The route this day took us the southern route from Hilo to Kona. But first we hosted a quick event, and went on a helicopter ride to see the volcano eruption zone.
Approximate time on road/out caching: 11 hours, 5 minutes
Total miles driven: 157.9 mi / 254,12 km
Total cahes found: 20
Total DNF: 0
States visited: Hawaii
Famous places visited: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (closed)
Most memorable cache: GC2MRDT South Point Cliffs
Biggest surprise: The size of the volcanic eruption
Weather: Sun, overcast, rain
Highest temperature: 31,1°C / 88°F
Lowest temperature: 23,9°C / 75°F
We started the day (after the most amazing breakfast on the entire trip) with a short meet’n greet event near the hotel, GC7TTGB thomfre & Heltinnen visits the last state ✔️. We only had two attendees, besides ourselves. But even though the quantity was low, the quality was high!
We stopped to do the earthcache on the small island, GC343DM Mokuola!, on the way back after the event.
Over the volcano
The next on the program was a helicopter tour. But since we had some time to spare after checking out, we decided to find a couple bonus caches first, before doing the planned earthcache.
It was eventually time to head to the airport to check-in for the tour. Not too long after, we were airborne. Heltinnen got the co-pilot seat this time. I was not so lucky, and had to sit the wrong way in the back. I tend to get motion sickness easily, and sitting the wrong way did not help at all. So I did not enjoy much of the tour at all. But Heltinnen did, and she took some awesome photos of the view!
We both got to see a tiny bit of lava, and we saw how big this lava flow actually is. So it was worth it, even though I didn’t feel very well. Actually seeing this in person is a lot different than just seeing pictures of it.
Luckily I didn’t get too sick (I got to keep my breakfast), and it didn’t last longer than to the car. Note to self: pay extra to sit the right way next time.
Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes NP was one of the main reasons for choosing this island as our Hawaii destination. So we weren’t thrilled when they closed it, but nothing we can do about that. So we decided to at least drive the road through it! We had a few stops along the road, before arriving at the entrance to the park. We found the cache there, and took some photos with the sign (can’t visit a park without doing that!).
We didn’t get to see much of the park, but we did see all the lava rocks along the road (and the smoke).
After we exited the park on the other side, we stopped at GC3GQ9B Black Sand Beach (Big Island). We have never seen sand as black as this before!
We did a quick stop at the southernmost bakery of the United States, before continuing to the southernmost point (we’ve also been to the southernmost point of the continental US before).
While down there, to find GC312D South Point Cache (TB Hotel) and solve GC2MRDT South Point Cliffs, we witnessed some crazy things. Some tourist came driving down there way too fast, and he got his tiny car stuck. He somehow managed to get it unstuck. Around 10-20 minutes later, he apparently forgot everything about that episode – and then did the exact same, in the reverse direction. Too fast in reverse, causing the car to fall partially of the road. Balancing with one side of the road, and one side still on it. People, nice as they are, rushed to help him. I was on my way to do the same (even though I think doing this twice in the same parking lot is incredibly stupid), but then he managed to get the car back on the road. People need to relax more, and not drive this fast with small cars in a rugged parking lot, that’s full of cars and people…
The second earthcache down there, GC786HF Honeycombing at Ka Lae, wasn’t on our list. But we decided to give it a try anyway. Since this is the southernmost point, and this is the southernmost cache, this should also be the southernmost cache in the US!
The fastest way to Kona
After finishing the first earthcache, and finding the other traditional caches along the road, we started on the long road up to Kona. We had rented a nice cabin on Airbnb (hotels are crazy expensive, even for us Norwegians!).
We didn’t stop much along the way (but we did have to stop to get some supplies), and it was still dark by the time we got there…