Hawai’i, Land of Fire

Imagine you’re on vacation. Having lunch, while sitting across your favorite person to explore the world with. You enjoy the food, have a great conversation and then.. you look out the window and see this:

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Yep, that’s a volcano. And the entire area around the smoldering hole is the crater. So basically 99% on this picture is crater. It’s almost too enormous to fathom, but this is your view while having lunch at Hawa’i Volcanoes National Park. Say hello to this very fiery and very sizzling force of nature known as Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

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Exploring Hawai’i through a lava tube: this is where lava used to rage, forming long dark stretches of tunnels across the island. Notice the stark contrast between the hardened scorched black lava walls and the vivid green of the plants.
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Parked next to a field of hardened lava.
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Close-up of a scorched tree.

Even though lava raged over the Hawaiian islands more than once, the vegetation found on those areas is remarkable! Mostly these plants are green, with occasionally a deep red. It’s very alienating to walk around on the lava fields because it feels like you’re walking on the moon. With barely any life in sight, and black scorched earth as far as you can see, it’s a very unusual experience.

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The pictures don’t do the size of the crater justice: you could fit a small town in here.
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All this blackened earth used to be a relentless stream of burning lava, until it stopped and settled, cooled off, and hardened.
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Look at the details of the stream on the right of the picture: you can clearly see in which direction the lava was swirling. It’s as if someone hit a pause button.
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Can you imagine all of this covered in boiling lava?

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Driving through Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is a real treat: from long stretches of lava fields to incredible views over the coastline, you better make sure your camera is fully charged.

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As you get closer to the ocean, the swirling gets more intense.

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Only one natural force in nature can stop a flood of boiling lava, and that is the ocean. Even today, you can catch a boat excursion to a point where you can actual lava dripping into the water. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do this during our trip but it’s on our list for next time. Here’s a link to incredible footage of that lava flowing into the ocean. 

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Driving on the Chain of Craters Road.

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Holei Sea Arch: an impressive natural work of architecture formed by lava.
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Clouds are rolling in over the mountains.

After visiting the Volcanoes National Park, we headed out to see black sand beaches. This phenomenon only appears in the vicinity of volcanoes. I’ve seen this in Iceland before, but seeing it in combination with island vegetation was a first.

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Nothing soothes the soul like the rolling sound of ocean waves.

More Hawai’i to come in future posts! Have you ever travelled to Hawai’i? What were your impressions & favorite moments?

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