Hawaii – helicopter tour & hiking in the Volcanoes National Park

We stayed few days in Waikoloa, two among us went for the Mauna Kea observatory, up in the mountain, very cold. 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 incredibly beautiful. 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” on 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 witness the active lava flows. We were patiently waiting hours and hours at the terminal until we got the confirmation that our helicopter could take off. It was very boring terminal, almost empty, no activities.

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  Hilo –“biggest small town” in Big Island with Kilauea volcano in the background.

My first time in helicopter was long long time ago, when my late cousin – a military pilot took my mom and me from Quang Ngai, my mother hometown, to his military 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.

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  Souvenir photo for every passenger before taking off to the Kilauea volcano behind…

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The pilot tried to explain something about this active Kilauea volcano when 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! Only!

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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 every year.

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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.

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

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Flew over the area which has been destroyed by the lava flows from Kilauea volcano. 

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

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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 plus another several hours in waiting at the terminal!

After Hilo we were heading to our new hotel, 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

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We stayed here for the Christmas, it’s very old hotel, what I remember most was a small souvenir shop occupied the entire space at the entrance. Here, the weather much colder than in Waikoloa, the X-mas buffet – a bit boring. The Volcano House has been renovated, so if you plan to discover the National Park, better stay here, I’m sure everything should be in much better condition.

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 This road, not far from the Volcano House, leading us to a devastating area in the Park. 
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     Here you go – it was a huge area, we were hiking from early morning to midday…

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               throughout this crater from historic eruptions…

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  In order not to get lost we need to follow these numbers by order to the exit… 

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We also went through this lava cave 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 members in our group tried to convinced me there is a physical phenomenon like super power, which can be observed in this cave, it’s like a magnetic field or something similar – a mystery power. To be honest, I didn’t feel anything!

In the evening we still went to another place, next to the Volcano House, in the National Park to observe the lava at night. It was a big crowd, we tried to get closer to the hot spot, waiting and waiting for few hours, nothing happened until our patience almost ran out, the lava suddenly came out from the below…but to our disappointment, it was small, tiny like a camp fire at the end of the outdoor game!

 

 

 

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