the volcano bus excursion was very interesting with lots of historacle island info thrown in. the only reason to not take this tour would be if your going up to haleakala on oahu later in the trip. some of the information is repeated there but the views from the different volcanos are dramatically different.
the big islands volcano, the one youve all heard of but i cant begin to pretend to spell (sounds like killawayuh) has fresh grand lava fields and your takin literally within steps of a continuing huge gas expulsion.
we chose to go on the halakela crater tour. what can i say were geology nuts. Warning. the road up the mountain is as harrowing as any you will ever be on. and being on a 60 foot long bus makes ya feel even less safe. but if ya survive the ascent you will be taken to one of the most jaw dropping landscapes you will ever see 9700 feet above sea level. so high up you can see the big island from its peak at over 110 miles away. and the crater, which is as big as you can imagine with its steep cliffs and completly baron landscape is one you wouldnt imagine is possible from such a garden paradise.
only regret is the drive takes a few hours, and if ya only have one port day on oahu can keep ya from doing lots of other things.
We snorkeled on this day. but the best part was the boat ride to the snorkeling sight. along the way we saw two mantarays feeding on the top of the water, about 50 small spinner dolphins that took a interest in our zodiac to circle us fo about 20 minutes. a pair of humpbacks that seemed to be following us for awhile. and a few bottlenosed that played in our wake for a bit.
in all honesty the snorkeling was a bit anti climatic after all of that. not near as much diversity as i saw in the carribean 20 years ago. but lots of jacks, a moray eel, and some parrotfish, that i had never encountered in the wild before topped off the afternoon nicely.
ok my opinion may not count here. wiped out from 4 days of excursions we mainly spent our time in hilo hatties and walmart restocking our provisions for the journey home. best observation i can share is whomever the politician was that promised a chicken in every pot surely had this place in his mind when he said it.