Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hawai'i---Day 10

Here is our little house on the water. Isn't it cute?

And here is a shot of my favorite palm tree in the early morning light.

Yesterday we took a helicopter flight from Hilo Airport over the Kilauea Volcano. Wowzer! That was really something, to be flying right over the caldera. We saw lava and could actually feel the heat even though we were 500 feet above the crater's floor. If you look closely at the above photo you can see a gray area that looks like a lake. On the left hand side of that "lake" is a red area. That is lava. It is bubbling up in a lava pool. The crust is formed of cooled lava and the hotter, red, lava is bubbling up through it.

This cloud is formed of steam (from rain water that works it's way down to the superheated rock and lava underneath), carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide. The main Kilauea crater is closed at the moment due to elevated levels of sulfur dioxide.

This was an amazingly interesting tour....and a little bit scary. I was harnessed in a four point system, but sitting in the door-less cockpit was somewhat unnerving. I knew I couldn't just tumble out but during some of the banked turns when the horizon was at 45 degrees, I couldn't help feeling I was going to just slide out into thin air. If you are ever on the Big Island and want to take a tour by helicopter, I can highly recommend the Paradise Helicopter Tours.

After we'd finished the Kilauea portion of the tour, our pilot few us over the longest river on the Big Island (and all of the state of Hawaii, too!). It's 26 miles long. There are some beautiful waterfalls along the river.

An aerial view of Hilo.

Here's Nonie at the end of our tour, leaving the helicopter.

Orchids just growing on trees...there ought to be a law! Every time I see this I am green with envy.

And in Hilo (on our way to the Puka Puka Kitchen for lunch, our third visit!) we spotted this floral shop. Will you LOOK at those anthuriums?!!!

1 comment:

diane b said...

Whoa that would have been a scary ride but an exciting one. I know the feeling in those doorless helicopters we went in one over the Bungle Bungle range in the Kimberley. Those red flowers are very very striking.