Rain Forests & Volcanos
Trip Start Nov 16, 2011
10Trip End Nov 27, 2011
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Our tour guide, John, was a story unto himself. He spends six months managing tours to his birthplace island, and six months on a 7-man team destroying ordinace wherever in the world he might get deployed. He got into it because "it fell in my lap." "The US military treated Hawaii like a munitions testing ground for years -- and they didn't always go off." So as a teen he began to learn how to find and detonate unexploded ordinance.
Hawaii is a very big island. We drove 180 miles today, just in the south-east part of the island. The Hilo side is the wet windward side getting 300" of rainfall a year
Hawaii is the newest of the islands. It sits on a geological hot spot out in the Pacific where there are countless earthquakes and lava activity. Over the millenia, the islands drifted north and west in a curving chain. (Kauai is the most northerly & westward of the major islands; it's also the oldest.) The newest island offshore from Hawaii is erupting all the time. It's due to break the ocean's surface in a few thousand years as the Big Island drifts off.
The tour of 23 Auzzies (mostly), Americans & Canadians (about equal in number) travelled from black beaches, to gardens, to lava flows that have 'washed' over the roads (4 of them so far) burping from vents down to the ocean. We finished the day about 6pm at the Kilauea caldera watching a bubbling lava lake glow red off the hovering mist & steam. Way cool.