Hawaii 2012 - Day 11: Flight to Hilo - Kaumana Lava Tube
Hilo Travel Blog› entry 874 of 1090 › view all entries
Today we are moving on, to Hawai'i also know as The Big Island. Hawai'i is more than twice the size of all the other Hawaiian Islands together, a bit less than 25% of The Netherlands. Hawai'i is also the youngest island in the archipelago, the only island that is actually still growing. It consists of five volcanoes; one is extinct, two dormant, and two active. Every day the ongoing flow deposits an amount of lava enough to build a highway around the island (400 km / 250 miles). South of Hawai'i, deep below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, a new volcano is shaping up, Lo'ihi. It is expected that it will emerge in 10,000 to 100,000 years and merge with the existing volcanoes of Hawai'i.
The big island is home of Mauna Kea, with its 4207 meters (13803 ft) the highest mountain in the state of Hawaii, only 600 meters shorter than Europe's Mont Blanc.
We started relaxed in our hotel in the Maui Shaped pool, and made our way to the airport to catch the direct Hawaiian Airlines flight to Hilo. The small Boeing 717 took us safely and in a pleasant way over East Maui, the ocean, along the north coast of Hawai'i, giving us another flight with great views.
We were "lucky" again to get another double upgrade, a huge Chevrolet Impala 9th Generation. It looked nice but it drove horrible. We quickly checked into our Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, a familiar place since we had stayed here in 2009 too, and moved ahead to do some sight seeing in the few hours of daylight that were left.
Ironically we ended up in a lava tube, the Kaumana Lava Tube. A lava tube is formed when a lava flow is cooling off from outside. A roof is formed on top of the flow and gradually walls form. The walls keep the inside hot allowing the remaining lava to keep flowing. These tunnels can grow really long, some as long as 50 kilometers (31 miles). The Kaumana Lava Tube is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) long and was formed in 1881. At the point where we visited the tube its roof has collapsed making it accessible. The Hawaii State Parks Dept. has created a nice stair for access into the heavily overgrown area. Another Indiana Jones feeling came over me. We unfortunately had not brought our flash lights, so going in farther than several meters was not a wise plan. Yet enough to be amazed by this huge cave like structure with (as we saw on the flash light photos) beautiful deep coloured lava rocks.
More picture below!