July 2008 Log

A photo diary of life in Hilo Hawaii







We went to the Home Show in Hilo this weekend. It was held in the same stadium where Merrie Monarch takes place.

Hilo Home Show Hawaii

It was not as well attended as previous years, but it was fun to go and see the displays.

Hilo Home Show displays Hawaii

Hilo Hawaii Home Show


UHH was ranked 3rd in the Top 10 Sexiest Beach Schools by College on the Record. It resulted in some flames in the comment section.


Golf in Hilo

Hilo has a very nice 18 hole municipal golf course with a driving range and great views overlooking Hilo Bay.

Hilo Bay from Hilo Golf course

The greens are large and quite nice because of the rain and the fairways are long.

Hilo municipal golf club

There is a snack bar, pro shop, and golf cart rental.

Golf carts at Hilo Golf course


This weekend we went to the Big Island Music Festival in the Hilo Highschool's auditorium. It was interesting to hear the music by big names and young talent in ukulele and slack key guitar.

Hilo Highschool - Big Island Music Festival

We learned from Ken Cameron, owner of Hilo guitars and ukuleles, that slack key guitar is tuned to a chord; that way the player can make a chord by just strumming.

This song by John Keawe about the Big Island of Hawaii being his home was wonderful!


We swim every week day at the small, friendly NAS pool in Hilo. There is another pool in Hilo, the Kawamoto Swim Stadium. This huge swimming pool complex is 25 yards wide and 50 meters long. We went there this week to swim laps.

Hilo Kawamoto Pool

The pool is set up for swim competitions with a covering, seating, large bathrooms, score boards, etc. The deep end is over 16 feet to accomodate diving.

Hilo Kawamoto pool diving boards

We had a great time swimming laps at Kawamoto; it is not crowded and is very clean. The pool temperature is cold in the winter, but this time of year the temperature was perfect.

There is a morning Masters swim team and other competitive swim teams that meet daily at the pool.

Hilo Hawaii Kawamoto Swim complex


Update: Thanks to the YachtForums, the yacht below was identified as ICE (formally AIR) made by Lurssen and owned by Suleiman Kerimov, Russian oil and gas multi-millionaire. A recent article about him says he is buying stakes in Western banks; perhaps he is in town to buy into some of the Hawaiian owned banks.


We had a visitor in Hilo bay this week. Check this out, this yacht has 4 stories and a helicoper!

Yacht in Hilo Bay

yacht in Hilo Bay


We were headed to our swimming aerobics this morning at the NAS pool and caught this picture of the military pilots from Oahu practicing landing and taking off at Hilo airport.

Hilo airplane landing practice

The NAS pool is located next to the old airport facilities. The pool was part of the Naval Air Station built in Hilo near the end of WWII. Hilo airport has two runways, one which is very long and perfect to practice landings and takeoffs. The pilots fly over to Hilo from Oahu and repeatedly land and takeoff.. We watch them land, as well as the morning Hawaiian Airlines and Go flights, while we are in the pool which keeps us entertained.

Fun in the pool in Hilo

Swimming daily is one of the many fun things we do in Hilo and this summer it has been particularily glorious with the warm pool water and bright sunlight.


A fountain of lava spewed over 40 feet high in a Kilauea breakout about 2 miles east of the Pu'u'o'o vent and 6 miles from the ocean. Since the breakout, sulfur dioxide emissions have doubled mostly impacting the Ka'u district and Kona.

USGS Lava flow near Hilo, Hawaii

Here is USGS film of the surprise lava fountain on July 6. It takes a while for the movie to load, but it is worth the wait. The video shows other lava breakouts, all potentially new vents on Kilauea that may emit toxic gasses and lava in concert with the Pu'u'o'o vent and Halema'umanu vents already going off. A close-up of the fountaining lava starts in the middle of the video. Seeing it is another reminder that the nearby volcano is very alive and powerful.


The crowds filled Hilo Parks for an evening fireworks show.

Hilo Picnic Hilo park crowd

Hilo fireworks

Hilo fireworks

Hilo fireworks


Five breaks in the lava tubes connected to the Pu`u `O`o vent have recently occurred, likely due to increased lava flow that overflowed the tubes. The two eruptions, the Halema`uma`u vent in Kilauea caldera and the Pu`u `O`o vent between the town of Volcano and Hilo have been simultaneous erupting for 3 months. The eruptions and vog that is being generated is showing no signs of going away.

Below is a closeup of a breakout. Picture courtesy of USGS images.

USGS New volcano vents Hawaii

Sulfur dioxide is pouring out of both vents and lava continues to flow to the ocean as well as out of the ruptured tubes. You can see the Halema`uma`u vent in Kilauea caldera from several locations in Volcanoes National Park. You can view the lava flow into the ocean with the crowds by driving through Puna to the end of the road where a Hawaii County lava viewing area has been set up in Kalpana. The Pu`u `O`o vent is off limits to visitors.

USGS Lava Viewing Hawaii

Kilauea status reports from USGS


Our relatives came to Kona for their vacation and so we decided to join them and be tourists for a couple of days in Kona.

The drive there was really scenic. We went via the Hamakua coast, past the town of Honoka'a and

, Hamakua coast of Big Island Road by Honokaa, Hawaii

up through Waimea and down into Kawaihae (the other port on the Big Island besides Hilo)

Road to Waimea, Hawaii Road to Kaiwaihai, Hawaii

and along the Kohala coast toward the Kona coast and into the Kailua-Kona traffic.

Kona traffic

Our favorite place to stay in Kona is at the Kona Islander Inn which has very reasonable room prices that are close to everything on Ali'i Drive. (full disclosure - we own a condo in the islander that we rent through Kona Islander Inn Resort) We keep the trip cheap by eating breakfast in our room on the lanai and cooking fish for dinner on the gas barbeques next to the pool and hot tub. We go out on the town for lunch, which is much cheaper than dinner. And we like going out for drinks after dinner to check out the Kona night life and watch the crowds.

While in Kona this time, we enjoyed some of the touristy things with our relatives like a luau, a snorkle boat trip, and night snorkeling adventure with the manta rays. These tours are almost half price if you attend a morning session on buying a time-share, which our visiting relatives chose to endure.

The Bodyglove snorkel tour serves donut holes for breakfast and deli sandwiches for lunch. The boat is nice, but the location they take you is mediocre for snorkeling.

Bodyglove tour in Kona Bodyglove tour in Kona

The water is too deep to see much while snorkeling. The water was cold and very rough as well.

Bodyglove tour in Kona Bodyglove snorkle tour in Kona

Bodyglove normally runs 3 boats with multiple groups each day. They currently are only running one boat and carrying half the number of passengers.

Bodyglove tour in Kona

We saw a pod dolphins on the way back. You can see the vog collecting on the hill side above Kailua-Kona.

dolphin pod in Kona

We wish we had taken the boat to Kealakekua Bay where the Captain cook monument is located and snorkeling is better. Apparently, only a few boat operators have permits to go there.

The night manta ray swim was awesome. There are many daily boat tours that take snorkelers and divers to a location near Kona airport with lights located under the water. We took Neptune Charlies. The lights draw plankton which draws in schools of fish and manta rays. We were given powerful flash lights which drew the manta rays directly towards us floating up at the top of the ocean. Many people were terrified of the 1 ton, 24 foot span manta rays swimming very close with open mouths.

manta rays in Kona, Hawaii

While in Kona we also snorkeled at our favorite Kahalu'u Beach Park and participated in the Kona UCC Coffee marathon by walking the 5K event up and down Ali'i drive.

Convict Tang school in Kona

The snorkeling wasn't as good as May, but we saw some turtles and they are always fun to see.

The Island Breeze Luau at King Kamehameha Beach Hotel was packed with 450 people.

Luau crowd in Kona

The food was good and plentiful.

Luau food in Kona

The dances were entertaining (tourist-ized polynesian dancing) and the hosts were very gracious.

Luau entertainment in Kona

The view was great of Kailua Bay and the growing vog.

Luau dining in Kona

The last dance was a fire dance. Quite impressive.

Luau fire dance in Kona

We were happy to return to quiet Hilo, without the stressed tourists and thick vog.

Previous June 2008 Hilo Log posts


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