Our first stop on the Spring 2014 Voyage was Hilo, Hawaii. With only 1 day in port on the biggest island in the Hawaii chain it was tough narrowing down what to do. After catching an 8 pound bonefish on Oahu this October I was determined to catch another. Oahu has expansive flats with ample bone-fishing opportunities while the Big Island is better for off-shore fishing. I was able to connect with a local fly-fishing guide Don Memmer. Don is a school teacher as well so I was not able to fish with him but he was super helpful by pointing me in the right direction. I spent the morning throwing flies to bonefish cruising the shoreline of a saltwater pond near the town of Hilo. I had no luck hooking up but as always, casting to cruising fish is fun regardless.
That afternoon I joined a Semester at Sea field program on a trip up Mauna Kea. This massive volcano is the largest mountain in the world when measured from the sea floor. Rising up from sea level this 14,000 ft peak is an astonishing place to visit. In addition to its height the dormant volcano lies in the middle of the pacific ocean which creates little to no land turbulence and is also known for 300+ clear nights a year. These factor creates one of the best places to star-gaze conduct astronomy research in the world. Therefore, 10 countries worldwide have some serious telescopes on the summit.
10 students and I traveled to the top of the summit where we only had about 30 minutes to take pictures and enjoy the sensation of being on top of the world. It was quite different from being on top of a fourteener in Colorado. The fact that you were looking out to sea level made it feel unreal. Unfortunately we were not able to star-gaze from the top. On the trip down, with some convincing, our tour guide let us stop at the visitor center, which sits at 9,000 ft, to star gaze for about 5 minutes. Although it was 5,000 ft lower, this place still yielded an amazing view of the crystal clear sky. It gave me enough time to take a couple still photos of the night sky.
In this video, astronomy professor Iain Campbell takes us on a journey from sea level to the summit of Mauna Kea. His Scottish accent and deep appreciation for the unknown really made working on this piece interesting and fun. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I did producing it.