November 2, 2017
As we tucked ourselves under the comforter in our little cabin, we were sure that is was over kill. After all this is Hawaii. Even at 4,000 feet how cold can it. It turns out that the blanket was needed. No frost this morning but close. We packed quickly and turned on the car heater. We had breakfast in the cute, rustic enclave known a Volcano Village. The breakfast croissant and coffee were good and appreciated. We embarked on our 30 mile drive off the mountain in bright sunshine.
Now Hilo on the Hawaiian east coast receives 200 inches of rain a year. None today. In fact, we could see the telescopes atop Mauna Loa some 13,000 feet above sea level. The morning ride was easy as we quickly warmed up and returned to tropical warmth. This region used to be one of the centers of sugar cane production. Now it is evolving into other crops including tourists. We were far too early to check in but we found our modest but well located hotel on the ocean.
We spent the remainder of the morning touring the Lili’uokalani Gardens that are perched on the shoreline. The Japanese naturalistic gardening tradition dominates the tranquil scene. Tourists are present but few in number. Trails and walls along the water’s edge invite some wall walking. We did our best to catch a picture of a turtle who was munching on sea grass. Unfortunately, he was more interested in eating that posing. We watched and snapped away for quite a while.
The birds were in profusion but in much larger numbers at the Wailoa River park. Numerous Ne’ne’ and other geese wandered around and posed for us. Again, there were surprisingly few tourists. It was quite wonderful to see what the people of Hilo have done with their scenic resources in a downtown environment. We did find plenty of tourists at the Rainbow Falls, a few minutes from the center of town. No rainbows spotted but the setting was pleasant for an 80 foot waterfall. Before heading out for a late lunch, we stopped by the Lyman House. The Lyman’s were the first permanent missionaries to arrive in Hawaii. Their house was the first wood frame house in Hawaii. I speculate that they brought all of the milled wood from New England when they first arrived.
The Lymans started schools for the local population. Unlike many other missionaries, they taught the children to read in their native tongue. Of course, they settled on a 14 letter alphabet. That means that after you take out the five vowels, you have 8 consonants. The system must have worked since Hawaiians quickly became mostly literate. They are also largely Christian. It is easy to see the impact of Christianity in the small towns. We enjoyed some familiar music at breakfast in Volcano this morning.
We are recovering at the hotel after a visit to the fish market. We both passed on a pound of poke (Hawaiian Ceviche) and ate a huge Hawaiian serving of salmon tempura and pork. Packing for the return tomorrow after we transit the island again.