29 April 2008
Our big splurge for this trip was to take a circle island tour. We looked at the helicopter tours of the volcano but for the same money we could see the whole island in a cessna. Being the frugal New Englanders that we are we opted for the latter. We went with another couple from Singapore, and our pilot was a young guy from Arizona. We had a blast! It was a pretty nice day, vog was low, and it wasn't even raining in Hilo (love that song "...it's raining it's pouring in Hilo again, but I don't mind..."). The volcano from the air was the cherry on top. The volcano has been very dormant for about a month now, except for the vog and the plumes of sulfur and nitrous oxide, so we were thrilled when a vent opened up while we were flying around Kilauea Caldera- the big crater venting big time. It was very brief but an area probably forty feet in diamter started to spew red hot lava into the air. Within a minute it had calmed to a swirling pool of orange and tan liquid lava swirling as in a boiling pot of water. Then off to see the lava flow into the sea. Over 26 square miles have been added to this island here since 1983. Then continuing around to the windward side (aka rainy side or tropical side) to see beautiful waterfalls and dramatic valleys. Up over the high cattle country, then back down to land behind a 767 at Kona Airport. What a day!