Saturday, December 24, 2011

A View from the Top, Day 3

Hot Lava!
Today we took a helicopter ride around the island, talk about seeing some cool stuff. We took off from the Kona Airport and made our way to the other side of the island to view the volcano from above. Since it was spewing a lot of gas there was a 6 mile no fly zone around the crater…boo. But we headed on to see…LAVA!!! We started flying in the area north of where Chain of Craters Road ends and this is where we saw same trees on fire and some lava seeping out of the ground. We also got to see Jack's House, the last surviving house in the Royal Gardens subdivision that was taken over lava from Kilauea (75 homes were destroyed when the eruptions began in 1983). You can tell by the picture that the lava is getting dangerously close to his house. After we saw all this we headed towards Hilo and got to view the coastline and MANY waterfalls! It had rained the night before so the valleys and rivers were flowin'! We made our way to the Kohala Forest and we landed in one of the valleys (our pilot was quite inredible!). We got walk around here and pick some fresh fruit right off the trees. We got back in the helicopter and followed the coastline all the way back to airport, and we got to see our hotel along the way too!
this is Jack's house. The lava has gotten so close but its still standing  in March 2012 Pele destroyed his home

some trees on fire
After we were done with this we decided to rent some snorkel equipment from Snorkel Bob's and head to Kekaha Kai State Park…we drove our rented sports car on an "unimproved" lava road to get there! (Unimproved is the word they used on the sign…why not just say unpaved or something because it looked like there was never any maintenance done to this road.) We stayed there for a few minutes but the waves were pretty strong due to the VERY windy weather that day. So we opted to head to the Mauna Kea resort to see their beach. (Mauna Kea is the sister hotel to ours, Hapuna Prince.) Matt went snorkeling around the rocks while I just relaxed on the beach, I was a little nervous to snorkel without someone making sure we weren’t going too far or if there was a shark or something near..eeekk!) After that we cleaned up and got ready for dinner at Hapuna's Coast Grill. The food was amazing! But what was better was watching the sun set and then see a shooting star while we ate dinner; a truly wonderful night!

no room for error

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