Angry Mother Earth
Beating the drums for Hawaii is not hard to do… the place just grows on you. – James MacArthur
We are back from a wonderful vacation in Hawai’i. I am still reveling in the happy and relaxed glow of island life (albeit with a few sun spots). There was so much to experience and enjoy that 10 days weren’t enough.
One of the coolest experiences was seeing an active volcano in action. Early morning is the best time to see Kilauea volcano do its ‘thing’.
We drove for about an hour from The Sheraton Kona in the middle of the night. The last 10 minutes of our drive through the forest was a little scary. No lights, no sign boards, no nothing! The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has a tropical rain forest feel to it. Passing through it in the early hours of the day, I had my doubts if we were even headed in the right direction. We were relieved to see a few other cars parked near the boat after those suspenseful 10 minutes.
It takes about 40 minutes, by boat, to reach the Volcano. The boat ride was bumpy and the waves kept hitting really hard. We watched the moon and stars fade away as dawn hit us. The chill in the air turned warm, warmer and hot as we got closer. We took off our jumpers and got ready for the spectacular display.
Volcanic steam and fumes, exploding lava bombs and boiling rocks hitting the bottom of our boat – Let us say, it was a mash up between being at a sauna and chemical factory. We got engulfed in the steam from the boiling ocean.
Most of the pictures I took were completely overwhelmed with clouds of smoke. Here is one I took after Sunrise. It shows some of the new land being formed under the ocean. There were much larger fissures throwing out Lava, but the pictures did not do any justice to what we actually saw.
Watching Mother Earth take care of herself, angrily spitting out molten rocks, and adding new land while man keeps eroding and destroying at the other end was a surreal experience for me. It was beautiful sight to watch some of the newest land being formed on the surface of the earth. Since the beginning of this year, Kilauea Volcano added about 6 to 8 acres of land.
Thousands of tourists come to see the volcano every year. But, that doesn’t take away from the experience of watching liquid Lava dance to its own tune, one of the most surreal natural phenomenons of the Earth.
Here is a video that captures a snippet of the whole experience. It was still dark when I recorded this. We spent about close to an hour circling around the mountain and getting really close to molten lava. Forgive the shaky camera! The waves and lava rocks were hitting our boat really hard.
Quick Trivia: Here is a map of the 5 shield volcanoes that make up the Big Island, Hawai’i
The Hawaiian name “Kīlauea” means “spewing”, referring to the active flow of Lava. Kīlauea has been continuously erupting since 1983.