"" Writer's Wanderings: Lava Flows from Pu'u O'o

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lava Flows from Pu'u O'o

With fear and trepidation, I agreed to an airplane ride over the volcano that is now spewing lava. Originally, when we planned our trip last year, there was lava flowing into the ocean and it could be observed by hiking out to a "safe" viewing area. Our plan to hike and view was scratched when several days after our cruise stop in Hilo in June, there were a series of small earthquakes that caused the lava flow to be diverted. The only way to see it now is by air.

My fear is not unfounded but rather stems from losing two good friends to a helicopter crash in Kauai. No way would I get in a helicopter. A plane felt much safer. We found an operation called Island Hoppers that did a wonderful job of making us feel comfortable--after our youthful pilot got done joking that he was only seventeen.

Anthony flew over the area known as Pu'u O'o where you can look down into some of the open craters and see the lava boiling below. The videos are a bit shaky. The heat rising from the lava made the plane ride a little bumpy at times but Anthony always warned us when it was to happen and I've had worse rides on commercial airlines. All in all, it was an amazing trip.

As you view the video, keep in mind that this was during the day so it was a little more difficult to see the red color except in the most intense areas where rivers of it flowed. All the areas you see that are a shiny gray are where the lava is flowing and cooling as it moves out toward where it will eventually hit the ocean, I guess, if it is not diverted again.

Our pilot Anthony and plane.
Island Hoppers flys out of Kona and Hilo

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