I think it should be Federal law that when a plane is taking off the speakers should be blasting Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone. Imagine that; you’re being pushed back in your seat, the whole plane is rattling, the engines are roaring, and you know – without a shadow of a doubt – this ride is gonna kick some ass. It would detract from the fact that the seats are uncomfortable and tiny and the leg room is nonexistent. At least the ginger ale is still free and, if you ask nicely and have some money, you can even get dark rum to put in it.

But I digress.

In an effort to escape reality for a while, we spent the lead-up to Christmas in Hawaii. More specifically on Hawai’i, the largest island of the chain. We swam in the ocean, visited volcanoes, and drove around the bulk of the island in a rented convertible Mustang. All in all, a good time was had by all.


The view from the suite at Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort.


One of the aisles at Kona Bay Books, one of the biggest used book stores I’ve ever been in. It advertises itself as two miles of used books. This is one of ten or so aisles.


Lunch at Kona Brewpub. Pork sandwich, chips, and a Black Sand Porter


No visit is complete without a hat. I got two. This one was from my lovely wife.


The resort was in an area with three sets of ruins.


The first day we went to the beach we went to a place called Two Step. It was calm, had great snorkling, and a plethora of volcanic rocks. I put a gash in my hand that required two butterflies a thick bandage. This shot is from Hookena beach, about 20 miles south of Kailua. If you’re going to the big island, check this one out. Also has great snorkling, but less likely to shred you. Get there early, though. Parking is extremely limited.


The jungle primeval. Entrance to a lava tube in Volcano National Park.


Inside the lava tube. Apparently in certain circumstances the outside of a lava flow can cool and solidify while the inside keeps going. The result is one of these.


The big island has something like 11 different climate zones crammed into 4000 sq miles or so. This shot is from near the crater rim. The vegetation is radically different from the other side of the island – a paltry 90 miles away. Driving around the island puts those differences on full display; everything from the lush forests near Kailua to places in between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea that looked surprisingly like parts of New Mexico.


Big bada boom. The crater floor as seen from the rim.


Poke from Da Poke Shack. I like to try new things. I wasn’t blown away by the calamari, but the poke itself was damned tasty. For those who haven’t had it, poke is a raw fish salad. Think of it as sweeter sushi in a sauce.