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viewing lava from helicopters


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The only island that has an active volcano with flowing lava is the island of Hawaii. So, not even an option on Kauai, Lahaina (Maui), or Honolulu (Oahu). Of the two ports on the island of Hawaii, Hilo would be closer to the lava, as Suebee has said. Remember that flowing lava is dependent on the volcano - most of the time, the flow is underground and not very visible from the ground or the air except at the point where it enters the sea. So it just depends on nature's vagaries.



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We just went on a small plane over the active volcano that speen93 is talking about. During the day all we could see is the smoke coming off but at night when our ship went past we could see all the red glowing lava flowing into the ocean, it was awesome. Although we were a little disappointed during the day on our flight trip, after seeing it at night we had a better understanding what everything looked like overall.


Is your cruise going between Hilo and Kona at night at all?

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Thanks for the advice. I got a bit confused about what to do in each port. Theres not many guide books here in the UK for Hawaii, so I have ordered some off the internet which might help me decide what to do where.


JAKE3337 We travel from Hilo to Honolulu and then on to Kona so I'm not sure that we will see the lava flow at night. It would be wonderful if we could though.


Thanks again



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You can alway check http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/kilauea/update/ for what Madam Pele is up to. They have an amazing picture archive, too, of some of the more active and spectacular stuff.


You are unlikely, as I've said here before, to see anything really spectacular, as the nature of the shield volcano is such that such events are rare and shortlived. Don't think you are going to be seeing fire fountains and all the stuff the media show from stock footage when they talk about volcanos.


If you are fortunate, you will be able to see a breakout flow on the surface, maybe a sea entry point, but in daylight, even these things look pretty mundane, as the lava begins to cool, harden, and change color almost immediately on exposure to the air. Sometime on the flyovers you will get to see the lava sloshing around inside the Pu'u O'op vent, or you'll be able to see the lava rivers that flow inside the tube systems through breaks in the surface rocks (these are called skylights) but if you are hiking, mostly what you will see are steams and smokes, and the red stuff only shows up clearly after sunset.


Will be taking my visitors up to Volcano next week sometime and give you folks a first hand update, but conditions change quickly so the best source is the website and the ranger station.


Remember that you should wear closed toed shoes, long pants, take water and don't go beyond where the rangers say you can go.

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