Monday, January 29, 2007

Hawaii Trip Day Two

Note: Another post below this long one - and it isn't Puffy Amiyumi.

The phrase for Day Two on the Big Isle is: "Pit of Fire". To get the proper feel, you have to say it in the raspiest whisper you can muster out of your scratchy throat. You will see why that is the phrase as you scroll down.

Or you will see right now.

So Day Two was a big travel day. The gist was that we drove from the western Kona coast where we were staying around the south end of the Big Isle to the Volcano National Park.

Volcano National Park - Pit of Fire... OK, well, it's fun for B and I to say to each other.

Our first major stop along the way was at the Manukä State Wayside Park. It turned into a nature trail talk with exhibits of local fauna and wildlife.

Unfortunately, as we were going through our botany lesson, we were suddenly attacked by a foul beast!!

That's the King Kamehameha butterfly (we think) and is one of the two native Hawaiian butterflies. Fortunately, despite this horrific advance by an orange and black spotted beasty, we were able to fight it off with a pointed stick.

After surviving our ordeal, we continued around the southern tip and stopped at Punalu'u Beach Park for lunch. The legend associated with this beach is that a goddess (Punalu'u?) who takes the form of a sea turtle can also come on land as a woman, where she once helped save the children... or something like that. It kind of reminds me actually of the Irish seals who turn into people. Here is a little plaque associated with that.

The wonderful thing about this beach is that it is a black sand one. The first that we've been to. If you don't believe me, just look in the hand.

Even the goddess herself came up to say hello. She looks a bit tired.

After our turtle blessing, we had lunch on the rocks overlooking the ocean.

We also had a couple visitors in the form of Little Foot and Grandad (Land Before Time 1 - 12).

And then sat over the water to relax.

After lunch, it was off to the

PIT OF FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!

Did you catch that?

PIT OF FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the Kilauea Caldera. The last lava flow inside it was in the 80s, but it's still highly active. Here's a nice circle of steam coming up inside.

It's really a bit odd to walk inside a volcanic crater. Obviously no lava today, but there is the steam everywhere and at one point a random other tourist held their hand near a tiny crevice near a pile of rocks. The air coming out was hot enough to burn.

Inside the caldera the primary crater is the Halema'uma'u Crater.

If the fruit and leis are an offering to Pele, I can only guess.

There is lava coming out to the surface currently, but the only place at our visit was near the ocean, which was a 2-3 mile walk. We decided not to do that with B on my shoulders. You also need a flashlight and bottles of water, so we let it go. In the end then, we actually saw the


but that doesn't have quite the same ring.

You can stop by some steam vents as you drive along as well. The steam is about like a sauna - not hot enough to burn, but quite warm. Well, it's basically like steam.

On the way out, it was raining and B and N were pretty tired, so only I hiked down to the Thurston Lava Tube.

It's rather amazing that this forest rings the crater on one side, while arid terrain with cacti is on the other side. You'll see this again when B and I ring the northern tip on Day Four.

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