Hike Club in search of lava on the Big Island

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There’s been lots in the news lately about the volcanic activity over on the Big Island, so Hike Club went to check it out. A helicopter tour over the latest active flow was fascinating, even though the flow is mostly underground and so not as spectacular as hoped for.

The active flow is north of the Hawaii Volcanoes State Park, actually outside the park boundaries, starting from Pu’u O’o and flowing down to the ocean. Much of the area covered by the new flow was formerly residential, but already destroyed years ago by lava. Some new land was also covered, however. Somehow, the crazy “bed and breakfast” standing alone in an area surrounded by lava (and featured just this past December on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations) has once again survived, although their road through the old lava was cut off by new lava.

Much of this flow is underground now and all you can really see are steam vents and billows of sulphur dioxide. But if you look closely at the pic below you can see some glowing lava through a hole in the surface crust.

The best part of the helicopter ride turned out to watching whales breaching just offshore. Unfortunately, didn’t catch any pics of the whales though.

The helicopter doesn’t actually go over Kilauea Caldera, so drove down there the next day to see what was happening. Halemaumau Crater has been putting out a lot of sulphur, resulting in the closing of roads within the park. There was an explosion in the crater on 3/19 and the plume had been gray with ash, but currently it is just putting out billowing white clouds.

Consequently, the visit to the park proved to be short. That left time for the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens, right outside Hilo.

Namaste, the white Bengal tiger.

A two headed goat.

Peacocks courting (this was peacock porn just a few seconds earlier but I didn’t get out the camera in time).

Got great coffee and a yummy bagel sandwich at Hilo Coffee Mill, and brought back a variety of coffees from the budding local industry which is growing up to rival the Kona coffee dynasty on the other coast. Puna coffee – who knew? It’s good. And hanging out in Hilo was surprisingly fun. It’s amazing that the awesome old buildings have survived years of earthquakes, tsunamis, and economic challenges.

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