Monday, April 15, 2013

Hawaii / Tahiti 30 Day Cruise - Day 8 Hilo

Saturday Day 8 - Hilo

Today we visit Hilo on the island of Hawaii, or the “Big Island” as it is called.  We were up early to watch our arrival, which is interesting because the harbor is pretty small for a cruise ship.  It took a tugboat to help maneuver us in.  Unlike where we docked in Honolulu, the dock in Hilo is in an industrial area with not much of anything of interest nearby to walk to.

Arriving in Hilo.
The pilot boat comes along side to drop the pilot off to guide us into the harbor.
A tugboat follows us in ready to help.
The tugboat gives the Westerdam a push to help her to dock.
Today we had booked an excursion to visit the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens which left at 9:00.  After a quick breakfast we were off the ship and on our way.  The Botanical Gardens were about a half hours drive north of Hilo on the coast and well worth the trip.  The Gardens are a tropical forest of trees, streams, waterfalls and beautiful flowers on a slope which ends at a picturesque cove.  There are a myriad of trails to take on the way to the cove, and all of them are interesting.  Being avid photographers, Val and I were in heaven, everything was so beautiful and interesting.  Being from dry Southern California, the tropical plants and lush growth were something we were not accustomed to.  The time there was way too short for us and we reluctantly boarded the shuttle and made our way back to the ship.  Here are just a few of the many pictures we took.

The entrance to the gardens.

Back at the ship we had lunch in the Lido buffet and then left the ship again.  Believe it or not we were headed for Walmart.  That seems like the last thing you would want to do on a trip to Hawaii, but we needed to buy another case of water and pick up a few things we forgot.  Walmart provided a shuttle and I can see why because a lot of our fellow passengers were waiting to go and there were many crew members who wanted to pick up supplies too.  The shuttle was a full size bus and ran every half hour and from what we could see, it was pretty full every trip. It was everyone’s last chance to stock up on things before we headed for the South Seas.

When we got back to the ship I started uploading all of the pictures we took to the computer and Val headed up to the Crow’s Nest for team trivia. Her team does well, but so far is not in the lead.  Tonight there would be a sail-away party and Hawaiian barbeque on the Lido Deck so we decided to do that instead of eating in the dining room.  The barbeque was served buffet style and the lines were pretty long, but it was worth it as the food was good.  The desserts were also good and I have to admit I went back for another round of those.

After dinner we enjoyed the balmy evening and took a stroll along around the Promenade Deck.  After that we called it a night and went back to room early where we read and relaxed until it was time for bed.  Tomorrow is our last day in Hawaii before heading into the South Pacific.

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