As mentioned previously, my last trip to Hawaii left me considering our relationship to our cameras and the images they make. A tour of Honolulu made me broadly aware of the spectrum of motivation behind our image-making; does a photograph make a document, and if so, is the document of the subject in front of the camera or the one behind it?
On day twelve, we arrived in Vancouver in British Columbia (Canada). This day was a whirlwind that included disembarkation from Solstice, a customs inspection in the Canadian port, a U.S. border crossing, almost ten hours on a bus, a red eye flight from Seattle to Chicago, a two hour lay over at O’Hare Airport, a one hour flight back to St. Louis, and time spent tracking down our luggage (which somehow made it to Akron, Ohio). Yes, exhausting….
Still, we somehow made time to do a little exploring in Vancouver and in Seattle.
The Celebrity Solstice ship that we stayed upon during the duration of our vacation is one of eleven ships in the Celebrity fleet, and at over 1,000 feet long and 122,000 tons is the 31st largest cruise ship active today (it is an awful comparison, but the ship is 200 feet longer and almost three times heavier than the Titanic). In terms of amenities, the 16 decks on Solstice offer a half-acre of living grass, a basketball court, the Cornish Hot Glass Studio, an arcade, a casino, and a 1,000+ seat theatre, in addition to the restaurants, pools, and shops that you probably expect. Live music and entertainment was provided each night while at sea, and the ship even coordinates shore excursions for a fee. It goes almost without saying then that there is always something to do while aboard. However, the truly special element for us was the crew, who remembered us from day to day and took a personal interest in our family. This was so important to our son, who really enjoyed visiting his new friends.
Arriving in Hilo, Hawaii on day six, we were pleasantly surprised to realize that there was room for our massive cruise ship to dock (tendering back and forth eats up a lot of exploring time).
On this day, we rented another vehicle (a car this time) and set out to see Rainbow Falls, Hilo Farmer’s Market (one of the state’s largest with over 200 vendors), and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
A beautiful sunrise over distant mountaintops greeted our ship as it cruised into the harbor of Kona-Kailua on Hawaii (the “Big Island”). After tendering ashore, we joined the group again for another bus tour, this time to visit the Royal Kona Coffee factory, St. Benedict’s Painted Church, and Pu’uhonua o Honaunau (the Place of Refuge). When the tour completed, we explored the town of Kona-Kailua.