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Thursday, 17 January 2019 Contact Us

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Mt. Kilauea; Hawaii's Big Island's Live Volcano


Lava spews from the volcano and pours, sizzling into the churning ocean waters.
Photo by Shay Davidson
On a recent trip to The Big Island of Hawaii, we took a "Lava Boat Cuise" to the banks of Mt. Kilauea, where the lava flows from the volcano into the ocean.

After having researched the various ways of seeing the active flow, it was decided that a cruise to where the lava errupts and flows into the water, would give us the best view.  We were not disappointed! Where a helicopter tour is much more pricey and gives one a more distant view of the volcano, a cruise affords one a more reasonably priced, closer look at Pele's fury.

Several companies are available to take passengers on a 2 hour cruise from near Hilo, to the volcano.  (See below for information) A cruise affords the passengers a close look at the Kalapana, cave-lined coastline, black-sand beaches and best of all, some incredible views of explosive lava bursting through the crust and

pouring into the ocean!

Be sure to check out the video taken live from the boat!

Above, you can see how close the boats get to the lava flows.

There are various ways to see the volcano including from on foot, from the sky or from aboard a boat, but hiking is not your thing, or if you cannot walk a long distance, the lava boat is a good option. 
Be aware that the cruises depart from Isaac Hale Park, (Pohoiki Beach Park) Which is a good, forty-five minute drive from Hilo.  The drive is beautiful, however, as the road to the beach winds through lush rain-forested areas that are, in and of themselves, worth seeing.  Isaac Hale Park allows overnight camping by permit and many people camped on a beautiful lawn area just steps from the beach.  Perhaps this might be a good option if your choice is boarding a cruise at sunrise!
Also be aware that, once aboard the boat,  the cruise takes about 45 minnutes to get from the dock to the volcano's edge, bouncing through what can be rough waters.  If you have back or health issues, or if motion sickness is a problem for you, the lava boat cruise might not be a good or comfortable thing for you.
Our particular captain was extremely experienced and took us very close to the flowing lava where we could see the explosions of the angry volcano, hot, burning rocks thrown into the ocean, and blasts that must have reached many, many feet into the air.  The videos below will give you a good idea of the power and fury of the volcano.  If you choose to see this exhibition, it will be an experience that I guarantee, you will not ever forget.  Please check out the videos and forgive my shaky camera a the boat was bouncing as I was trying to shoot!  Enjoy!

Watch for the blasts as the lava forces it's way through the rock, throwing debris high into the air, then sizzling, back down and into the water.  Also, in both of the 2 videos below, portions of the "beach" rock fall away from the shoreline and crash into the ocean.  These are both fascinating and very close to the action!  A bit too close, at one point, at the end of the clips, the wind changed and blew the gas and steam toward our boat and we were forced to pull away from the area.


A Bit of Volcano History

According to the USGS, Mt. Kilauea may be the world's most active volcano.  The current eruption of the volcano began in 1983.  When I referred to "Pele," in the above article, I referred to the Hawaiian volcano goddess.  As our sea captain/guide said in the video, "Pele is angry today!" He speaks, as Hawaiians do, of the goddess who controls the volcanoes. 

Pele must be extremely angry of late as Mt. Kilauea has erupted continuously since 1983.  There have been 34 eruptions since 1952.  According to the experts at the USGS, Mt. Kilauea ranks among the world's most active volcanoes and "may even top the list."

According to the experts, Mt. Kilauea began to emerge from the sea 50,000 to 100,000 years ago but began forming under the sea and erupting, 300,000 to 600,000 years ago.  It has been active ever since.  This, believe it or not, makes it the wold's youngest volcano. 

The volcano's powerful eruption in 1790 was believed to have killed 80 people.  In 1960, an eruption destroyed the village of Kapoho.  In 1975, another eruption caused a 48 foot tsunami which killed 2 people.  One wonders now, since the population of the Hawaiian coastline is so much greater than in 1960, how devastating a volcano-perpetuated tsunami could be?  This is not a "tame" volcano by any means, and when witnessed in person, one realizes the power of it's very nature.

Other Articles on Hawaii by this writer:

Hawaii--The Big Island--Kona Coat & Reviews

The Rainbow Plantation--Up Country Big Island Hawaii Adventure




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