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Big Island observatory tour operators?

DaveNW

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Going to be on the Big Island next summer. Our group of four adults is considering booking a tour up Mauna Kea to “do” the observatory thing. Does anyone have firsthand experience with any particular tour operator, and have pro/con comments to share?

Normally, I’d just drive it, but I don’t want to have to pack heavy coats and such. ;)

Dave
 

geoand

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Can’t help with operator, but strongly urge to go when the Moon is not out!!!

I have not made many, any at all maybe, it was the most “Holy Moly” view l have seen.
 

DaveNW

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After looking more into this, I think we’ll skip it. Not only will the moon be a factor, but the only tour I’m seeing charges nearly $250 per head for the trip. Not sure our group would want to spend $1000 for this.

Dave
 

lynne

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Because of the controversy with the thirty meter telescope, the road to the observatories as well as the visitor center have been closed. There are no tours and many tour operators have closed shop. It has been going on since July and we do not have any idea when, or if it will be resolved.

https://www.cnet.com/news/the-controversy-over-the-thirty-meter-telescope/
 

DaveNW

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SmithOp

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And if you drive over the saddle watch your speed and seatbelts 5-0 has written over 500 tickets since they are stationed there to watch the protesters. There is a portable traffic light set up so they can cross the road.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
 

DaveNW

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And if you drive over the saddle watch your speed and seatbelts 5-0 has written over 500 tickets since they are stationed there to watch the protesters. There is a portable traffic light set up so they can cross the road.


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Thanks! Good to know. We will be driving the Saddle Rd from Hilo back to Kona one of the days.

Dave
 

easyrider

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We were told to just drive to the top and bring our coat. We went on a nice day so it was an easy drive. We saw many tour operators with tourists way over-dressed in gear. I didn't think it was that cold the day we went. I drove a Dodge Charger and saw others in smaller cars like a Nisan Sentra. The gravel section of the road is an easy grade. All of the hard grades are paved.

The observatory was really cool. The moon did come out eventually and looking at the moon with a big telescope and having an astronomer present to explain what we were looking at was really cool.

The protests will likely be over by next year so maybe you can check it out if you want. If you do drive to the top and the car will not start it is likely because the gas tank can't vent. Pop the gas cap and burp the tank. This actually happened to us, lol.

Bill
 

DaveNW

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Thanks, Bill. I’ll keep my ears open about this.

Dave
 

WinniWoman

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Going to be on the Big Island next summer. Our group of four adults is considering booking a tour up Mauna Kea to “do” the observatory thing. Does anyone have firsthand experience with any particular tour operator, and have pro/con comments to share?

Normally, I’d just drive it, but I don’t want to have to pack heavy coats and such. ;)

Dave
We absolutely loved this tour:
https://maunakea.com/

They picked us up at the resort. We went up at sunset- omg- and then had a star gazing. Yes- we needed the heavy duty coats and gloves that they supplied. We went into Kona earlier and got some warmer clothes as well.

I put this on the most incredible experience we have ever had list. The money we spent was worth it.
 
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geoand

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We were told to just drive to the top and bring our coat. We went on a nice day so it was an easy drive. We saw many tour operators with tourists way over-dressed in gear. I didn't think it was that cold the day we went. I drove a Dodge Charger and saw others in smaller cars like a Nisan Sentra. The gravel section of the road is an easy grade. All of the hard grades are paved.

The observatory was really cool. The moon did come out eventually and looking at the moon with a big telescope and having an astronomer present to explain what we were looking at was really cool.

The protests will likely be over by next year so maybe you can check it out if you want. If you do drive to the top and the car will not start it is likely because the gas tank can't vent. Pop the gas cap and burp the tank. This actually happened to us, lol.

Bill
My mechanical skills are nada, however, no matter how small the car is, I wouldn’t be able to lift it to my shoulder for a proper burping.
 

easyrider

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My mechanical skills are nada, however, no matter how small the car is, I wouldn’t be able to lift it to my shoulder for a proper burping.
lol. :D

Sometimes the vent in a gas tank will not vent properly because of a change in atmospheric pressure. This can cause the fuel to hydro-lock. Opening the gas cap equalizes the atmospheric pressure which is often called burping the tank.

Bill
 
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