Will and I had a special mama-monkey date this week. We talked and talked and talked some more about what we would do on our day together. However, we just couldn’t find anything that we could agree on that was within our budget.
Enter the Lonely Planet travel guide.
Once we got to our long-term stay condo, I grabbed the book and started researching all the cool things on the south side of the island. Jackpot. I already shared the details in an earlier post, but photos were not included.
Will has been practicing his swimming in preparation for snorkeling. He took private lessons this spring to get him up to speed for ocean swimming, and the consensus was that he was ready, as long as the water is calm. He got to do a little snorkeling our second day of vacation and at first he said he loved it. Now, a few days later, he’s decided he wasn’t such a fan.
However, it is nearly impossible to keep him away from the water when he’s got his mask on. He likes to just float around and see what there is to see while his feet (or hands) can touch the ground. He might not see anything that can’t be seen from above the water, but he can certainly get a better view.
He wanted to start our mama-monkey day in the hot tub. Since I hadn’t made it to the pool yet, I thought it sounded like a great idea. I got to sit and relax while he floated around looking at the bubbles under the water’s surface. As a bonus, he would hop out to start up the jets when the timer turned them off.
Our big event for the day was caving (a.k.a. spelunking) in a lava tube. Because what could be more awesome than crawling through tunnels in the earth created by lava?? Seriously. It was awesome. We went to Kula Kai Caverns, a place that defines “off the beaten path.” The cavern is in a development with a gate requiring a code, under 24-hour surveillance. That alone lent a little extra sense of adventure to our trip. We drove across a lava field where houses are being built on some rather inhospitable ground. As cool as it sounds to live on a lava field, in practice it doesn’t look so fun. Black rock as far as the eye can see… or at least until the ocean. Okay, so it’s not all bad.
Anyway, people are buying up property here and putting up “Keep Out” signs all over the place. This is disappointing for conservationists who believe the land should remain open to the public. So a group of scientists are trying to buy up all the land in order to keep it available for people like us who want to experience these marvels of nature.
Will was mostly excited about the hard hat and head lamp. They were pretty sweet.
This was one of the most narrow gaps we crawled through. Most of the tour was standing, although we still had to walk bent at the waist most of the time. We had knee pads and gloves to keep the rocks from cutting us to shreds. Unfortunately, Will’s knee pads just wouldn’t stay put. If it weren’t for that, we were going to try crawling up a steep rocky incline through an even smaller gap than this.
Our guide, Victor, was great. He spent over 30 minutes before our expedition talking to us about the geology of the island. He showed us how it was formed, how it continues to form, the location of the volcanoes, and which ones are expected to erupt when. He was so excited to share his knowledge and it was contagious. Will and I both loved hearing his stories. It was a private tour, so it was just the three of us. Because of this, he was constantly checking to make sure we were doing okay and seeing what we wanted to see.
When we left, Will asked if we could go back to see Victor again sometime. I think he made a customer for life!
Our tour was short enough to leave time for more exploring, so we decided to go to South Point, the southernmost place in the U.S. South Point is an interesting place. For one, it’s just cool to say we’ve been as far south in the country as possible. Not many can say that. It was a 12-mile drive from the highway to get here. Those 12 miles probably took an hour over rough, windy roads. People had set up camp on the rocks at the water’s edge. It didn’t seem like an entirely pleasant campsite, as the wind blows so hard that the trees grow sideways (no joke). Turns out these folks, along with several others at a little camping commune up the road, are waiting for the aliens to arrive (also no joke). Yep, there are more than a few individuals who are convinced that this is where the E.T.s will make their appearance. Why South Point, I don’t know. Seems it would be tough to land their aircraft with all the wind.
We didn’t see any aliens, but the view was pretty spectacular. Definitely a trip worth making. Especially with my monkey.