Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Hawaii - the helicopter tour and the hiking in the Volcanoes National Park - Part 2

We, a group of 5, stayed few days in Waikoloa, two among us went for the Mauna Kea observatory, up in the mountain, very cold and it's interesting to know that Hawaii is one of few best places in the world to observe the stars, the galaxy. Me and another colleague went for diving, it was not a real diving but we were able to see the underwater world by lying on the life vest, face down, the water was crystal clear, so everything in the water was terribly beautiful in our eyes, honestly I had a kind of fear, feeling that my feet touching those coral reefs, colourful sea creatures.

Next day we moved to Hilo, the "biggest small town" in another side of the island for the helicopter tour. Hilo located at the foot of the two volcanoes and overlooking the spectacular Hilo Bay. Days before we all decided to book a tour to get up close with the active lava flows. We were patiently waiting hours at the terminal until we got the confirmation that our helicopter could take off. It was very boring terminal, almost empty, no activities.

                   Hilo -"biggest small town" in Big Island with Kilauea volcano in the background.

My first time in helicopter was long long ago, when my late cousin - a military pilot took my mom and me from Quang Ngai, my mother hometown to his base in Nha Trang - a seaside town in Central Vietnam. It was scary flight to me, a little kid, no doors on that military helicopter, I was sitting on the floor near to the tail. But now, my second time in a commercial one, sat next to the pilot and got a nice souvenir shot before departure.

            A souvenir shot for every passenger before taking off to the Kilauea volcano behind...

The pilot tried to explain something about this active Kilauea volcano that we were approaching, like the Kilauea is the most active volcano among the other five volcanoes that together form this island, Kilauea is the youngest, only 600,000 year old! Wow!

The other volcano - the oldest one is more than a million years old...with hundreds years in active but now already extinct (i.e no more erupted !?). So I guess, these volcanoes together - really a Hawaii's hotspot to attract million tourists a year to visit, to explore.

While flying close to the volcano, I wonder the activity of Kilauea should be observed very very carefully and according to the pilot's story, Kilauea remained quiet for a long time, but then suddenly came alive again several times in 1950s with a huge lava flows, and again in 1960 even with the earthquake. 

                From the helicopter we can observe the lava, silently flowing from the volcano...

              We also flew over the area which has been destroyed by the lava flows from Kilauea volcano. 

                  Another submarine active spot with the lava flowing across the cliffs into the ocean...

After the volcano the pilot took us over some tropical rain forests, we saw some stunning waterfalls and finally the spectacular view of Hilo Bay, the tour was ended in just 45' minutes but we were spent hours on the road from Waikoloa to Hilo, and another hours waiting at the terminal!

After Hilo we were heading to our next destination, this time our hotel is located in very special place - the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park which has been considered as the World's Heritage Site since 1987. We stayed in the Volcano House

In 2010 we stayed here to celebrate Christmas, I rather say it was a very old hotel, what I remember most was a small souvenir shop right at the entrance, the weather was much colder than in Waikoloa, the X-mas buffet was a bit boring, but last year the Volcano House has been renovated, so if you any intention to discover the National Park, better stay here, I'm sure everything should be in much better condition.

Dinning room in Volcano House (photo from the hotel's website).We had a X-mas dinner here, in this room with the view to the volcano site. In that night we also celebrated a birthday of one our member. Contrast to the warm, sunny weather in Waikoloa, here in the National Park, it was rather cold and wet, but thanks to that we didn't feel tired while hiking in the park. Next morning we started our unusual hiking throughout a devastating area, destroyed by the volcano eruption and the lava flows.

            This road, not far from the Volcano House, leading us to a devastating area in the Park. 

           And here you go - it was a huge area, we were hiking from early morning to midday...
               throughout this crater from historic eruptions...

              Not to get lost we need to follow these numbers by order until we get to the exit... 

We also went through this lava tube formed by flowing lava which moved beneath the hard surface and when the lava flow has ceased and the rock has cooled and left a long, cave-like channel. Some member in our group tried to convince that a strange physical phenomenon can be observed in this tube like a magnetic field or something similar. I actually didn't feel anything! 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...