VIDEO by David Corrigan
There may be no better way to see the magnificence of a volcano lava flow on the Big Island of Hawaii then out on the ocean.
That’s where businesses like Lava Ocean Adventures fill the lucrative market, delivering a once in a lifetime experience to adventurous visitors, taking them to within mere yards of the steamy ocean entries where Kilauea’s fire meets the sea.
A recent sunrise lava trip aboard the Lava Kai, organized by the Big Island Visitors Bureau, mixed a wide eyed crowd of guests with working media, in the hopes showcasing the crown jewel in what the BIVB has called “Hawaii’s Big Adventure Island” – Pele, Hawaii’s tempestuous volcano goddess.
Captain Shane Turpin assures the tour is safe; he and his family have been doing this for years. Turpin also says the company’s captains are United States Coast Guard licensed, their vessels are permitted through the state of Hawaii, and they even carry insurance for all passengers.
Still, the adventure is not without the thrill of potential danger. The launch from Pohoiki can be bumpy, the waves can sometimes rock the boat violently, and there is even a warning given by the crew to passengers in case molten lava spatter lands on them (“shake that stuff off, quickly!”)
Operating under the unpredictable possibility that the ocean entry could suddenly stop “cold turkey”, Turpin says that recent years have been great for business. Luckily for the visitors and media aboard in the video, the morning was an impressive one. Towering flows dwarfed the boats at the Kupapa`u entry, while steam from the plume from the Waikupanaha entry (the one closest to the County run Viewing area) covered the passengers in transit.
A reported 2 million visitors make the trip to the Big Island of Hawaii to experience Kilauea Volcano each year. For more information on the Lava Ocean Adventures tours, call 808-966 -4200, or visit http://www.lavaocean.com.