Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Watching the Lava entry

After dinner we drove to the parking area, to see where the lava from Kilauea enters the water.

Here's the view of the steam plume, as seen from the coast of Puna:

The parking area is open from 5PM till 8PM (they stop letting you enter at 8, you can leave until 10PM). We arrive right at 5PM, so we can park relatively close. We pause briefly so I can get a shot of the steam coming from lava on the mountainside:

This is when I discovered that the batteries in my camera have died while in the car, so I will have to rely on my little point and shoot. Oh well...of course, then I stupidly left the tripod in the car too.

The walk to the coastline from the parking area is maybe 1/2 a mile over very uneven surface. It's not a bad walk, but it is very hot, and the ground is rough. Do NOT attempt this in flip flops. You really do need good shoes for this walk. I had my lightweight Keen hiking shoes, and was very glad of them. Matnikstym was kind enough to bring lots of water. You do need it. You can buy water and flashlights in the parking area, but we were well equipped. I also brought a towel, to have something to sit on. I was glad of this too.

We got to the viewing area, the steam was already pretty dramatic. But we settled in to wait for sunset and the real fireworks.

Here's the crowd at the viewing area:

Here's the plume:

This is the best shot I have, where you can kind of see the glow. As it got darker, the glow got even more dramatic and bright. Occasionally we would see what seemed to be explosions of orange inside the steam. We may have even seen lava at the very bottom, near the water. None of this made it onto the camera, but I can tell you it was quite spectacular.

There was also a ring of fire up on the mountain side, where the actual lava was slowly moving. I couldn't get a picture of that at all, but it was very dramatic.

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