On our trip to the Big Island, Hawaii after a lot of back and forth we decided to cough up the money and take the doorless helicopter tour of the active volcano. So the day started early with a 2 hours drive from Kona (where we were staying) to Hilo (where the ride was suppose to start). A beautiful drive on a beautiful sunny day and we got to Hilo just in time for boarding the Chopper.
What struck me the foremost was the noise and how slow you actually think the thing is flying, sense of relative speed a little messed up.
Soon after we took of the airport, the Chopper made its way to the coast line and the site that greeted us was this..black solid solidified lava land, deep blue water, clear sky and white steam clouds rising where the active volcano lava enters the ocean. Breath taking, awe inspiring..just words that don’t do justice to what the eyes saw.
Once past the steam clouds we made our way to the Kailauea Volcano. A sniff of the air was a tell-tale sign once we got close and then we saw the crater with fumes rising from it. The helicopter flown over and as close to the crater as was deemed safe. Due to the movement, it was almost impossible to get a good picture of the lava bubbling in from the vents but it was quite an experience. But I would like to add that I expected something totally different. Having seen too many movies, I guess I expected a giant hole with red molten lava. Rather what I saw was 3 vents that you had to peep in to in order to see any activity. And since it was not very safe to be flying so close, we would make a quick pass and then move over to safe distance. So a blink of an eye and we would have missed even that bit.
After a while we made our way back to the airport. Once back since we had half a day left we decided to drive around the Crater Rim Drive. Or at least the part of it which was open. The drive was more of turgid sulphuric smell in the air, fumes coming out of vents, giant craters. But the picture below is special because this were fumes coming off of seemingly tall grass. If not for the smell in the air and the heat of the fumes it would be like a scene so soothing, a view so serene.
Finally we made our way to the East Rift where the road ends and far far off one can see the lava meet the ocean. The day was at an end, but we decided to hike up the frozen lava land/rock to get as close to the lava flow as we could. The dark, uneven surface, and sharp abrasive ground which cuts deep if you ever happen to stumble, we did not go too far in. Walked about half an hour before we stopped. Saw nature at its most spectacular. The red of the active flowing lava making its way over the dark frozen lava rocks, meeting the cool ocean water, the constant hissing noise as the embrace happened and the resulting pure white steam.
Wish we had a better camera or we were closer. Wish the pictures were not so blurry. So many wishes, but are just glad that we were there and we could witness nature in this form.