After a couple of days on Maui, it was off to the Big Island of Hawaii. We flew into Kona and rented a car for the drive to Hilo.

City of Refuge, Kona

The first stop of interest was the City of Refuge, or the Pu'uhonua o Hanaunau National Historical Park south of Kona. Individuals who had broken the law of kapu could flee here for safety. It was also a refuge for those seeking safety during a war.

Southern-most point

Farther down the coast is the southern-most point in the US. This was the source of another spirited discussion between me and Fred. There was a 12-mile drive off the main road to get here and then we had to retrace our path to continue our journey. Fred, who insisted on visiting this place, was even more stubborn than I, so we compromised and made the drive. I'm afraid I was a poor sport about it and snarled most of the way.

The "Southern-most Point" in Key West is more interesting.

Halemaumau Vent, Kilauea Volcano

This is what I had come to the Big Island to see: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The note on my slide says this is the Halema'uma'u vent of Kilauea volcano. Since I was there the volcano has erupted several times and is currently active. The overlook is now closed.

There is a USGS webcam view of the crater. I had no way to know that within a couple of years of this trip I would actually be working for USGS.

Sulphur Banks

Another of the places that we visited were the sulphur banks.

Jim and I saw similar sights in New Zealand.

Thurston Lava Tube

Lava tubes or caves are formed when a molten flow cools on the outside, but the center continues to flow. This particular tube was named for a newspaper publisher, Lorrin Thurston, who discovered it in 1913. It is also called Nahuku.


The edge of one of the craters. As we walked along some of the trails the ground was quite hot from the ongoing volcanic activity. I was wearing Keds and I didn't dare stand in one place for long.

Kilauea Iki Overlook

This picture was taken from the Kilauea Iki Overlook.

The picture at the link, which is presumably MUCH more recent than this one, shows a more tranquil scene without the steam.


An impressive lava lake. The pointy peak in the background must have been one of the main vents of the volcano. It is hard to see the steam issuing from the central crater, but it is there.

Kalapona black sand beach

This black sand beach near the former town of Kaimu has since been completely engulfed by the lava flow from Kilauea.

Rainbow Falls, Hilo Rainbow Falls is located in the Wailuku River State Park near Hilo. On sunny days there is often a rainbow in the mist from the falls. It was not a sunny day, but the waterfall was striking nevertheless.

Akaka Falls

Akaka Falls is a pretty impressive example of a "plunge" fall. It's located north of Hilo. We had decided to drive as far north along the coast as we had time. It was disappointing to turn around since there was much more to see.

Many years later one of my colleagues at Tandem Computers decided to relocate to the Big Island and buy a coffee plantation. No one thought he would make a go of it, but the last I heard of him, he was still there and doing well.

'Ohi'a Lehua

I don't know the name of the little waterfall, but I included this picture for the red-flowering 'Ohi'a Lehua trees. They are said to be very common, but these were the only ones that I remember seeing.

Boiling Pots

This is Pe'epe'e Falls, in the background, with the "boiling pots" in the foreground. When the river is high, the downstream pools seem to boil. They don't look very ferocious on this day, but flash floods can change the picture in a moment.


A downstream look at the not-so-boiling pots.

Liliuokalani Gardens

The last thing we visited on Hawaii was the Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo.

I don't remember if Fred was planning to return to Honolulu for more work, but I flew back to the mainland from Hilo. It wasn't long, however, before I was back with a new team of colleagues.

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