11.04.2011 - 11.04.2011 23 °C
Deliberately got going later today as we wanted to stay after dark in the Volcano Nat Park to see lava. First stop today was to go and see some of the world famous water falls that are on the eastern side of the Big Island. Started with the rainbow falls and the boiling pots. Neither of which really lived up to their names but were still good to look at. It was impossible for us to see Rainbows today at the falls because it was raining (again). After our "Wetter than wet" day the other day both of us had invested in some cheap ponchos and man did we look ridiculous. Ridiculous but dry!! I swear it took Conductor at least 10 mins to work out how to actually wear a poncho.. I haven't laughed so hard in ages.. can you imagine a smurf with a big nose?? that was Conductor today! (Was there such a smurf as "Nosey Smurf"?) Anyway I looked equally ridiculous in my red poncho and my nickname changed today from Weary to Red Riding Hood. (But at least I know how to wear one!!)
The boiling pots reminded me of any creek in any rainforest I have ever seen but it was nice to get out of the car and go for a bit of a wander. Those of you who have been to many of our great rainforests will know what I mean (Dorrigo comes to mind)..
After the boiling pots we went to the highest water fall on the big island at Akata. The noise this fall made was quite something, you could hear if for quite awhile before you arrived. The rainforest trees were also breathtaking. Many of them appeared to be quite old and had massive trunks.. Worth the visit.
After lunch we drove back down to VNP to again try and get into the Kilauea Iki Crater without rain!! Again this proved impossible and we spent the first half hour just sleeping in the car because we weren't going to repeat the performance of the other day and get soaked. The weather here though normally passes over quite quickly so within 30 min or so we were able to get out of the car and go for a walk. It was our last chance today to tick off our three goals- walk the lava tube, walk back thru the crater, see lava glowing at night. I'm happy to report that we ticked off all three of our goals today.
We started by walking through the lava tube. To the untrained or untutored you would think its just a cave... and well it is. Lava tubes are created when the crust above the ground begins to cool but hot lava still continues to flow underneath. Over time the magma chamber in the volcano empties and the lava runs out. When it has finished erupting what you have left is a tube with no lava left in it (and hardened lava around the edges) leaving a cave. Walked the couple of hundred meters that is lit through the cave and then back to the surface. I was surprised at how round the tube actually is and understand why they call them tubes. Also the cave walls were very smooth.. no stalactites or mites to be seen.
We then went back into the crater that we walked through the other day when it was pouring rain. Unfortunately for us, as soon as we hit the crater floor it started to rain and get quite windy so we didn't get too close to some of the steam vents or rock formations in the crater. Just as we were leaving the floor it started to fine up so it boded well for our night viewing of lava!
After our couple of hour hike into and out of the crater we went around to Jagger Museum to see the lava. By this stage the temp had dropped to probably about 13 or so degrees and the wind was going great guns so we were starting to feel quite chilly. We waited as the sun went down and got my camera and tripod into position to snap the all important lava glow shot! The weather held off and we did see the lava glow (although I haven't yet looked at my photos to see how well they have turned out.. big fingers crossed that the photos are in focus.. i've got a sneaking suspicion I'm going to be disappointed)
It was a real fitting way to finish off our last day on the Big Island, we finally got to see some sort of lava! I came all this way to see some lava flowing and the best I could see was a glow but I'm not disappointed because the Big Island has definitely surpassed all of my expectations.. definitely a place on this globe that is a must on your visit list.. Off early tomorrow to see Kauii, the home of Jurassic Park!