Big Island - volcanoes rule!
Trip Start Jan 19, 2011
35Trip End Jul 17, 2011
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I'm going to try to summarise it here in idiot-talk so I can remind myself when I forget in about a week or two... Basically underneath the islands there is a hot spot. This hot spot causes volcanoes to form and as they erupt over and over again they grow and eventually pop out of the water to become an island. The plate of land that the islands is on is slowly drifting north west and so the northern most islands are now no longer over the hotspot making their volcanoes dormant, but the Big Island is still over the hotspot so it has active volcanoes. I'm sure that's completely scientifically incorrect but it makes sense to me (somehow)
Anyway, that means that the island is practically all old black lava flows. The beaches are mainly black sand (although there are still a few white sand ones). Unfortunately the large volcanoes also mean it's gets pretty cloudy and we didn't have much sunshine for our week there. I took a helicopter flight to look at the volcano crater and saw some real lava erupting out. Steve decided to stay on the ground which will come as no surprise to those of you who read my Kauai entry...
We also took a tour up Mauna Kea (the largest volcano on the island) to watch sunset and do some star spotting - this was so good. It was so cold up there that there was snow. We saw Saturn with it's rings and it's moon. We also saw the surface of the moon magnified so you could see all the craters - wicked.
Although the weather was pants this was a great week - makes you realise how fragile and powerful the earth is and how things could have begun.