Pictures of Hawaii Big Island Lava Flowing Directly Into the Ocean

Considering all the videos I’ve seen in the past of lava flowing into the ocean from Hawaii’s Big Island I did not realize how rare an event this really is:

Streams of lava pouring into the ocean from the Big Island have been captured in a rare video that’s drawing attention from around the globe.

The Kilauea Volcano has been erupting continuously from its Pu’u'O’o vent since 1983, according to Reuters, but the lava flow usually doesn’t make the seven-mile journey into the ocean.

Lava first started flowing into the ocean on November 25. You can track the lava’s flow on the National Parks Service website.

And officials are cautioning curious tourists to keep their distance. See a slideshow of the lava flow.

“Ocean entries can be quite beautiful but also quite dangerous,” Janet Babb, spokeswoman for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, told Reuters.

Babb said chunks of lava and hot water created from the lava-to-ocean impact can hurt people standing as far as 100 yards away.

“The molten lava meeting the ocean creates steam which may look innocuous, but can be quite hazardous,” she said. “It’s acidic and contains tiny particles of volcanic glass. And waves crashing with the lava can send out scalding water.”  [Yahoo News]

You can see more video and pictures at the link.

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Hawaii Travelog Archive

Below is a list of the various places I visited during multiple trips to the beautiful islands of Hawaii.  The Hawaiian Islands rank as my favorite place in the world and my wife and I try to make a visit there every year.  This archive will be an ongoing series of postings as I make return visits to see more of these beautiful islands.

Hawaii

Kauai

Oahu

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On Walkabout At: Koke’e State Park, Hawaii

Basic Information

  •  Name: Koke’e State Park
  • Where: Kauai, Hawaii
  • More Info: Koke’e Museum

Narrative

In my prior posting I recommended that anyone traveling to the Hawaiian Island of Kauai to make Waimea Canyon a must see destination during their visit.  Another must see destination on the island that is only a short drive up Highway 550 from Waimea Canyon is Koke’e State Park:


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The park is located high up on the Mt. Waialeale volcano in thickly forested land that stands in sharp contrast from the red rugged cliffs of the neighboring Waimea Canyon:

The best place to start a visit to the park is at the Koke’e Museum:

The museum is easily spotted from the road due to the large grass field in front of it.  The field is usually filled with the unofficial bird of Kauai, chickens:

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On Walkabout At: Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Basic Information

  • Name: Waimea Canyon
  • Where: Kauai, Hawaii
  • More Info: Hawaii Web

Narrative

The islands of Hawaii have some truly incredible scenery and it seems like each island has its own signature unique natural attraction.  Despite all the beautiful beaches and mountains on Kauai I would have to say its signature unique attraction would be Waimea Canyon because there is simply nothing like it anywhere else in Hawaii.  The canyon is located high up on the island’s west side:


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The canyon is accessed by  Highway 550 that begins near the city Waimea that is paved all the way to the canyon and features many curves:

As the road ascends up the high slopes of Kauai’s western mountains there are plenty of incredible views of the surrounding pastoral countryside:

There is also some unbeatable views to the west of Kauai’s neighboring island Niihau, which is known as the “Forbidden Island” :

Here is a view looking across the lush farmland to the south of the canyon with one of Hawaii’s iconic rainbows in the foreground:

As we drove further up the road, eventually the opening to one of the branches of the canyon could be seen:

Further up the road the canyon continued to grow deeper and the terrain more rugged:

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On Walkabout At: The Kauai Coffee Company Plantation

Basic Information

Narrative

For people who love coffee, which I admit I am definitely one of them, a must see location on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai is a visit to the Kauai Coffee Company plantation.

The Kauai Coffee Company has a sprawling plantation located on the west side of the island that stretches from the volcanic foothills all the way to the ocean:


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The size of the plantation is something readily promoted by Kauai Coffee which claims to be the largest coffee estate in the United States with 3,100 acres dedicated to coffee bean cultivation.  Kauai Coffee also claims to grow 60% of Hawaii’s annual coffee crop.  The land where the Kauai Coffee plantation is located used to be part of the McBryde Sugar empire on the island.  McBryde Sugar was founded in 1899 and produced sugar until the plantation was converted to coffee production in 1987 due to falling sugar prices.

The best place to start a tour of the Kauai Coffee plantation is at its visitor center:

The visitor center is located in two original plantation homes from the plantation’s McBryde Sugar days.  Buildings like this housed sugar workers for over 100 years on the plantation.  Inside the visitor center customers can by all the various kinds of coffees offered by the company, but not before having a chance to try as many free samples as you would like to drink:

It is quite nice to sit on the balcony and enjoy the views of the plantation:

On a clear day the views of  the nearby 1,398 feet (426.11 meters) Mt. Kahili are stunning as well:

Kauai Coffee brews some dark, strong coffee so for hard core coffee lovers expect to leave this place with quite buzz!  For those that don’t feel like drinking coffee the visitor center also has ice cream and chocolates for sale as well.  I highly recommend trying the coffee bean chocolates, they are outstanding.  The visitor center also has a few newer and antique coffee production machines on display as well as plenty of information about coffee production on the plantation:

The best way to learn more about coffee production is to take a walk along the guided trail around the plantation:

Along the trail there are plenty of interpretive signs that explain the history of the plantation as well as how coffee is cultivated.  The trail also gives visitors an opportunity to get an up close look at the coffee producing trees:

Here is a closer look at the coffee beans:

There is even some left over sugarcane still growing in the plantation as well:

Besides getting a closer look at the trees the trail also allows visitors to get an up close look at the plantation’s machinery as well:

It was interesting to learn that on Kauai the blossoming of the coffee trees begins in February or March and by May, the young fruit begins to form. The fruit ripens around late September and harvesting begins.  Kauai’s harvesting period runs from mid-October through early December. The plantation continues to harvest coffee beans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Conclusion

A visit to the Kauai Coffee Company is something that is not for everyone, especially if you don’t drink coffee.  However, even those that don’t drink coffee may find the plantation interesting simply from a historical perspective.  I found it quite interesting the historical background of the plantation and the walk through the rows of coffee producing trees made for a pleasant walk.  For anyone that is a coffee lover like I am, I really developed a taste for Kauai Coffee and order a few bags of coffee from their website to get my Kauai Coffee fix.  I really like the Vanilla Macadamia Nut blend they have which is a taste unique to Hawaii.

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On Walkabout At: Kauai’s Spouting Horn

An easy morning trip from Poipu Beach is to either walk or drive over to the Spouting Horn:


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The Spouting Horn is accessed by following the road along the coast from Poipu.  It is well marked and easy to find.    Along the way to the Spouting Horn the road has a number of nice homes and condos  spaced out along a lava rock coast line:

Along the way the city of Koloa has constructed a marker that points out where a popular Hawaiian prince Kuhio was born:

Like the marker says Prince Kuhio was born in a grass hut at this location.  He would later become Hawaii’s first Congressman after Hawaii became a US territory.

He did much to protect the rights of Hawaiian people in the US Congress and is widely remembered and respected by Hawaiians.  Here is a picture of the park that was constructed where the Prince was born:

After arriving at the Spouting Horn and parking my family and I followed the path through some vendors selling various tourist items to the Spouting Horn.  The coast line here is composed of extremely rugged volcanic rock:

The Spouting Horn was called puhi which meant blowhole by the early Hawaiians.  The blow hole was formed by waves eroding softer underlying rock and then eventually the harder top rock.  Water rushing into the opening in the rock in shot up into the air through the hole.  The water has been seen to shoot 50 feet into the air.

The early Hawaiians believed that a giant lizard called a Mo’o ate people who tried to fish here.  Then one day a man named Liko was fishing here and swam underneath the rock to escape the lizard.  He emerged out the blowhole but the lizard got caught in the blowhole.  The groaning noise of air being pushed in and out of the blowhole is believed to be the sounds of the hunger and pain of the trapped lizard.

Besides the Spouting Horn there is another hole in the rock here that makes an extremely loud noise due to the air getting pushed in and out of it:

It also sometimes erupts with water but not very high:

Incredibly despite all the fences and warning signs the Spouting Horn is considered one of the most dangerous spots in Hawaii due to the amount of people who have been killed here climbing out on the rocks trying to get pictures of themselves close to the blowhole and then getting swept away by a wave.  So for anyone visiting this part of the island make sure to stay behind the fence and enjoy the horn from there.  There really is no need to go and be a fool and climb out on to the rocks.

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On Walkabout At: Wailua and Opaeka’a Falls On Kauai

Basic Information

  • Name: Wailua and Opaekaa Falls
  • Where: Kauai, Hawaii
  • More Information: HawaiiWeb.com

Narrative

Just a short drive from the Hawaiian island of Kauai’s main city of Lihue are two scenic and very accessible waterfalls that are worth checking out.  The first waterfall is Wailua Falls which is located just a short drive north of Lihue:


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The road State Highway 583 to the waterfall traverses through some very scenic farmland that used to be at one time completely covered in sugar cane:

There is a few volcanic hills to see along the way as well:

Eventually the road comes to a deep gorge that the Wailua River flows through:

At the head of this gorge is the beautiful 80 foot Wailua Falls:

This waterfall was made famous by being featured in the opening of the popular television show “Fantasy Island”.  There is a parking area that is usually packed at peak times so parking can be tricky and some people park further down the road and walk down the road to the falls.  Something else I found of interest at the falls is that there are signs everywhere saying it is illegal for vendors to set up shop here, but every time I have been to these falls there has been plenty of vendors everywhere.  Anyway this waterfall is well worth checking out and the vendors actually do sell some interesting items.

About a 15 minute drive to the east of Lihue is another great waterfall Opaeka’a Falls located near the village of Wailua:


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At Wailua there is a turn off on to Kuamo’o Road which leads to the 151 foot waterfall:

There is a well marked and usually busy lookout on the right side that can sometimes be hard to find parking because of the number of visitors coming by rental car and tour bus.  It is easy to understand why so many tourists come to this lookout thought because it really does offer an exceptional view of this pretty waterfall:

Here is an even closer look at the falls that shows how someone has got themselves a beautiful piece property right above the falls:

An added bonus with visiting Opaekaa Falls is that across the street from the falls is a historic Hawaiian “heiau” or temple:

This heiau is the called the Poli’ahu Heiau and only the exterior walls from the temple remains.  All these rocks were carried up from the valley floor by hand which would have been a huge project for the villagers to complete which I think shows how important the heiau in the lives of the early Hawaiians:

This marker shows what this heiau would have likely looked like:

Within the walls of this heiau the “Kahuna” or priest would have conducted religious ceremonies for the local villagers.  The arrival of Christian missionaries who were able to convert many of the Hawaiian royalty to Christianity led to the Hawaiian heiau system being banned in 1819 and these temples falling into disrepair.  With the rebirth of traditional Hawaiian culture these heiau are taking on increasing meaning to native Hawaiians and thus the state park service that overseas this temple asks that people show respect while visiting the site:

The view of the Wailua River valley from the temple are just tremendous:

Before the arrival of Europeans this valley would have been filled with traditional Hawaiian huts that the people down below would always have a grandiose view of the temple.  I think this is another indication of how important the traditional Hawaiian religion was in the lives of the early Hawaiians that lived in this valley.  You can learn more about the Poli’ahu Heiau at the link.

Conclusion

I think a good itinerary for visiting these falls is to visit both locations in the morning and then eat lunch in either Wailua or Kapa’a and then spend the rest of the day checking out both villages that offer many great shops.  For those looking to do something more active, use the afternoon to rent a kayak or take a boat trip up the Wailua River.  I think a great way to end the day is by taking in a luau at the Smith Family Garden Luau which is located near Opaeka’a Falls along the banks of the Wailua River.  There is plenty of other things to do in the area, but make sure to take some time to enjoy these two beautiful waterfalls.

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On Walkabout On: Maha’ulepu Beach, Kauai

Basic Information

  • Name: Maha’ulepu Beach
  • Where: Kauai, Hawaii
  • Distance: 10-12 miles round-trip
  • More Info: KauaiExplorer.com

Narrative

One of my favorite activities whenever I am visiting Kauai is to get up early and go for a jog.  I mentioned my prior four mile course from the Sheraton Kauai Resort, but when I want to go on a much longer run I head for the beautiful Maha’ulepu Beach located on the isolated Kawailoa Bay:


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I estimate that the run is about 5-6 miles one way from the Sheraton and thus about a 10-12 mile run round-trip.  When I started the jog it was pitch black out as I ran east past all the various hotels and resorts located along Poipu Beach.  Eventually as I passed the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa the road I was running on turned to dirt and I could begin to see the sun rising in the early morning:

By the time I ran the estimated 5 miles to Maha’ulepu Beach the had risen enough that I could make out what was around me:

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On Walkabout On: Kauai’s North Shore

Basic Information

  • Name: Kauai’s North Shore
  • Where: Hawaii
  • More Info: GoHawaii.com

Narrative

For people looking for a lush tropical paradise the North Shore of Kauai is hard to beat.  This side of the island is filled with spectacular scenery of mountains, waterfalls, taro fields, beaches, and small towns.  Highway 56 from Lihue travels up to the North Shore and makes for an excellent all day driving tour to see all the North Shore’s sites:


Image from Franko’s Guide Map of Kauai.

The site that most people first see when visiting Kauai’s North Shore is the historic Kilauea Lighthouse:

The lighthouse is constructed on Kilauea Point which is the northern most point of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands.  It was constructed in 1913 to warn mariners of the rocky shores on this section of the island.  The lighthouse closed in 1976 and has since then been taken over by the US Fish & Wildlife service as a wildlife refuge.  You can read more about the lighthouse at this prior posting:

The next place worth stopping to checkout is the beautiful Anini Beach:

This beach is where supposedly a lot of rich and famous people have homes at and judging by some of the properties I saw near the beach this is probably true.  However, what I liked most about this beach is that it is large and not very crowded, at least when we went there.  We ended up spending a whole morning here when we visited the beach.  The swimming was great and there is good snorkeling if you swim way out to the reef that protects this beach.  Also from the beach out in the distance we could make out Kilauea Point we had visited earlier:

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On Walkabout At: Kauai’s Kilauea Lighthouse

Basic Information

  • What: The Kilauea Lighthouse
  • Where: Kauai
  • Cost: $5 per adult over age 16
  • Time: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm daily and is closed on major federal holidays
  • More Info: KilaueaLighthouse.org

Narrative

One of the most popular tourist attractions on Kauai’s north shore is the beautiful Kilauea Lighthouse that is located on a peninsula that sticks out from the rest of the North Shore:


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The lighthouse is located just outside the historic sugar plantation village of Kilauea.  There is a section of the village that has been nicely restored with various shops and restaurants that is well worth checking out before visiting the lighthouse:

Throughout the shopping area there is various historic pictures that are interesting to view that show the cultural impact that the Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, and other foreign nationals brought in to work the sugar fields had on the village.

One of the most well known of these immigrant families was the Lung family:

Lung Wah Chee arrived on Kauai in 1876 and after 16 years of living on the island he opened the Kong Lung Company which was a retail store for the plantation workers.  In 1902 the store moved to the location where it can still be seen today in the renovated shopping area:

Just outside of town where the Kilauea Lighthouse is located all this land used to be a giant sugarcane plantation.  The land had originally been purchased in 1863 from King Kamehameha IV to raise cattle by Charles Titcomb.  Titcomb sold the land in 1877 to John Ross and Edward Adams who plan to use the land to grow sugar.  In 1879 Robert Macfie Jr. bought out Ross’ shares in the plantation and moved to incorporate the farm.  In 1880 the Kilauea Sugar Plantation Company was formed.  In 1881 Kauai’s first railroad began construction on the plantation’s land and Hawaii’s beloved then Princess Liliuokalani drove in the first spike.  It was during the 1880′s that the various foreign workers began to populate Kilauea in order to work in the fields.

Due to the rocky cliffs that bordered the plantation’s property there became a need for a lighthouse to protect the increased shipping that was coming to Kauai’s shores due to the sugar boom.  In 1912 the Kilauea Sugar Plantation Company sold to the US government 31 acres of land for $1 in order for the government to build a lighthouse.  The land was known as Kilauea Point and was the northern most extent of land in the inhabited Hawaiian islands.  The land that was sold to the government was extremely rugged and not suited for sugar farming so it wasn’t exactly a big sacrifice land wise on part of the plantation:

It took one year to construct the lighthouse with it formally being dedicated in 1913.

Image of lighthouse construction in 1913 from the Kong Lung website.


Image of how supplies were brought up by ship via a derrick from the Kong Lung website.  By the way many more historic pictures of the lighthouse can be seen at the link. 

In 2013 this beautiful lighthouse and popular tourist attraction will reach an impressive 100 years old:

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