Day 3, Tuesday, March 24
Our day today started with a 260 mile tour of the island. Our first stop was at a coffee place. Kona apparently grows the best coffee in the world. Since coffee doesn't interest us much, I spent the time at that stop trying to make travel arrangements for our snorkeling expedition the next day. Back on the bus and another stop we made was at the beautiful black sand beach of Punalou. This was a cool beach. You walked on the solid cooled lava. Check it out! You can see the ripples! Off to the side it was literally black sand, which makes sense because the whole island is created out of the lava. Basking in the sun on the beach was a sea turtle or two. They are protected here so you can't get too close, except for Sherri, she about walked on one because she didn't notice it there! It was incredibly windy at this beach, if you can't tell.
We were able to take a stroll through the Thurston Lava Tube. That was amazing. It was so big! Hard to imagine lava running through there.
We ate lunch at the Volcano House in Volcano National Park. The views were really neat. We didn't get to spend much time at lunch because we were headed to Jagger Museum and to view the smoking crater....no lava though so don't worry, we just had to be careful not to breathe the gasses since that could be hazardous to our health! Also, we learned a story about the Ohi'a tree. This tree only grows on the lava beds. It is a very strong tree, hard to kill. Some can even withstand the flowing lava. The story goes that Pele, the fire goddess who lives in the volcano, fell in love with a young warrior, Ohi'a. Ohi'a was in love with and planned to marry Lehua. Pele fell very jealous that Ohi'a wouldn't leave Lehua for her, so she turned him into a tree. A tree that would only grow on the lava beds- near her. Here is where the legend can differ. One story goes that Lehua went to the Kahunas and begged them to turn Ohi'a back, but they were unable to undo Pele's curse, but they were able to turn her into the flower. Another story says that Pele felt bad afterward because Lehua was so sad to be separated from her love that Pele turned her into the flower so she could be with him. At any rate, to this day, Hawaiians believe that if you pick the flower from the tree, it will rain. These are the tears of Lehua for being separated from her love, Ohi'a again. Here is a flower from this tree.
We finally returned to the hotel around 5:00. Just in time to stop by the Stampin' Up! hospitality desk for a spin on the wheel for free products, and to get ready to go to dinner. After we spin the wheel and get our freebies, we put our ticket into a drawing for an i pod. Every night SU! gave away 5 red I Pods engraved with the SU! Logo. I got my freebies (the picture shows all the freebies collected from the wheel during the whole trip) and entered the drawing and shortly after we got back to our room, I got a phone call, I won an I Pod!!! Yippee!! Oh, and I dropped by the Make and Take hall to pick up my supply packet. I didn't have time to stamp my projects while we were in Hawaii, but the supplies (ink pads, stamp set, and such) were packaged in this cute box. I took a picture of the contents, but forgot to remove the stamps. I can't show you the stamps because they are not yet released, cute set though, you'll just have to trust me.
We were invited to have dinner with Brent Steele. He is the Vice President of Creative Services at Stampin' Up!. It was a fabulous dinner. As a thank you for inviting us, I made a little smores kit for him. I used a Fusion Flowers tin to hold it all.
Our pillow gift that night was this adorable pouch made from tea leaves. I didn't want to open it, but curiosity just kills me, and it was filled with all sorts of yummy island snacks!
Well, that was a busy day, and so you'll have to stay tuned for our snorkeling adventure tomorrow!