Hawaii – volcanoes, waterfalls, cliffs and valleys

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC took a helicopter tour of the volcanoes and valleys of Hawaii’s Big Island. One side of the island is flat and dry, a thin layer of vegetation covering the blackly barren lava rock. The other side is lush, green and hilly, with some of the world’s tallest waterfalls, and towering cliffs pounded by fierce ocean waves. In the middle of the island is a steaming, smoking, belching set of volcanoes that continuously create this scene of life on the edge.

My impressions? An island inching its way across the sea – losing land to the ocean on one side, building out land with lava on the other.

The book I’m in

Zero Recall (Legend of Zero), by Sara King. This is the second of the Zero series. Meeting the Huouyt and Jreet again is like seeing old friends. The Geuji is a force to be reckoned with.

Recommended restaurant

‘ULU Ocean Grill, at the Four Seasons Hualalai. Service, elegance, beauty, cuisine.

Travel tip

Hire a car, to get where you want to go, when you want to be there.

The photos

Me. I think the Hawaiian lava makes an excellent backdrop for my distinguished person:


Lava swirls:

Hawaiian lava

I entrusted myself to Blue Hawaiian helicopter tours:

Me at Blue Hawaiian

The TC came too. Bless her cotton socks, look at that smile:

Blue Hawaiian

Ready to see some smoking lava? Here’s a video, just a very small part of the helicopter tour. This worm advises you to mute the audio, because it doesn’t do anything except hurt your ears:

The drifting mist in the video is a mixture of smoke and cloud. We could smell the smoke and sulphur inside the chopper! Quite other-worldly.

Trees don’t do too well when you pour hot lava around them:

Trees in lava flow

Things get real when the lava flow threatens a village. The people of Pahoa had to evacuate their homes in October 2014 because the lava came very close indeed. This photo shows the lava path, with the village in the distance:

Lava approaching Pahoa village

The lava flow has been monitored carefully since October last year, with hourly public announcements of its status. While we were in the bus on our way back from the helicopter tour, a radio announcement stated that the lava flow had stabilised and it was therefore no longer necessary to issue public reports. Our driver expressed great relief at this good news.

The helicopter instrument panel, the pilot’s boots, and a view of lava through the glass floor panels:

Helicopter instruments

After the volcanoes, we set off for the north east coast of the island. Green green valleys, steep cliffs and pounding surf:

Hawaii north east coast

Waipi’o Valley quite took the TC’s breath away. This worm was impressed too:

Hawaii Waipio Valley

The waterfalls in this remote valley are some of the tallest in the world, at around 1,450 feet (440 metres). Our helicopter pilot gave us an adrenaline-punching view of the valley and falls. Again, kill the sound, says this worm:

Back to more traditional views of Hawaii.Clouds:




And a sunset:

Hawaiian sunset

That’s all for today, dudes.

Published in: on 3 April 2015 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A quick crawl around Oahu, Hawaii

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Making our way from Sydney to Chicago, we spent yesterday on Oahu, the most populated of the Hawaiian islands and home to the city of Honolulu. It’s not often that this worm admits to a mistake, but I do confess that up to a few weeks ago I thought Honolulu was on the island of Hawaii. If prodded (which is probably not a good thing to do to a worm) I may even admit that I assumed Waikiki was an island itself. But no, it’s a suburb of Honolulu.

We landed at Honolulu airport, spent a couple of hours getting lost in the city and surrounds, then found our hotel in Waikiki. Early next morning we enjoyed a couple more hours getting lost in the city, before finding the road that leads east. We drove across the island to Kaneohe on the east coast, then north to Kahuku, then back inland via Haleiwa and Wahiawa. We narrowly missed Pearl Harbor and caught our Chicago flight by the skin of our teeth.

The TC did not brush her hair all day.

My impressions? Honolulu is a city much like any other, and caters very well to the TC’s proclivity for getting lost. The east coast of the island is gorgeous. I want to go back and see the rest of it.

The book I’m in

The Midnight Road, by Tom Piccirilli. Satisfyingly weird, this book starts with the words, “Flynn remembered the night of his death more clearly than any other in his life”. I’m in the middle of the book, and wishing the TC would find the time to move me on a few pages so that I can see what happens to Flynn and the ghosts that populate his life.

Recommended airline

Hawaiian Airlines is friendly and efficient, and keeps the fuss of US travel down to a minimum.

The photos

Me at Kualoa Point, on the east coast of Oahu. With a palm tree, of course:

Honolulu, seen from one of the surrounding hills:

Palm trees, of course, outside our hotel in Waikiki:

The military presence on the island is noticeable. This number plate, spotted in a Honolulu parking garage by the TC once removed, is a case in point:

When we were in the queue at the airport waiting for the security checks, there was an army dude in full military togs in front of the TC. One of the officials leaned in and informed him very respectfully that he could take the express queue next time.

A military aircraft and a palm tree, of course:

The velvety striated range of hills that lines the east coast:

Mokolii Island, seen from Waikane on the east coast of Oahu:

A closer view of Mokolii, also known as Chinaman’s Hat island because of its shape:

Kualoa Point:

A Red Crested Cardinal, pretty but beady-eyed and not a worm’s best friend:

The TC admiring the view. Yes, it’s a bit gusty. And as I remarked before, she did not brush her hair all day. I think this preyed on her mind. I was careful not to remark on her dishevelled state, even after she boarded the aeroplane that evening.

Another gorgeous beach somewhere on the east coast. Probably Laie Bay. Applause to the photographer – no palm trees in close view:

Water. I steered clear, of course, but the TC has no such qualms:

Is a worm nowhere safe? First the Red Crested Cardinal, and now a Peahen lying in wait in a stairwell at Waimea Botanical Gardens. Neither bird is native to Hawaii, I might add:

Me, making a tactical retreat from a Peacock:

A steep hillock in Waimea Valley:

A Hawaiian temple, or heiau, at Waimea. This one is dedicated to Lono, the god of agriculture. It’s called the Hale o Lono, which means “house of Lono”, and was built between 1470 and 1700 AD.

The colourful bark of a Mindanao gum tree, spotted at Wahiawa. This gum tree is native to western Pacific islands such as Papua New Guinea and the Phillipines. Not, surprisingly, to Australia. It was introduced into Hawaii in the late 1920s.

At this point we remembered that we had a plane to catch, and hare-tailed it out of there. Alas, we spotted some signs to Pearl Harbor and decided to drop in. We got lost (again). We were definitely in the area:

By the time we saw the official signs we were already late:

We did go down that route, but discovered that seeing Pearl Harbor is a big deal involving boat trips and the abandonment of all bags, purses, large cameras, and what have you.

So we got on a plane to Chicago instead. More on that in my next post.