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Big Island, Hawaii

A highlight of the trip was watching the clouds roll in during sunset on Mauna Kea (we found a small hill near the visitors' center that had a great view), and later looking through the telescopes that the volunteers had set up near the visitors' center --- we saw globular star clusters, nebula and other astronomical objects through the dark skies. Another highlight was the hikes that we did in Volcanoes National Park, including some repeats like the Kilauea Iki hike that brought back memories of our younger days. We also enjoyed spending a few hours at the Hilo Zoo. Another highlight was all the snorkeling we did at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau (two step), Kahalu'u and especially kayaking and snorkeling at the Captain Cook monument. We decided to save on hotels and to splurge on food, and we enjoyed good meals at Bistro Yokohama (in Kailua Kona, the misoyaki butterfish is highly recommended), the Big Island Grill (fantastic Kailua pork), and the Hilo Bay Cafe.

_mg_1821 Serene on the beach in Waipi'o Valley. _mg_1823 Some parks have resident dogs, Waipi'o valley has a resident horse. _mg_1824 Serene finally noticing the horse. _mg_1825 Serene acting like a good tourist. img_3215 Foliage along the trail to Akaka falls. img_3232 Serene's economist paper crane in its nest on the window of our Hilo hotel. img_3246 Serene spent a lot of time on this trip photographing fiddleheads. img_3257 We took a photo near this spot on the Kilauea Iki trail almost 10 years ago. _mg_1886 Fern in a lava  tree, Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. _mg_1916 Petroglyphs at Pu'u Loa, Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. img_3352 This sign is at the Mauna Kea visitor center. _mg_1957 Serene and I waiting for sunset on Mauna Kea. img_3394 _mg_2003 Craters on Mauna Kea just a few moments before sunset. _mg_2015 Sunset on Mauna Kea, Big Island of Hawaii. _mg_2024 Serene enjoying the sunset on Mauna Kea; it was windy and cold by then. img_3406 Pu'uhonua o Honaunau. The snorkeling nearby was really good; only Captain Cook was  better. img_3413 There were these few birds always sitting outside the hotel restaurant for breakfast everyday. img_3433 Bananas and a flower at the Greenwell Coffee plantation. We enjoyed the coffee  tour there. img_3444 Halfway down the trail to Pololu beach. img_3449 Serene at Hapuna beach. We didn't spend much time on beaches on this trip.