A year ago, I was on my way to the South Pacific via Hawaii. I spent a week on the Big Island, of which three days were on the Hilo side. Now that visitors with a COVID check may travel to Hawaii, and it is a popular winter destination, I thought I’d write about things to do in Hilo. Find the list below:EXPLORE!
A long time ago, I read an article about SCUBA diving in underwater, ancient ruins near Istanbul. I thought that would be cool to do, so it has stayed with me for years. Having said that, during my six week trip to the Middle East which included Oman, Israel, and Turkey, SCUBA Diving didn’t make the list.
Instead, I signed up for a two-week tour through the western half of Turkey with G-Adventures, a budget-minded National Geographic Company. Having completed little research and being rather dependent on the tour company, I was surprised to learn that there were underwater ruins in Kekova, one of the destinations on our travels.SAIL AWAY!
Dating as far back as 5,000 BC Oman was the center of the frankincense trade. Before the 7th century, during pre-Islamic times, it prospered through the trade of copper. Later, Oman came under the leadership of the Bani Nabhan Dynasty which lasted 500 years where it suffered many civil wars between the tribal factions and the Sultan’s forces.EXPLORE MUSCAT!
After four weeks of island hopping in the South Pacific, I met my friends, Julie and Dustin, in the Solomon Islands. Because I had planned so much of my first four weeks in American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu, I relied heavily on Julie and Dustin for planning in the Solomons. As a result, I knew very little about the country which gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1978.
The sovereign state includes six major islands and over 900 smaller ones. During our visit to the Solomon Islands, we began in its capital, Honiara, and traveled west through the Central Province to the Western Province with the Taka dive boat. Ultimately, we ended our journey in Munda.EXPLORE
After island hopping around the South Pacific for a month, I finally joined my friends, Julie and Dustin, in the Solomons. We originally met while snorkeling with the humpbacks eight years ago, and every few years we end up in another part of the world together, usually on a dive boat live aboard. After a few days in Honiara, we boarded the Taka along with 12 other guests.
Our pick up took place at 6pm at the Coral Sea Resort, though was slightly delayed due to the rainy weather. Lupa had us sign waivers in the pavilion while Adam coordinated both the transport of our bags in the tender to our boat, as well as the transport of the passengers. When the rain decreased to a sprinkle, the crew zipped back and forth in the tender, taking about four of us at a time to our home for the next week.GO DIVING
Getting to the Solomons
After four weeks of island hopping, I joined my friends in the Solomons after an unusual connecting flight through Fiji. The gentleman in my row asked me to carry his alcohol through immigration. I’m sure it was just due to a limit, but entering a foreign country, I politely replied, “No, thank you.” Upon a second attempt, to which I said no again, he told me I wasn’t being very nice!
A few folks behind us overheard, and at the end of the flight, they wanted to know more. In the end, I learned, one lady sails her boat around the world. Envious, I said, I wish I met you while in Vanuatu, I always find myself wanting to be on islands that are only accessible to boats. She told me for the future, I could just go to a website call Crew Seekers. Hello! That’s how I’ll be doing some of my future trips.EXPLORE
Continuing my island hop through the South Pacific, which has included Hawaii, American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga, and now Vanuatu, I flew from Espiritu Santo to Efate. Efate is the most populous island in the archipelago and is home to the capital of Vanuatu, Port Vila. The island, which was used as the locale for the Tales of the South Pacific as well as for three seasons of Survivor, many times is simply referred to as Vila.LET’S GO
Getting to Santo
Continuing my journey around the South Pacific, I visited another island in Vanuatu, Epiritu Santo (better known as Santo to islanders). I arrived in Santo after taking a connecting flight from Tanna through Port Vila. Once again, the flight left 30 minutes early after the headcount was taken and all expected passengers were on board.
I was now aware of Air Vanuatu’s strict guidelines for electronic devices and didn’t turn on my phone during take off or landing. Additionally, I made sure and every item was substantially under the forward seat for the drill sergeant flight attendants.LET’S GO
After two weeks of no cell service and one week of no WiFi while in the Solomon Islands, I’m back online to post about my previous adventures in Vanuatu. What a wonderful place! The archipelago, which gained independence from France in 1980, comprises 82 islands, of which 65 are inhabited.
Vanuatu is a very poor South Pacific Nation whose mainstays are agriculture, tourism, offshore financial services, and cattle raising. Citizenship may be purchased for $150,000, and many Chinese have been moving onto the islands.
The National language is Bislama, similar to Pidgin English, and the official languages are French, English and Bislama. It’s amazing these islanders that have so little are at least tri-lingual and maybe more as many have a tribal dialect too. I’d just like to be bilingual which I’m working on with my next trip to Panama in a Spanish submersion school.LET’S GO
My island hop adventure has taken me from Hawaii, to American Samoa, to Samoa, and now Tonga. I knew nothing of Tonga prior to making my reservations. After browsing my Pacific Island travel guide, I learned the people are devout Christians and island doesn’t cater much to tourists. Not knowing what to expect, I was a little nervous about visiting, especially via Talofa Airways.LET’S GO