The Five-0 Dream comes true, Part 5: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

(YES this is a super late post. WHOOO. My Hawaii trip actually happened in June 2016! If you missed my previous posts, I talked about presenting my research at the International Coral Reef Symposium, exploring Diamond Head, the Waikiki Aquarium, and the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology, eating my way around Hawai’i, and my souvenirs from the trip. And don’t mind the numbering of the posts. There WILL be a part 4 that covers an entire day going around Honolulu, but I managed to write this one first so I decided to post this first.)

We took Hawaiian Airlines’ 5:00 am flight to Hilo because it was the only one I could book using my Delta Skymiles. Used to NAIA’s rule of being at the airport two hours before a domestic flight, we were at the airport by 3:00 am. Too bad Honolulu International Airport and the check-in counters only open at 4:00 am so we had to wait outside on the concrete steps.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and Mauna Kea were our non-negotiables for this island. Pro tip: prepare for cold weather. We think Hawai’i is all endless sunshine and humidity but it does get cold, rainy, and windy, especially as you go up the volcanoes. Wear layers and a woolly hat and bring a rain jacket. Also wear comfortable hiking shoes (no to flip-flops and sandals!) as you’ll be scrambling over areas of uneven terrain in the parks.

A photo posted by Jem Baldisimo (@findingjemo) on

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Hawksbill sea turtles on the beach

Just when I think of leaving, El Nido gives me a reason to stay. In this case, El Nido gave me 50 reasons.

Hawksbill sea turtle hatchling on the beach. Maybe he's waiting for the right wave.