Hawaii, 1989 – Part 2, Big Island


Part 1 of this pair of posts concerned our visit to Maui, which wildly exceeded our expectations!

Here is a map of the Big Island, thanks to Google Earth, and annotated by myself, to show some of the places mentioned below.

The Big Island

The Big Island

We flew in to Hilo, to start our visit of the Big Island. Again, we rented a car and planned to camp out as much as possible as we toured the island. But first, we stayed a short while in Hilo, which is located on the wet side of the island.

View of Hilo Bay

View of Hilo Bay

Hotel and Hilo Bay

Hotel and Hilo Bay

HiloCreek

Wailuku River, in Hilo. Here, the river runs under a bridge of rock.

We found Hilo to be a very pleasant town. Our first outing from Hilo was south down the coast, with a stop at the Kapoho tide pools. These pools are found in an inundated lava flow, and make fun snorkeling.

Kapoho tide pools

Kapoho tide pools

Kapoho tide pools, yellow tang

Kapoho tide pools, yellow tang

We continued to the south, to the town of Kalapana, which was located along the eastern edge of the lava flows that emanate from Kilauea, in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This eastern edge was active, and was encroaching upon the town. The town was destroyed the next year: “In the Puna District, in 1990, lava from Kilauea volcano engulfed Kalapana, a historic Hawaiian fishing village and residential area, as well as the famous black sand beach at Kaimu. Pele, the volcano goddess, also destroyed Hawaii’s oldest heiau (temple), two subdivisions and several miles of public highway. No lives were lost, but 182 homes were swallowed by lava. Today there’s an entirely new coastline here with a few poignant traces of the town that once thrived here. A visit to Kalapana is a sobering reminder of the raw power of Pele.” (www. gohawaii.com)

Machinery of some sort in lava

Machinery (a truck or car?) in the lava flow. Plumes of steam are seen in the distance, caused by lava spilling into the ocean.

The road, and Kathy

The road under lava, and Kathy

We returned to Hilo, and next day drove uphill to Hawaii Volcanoes NP.

Princess Flower

Princess Flower

The Visitor Center, at 3980′, is located adjacent to the main Kilauea caldera, and contains the Halemaumau crater, which was not active in 1989, but is now occupied by a lava lake.

Steam vents in the main caldera

Steam vents in the main caldera

CraterRim#10'89TD

Sulphur deposits at the rim of Halemaumau crater

CraterRimColors

Sulphur deposits at the rim of Halemaumau crater

Offerings to Pele, at the rim of Halemaumau Crater:

Pele#13'89T

Pele#15'89TPele#17TPele#18'89TPele#21'89TPele#25'89TPele#16'89TPele#27'89T

Off to the side of the main caldera is Kilauea Iki crater:

CraterSteamVents#15'89TSim.2 OtherCraterSteamVent#20'89TSim.2

And the Thurston Lava Tube:

Foliage, near the mouth of the lava tube

Foliage

Foliage, near the mouth of the lava tube

We set up our tent at a nearby park campground, and next hiked out on the Napau Trail. This trail took us first to Pu’u Huluhulu, a crater that contains lush vegetation:

Pu'u Huluhulu

Pu’u Huluhulu, with an Ohia tree (red blossoms)

Bamboo orchid

Bamboo orchid

View of Mauna Ulu from Pu'u Huluhulu

View of Mauna Ulu from Pu’u Huluhulu, with steam at its summit

With the enveloping mist and strangeness of the landscape, we had no idea of the dimensions of Mauna Ulu, but decided to walk up to its summit crater next.

Strange-looking lava,. near the rim

Strange-looking lava flow, near the rim

Strange-looking lava,with ferns

Strange-looking lava flow, with ferns

The crater

The crater

The crater edge

Steam, at the crater’s edge

Returning downhill, looking towards Pu'u Huluhulu

Returning downhill, looking towards Pu’u Huluhulu

Returning downhill, looking towards Pu'u Huluhulu, with Ohelo berries

Returning downhill, looking towards Pu’u Huluhulu, with Ohelo berries

Next up was a drive on the Chain of Craters Road, which would take us down to the coast.

The ropy, shiny surface of the 1974 flow, that the road crosses

The ropy, shiny surface of the 1974 flow, crossed by the road

The ropy, shiny surface of the 1974 flow, that the road crosses

The ropy, shiny surface of the 1974 flow. This kind of surface was left by a flow of pahoehoe lava.

 

A crazy-looking lava dome

A crazy-looking lava dome

Views from the top of the cliffs:

ViewToSouth

View to the south, and the lower slopes of Mauna Loa, 13,677′

ShorelineView#27'89TSim.2 ShorelineViewTree#24'89TDBz ShorelineViewTrees#26'89TBz

Where the road descends the pali, or cliff, are fabulous displays of ropy pahoehoe lava, contrasted with aa lava.

The top of the cliff, with lighter, pahoehoe flows, and darker aa flows

The top of the cliff, with lighter, pahoehoe flows, and darker aa flows

A closer look at the two kinds of lava. Aa has a broken, jagged surface

A closer look at the two kinds of lava. Aa has a broken, jagged surface

Pele's hair

Pele’s hair

A "ropy" pahoehoe feature captures the of the flow as the lava hardens into the patterns it has taken

A “ropy” pahoehoe feature captures the flow patterning in the lava at the point that the flow came to rest and began to cool and solidify. Here, the flow was moving downhill and away from the camera position. Pretty damn cool!

The variations are practically endless:

RopyFlow#12'89TSim.04

Downhill view again. The flow was moving away from the camera position.

RopyFlow#14'89TSim.04

Here, looking uphill, the flow was moving towards the camera position. Note that some of the rope-like forms have themselves been twisted as they moved.

RopyFlowFerns#13'89TDSim.06

Looking uphill. The thin flow feature seen to the right of center is made up of concentric semi-circular rope-like forms. These forms are produced as the result of either the edges of the flow being slowed down by contact with the materials to the side or that the sides of the flow are cooling faster than the center of the flow, or both. In either case, the lava in the center of the flow moves past the lava along the edges, taking the semi-circular form.

RopyFlowAa#5'89T

A chaotic pahoehoe flow, with an aa flow beyond

RopyFlowAa#11'89T

A pahoehoe flow has run over an aa flow. Note the twisted concentric semi-circular rope-like forms.

RopyFlow#38'89TRopyFlow#23'89TRopyFlowFern#367'89TDRopyFlowFerns#32'89TSim.06RopyPancakeFlow#16'89TRopyFlowFern#33'89TDShinyRopyFlow#20'89TSim.06

The sun came out for the following shots:

ShinyRopyFlowFerns#4'89TSim.2ShinyRopyFlowFerns#2'89TSim.06

After I spent a LOT of time photographing the ropy lava, we descended to the coast, and found a campground in a palm grove located alongside a black sand beach.

Beach#7'89TD BeachCamp#10'89TD Fish#3'89D

Then we continued along the road towards the western margin of the current lava flow, and were stopped at the point that the lava had flowed across the road the day before:

LavaOnRoad#5'89

The lava is warm to the touch

Fresh lava. In the distance are seen steam plumes from where lava is pouring into the ocean.

Fresh lava. Seen in the distance are steam plumes from where lava is pouring into the ocean.

LavaPalm#49'89T

The lava surrounded and burned through the base of this palm tree, but was already too cold to set the leaves on fire by the time the tree came down.

LavaPalms#13'89TD

Glowing lava within the crack, at the edge of the flow

Glowing lava within the crack, at the edge of the flow

PeleOffering#28'89TD

Offering to Pele

Exquisite patterning in ropy lava:

RopyTexture#18'89 RopyTexture#20'89 RopyTexture#22'89TexturedSlab#16'89TDRopyDesign#27'89

This looks like an eddy to me

This looks like a flow eddy to me

We watched this tongue of lava come to rest. The freshest lava gleams the most

We watched this tongue of lava come to rest. The freshest lava gleams the brightest.

Shoreline, lava flow and surf

Shoreline lava flow and surf

Arch

Arch

Shoreline view

Shoreline view

This lava flowed over the cliff the day before, and was warm to the touch

The fresher-looking lava flowed over the cliff the day before, and was warm to the touch. Lava flows into the ocean just beyond. We climbed down here to approach the flowing lava that evening.

Steam plumes and the remains of palm trees at the former Ranger Station

A telephoto shot of steam plumes and the remains of palm trees at the former Visitor Center

A telephoto shot of the cloasest ocean flow

A telephoto shot of the closest ocean flow

Moon and steam

Full moon, glowing lava and steam

Towards evening, the ranger shooed us away, and we returned to the campground, which was not far back down the road. Not long after, we returned on foot to this closest area of flows, anticipating the REAL show.

Glowing lava and pink plumes of steam, in the last light of day and the illumination provided by the full moon.

Pink plumes of steam, in the last light of day and the illumination of the moon

Pink plumes of steam, in the last light of day and the illumination of the moon

As it darkened the steam plumes turned orange.

OrangeCloud#12'89D OrangeCloud#28'89D OrangeClouds#20'89D

We then carefully worked our way up to the edge of the nearest flow. In the moonlight, the freshest lava glistened brightly and was easy to distinguish from the older lava, which was safe to walk upon.

LavaCloseUp#25'89 LavaCloseUp#13'89TDBzLavaCloseUp#11'89TD

Getting right up next to flowing lava is one of those experiences of nature that should not be missed!

We continued south from the national park towards South Point, and stopped at Punaluʻu Beach Park. There we snorkeled and saw turtles, and turtle nesting spots that were cordoned off.

BeachShowerKath#2'89TD

We didn’t spend much time in Kona, and found a largely deserted beach park to the north (probably Hapuna Beach Park) to spend the night. There, we were accosted by a dozen or more feral cats, who, we discovered, ate spaghetti! We continued a little ways past the northernmost point on the island, to the Pololu overlook, where we took a short hike down to the beach. This where the roadless portion of the northern coastline begins, ending at the Waipio Valley at the other (eastern) end.

Pololu Overlook

Pololu Overlook, looking east towards the Waipio Valley

Pololu beach

Pololu beach

From Pololu, we traveled south and then east, taking the Saddle Road, between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, back to Hilo. The saddle is at 6700′. As we descended towards Hilo, we were returning to the wet side of the island and the vegetation quickly thickened. From there, and to complete our circumnavigation of the island, we drove the other part of the north coast to the Waipio Valley.

The mouth of the Waipio Valley

The mouth of the Waipio Valley, at the eastern end of the roadless portion of the north coast. 

View to the west

View to the west

View to the west

View to the west

We found a cabin at a forest reserve on the return to Hilo.

BananaFlowers#27'89

Banana flowers

Foliage#25'89T Foliage#30'89TD Kath#8'89TD RedFloweringTree#15'89 TreesVine#18'89T

Next we visited the Memorial to those killed in the tsunami of 1946, at Laupahoehoe:

ConcreteBulwarks#9'89TD ShorelineTree#13'89TD TidePoolKath#14'89T TidalWaveMemorial#11'89

Akaka Falls was further to the south:

AkakaWaterfall#28'89T

Akaka Falls

MaunaLoa-Kea#7'89TD

Muana Kea (left) and Mauna Loa (right), view to the south. The Saddle Road goes between them.

 

What spectacular sights we saw! We would return to the Big Island in 1997, in the company of Kathy’s folks, Rainie and Raymond.

About believesteve

I am a photographer and have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447?ls=1
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3 Responses to Hawaii, 1989 – Part 2, Big Island

  1. Jackson says:

    Those ropy lava patterns are out of this world!

    Like

  2. Pingback: Hawaii, 1989 – Part 1, Maui | believesteve

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