Holland America Lines Cruise - Auckland to Vancouver - 2017
April 17-22 - Sea Days and Hilo, Hawaii
April 17-21 - Sea Days
We saw a lot of ocean during these five sea days. Fortunately, the sea was reasonably calm and the weather was warm. Ann was able to get in some swimming while I took my medication and tried to get well. Eating, napping and reading took up most of our time although we went to a few lectures. There was another gala dinner where I had lobster again. Evening entertainment included Patrick Roberts, a violinist; The Alley Cats, a doo-wop quartet; "All for Love", the ship's cast singing and dancing to love songs; Jane Rutter, a flutist; and night with Annie Francis and Paul Martell. We really like the Alley Cats because of their humor and their repertoire of 50's and 60's songs.
April 22 - Hilo, Hawaii
Ann and I split up again today. She went on an excursion to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden with Lynne. I went on the Kilauea Volcano Bicycle Adventure. My excursion started at 8:30. To make sure that I got off of the ship in time, I decided to order a continental breakfast delivered to our stateroom. This worked out perfectly.
Before we could disembark, we had to go through passport control. The Customs Control set up in the Vista Lounge. We had pre-arranged numbers given to us based on our excursion times. This made for an orderly process to walk past the agents and show them our passports. The US citizen line was non-existent and I breezed through it. The non-citizen line was much longer.
I met my driver in the port's terminal along with 19 other cruisers. We split into two 10-passenger vans. Our drive started with a short tour of Hilo's waterfront. Then we began a gradual climb up to 4000 feet to the visitor center at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. After a short break, we continued to the Jaggar Museum where we got our first look at the Halema‘uma‘u Crater. It was smoking and flaring. When the museum opened, we had a brief guided tour.
We finally got our mountain bikes fitted at another parking lot and met our cycling guide. He gave us a safety talk and then set us off on our tour. We rode on trails, abandoned roads and the main non-busy highway. On the way we stopped at lots of points of interest for photos and for discussions. We had several different view of the huge crater. We visited a steam vent and a lava filed. At one point we got off of our bikes and walked through a long lava tube that was in the surrounded by rain forest. Our route went through barren landscape and lush tropical vegetation. We were given snacks to keep up our energy. At the end we had ridden 6.5 miles, climbed only 263 feet, spent 33 minutes riding and 2 hours stopped. We had a really good time and learned a lot about the geology and history of the area.
Back on the ship I met Ann who enjoyed the garden tour. We went to the Lido Deck and had a snack. Later we had dinner with our shipmates and attended the evening's entertainment which was The Alley Cats again. They were just as good as the last time.