We arrived in Hilo this morning around 8 am. Again, I was up at 6 am to see the sunrise (so worth it!) I made all my “Hi, I made it to Hawaii” phone calls to my family and texted my friends. While I was on the phone with my Grandma, I was able to see a group of whales jumping out of the water. Of course my Grandma found it hilarious how mid-conversation I said, “Hold on! There are whales jumping out of the water!!” After going on a whale watch in Boston and realizing those whales typically don’t jump out of the water, it was a really cool to see.
Even though we arrived at 8 am, it was a long process to get off the ship. Since we arrived from Mexico, we had to go through immigration, which we will have to do at every port.
Once we were allowed to get off the ship, around 10ish, I of course being thrilled to be in Hawaii, was a little too excited… I left my key in my room. After running up and down the stairs, I was finally able to get off the ship!
My friend Justin and I tried to meet up with a group of friends, but we couldn’t get in touch with them. So the two of us walked around Hilo for a little trying to figure out what to do. We found a group of SAS kids who were waiting for a shuttle ride to one of the black sand beaches. We decided to join them, until we arrived. We lucked out that there was a tour of about 13 SAS students, so we asked the tour guide if we could join.
We went to a Japanese garden, which was beautiful and relaxing. And a perfect little preview of our next stop in Japan! We stopped to get lunch at one of the best lunch places. Justin tried some raw fish thing, which I thought was gross. One of my goals for this semester is to try something new everyday and put myself out of my comfort zone, but raw fish is where I draw the line! We continued on our adventurous journey to Akaka falls. There was a walking trail through a small rainforest and at the end was a beautiful waterfall. Then we saw a second waterfall, Rainbow falls. We all walked up to the top of the waterfall, where a lot of SAS students were hanging out and swimming. I ended up climbing through the rocks with Justin and a few other people to get a closer look at the waterfall. I was able to get right to the edge, which was pretty scary! After that, we made our way to the macadamia nut factory in Hilo. I of course got macadamia nuts and Hershey kisses with macadamia nuts inside… AMAZING J
We made our way back to the ship and got ready for the night. Justin started playing the piano and we hung out waiting for our friends to get back from their field labs. Andrea and I saw Bishop Tu Tu walking towards us, so we told Justin to play a good song. Justin had those blue tinted reflexive sunglasses on his head, and when Bishop Tu Tu walked by he stopped, pauses, and starts laughing say “I thought you had blue lights comin’ out of your head!” It was the cutest and funniest thing.
Once everyone was back on the ship and ready to go out, we made our way to Ken’s Diner, which is a 24/7 breakfast place. I had already eaten something on the ship, so I got a bagel. After dinner we walked around Hilo in the rain looking for something to do. There was a hotel where a lot of students were partying, but we decided not to go there. Being kind of cold and tired, some of us decided to walk back to the ship.
My friends went through boat security before me, and when I swipe my card and the security guy stops me saying “wait a minute... this isn’t you.” My ID picture is the same as my passport picture, which was taken in August. So I’m really tan and my hair was up. Tonight, I’m not as tan, my hair was down and I now have side bangs. I laughed and told him it was me… I didn’t know what else say since it was actually me! Luckily, he looked at my picture long enough to be convinced it was me.
We ended up hanging out in the Union talking before going to bed. And that was my exciting first day in Hawaii!