One of the lecturers on the ship had discussed different types of volcanically formed islands. The big island of Hawaii is formed by three volcanoes oozing lava out from the summit and other fissures, building up layers and creating a typical “shield” volcano, so named for its resemblance to a warrior’s shield laying on the ground. As we approached Hilo, this shape was apparent, although clouds made it difficult to see the entire shape.
We docked and tied up, a procedure I always enjoy watching – quite a process.
There is an interesting aspect when a long cruise hits its first port. The biggest line is not the volcano tour, nor the beach tour, it is the shuttle to WalMart to buy all the stuff everyone forgot to pack. We were on the shuttle. After WalMart, we headed downtown for a stroll, on the main drag, which is right on the waterfront. Nice little laid back town, lots of aging hippies and homeless types – must be the weather. The local folks were preparing for some sort of festival and were setting up booths on the street.
We hailed a Taxi for the trip back, and since he was on the meter, instead of “flat rate”, we took a little side trip to Banyan Drive – this is the closest thing to an attraction in Hilo, unless you count Hilo Hatties, the original Hawaiian shirt place. Banyan Drive is so named not just because of the many Banyan trees, but for who planted them. Each one was planted by a famous person (some not so famous – some infamous). If you have never seen a Banyan, they are fascinating trees, with their roots dropping down from upper limbs, forming a maze of “mini tree trunks”. The only place I have seen them in the continental US is in Key West, but maybe they grow elsewhere.
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Tree
Cecil Demille’s Tree
Queen Elizabeth’s Grandfather
The driver said that Tricky Dick’s first tree died, and he had to return and plant another!