Grant's and Bill's
2012 Hawaii Scrapbook
Page 2 of 4
"The Big Island"
  Return to PAGE 1

Page 2

- volcano

- waterfalls

- beaches

Kilauea Crater with steam rising from the lava lake

The Volcano

On our second day on Hawai'i, we drove directly to Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
To be clear, this is not what we saw from the air, which was a flank eruption from the rifts on the side of this huge volcano. Here we see the main crater, a huge hole with a steaming lava lake inside it.

Kilauea Crater

The crater, large as it is, is just a small part of the caldera, which is so big that from the ground, a normal photo cannot capture it all. But with this panorama shot, Grant captured the whole caldera.

Rifts open below this caldera and magma spills out at various and changing locations on the island.
Kilauea Caldera panorama shot

Back in the 1970's when I was here last, we could go to the rim of the crater and look in, but no more. Even the road that circles the crater has been closed, so this photo shows as close as they will allow the public now.

The current eruption has been going on for 28-years (!) and is one of the largest outpourings of lava in the past 500 years.
3.5 cubic kilometers of lava have covered 123 square kilometers (48 sq. mi.). Compare Vancouver's size, 115 sq. km/44 sq.mi.
This eruption, like the major ones of the past, is making Hawaii bigger. 510 acres have been added to the area of the island from lava reaching the ocean. In the process, lava flows have destroyed 213 structures and 14 kilometers/9 miles of highway. One stretch of road is now 35 meters/115 feet below the surface.

Kilauea Crater with Bill

Luckily, the area of the steam vents is still open. These steam vents are on the outer rim of the caldera at the best viewpoint of the crater. In the previous view of the crater you can see steam rising near my elbow.

Kilauea - Steam vents along the caldera rim

Steam vents are all over this area and you can walk along and look down into some of them. And you can feel the heat. That's geothermal power!

Kilauea - Steam vents along the caldera rim with Bill

A short distance south of the crater is a long lava tube that is open to the public. (No photos from inside, sorry. It's just like a mine tunnel.)

Entrance to Thurston Lava Tube

The lava covers a ridiculously large area. This is looking back up toward the main crater, but the hill you see in the distance is not even the volcano, just a "small" mountain built up by a rift eruption.

Lava fields forever

Driving almost to where the lava reached the ocean, we found this scene that is similar to what we saw from the helicopter with the active lava flow spilling over that steep ridge, except we could stand here and see this old flow "coming at us" without getting fried.

Lava flow over ridge


Black Sand Beach

South of the volcano there is a scenic little beach called Punalu'u. It has a brilliantly-coloured, lily-filled marsh pond behind the beach, a beautiful row oF palm trees, and totally black sand.

Punalu'u beach and pond

The sand at Punalu'u is black because
the lava flow that reached the ocean here
is black.

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach with Grant

We had the pleasure of a visit by
this giant green sea turtle.
It is about 4 feet long.

Green Turtle at Punaluu




Just outside the town of Hilo is Rainbow Falls., a scenic little falls only 80 feet high, but very beautiful with a great overhanging cliff, cave underneath and nice big plunge pool.
Rainbow Falls 2

I asked Grant to pose here because I remembered I had a photo taken here in 1975. It's not exactly the same spot, but close enough. They don't allow people to sit on the ledge any more as I was doing back then.

Bill in 1975 at Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls with Grant

One more photo of Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls 1


About 30 minutes drive north of Hilo, in one of the wettest areas in the United States, is Akaka Falls.

Grant on walk to Akaka Falls

Because of the climate, the plants here are giants. We have never seem such high bamboo or such large ferns as on the walk to the falls.

Giant bamboo forest with Bill

The plants are not only large,
but beautiful too.
How's that for a fiddle head?!?

Colorful foliage near Akaka Falls

Approaching the falls.
Keep in mind those are full-size trees at the top of the falls.

approching Akaka Falls

Here is the full view of Akaka Falls,
all 442 feet.
(That's like a 40-story building.)
A few waterfalls on Hawaii are taller, but none of the tallest ones are as easily accessible as this one.

Of course, the best way to see a waterfall is seeing it flow, so
click on the photo to see a video >

Akaka Falls full view to plunge pool



Laupahoehoe lies on a beautiful stretch of coast quite far north on the east side of Hawai'i. There is a small promontory with a state park on it seen from this overlook. We had a gorgeous blue sky for this shot making the ocean intensely blue.

Laupahoehoe overlook

We enjoyed this spot so much we stopped again on our second day, this time we stayed a long time, almost to sunset, enjoying the big waves because the wind was very strong. It was fascinating watching the waves hitting these jagged rocks.

Laupahoehoe rocks and waves 1

Laupahoehoe rocks and waves 2


Go to PAGE 3 - Click here

Return to PAGE 1