Nov 25, 2016

There she blows...!

Well, the lovecats are a well traveled lot and have been to some very interesting places...following on from Kandy's blog about her fabulous swimming holiday I wanted to share with you my recent experience of walking on/in a volcano!!

For years my husband has been saying he wanted to visit Hawaii's Big Island because of the active volcano there and for years I've been resisting it because geology doesn't interest me. But I finally capitulated, agreeing to volcano-watching in exchange for a nice beach and some R&R.

Being in New Zealand I'm used to volcanoes...the city I live in has over 50. All dormant. All quiet and now just dome shaped green hills. I can see one from my kitchen was going to take a lot to impress me!

Like swirls of cookie dough that have hardened
But the volcano in Hawaii is HUGE and slow and has been erupting for decades. It dominates the whole island, really. There is a tourist industry that thrives on it and even the weather is affected by a 'vog' (volcanic fog) that causes most afternoons to be overcast.

There is an actual village called Volcano which we reached via our lovely red mustang and a few hours driving from the main town on the island, Kona-Kailua. You can tell you're getting closer because the whole landscape changes completely from green rolling hills speckled with coffee plantations to dry black rock and...nothing. It is pretty barren and hot.

But we saw the active crater from a safe distance. Real lava!
Erupting volcano- a tourist ventured down there one drunken night a few years ago and it took 3 days to rescue him because it's so dangerous! (he wasn't in a good state when they finally found him)

Then we drove some more and cycled for 8 miles (and returned in the dark by the light of a head torch!) to see where the lava meets the sea in a fiery blast and plume of steam. It was absolutely amazing. Such a force of nature. And the cycle back in the dark was definitely a challenge!

A very hot day cycling!

When lava meets the ocean- mesmerising!

Lava Tube

On the second day we walked through lava tubes...where lava had once flowed then cooled and hollowed. They were taller than my husband!

We did a 6km walk around a crater rim and then onto the crater floor. This was a crater that had been created by an eruption in 1959. It took a long time for the area to cool down. It's safe to walk on now  but we were told that it was still warm deep down... It was like walking on a chocolate brownie with the crisp topping that crunched underfoot.
The crater aka chocolate brownie
It was an amazing place. I was totally blown away, particularly the lava in the ocean...I could have watched for hours...but it was dark and starting to get cold so we had to leave.

More crater floor

The Big Island is also the place where explorer Captain Cook was killed, so we trekked a few kms to see the memorial site of the exact spot where died. (side note: we had to go through a lot of bush on an overgrown path that was frequented by wild pigs. Of which there were a couple!! A little scary, but we were fine because I'd read in the guide book that you just had to bark at them and they'd run away. Cue: Mrs George barking wildly at a piglet and the Doc hanging his head in embarrassment....I won't live that down for a while!!)
Captain Cook memorial
The Big Island does amazing sunsets!

All in all it was a place that took me completely by surprise...amazing geology that I found I was completely enthralled by. Have you ever been to somewhere/done something you weren't enthusiastic about and been pleasantly surprised?


  1. Hi Louisa,
    We went to the big island in Hawaii a few years ago and it was amazing. Your photos are fabulous!

    1. Such a great place, Melanie! (Wishing I was there right now instead of in the rain that seems to have settled in here!)

  2. Great pics, Louisa. You're braver than me! Hubby and I did go many years ago for a walk up to Mt Vesuvius's crater though and you're right, its such a fascinating landscape!

    Disneyland was my great capitulation. When we went to the US for the SF RWA conference 8 years ago, as we had the kids with us and they were a good age to remember things and we landed in LA, we took them to Disneyland. It's never interested me one little bit. Hubby and I are not ride people. If we'd been alone there's no way we would have gone - we would have gone to Nappa Valley instead :-) But we were close and we knew the kids would have amazing memories and a great time so we went. And I am so pleased we did! I still couldn't give a fig for the rides although there were a couple that I enjoyed immensely but its just such an awesome loooking place! Their attention to detail in all the lands just blew me away and thwere really is something quite magical about it!

    So yeh...I had to eat humble pie over that one :-) Would we go back again like we do to London and Italy because we're also blown away by them? Nope. But I'm very pleased we went. It was a truly fabulous experience.

    1. Ha, I know what you mean about Disneyland...really not my cup of tea at all- I'm not a rides person either and usually 'hold everyone's bags' wile they go on the rides. But when RWA held the conference in Anaheim I had no excuse but to go and I was really impressed too. Not sure I'd go back either (although going to Orlando next year so no doubt there will be rides involved)...but I'm glad I went and experienced it. I can totally see why the little ones love it!

    2. Disneyland! I still have that small world song going around in my head after nearly 40 years!

  3. Hi Louisa

    WOW what fabulous pictures and it would have been awesome my daughter and her boyfriend were there last month loved it as well.

    I don't think there has been a place that I was not fussed on going and then was amazed by it maybe it is because I get my own way LOL when we visit places :) or I don't get out much

    Have Fun

    1. I love that you get your own way Helen! LOL! I do think, though, that if I'd had my own way I'd have missed out on all the volcanic wonderfulness, so I'm glad we managed to compromise!

  4. What amazing pics, Louisa! It sounds like such an adventure. :-) But now I want to know if the beach part of the holiday lived up to expectations too.

    When Mr Douglas and I eloped to London (many moons ago), he wanted to go to THREE!!! English Premier League games (he's a huge soccer fan). We compromised on one...and I was far from enthused, but naturally submitted with grace. ;-) We'd been out to North London a few days before game day to collect our tickets, and it was soooo grey and bleak. But when we returned on game day it was amazing -- like a fun fair, with oodles of buzz. And then we sat in the grandstand and it filled up around us...and the noise and the cheering and the chants. I was totally hooked! And, yes, we've been to games every single time that we've been to Europe. Happy sighs. :-)

    1. The beach...well, it was quite small but lovely and there were palm trees and snorkelling, but damn, that volcano was the holiday highlight!
      I'm so glad you enjoyed a positive English football experience, Michelle! I can't count how many times I've been to football matches (the Doc was Manchester City team doctor for 5 years so I took the boys every other week for all that time!)...and I also love it, particularly the singing and the humour in the lyrics (ahem!)! It's usually a good atmosphere, although I have been there when it's turned sour too.

  5. Louisa, thanks so much for sharing. I've wanted to go there ever since I saw a film on the Hawaiian volcanoes years ago ( I did study geology and found it fascinating).

    Hm, I can't think of anywhere I resisted visiting but I've found so many places seem to be so much more than you expect when you finally get there, I'm learning to be open minded about travel destinations.

  6. Louise, what an awesome experience! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I would love to see that lava pouring into the sea. But I have to admit I might be a tad nervous about being so close to a live volcano.
    Many years ago when the Grand Prix was still held in Adelaide, I went along rather unwillingly. I just knew I would be bored to tears and took a book along with me so I could read while the others watched. To my surprise I was immediately enthralled! The smell of the fuel, the high pitched whining of the racing cars, the sheer skill of the driving and the real danger to the drivers. I loved it, and not a page of my book got read. I haven't been to a Grand Prix since but if there opportunity came my way I would leap at it. And I wouldn't pack a book!

  7. Hmm, I wrote a comment but it seems to have disappeared. Second time lucky.

    That trip looks awesome, Louisa. Walking in those lava tubes would have been weird (and a little scary!!).

    I love travelling to can't think of anywhere I didn't want to go, but I was unprepared recently for the incredible magnificence of Budapest. Such a glorious European city.