It was an easy sell to our adult children and their spouses to join us on Hawaii's Big Island for the Holidays. As a young family we frequented this special place almost yearly, usually in the spring, and we hold many fond memories of our time exploring there. In fact our passion for birding was given a major boost by a chance meeting in the 1990's with a local naturalist and entrepreneur, Rob Pachenco. His company, Hawaii Forest & Trail, has flourished and is a model of responsible ecotourism in the region. In fact we arranged several exploratory excursions into the Mauna Kea rainforests with HFT naturalist and bird specialist Garry Dean, who had guided us on our last visit to the island in 2004.
And of course not to be missed is a journey into Volcanoes National Park which we did and spent a beautiful day into the evening in the shadow of the great Kilauea Crater, one of the few accessible active volcanoes in the world. It has been erupting continuously for 29 years! So include some spectacular snorkeling, body surfing and opportunity to get up close and personal with a newly born humpback whale calf and its mother all in a primordial setting of moonscape lava rock with average dry temperatures of 80 degrees...it was magical. Since there is much to review from this expedition we will explore through several posts.