5 Veiled Truths of the Volcano – Big Island – Hawai’i

Hawai’i…what can I say about this paradise. The fresh air energizes you. The warm, tranquil waters refresh you and the volcanoes mesmerize you! Here, I am gonna share some amazing facts of this steaming wonder.

The melange of the black lava soil and the Puna Forest

The melange of the black lava soil and the Puna Forest

Let’s start with the story of the volcanoes of the Big Island. It is the youngest Hawaiian Island, less than a half a million years old, and its two major volcanoes are Mauna Loa which includes Kilauea Volcano and Mauna Kea. Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984 and Kilauea has been continuously erupting since 1983.

 

The Big Island gets bigger everyday!

The ever flowing Magma which expands the Big Island.

The ever flowing Magma which expands the Big Island.

The Big Island of the Hawai’i expands everyday. Thanks to the Kilauea volcano, one of the most active volcanoes on earth. This prolific volcano currently produces acres of new land everyday. Doesn’t this volcano become more and more interesting?

The Drive-in Volcano

Drive through the solidified Lava

Drive through the solidified Lava

Despite the flow of lava in several places around the National Park, driving around and through the glowing lava is possible depending upon what’s happening with the active flow. Or else you can park and walk up to view red hot lava. The black and brown hues of the soil suddenly change in to the thick tropical forests of the park. The drive is indeed scenic. This volcano is the only one in the world where you can take your car.

Wave-washed Volcano

Wave-washed Lava

Wave-washed Lava

The Pu’u O’O Volcano of the Kilauea flows into the ocean and sends up plumes of volcanic gas and smoke. The island is so beautifully wave-washed. We had a chance to see this from a helicopter – a most impressive sight to behold.

 

View of the lava entering the Pacific Ocean from a helicopter.

View of the lava entering the Pacific Ocean from a helicopter.

 

Helicopter Ride over the Volcano1

The Tallest Mountain ain’t Everest!

The slope of  Mauna Loa

The slope of Mauna Loa

Mauna Kea rises to 13,796 feet above sea level. Now you might say that Mount Everest rises 29,035 feet but Mauna Kea is considered the tallest mountain on Earth, how? If measured from base to summit, towering up more than 6 miles, i.e 31,680 feet from the ocean bottom.

Lava Tubes

Lava Tube

Lava Tube

Lava tubes or caves are formed when a river of lava gradually digs a hole after the last of the molten lava flows downhill. It has beautiful shapes and colors of minerals leeching from the rock. There are 100s of lava tubes in this area though only a few are accessible! 

The Caves formed by solidifies Lava

The Caves formed by solidifies Lava

So…did you know these little facts about this volcano? The summit of  Mauna Loa’s versus the steaming jungles of Puna. The mystic craters, the black beaches, secret hot springs the sea-kissed lava leaves behind such diverse indescribable beauty and serenity of the paradise we call Hawai’i.

Us...

Us…

Click below for 2 more posts I wrote on Hawai’i

The Waters of Hawai’i
Cinder Cones of Haleakalᾱ & its Spiky Silver Plants

 

 

 

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Cinder Cones of Haleakalᾱ & its Spiky Silver Plants

Summit of Haleakala 10 023 ft

Haleakalᾱ volcano rises 10023 ft above the Pacific Ocean and occupies almost half of the Maui Island of Hawaii. The geologic history of Haleakalᾱ is estimated to have begun a million years ago, around the time of woolly mammoth and saber tooth tigers! It comprises of colourful cinder cones scattered throughout the valley floor. The most recent eruption took place in 1802. This volcano is considered to be an active but currently non-erupting volcano.

The Spectacular View of Haleakala

I got a chance to see this place a few years back. It is a matchless heaven weathered and coloured over time. The rains have oxidized the earth and the winds have emphasized the cinder cones! When I actually got to the summit, I wondered what was so good about this volcano. I hardly saw the cinder cones and the lush bright colors of the soil! We were told to hike up a trail to experience it for ourselves. Therefore, we started trudging towards what we really hadn’t anticipated.

Bushy species of Silversword

The tall species of Silversword

For the first half hour, the landscape did not change much. The only thing we noticed was black and brown rubble and some mysterious spiky silver plants. They were strangely eerie and a bit scattered. This species of plant is called Silversword which had leaves covered with silver hairs. Apparently, the skin and hair are strong enough to resist the wind and freezing temperature of this altitude and protect the plant from dehydration and the sun. So basically, this is what got me excited, just observing these silver loners against the mysterious shades of browns.

The first sight of the Cinder Cone

View of 4 Cinder Cones and its extravagant colours

Feeling the cool winds, studying the landscape and walking on rubble suddenly led us to this spectacular sight, another world, with its view of a cinder cone perched in the middle of nowhere with gleaming reds, browns, yellows and blacks!! That was some feeling, a feeling so mystifying that I wanted to salute the mother Earth to hold such beauty! Now our pace progressed enormously. We were told that there are many such cinder cones, and as of now, we only saw one! We couldn’t wait to see the rest. Slowly, one by one, the others started treading in. And then, it was an ocean of big and small cinder cones stretched across the valley. We were bolted from the blue to see the colour and contrast of the changing landscape! We climbed the first one and just sat admiring the mystical view for I don’t know how much time. The clouds came and went, I think it also drizzled a bit, the sun changed the colours once again but each time it looked as magnificent as ever!

Top View of the Cinder Cone

What I am going to quote is often said my the people of Maui that clouds in and around the summit of Haleakalᾱ carry whispers of another time. It is said that the demigod of Maui fished Haleakalᾱ and all the Hawaiin volcanoes from the sea, pulling them up and flinging his fishhook to the heavens. On clear nights, the fishhook of Maui, now the Scorpio, can still be seen in the sky from the summit of Haleakalᾱ.

Panoramic View of the Volcano

A small Slides Show to see the rest of the Haleakala World of Volcanoes

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The Waters of Hawaii – Snorkel Trip

Hawaii Islands

Hawaii Islands

A collective wonder of volcanoes, forests, ocean and wildlife lay in the islands of Hawai’i’. It is surely one of the remote archipelagos on earth. Hawaii is a cluster of 8 islands called Hawaii – the big Island, Maui – the valley isle, Kahoolawe – the target isle, Lanai – the pineapple isle, Molokai – the friendly isle, Oahu – the gathering place, Kauai – the garden isle & Nihau – the forbidden isle. Each island is known for its specialties and beauty of its kind.

Molokini Island

Molokini Island

Aerial View of Molokini

Aerial View of Molokini

While halting in the isle of Maui, we got a chance to snorkel in the deep seas. We chose to go to the island of Molokini about 2 ½ kms from the mainland. The island of Molokini is an extinct volcano in a shape of a crescent which provides protection from waves and powerful currents, making this area one of the top ten dive sites in the world. It is said to be a home for nearly 250 species of fish which are found nowhere else on earth. Our day begun at 6 am in the morning with a perfect weather taking us through the pristine waters of the Pacific Ocean. I had no clue about what we were about to witness, something so magnificent and unimaginable! They were the humpback whales swimming, splashing, playing and enjoying the warm waters of the island. While talking to a local on our boat, he mentioned that these whales come to the Maui waters to protect and teach their calves to survive since the water is warm and safe from the rest of the ocean. It was over-whelming to see 45 foot long whale spouting water through its blow-hole giving us a fantastic view, just what you see on National Geographic or the Discovery Channel. Being in that moment and capturing the site is beyond any explanation.

Humpback Whale of Maui

Humpback Whale of Maui

After our experience with the humpbacks we came across the most loving, playful and popular fish of the big seas – yes, I am talking about the dolphins! They frolicked, flaunted and danced in front of our boat. It almost felt as though they were trying to please us or as if they have put up a small act before us. Whatever it was, the spinner dolphins did their best to impress us to the core!

Dolphin frolicking around our boat

Dolphin frolicking around our boat

Finally after an hour and a half, we reached Molokini.The island was so accurately crescent shaped that it looked more carved than a natural one. The backdrop of the island fell 300 feet into the sea. The people of Hawaii believe that many sunsets ago, the powerful fire goddess Pele fell in love with a handsome Prince. Unfortunately, a charming gecko also had eyes for the Prince. An angry Pele Continue reading