Happy in Hilo

Waiting for Nana at the airport

Nana arrived and Hunter turned 9.... there was plenty to celebrate.

We were still stuck to the dock in the far-less-than-fantastic harbor of Radio bay waiting out a large Northern storm system that moved in, bringing 20-30 foot swells.

Lucky for us, there were all kinds of wonderful things to do and see close by.

Nana  took a room at a nearby motel for two days and gave the kids and Us a chance to have hot showers (indescribable joy!) and she granted Hunter's birthday wish of a proper, Downtown Abbey-type frock ( complete with gloves and jewels) and we all celebrated our girl's fantastic lovliness with a strawberry-pancake breakfast at the motel diner.

Once the storm had passed and the sea settled down, we found the   nearby beach and paddled around in a shallow lagoon, where a river flowed through a delicate, grassy park and out into the sea. 

We discovered that along with a pile of friendly local kids, the lagoon was also home to a resident population of sea turtles who scooted around beside us and underneath us, happily munching seaweed off the black lava rocks, while bright and colored Sergeant Major fish nibbled our toes.

We rented a car and ventured off to Volcano National Park and visited the active ( but currently mellow-as in, no lava flow)  and viewed the crater rim and the cool sulphur flats and stuck our heads into steamy vents and wandered through an ancient lava tube and strolled through it's songbird filled forests.

Of course, it is a National Park and the place is set up to accommodate tourists but I gotta say, it was a kinda thrilling change for me.

After countless months of being a million miles from any sort of assistance, where hikes and scuba dives and all the rest of it,  also required us to be prepared to deal with any disasters or injuries that we might run into- all by ourselves.

This volcano adventure came with nice, clean restrooms and bottled water for sale (at a restaurant!)  and there were guardrails on the most dangerous bits of trail and yet it still was stunning and impressive and for the first time in ages, I could witness the extreme and magnificent powers of mother nature, without worrying that maybe I should also have brought along the suture kit.

Civilization does has its perks.

There is stuff that we may not have noticed so much before, that now drives us crazy, though...

I think everyone, everywhere should be given mandatory NOISE decompression-for free.
Nice, long, paid vacations, in an environment with no unnatural sound stimulus and it should be covered on all health care plans.

Oh, I know....
and Unicorns should come bursting out of rainbows, too.

(it is so completely disheartening to know for a fact, that nothing preventative will EVER be "covered" on any health care plan in any of the countries I belong to and its even MORE upsetting that  now-a-days, even the TERM "health care plan" is being used as the starting gun for inane, political-crazy-making debate, instead of, like, just meaning  something that actually HELPS people stay or get healthy.

SO Stupid.

Radio Bay.

A busy port, with an uber-massive, propane plant and a standing army of colossal semi-trucks piling in and out everyday, farting their air brakes in unison directly off our transom, finally drove us to seek refuge in the big harbor outside. 

Once we found our spot out in the middle of the four mile wide bay  and got the hook down and took a look around, we realized we totally should have moved out here days ago as its really no more of a pain in the patootie than being on a dock with no services whatsoever and the view is WAY better.

We now hear the birds calling over the balmy rush of a soft wind, while looking up at the gentle slope of this beautiful island, its sides flush with the verdant green of tropical plantations, a flashy parade of sun-flecked clouds rimming its highest mountain- 

It sure beats the heck out of waking up to  the coast guard cutter next to us calling out drills every five minutes, to its handsome and obedient crew-who unfortunately, despite all those square jaws and rippling muscles, still look like PLAYMOBILE guys dressed up in their uniforms, complete with silly orange hard hats that they all don to do anything on deck- it never stopped to amaze me, that it took at least five of them to do any job that Kai could handle (alone) in half that time.

:) it's okay though,
they were pretty cute.

Back at anchor, once again, ( after a month at sea) Pura Vida now drifts in slow circles, swaying on the soft surge rolling through the bay, the lights of Hilo, reflect off the black water, a full moon rises over the breakwater, the kids  are blissfully snuggled with Nana on the berth and everyone is dreamy and drowsy, listening to music...
and Jon just figured out how to get us wi-fi out here.

Hawaii rocks.

The longest awaited hug..

Birthday girl

                                                           Our lovely girl…turns nine.

Swimming hole

Little buddy
The caldera

Sulfur flats

close up of cooled magma flow

Mother letting off steam

  These next two are professional shots by park staff, taken when the volcano is erupting.

SO wish we could have seen it like this!

pretty cool, huh?

Nana entering the lava tube

Inside the tube

Wild Hawaiian partridge-
Jon,  accustomed to finding our food for the past few months,  was tempted to grab this guy and stuff it into our backpacks for Thanksgiving dinner.

Fields of Mordor

Jon gets a budget friendly facial
Sulfur crystals
Wild Orchids

We also stopped on the way home at an awesome Orchid plantation…oooooohhhh, I want to be an orchid farmer in my next life.

This one is called PURPLE HAZE-my favorite


  1. Happy happy Birthday Hunter! Love your beautiful frock...

  2. It's - 15 degrees today and walking outside let alone spending more than 15 minutes outside can easily lead to some severe frostbite. So your (newly discovered) delightful blog coupled with beautiful pictures of tropical paradises warms me to the core and makes me think "why haven't we tried something like that"? Probably because neither my husband nor I or any of our 3 young adult children have a clue how to sail and we live nice safe lives - if you call living in a place that hosts minus 15 degrees (with -40 degree windchills) 'safe'! Thank you for sharing your sailing story and including your inner most thoughts. I hope you'll continue to write and share your story as you reintegrate yourself (that is the plan isn't it?) into the 'real' world. I haven't finished reading your blog completely (I will tho!) but will save the rest for when we're at our own little paradise nestled in the pines next to a beautiful lake (currently frozen solid) contemplating shoveling off the deep snow to create our own little ice rink for boot ice soccer and whatever else comes to mind. Thank you so much for sharing your family's story - Susan