Helicopter Tour - Part One: Volcanos

We got up at 4am and set off on our way to the heliport for our Blue Hawai'ian helicopter tour. When we called to make reservations a few days before, we found out there were only 2 seats left on the smaller type of the two types of helicopters they use. They weighted each passenger as they arrived and used some sort of computer program to determine who got to sit where. Something about balancing the load. At departure, we were escorted to one of the bigger helicopters and given the two front row seats. What a nice surprise. We took off and viewed the landscape and volcanic debris as we headed for our first major destination, Kilauea; the most active volcano on Hawai'i. We were only allowed to get within 3 miles of the active volcano because of the fear of ash or other debris causing damage to aircraft (not complaining-at all). We got a great view of the gasses being expelled from Kilauea. There is another crater, P'u'u 'o'o, a short distance away that we are able to fly very close to because it is not spewing anything dangerous to the helocopter, just gasses. This crater, however, is the source of the lava that is currently flowing to the ocean. It is all just flowing underground for now.

Blue Hawai'ian Helicopter




Second Crater




We were also able to view red liquid lava through holes in the cooled lava rock crust called skylights.





The lava flow here is relatively recent activity; in the last couple of decades. The lava flow is not uniform and skips sections while inundating other sections. The houses pictured below were not totally destroyed, or worse yet for the homeowner, just about to be rendered uninhabitable.

Spared House


Spared Houses


The liquid lava flows under the surface of a cooled lava crust and down into the ocean, where it solidifies and forms an ever extending coastline. The island has grown hundreds of acres in the last several years.

Lava Creating Steam by the Ocean


Lava Flowing into the Sea


Lava Flowing into the Sea