Serene and I spent a week on the Big Island of Hawaii between September 5 - 11. Between being constrained to domestic destinations, finding cheap air tickets, and not seeing everything that we wanted to on the Big Island on our previous trip almost 10 years ago, we quickly decided to return to the Big Island.
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.