|Fantastic Hawaii Island Cruise:
Part 4: Big Island of Hawaii
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Zoom in for a closer view of the rim (side wall) and the floor of Kilauea Caldera. They are very different from
those of Haleakala Caldera on Maui. Haleakala Caldera is very colorful with several huge cinder cones
whereas Kilauea Caldera is almost uniform in dark grey color and with almost flat floor.
Three of many white tailed tropicbirds flying in Kilauea Caldera.
Two tropicbirds seem to be flying in the white smoke plume of the smoking Halemaumau Crater.
This white tailed tropicbird seems to be also flying in the smoke of the smoking Halemaumau Crater.
A much better close-up pictures of white tailed tropicbirds can be seen in the following video at:
The photographer in this video hiked to a pair of pit craters in the Kaʻu (lava) Desert deep in the vast Kilauea
Volcano in order to get such excellent pictures of white tailed tropicbirds.
A panoramic view of the Kīlauea summit volcanic caldera/crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big
Island of Hawaii. Kīlauea has a large summit caldera, measuring 2 by 2 mi with walls (caldera rim) up to 400
ft high. The caldera wall is breached by lava flows on the southwestern side. This caldera is at about 4,000
feet of elevation. A major feature within the caldera is Halemaumau Crater, a large circular pit crater and one
of Kīlauea's most historically active eruption centers. The crater is approximately 3,018 ft in diameter and
279 ft deep. This smoking Halemaumau Crater is emitting white smoke plume (sulphur dioxide) at the far
end of this picture. When we drove from the Kilauea Visitor Center onto the Crater Rim Drive in counter-
clockwise direction, this is the first Lookout, near the Steam Vents area, for visitor to enjoy the panoramic
view of the Kilauea Caldera.
Kilauea is active volcano located in the south eastern part of the Big Island of Hawaii. It is the youngest
among the five volcanoes that form the Big Island of Hawaii. Mount Kilauea frequently pours out lava and
hence is named so. In the Hawaiian language, the word, 'Kilauea' means "spewing" or 'much spreading'.
Kīlauea ranks among the world's most active volcanoes and may even top the list. Kīlauea is visited by
millions of tourists each year, making it the most visited attraction in Hawaii and the most visited volcano in
Another view of the Kīlauea Caldera from a different Lookout at Jaggar Museum closer to the smoking
Halemaumau Crater. There is a 11-mile Crater Rim Drive that circles Kīlauea caldera with several
Lookouts for visitors to see the caldera and the smoking crater. However, the sulphur dioxide smoke
plume is hazardous to human health such that about half of the Crater Rim Drive is usually closed to
protect visitor health depending on the wind direction.
Map: Click here for interactive Google Map showing location Kilauea caldera/crater in Big Island of
The Visitor Center of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is located on Crater Rim Drive, about quarter
mile west of Junction of Crater Rim Drive and Hwy 11 (Hawaii Belt Road), on southeast part of Big
Island of Hawaii. It is about 30 miles and about 45 minutes driving on Highway 11 from Hilo on the east
coast of the Big Island.
Our cruise ship left Maui at 6 PM of August 20 and arrived at Hilo Harbor on the east coast of the Big
Island of Hawaii at 8 AM on the following day of August 21. Hilo Harbor is only about one mile distance
from Hilo International Airport. The rental car companies at the airport sent their free shuttle buses to
Hilo Harbor to take customers from the cruise ship to the airport to get rental cars. After getting our
rental car, we drove about 30 miles to the Kilauea Visitor Center to start our tour of Hawaii Volcanoes
Zoom in for closer views of the smoking Halemaumau Crater in the Kīlauea caldera.
As a bird watcher, we were happily surprised to see many white-tailed tropicbirds flying in the Kīlauea
caldera, and even in the smoking Halemaumau Crater.
To naked eye, these flying birds were just tiny white dots because they were very far away from our Lookout
position. The 35 X optical zoom of my compact super-zoom camera enabled me to zoom in to take these
pictures showing flying long-tailed tropicbirds in Kilauea volcano. This is my first time experience to see
beautiful tropicbirds with such long tail in action. It was very exciting for me.
White-tailed tropicbirds are mostly white but have black streaks on their wings and by their eyes. Their most
distinctive feature is their long tail feathers that stream behind when they fly. These white tailed tropicbirds
nest in the cliffs of Kilauea Caldera and in the craters along the Chain of Craters Road and throughout this
volcanoes national park. These cliffs are inaccessible to mongoose or other land-based predators and are
safe for cliff-dwelling birds to nest.
Cluster of Lehua flowers on Ohiʻa trees near Kilauea Caldera.
There are also several steam vents near Kilauea Caldera
We then drove on Kilauea Rim Drive to reach Thurston Lava Tube area. However, the large parking lot here
was full such that we had no parking space. But we had toured a lava tube in northern California several
years ago. So, we skipped Thurston Lava Tube and continued on to the long and interesting drive on the
paved Chain of Craters Road.
Chain of Craters Road是昔日火山噴發岩漿從山巔入海的道路，沿線貫穿著大大小小的
One of many craters along the Chain of Craters Road. Some are larger and some are smaller. Chain of
Craters Road follows a line of pit craters and descends 3,700 feet in 20 miles (one way) and ends where a
2003 lava flow crossed the road.
Sea of lava - The vast land of cooled black lava just amazes visitors driving on the paved Chain of
The drive on the Chain of Craters Road across the enormous lava flow bed gets more picturesque
as visitor gets closer to the ocean and sea level - it's quite a stunning coastal panorama.
We stopped at the Kealakomo Overlook at 2,000-foot elevation to enjoy the spectacular view. We also
enjoyed our sandwich lunch on the picnic table here.
This entire section of road is situated between two rift zones. A large channel of magma flows below this
Occasionally the magma under some particular spot will suddenly drain. The instant change in level can
cause the ground above the magma channel to instantly collapse. This creates the pit crater.
Pit craters can be formed almost instantly, or can enlarge over a period of time. Often the pit crater starts
out shaped like an inverted funnel - smaller at the top and larger at the bottom with the top eroding over time
till it forms vertical walls. Lava flows do not accompany the formation of a pit crater since the crater is
created by the sudden absence of lava - however many pit craters are filled at a later date by other nearby
Another kind of wild flowers in this area.
We saw the lower portion of the Chain of Craters Road in the coastal flat area ending at the coastline.
Along this Chain of Craters Road, there are many short and long hiking trails that branch out into the vast land
of cooled black lava for hikers to see and to explore various interesting features such as Lava Trees, pit
craters, Thermal Hotspot, Devil's Throat, spatter cone, huge balls and other unusual shapes of lava coated
rocks, ice cream cone, lava tubes, Pu'u Loa Petroglyph field with a board walk, Holei Sea Arch and the Active
Lava Field. Details of these hiking trails and features are described in the following website:
Some of these long hiking trails may take several hours or even two or three days of hiking. Our cruise ship
arrived at Hilo Harbor at 8 AM this morning and would leave at 6 PM this evening. We did not have the luxury
of time to explore these hiking trails and special features. So, after finishing eating our sandwich at Kealakomo
Overlook, we turned back and drove toward Rainbow Falls in Hilo.
Rainbow Falls is located at 198 Rainbow Drive in Hilo. The falls flows over a natural lava cave, the
mythological home to Hina, an ancient Hawaiian goddess. Rainbow Falls derives its name from the fact that,
on sunny mornings, one can see rainbows in the mist thrown up by the waterfall. It is 80 ft tall.
Hilo Harbor with very long and curved jetty as viewed from our cruise ship.
After touring Rainbow Falls, we drove to Hilo International Airport, returned our rental car and took the free
rental car shuttle bus for a short ride to Hilo Harbor to board our cruise ship.
Hilo Harbor as viewed from our cruise ship.
Our cruise ship left Hilo Harbor on east coast of the Big Island of Hawaii at 6 PM of August 21 and arrived
at Kailua-Kona Bay on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii at 7 AM of the following day of August
22. However, Kailua-Kona Pier is a shallow water marina such that the cruise ship had to anchor in the
middle of the bay and used several ferry boats to ferry passengers to reach Kailua-Kona marina. It seems
that those very nice ferry boats are the life boats of the cruise ship.
Furthermore, Kona International Airport at Keahole is about 7 miles north of Kailua-Kona marina such that
most rental car companies at Kona International Airport do NOT send their free shuttle buses to
Kailua-Kona marina. Rental car customers have to take a taxi to go from Kailua-Kona marina to Kona
airport in order to get the rental car at the airport. But Dollar rental car company has a special arrangement
to have Dollar rental cars available at the King Kamehameha Hotel at: 75 5660 PALANI ROAD, KAILUA, HI
96740, Phone: 808-331-0531. It is located adjacent to the Kailua-Kona mariner. So, I made Dollar rental
car reservation at this hotel before the trip to make it easy to get my rental car when I arrive at
Kailua-Kona. The rental car rate of Dollar rental car at this hotel is about $20 more expensive per day, but
it is still a good deal considering the round trip taxi fares and taxi traveling time between the marina and the
Sweeping vistas from the scenic pull-outs when we drove northeast on the Scenic Highway 190 from Kailua-
Kona to Waimea. This scenic highway travels through the 5 life zones as we climb from sea level to 2400-ft
elevation, as lush and tropical, then from fern and Banana forests...to get to the Ohia, Flame tree, and dry
forests. Then out across rolling grassy plains of parker ranch.
When we arrived at Waimea, there was a farmers' market. I bought a barbecue chicken lunch box and
enjoyed the delicious lunch at one of the picnic tables.
Then we drove west on Highway 19 to tour the beautiful Kohala Coast.
Spectacular tropical Hapuna Beach with glistening expanse of soft golden sand and pristine, crystal
clear, turquoise water along Kohala Scenic Coastal Highway 19. North of Kailua-Kona lies the Kohala
Coast with stunning ocean views, lots of sunshine and Hawaii's best beach for sunbathing and
One of the upscale ritzy luxury and expensive beach resorts along beautiful Kohala coastal Hwy 19 north of
遊輪 海上 日落時分，美麗的黃昏彩霞， 暮色中閃耀金光 。
Our cruise ship left Kailua-Kona at 6 PM of August 22. We enjoyed the fantastic sunset views from the top
deck of our cruise ship as it was leaving sunny west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii to go to the Island of
West Coast of the Big Island is always sunny and is famous for its fantastic sunset views with palm trees.
But our cruise ship was leaving at 6 PM such that we could not enjoy the famous sunset view at Kailua-
Kona. Instead, we enjoyed it on our cruise ship.
From our cruise ship and before sunset time, we did see several times of flying fish that jumped out of water
near our cruise ship and flew several hundred feet away from our cruise ship. However, I did not get their
pictures or movie because I was not expecting such events and the cruise ship was too high to take good
pictures of flying fish. In the future, I may get on a smaller tour boat to be able to take better pictures of flying
fish in Hawaii.
On the other hand, excellent movie of flying fish in action can be seen at this YouTube website:
Our Hawaii Island Cruise took us to visit four islands; Oahu, Maui, the Big Island of Hawaii, and Kauai. These
four islands are very different and each has different beautiful sceneries and very interesting things for visitors
to enjoy. My six web pages from this Hawaii Island Cruise are:
Part 1: Tour of Island of Oahu
Part 2: More on Tour of Island of Oahu
Part 3: Tour of Maui
Part 4: Tour of Big Island of Hawaii
Part 5: Tour of Kauai
Part 6: Spectacular Panoramic Views in Hawaii
.Awesome! Sea of lava meets endless ocean.
Kealakekua Bay 波光粼粼的海面。
After touring Kealakekua Bay, we drove north on Highway 11 back to Kailua-Kona marina, returned the
Dollar rental car at King Kamehameha Hotel. Then took the ferry boat to get back on our cruise ship.
A small part of the Beautiful Kealakekua Bay nestled alongside high green cliffs. Dramatic cliffs surround
crystal clear, turquoise water chock-full of stunning coral and tropical fish.This is about 15 miles south of
Kailua-Kona on west coast of Big Island of Hawaii.
A historical significance of this bay is that this is the first exposure of Hawaii to western people when Captain
James Cook and his ships, the Resolution and Discovery, entered the sheltered waters of Kealakekua Bay
on the morning of Jan 17, 1779. "Kealakekua" in Hawaiian means Pathway of the God because this area
was the focus of extensive Makahiki celebrations in honor of the god Lono. Captain James Cook and his
ships arrived during the height of a religious festival of native Hawaiian people. Thinking Cook was a returning
God, the Hawaiians welcomed and honored him.
Kealakekua Bay encompasses 315 acres and measures 1.5 miles in length and one mile in width. It is the
largest sheltered natural bay on the island of Hawaii. The spectacular marine sanctuary at Kealakekua Bay
offers an abundance of colorful tropical fish, a variety of beautiful coral reefs and water visibility often to 100
feet. The calm, protected waters and sunny skies of Kealakekua Bay provide superior snorkeling and diving
year round, with the water temperature averaging 76 degrees. Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins frequent
Kealakekua Bay, especially in the morning. The bay serves as a place for them to rest and feed, and as a
nursery for mothers and their calves.
The Hawaii Belt Road (Highway 11) on the high cliffs above Kealakekua Bay is scenic with great views. But
to go from Highway 11 on the high cliffs down to Kealakekua Bay requires driving on the marrow winding
zigzag Napoopoo Road.