Exploring the Big Island
16 January 2013 | Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Just before setting sail from Apataki for Hawaii we got a call from Terry's old boss asking if he'd do a job for him while in Hawaii. Terry said yes, because we knew we'd be spending many months in Hawaii and he could certainly spare some time to earn some extra cash. Well, as it turns out it was a great deal for us -- not just for all the new boat parts its helped us buy -- but for the great opportunity to explore the Big Island: Hawaii.
We are based on Oahu but the job is near Hilo on the Big Island. We had no desire to keep our boat over in that rainy area so Rosie and I hold down the fort while Terry goes off to work in Hilo. Since the company provides him with a truck and a hotel it has been a great opportunity for me to fly over there when he has a weekend off and do some sightseeing.
My first trip over we traveled to the Kona side and visited with our friend Vicky on Inspiration at Sea who was staying in the Waimea area with friends. But this last weekend we finally got up to Volcanoes National Park (we'd hoped to on my first visit but were met with heavy rain those days) and it was an unexpected treat.
Having hiked over lots of lava fields and and viewing the huge caldara on Isla Isabella in the Galapagos, I expected more of the same. Even though I knew Kilauea is an active volcano I didn't expect to really see the activity, so it was an exciting day traveling around to the different viewing sights and seeing (and hearing the rumbling) in the crater and driving down the Chain of Craters Road to the Pacific Ocean where the lava has been flowing into the ocean since 1986. It was eerie to see the the asphalt of the road abruptly covered by thick lava when it flowed over it in 2003. There is still a Road Closed sign sticking out of the lava several feet from the end of the road,
We also traveled outside of the park to the Hawaii County Kalapana Lava Viewing Site, traveling down Highway 130 until it comes to an abrupt end. This, at the moment, is the best place to get close to the lava flows. It is also one of the strangest areas because of all the homesteaders "lava dwellers" who have built "off the grid" homes right on the lava fields.
It was an amazing day -- and we made a return trip up to view the crater that night, but with the rain we only saw a white glow and heard the other worldly rumblings, and not the orange glow that it often displays.
I've added an album to the right of our trip to Volcanoes National Park. Enjoy!