passing the Puu Oo, discovering a Sky-hole, Ocean Entry, all in all something great! Afterwards I saw the Akaka Falls, the Rainbow Falls and by the sunset we went towards the official Ocean Entry View Point – well, there must be a way to get closer :-) Report Heli and Falls
20.11. By 03:00 a. m. we rode to the Ocean Entry, walked straight towards the lava respectively the Ocean Entry – what a crazy fight we could see between the powers of nature, fire, water. Who could describe at all how it feels to be standing next to upcoming materials from deep down the earth?! In the daytime we went to the Mauna Kea (4,200 metres) and we were going round it while the weather was beautiful. Report Mauna Kea
21.11. The second visit of the Ocean Entry (I could do it every night :-)). Afterwards we drove to the National Park of the Kilauea and checked in at the Volcano House. We visited Sulphur Banks, looked at the crater „Halemaumau“ or snapped pictures of that red glowing „pot“ by the twilight from direction of the Jagger Museum. Report Ocean Entry
22.11. We slept from 21:30 up to 23:00 o’clock, but then we searched and found sky-holes; – the impressing sight and the fast flowing lava below us and additionally the view to the milky way: more impressing than anything else! Return around 11a.m. and immediate departure to the Iki crater with the rest of the group. In the evening I had again “glowing”- photos, but after the evening-meal I immediately fell asleep, but that nearly before I could entirely be upon the mattress. Report Skyhole
23.11. First approach at Halemaumau by night, but stop because of rainy weather. A nice daytime walk over lava and through the jungle to a patch with a great view at the steamy Puu Oo crater. In the evening Detlef and I went to watch the glowing, which we found obligatory, then evening meal and going to sleep.
24.11. Second try to get close to the Halemaumau: we were close indeed, but then we had to withdraw ourselves from the place, because rangers came along by car at about 05:00 a. m.. In the daytime we made a tour with many little stops (crater, more than one petroglyph, lava trees etc.) until we reached the coast. And in the evening- has anybody an idea? … correct! I went with Detlef to the Jagger Museum to watch the glowing Halemaumau :-) And afterwards the third try at Halemaumau. This time Chris, Detlef and me came sneaking direct through the crater, after the evening meal. It took us three times to finally succeed! After nearly one hour we stood at the edge of the Halemaumau with direct view onto the glowing steam, -wow-, another sensational excursion, and such a victorious one! Report Halemaumau
25.11. We said bye-bye to Kilauea, rode to the airport – with break at the beach andcoincidence with one turtle, then shopping, Pizza Hut and in the end into the aeroplane to return back home. Report Big Island

Tag 01: Honululu

Arrival at the 14th November after two long flights (American airlines are really miserable, on the five-hours-flight from San Francisco to Honolulu they didn’t serve a meal!!!) Arrival at the airport of Honolulu late in the evening with eleven hours time lag. We picked the reserved van from Alamo, packed our luggage and drove to Waikiki, Honolulu. There we took a traditional burger and checked in at the hotel around midnight. My room was on the 11th floor (from the balcony I had a nice view onto the City), and when I had unpacked some things I immediately fell asleep – after the longest 14th November of my life.

The next morning we first welcomed Jörg, who already arrived a few hours before us, and in a small restaurant a few streets away we all took pancakes for breakfast. Afterwards we paid a visit to the world-famous Waikiki-Beach – for who knows whatever reason, because it is actually very small and not really spectacular. Then we started to visit our first volcano. After a short ride, we parked our car inside the crater of the volcano „Diamond Head“ – a real drive-in-volcano – and walked accompanied by people with well built-up bodies, their upper part naked and full of sweat a few metres upwards through steppe-like vegetation onto the panorama viewpoint of the crater, from where we could overview not only the crater, but also a part of the pacific ocean and Honolulu. Then we went down the crater back to the car and drove to a view-point-parking-place from where we could see Koko Head. Our next travelling-goal was the Hanauma Bay Beach, but Detlev and I (and our travelling-guide Chris actually, too :-)) would have preferred to make a side-trip to the Koko Head. Then we got unforeseen help by God watching us and not letting the van’s engine start again. Oh what a pity 😉 Chris had to deal with the call centres of USA (who actually knows where Hawaii is?). Meanwhile the other members of our travelling group started to walk their way to the next beach, but Det and me happily walked towards the volcano. First a little bit across country but then straight away about up to 50 degree upward a stairway with planks (the distance between the planks was more fitting for bigger people) and directly to the edge of the crater. It took us about 25 strenuous minutes to reach there, but then we really enjoyed taking pictures and the good view. Later we rushed down the stairs quickly in about 11 minutes, what fun!

We managed to meet the other members of our group at the beach – well, of course we first had to wait for our access slot, eat a sandwich and watch a stupid film about the riff’s dangers. We then drove over the island including a visit of the botanical garden within the crater of Koko Head volcano.

Tag 02, 03: Maui mit Haleakala

After a short flight sitting one row before the last and next to the engine we were landing at the airport of Maui. We enjoyed the obligatory bus transfer to Alamo, rent a van and drove to a burger-restaurant for lunch. When we had a short break at one shop we directly went to our lodging place. Each room was furnished in a very cosy but different style – with dining-room, porch and there was a very friendly landlady. But somehow they had a shortage in rooms / rooms with separate beds. And it was easier to to find another lodging-place for Detlef and Jörg than to find them by car, later :-)

After finishing this mission successfully we drove to a botanic garden in the heart of the jungle, from where we could see the Tao Needle, while it was awfully rainy. But our stay could last only 15 minutes while the sun was already going down. But the remarkable dizzy atmosphere, funny frogs and a nice little river made it still a successful undertaking. Finally we took a tasty pizza at Fleadbread-House and went to bed early.

By already 4 a. m. we moved towards the top of the volcano „Haleakala“. And there was something strange: one could see the stars at the one side of our lodging place while at the other side it was raining – how could this be? When we reached at the volcano’s top, it was totally cloudy and we decided to stay inside the car, eating cookies and waiting for a better weather and the full daylight. But indeed we were lucky! We could walk towards the edge of the Caldera and take some photos – but the top of the Caldera was covered with clouds and not much sight of the sun. We therefore preferred sitting at home and to rest, taking a very cosy breakfast with home-made marmalade and peanut butter.

Later on we went out again with the meal inside as well as a necessary dose of coffee (remark of Detlef :-) and drove to the top of the Haleakala, but now with the sun shining bright and a blue sky. Also the Caldera presented itself nearly without clouds right before our amazed eyes and minds, just like a view from another planet. We strolled around at the top, made out Mauna Kea and Loa far away, and rode with stops here and there and trails here and there in direction to our next picnic.

Then we drove through the jungle down a very small road with many bends. An amazing contrast program, unbelievable compared to what we know from at home far away. While we searched for a waterfall which we finally couldn’t find :-) we managed to make our way through a little piece of the jungle: passing through bamboo woods like a snake, penetrating tight green vegetation and crossing deep ditches. We succeeded in finding our car again and went further to another waterfall which was easier to find, because it was nearby the road. After taking some photos we went back and stopped at the beach in the evening: watching surfers, finding a rainbow and enjoying the atmosphere there. We finished this adventurous day in a Mexican restaurant with spicy very hot home-made sauce!

Tag 05: Heliflug und Wasserfälle

Breakfast at 0700 a. m., cloudy, that means we had to wait before take-off with the helicopter. We would visit waterfalls and Mauna Kea. Short before the departure I called up Brigitte and Luz Clara, but then Chris suddenly knocked at the door in a very hectic way: he told me to hurry up, and that the weather at Kilauea would look better, and that we should make the helicopter-flight immediately! I quit my phone-call and went to the airport. I booked the flight and the first group with Martina, Jörg, Wolfgang and Christian could already start. We wanted to make pictures or a video from the take-off, but a heavy rain-shower suddenly stopped us from doing it. We spent the time chatting and looking, then after 50 minutes we finally could enter: one after the other by being called, so that nobody could accidentally fall into the rotor which rotated fast enough that one could not really see it. That indeed wasn’t a bad idea :-) Soon after we were all in, the helicopter moved away – such is always great and I like it!

First we passed over populated areas until we reached at the Kilauea-lava-fields. Here and there we could see some red glowing-fire and steamy areas – wow! Our first destination was chosen by Chris, who wanted to see the crater „Puu Oo“, which was covered all over with steam by that time. That made it impossible to take a look into it.

The next destination was the Ocean Entry. But on the way, there was a big sky-hole to be passed by – wow! We flew round it once with our helicopter and got infected by the sky-hole-virus right away (it is described separately). Soon afterwards we reached at the Ocean Entry, where we flew along even two times. So much steam and red lava everywhere. It makes you much more looking forward to the necessary night-time visit!

But first we had to go back to Hilo, which we quickly overflew as well as the Rainbow Falls and then back to the airport. Oh what a pity that we had to be landing again :-)

Recently we overflew the Rainbow Falls and now visited them close-by: watching, snapping pictures for a while.

Then we continued our ride to the Rainbow Falls after a small break at the coast. We made a nice tour through the jungle, passing by at a big variety of plants and colours. After a cosy rest for snapping pictures at the waterfalls we returned to the car and drove back home for meal.

Tag 06: Mauna Kea

After the great experiences last night at the see, we spent the day to set out on up to 4,200 metres height. We rode from Hilo up to the top of Mauna Kea. As usual we were sitting very closely on the back-seat of our van :-) And again God showed us his love once again, as up there the clouds were below us and the blue sky with bright sunshine above us. Despite of a few remains of snow we therefore felt no cold.

We made a convenient tour up to the top, Chris snapped mascots, we unfortunately couldn’t inspect the observatories, but instead we once again could admire the amazing unusual landscape with its conic craters. After another side-trip to a little crater lake and one last glance at the Mauna Loa’s opposite side we left the hight and went back to Hilo.

Tag 06, 07: Ocean Entry

The Ocean Entry was one of the (many) highlights of this journey. It had been five times on our tour list!

The first time we approached it from the air (see the article about the sky-holes).

The second time we reached out for it on foot, but remained very distant at the official View Point. This was meanwhile inflative for there were an uncountable big number of spectators. But anyhow the sight of both the lava flowing into the see and the giant swaths of steam during a fantastic atmosphere of the sunset had been very impressing! We didn’t start to return back home before the sun hadn’t disappeared at the horizon. But we were looking forward to the next night.

Only a few hours later at 3 a. m. we were at the parking place again, but this time without anyone but us and no ranger in sight. Not far away one could already see the bright orange-coloured steam, and that increased the excitement extremely. After some meters one could see more and more bright shining points coming from lava-crust, but then – wow! -we were standing right in front of it, as close as possible – regarding the heat – but how amazing: WOW. After we took some photos, we went to the Ocean Entry, watched the impressing scene (I think I could sit there for many days and be amazed) and waited for the dawning. Then of course we took a lot of photos during „the blue hour“and enjoyed the Ocean Entry during continuous changes of the light. When the full daylight was there, Chris even discovered a place, from where we could go down very close to the see and next to the lava flowing into it – absolutely crazy! There was a time when we had to separate and return to the parking place, but not without stopping again near the lava-crust, where the heat and the crackling gave us an unforgettable intensive experience.

Of course we got up very early the following night just to enjoy the same scene again. It’s hard to describe, but the coast looked like it had been moved forward, it looked very different every time. We sat there, we waited there, we were astonished, there was the „blue hour“! Afterwards Detlef, Chris and I were trying to climb over the surface of the „new“hot lava, we discovered certain great lava-crust with one part that moved upward, and an explosion. We tried to snap pictures and were nearly roasted at the same time :-) But then we had to leave, to go back to the team and to the parking place in order to start some more activities at Big Island.

Tag 08: Kilauea Sykhole(-Virus)

The sky-hole virus captivated us three – Chris, Detlef and me – already on the helicopter-flight. We felt, we had to go there on foot. Of course we didn’t know exactly where it precisely is, but Chris had an idea, where and how distant it could be. Many times we talked about it, where we could probably find it and how long we would have to walk, which night … On the 22nd November time was due, the decision had been made: this will be THE night!

Taking our evening meal, sleeping from 9:30 p. m. up to 11 p. m., departure, big excitement: how about the weather – could it change? On the way we had to drive through the rain, big uncertainty, but at the parking place „Ocean Entry“ the stars were shining bright – thanks again to God who seemed to help us. Straight on the lava ground we walked towards a glowing light which seemed to be far away. Of course the lava’s surface wasn’t comparable with the usual paths which used to be fixed much better. With big steps we moved quickly upwards the hillside, from time to time next to some lava-crust, until we suddenly stood directly in front of the glowing light which pointed like a spotlight towards the milky way at the clear sky. We quickly took a photo before we inspected the glowing more properly. It was one first sky-hole, very small, but still impressing. When I was looking at the quickly moving lava, hearing the sound of “that viscous substance” (it looks like paint and sounds like paint) at the same time – being conscious that this liquid stone comes from deep down the earth and that we have the whole universe above us with milky way in front, I felt overwhelmed, eternally small and very satisfied to be able to realize it!

After a few minutes of joy and astonishment we continued to search for the „real“sky-hole. Some more height metres later we found “our“sky-hole (later our GPS System gave us the proof) which was unfortunately already broken down and not as spectacular as we expected it to be. For it had been a bit early in the morning (02:30 a. m. or so), we decided to go further on the way, straight directed to Puu Oo. Unfortunately we had been stopped after one hour (at around 600 hight-metres and only about 3 kilometres away from Puu Oo) by AA-lava, which can never easily be stepped on because of deep ditches and a very rough surface. But all in all we didn’t have enough time left, even if the conditions would have been better. Therefore we turned after a short break and stood waiting for the first sunlight at „our“sky-hole. Directly at the hole it was very warm, but everywhere else it was cold. That’s why Detlef chose to wrap himself into a 5 $ rain-poncho which was blown by the wind in a funny noisy way :-)

After one hour half asleep we finally saw the first bright stripe of light at the horizon. Therefore we built up our cameras and made a lot of photos. But it was difficult to install the right brightness for the environment at the camera, because the 1300 degree centigrade hot lava has its own over-reflecting brightness. Only Photo-shop :-) can help this! After some time we also needed to stop and go back, of course with another outreaching stop at the first little sky-hole. I think I could spend endless days just sitting next to the lava watching and listening. Some times later we forced ourselves to quit and make our way further to Kilauea, where the rest of the travelling group already waited for us after a cosy breakfast.

We ourselves took a short breakfast at a filling station and were back after 12 hours at Volcano House by 11 a. m. From there we started some minutes later to another tour of just 9 km, which was adding to the 18 kilometres that we already made this night.

Tag 07 - 10: Halemaumau

At the first day right after arrival at Kilauea National Park, we immediately paid a visit to the steamy Halemaumau Crater.

But our everyday evening visits to the Jaggar Museum with view to the heavily glowing crater by the twilight were much more adventurous. Every evening it was a fascinating scene!

Of course we wanted to inspect the crater from being close, but it wasn’t easy at all. I must admit that it was strictly forbidden to enter the barriers. They controlled the crater throughout 24 hours every day. Our first plan was to approach on foot across the presently shut street. The first try had been stopped by heavy rain.

At the second try we already wore our gas-masks (there was an extremely big concentration of sulphur which could kill somebody), and we were nearly next to the crater, when suddenly a ranger with his car came around by 04:30 in the early morning! We could hardly manage to hide ourselves in the lava-field and to withdraw ourselves attentively. While we did it Chris got an injury at his knee, because the stuff is really very sharp-edged.

But of course Chris, Detlef and me would come back with other tactics. Directly after the evening-meal we tried to move straight through the crater this time. The spotlights on our heads were off, of course, but – with more special thanks to God for the good weather conditions – the moonlight was bright enough to illuminate the dark ground just the necessary way to be able to climb from one stony figure to another without giving any ranger the slightest chance to recognize us :-) And then after nearly one hour we really managed reach at the edge of the Halemaumau: the glowing „pot“ just a few metres away! But together with the moonshine, some stars shining above and the silhouette of the Mauna Kea – there was on this journey once again one of these touching great moments! After the moon was out of sight around midnight we started to return back – this time we did turn on the lights on our heads, proud of our success – and arrived in the hotel with very euphoric and excited behaviour!

Tag 07 - 10: Big Island und Kilauea

After some days spent in Hilo we moved to Volcano House which is in the Kilauea National Park. From there we started different excursions at the Kilauea. We visited the Visitor and Jaggar Centre as well as the Sulphur Banks at the day of our arrival.

The day after our night-time-18-km-excursion we took only a few minutes of rest, continued walking on our damp-sweat feet and accompanied our volcano-friends for another tour of 9 kilometres to the crater “Iki” and to one lava tube.

With some more special thanks to God we had a sunny day-trip on foot over lava-fields, passing various craters and through an eventful jungle passage up to a patch with a perfect view onto the steamy Puu Oo crater, which was ideal for our next extended picnic, after which we took another route to get back to our car.

On our last day at Hawaii we made a viewpoint tour at the Kilauea with as many stops as possible like e.g. Lava Trees, crater, cinder-cones, more than one petroglyph, former Ocean Entry – which was now just lots of lava surrounding one sole sign – then: a cosy day’s end – again with very bright and beautiful sunshine!

Getting up by 6 a. m., driving to the airport, giving back the van, going to the United Airlines-counter and wondering: no queue, nobody there, something is wrong here? Chris searches and Chris finds! – but: our flight doesn’t exist. With United Airlines it’s still in the system, but in reality it doesn’t take place. They didn’t provide a seat for us and we had to spend the morning at the airport, what kind of fun! By 14:25 finally our flight took place. It was a small air-plane with propeller, „cool“and acceptable at least as an apology.

We arrived at the Kona Airport, and again the same routine with the car rental. Then we chose a van – again „our” type – and went back to the road. First we followed a part of the Iron-man course, then we passed Mauna Kea, took a short trip to View Point with a good view to the beach and then we went further to Hilo to our lodging, which was in the centre of Hilo but surrounded by jungle, which means a noisy environment (whimsies, frogs) but I could enjoy it! We took the evening meal at a nice place and I walked around with Detlef. Later I softly fell asleep with the jungle-sound from mainly the above mentioned animals in the background.

On our way back to the airport – at the last day of our holidays – we made a final stop at one part of the beach, where by a lucky coincidence a turtle spent some time outside the water. A perfect finish of a perfect journey!