Oh the joy of it all… We woke this morning and in the new light of day we discover how close we are to the sea. We finally have found tropical lush green Hawaii on the Hilo ‘wet side’ of Big Island. Our balcony view from our budget hotel built on black lava is heaven. All night loud frogs chirped and they were overthrown by morning birds. There are also more Mongoose hanging around the gardens. Although an introduced pest they sure are cute.
Then off it was to the airport for our BIG adventure of the day – hunting lava. We originally planned to hike in however the lava flow is too far to walk and the hike companies are not operating. So the only way to view Kilauea Volcano now is via helicopter.
We had come all this way so chartered one for an hour. You can pick to have the doors off, we were all a bit nervous but it was super awesome. It was like our own live 4D movie, smells, heat, wind and epic close up views of the volcano park and current flow areas.
Because we chartered the helicopter apparently the rules are more flexible and he can go lower so we can feel the heat and really get a good view. It was heart pounding jaw dropping stuff. The volcano is considered to be quiet at the moment, so the lava was slow and tame.
We could talk to one another through the headsets and the kids were having a ball. Geoff and Gracie were in the front with Pete and Bailey and I were in the back. Our pilot Pete was great, taking us right around the neat spots. This included the current lava flow area burning into the forest, top of the current flow crater, lava tube and the last town eaten by lava. The whole area is vast, as far as the eye can see black and smoking.
Pete says the current rift zone were the lava is escaping is right on a fault line. When he lined it up in the sky and we looked each way we could see the line of smoke and lava. Kilauea has been active now for about 30 years. Its the most active volcano in the world. Thats a long time spewing lava. Each day Big Island grows a little bigger thanks to Kilauea.
On the way back Pete showed us a few waterfalls, then it was back to Hilo airport. We were all so tired. So tired that after lunch at the local diner I fell asleep on the beach flat on my back on the rocky volcanic shore while the kids swam. Now that is tired for someone who very rarely sleeps during the day. The kids had a bath when we got home from the black beach. It looked like someone cleaned a coffee grinder in there. The sand is course and jet black.