61G lava flow this morning, first time I have been out since the shelf collapse, what a difference, it just pours out of the tube. There is a small fragment of the old shelf, it continues to collapse, heard and watched a couple truck sized chunks fall out of it and into the surf.
Did another dawn attack, arriving at the flow about 2am, staying until after sunrise. The new rope line is stupidly far back, so far back no one was honoring it. I stayed about 200-300 yards away, but saw folks on the top of the cliff over the tube where I had seen glowing globs land just half an hour before.
After this latest trip to see the lave I was recalling all of my previous effort to photograph the lava. It has resulted in quite a few beautiful photographs, many of which have appeared here on DarkerView…
Biking the Flow
Lava at the New Ocean Entry
The lava has been flowing into the ocean for a little over a month now and all my photographer friends are posting great photos. It is really past time I got myself down to Kalapana to see the lava. The real problem is that my vehicle has been in the shop and I had no way to carry the bike. The answer? Don wanted to make another go at it, his bike rack holds two! Can you pick me up on your way past Waikoloa?
While the lava is further from the end of the road than on my previous hikes, a full 4.5miles, it is actually easier to get to. When earlier flows looked like they would cut the main highway into Puna the county re-cut Chain of Craters road across the lava flows. The road is closed to motor vehicle traffic, but foot and bicycle traffic is allowed. This gives a direct access to the current 61G lava flow without having to cross country for miles across older flows.
Ocean Entry Under Full Moonlight
Getting to the Lava
Note! The contents of this posting are obsolete, there is currently no surface lava accessible on the island. When it does reach the surface again I will most likely be there, look to see an update of this article in the future!
The 61G flow reached the ocean a month ago, but only this last weekend did I get a chance to go out and see it for myself. It is quite a bit further to go than previous visits, about four and a half miles, but is it also much easier. I realized that my Getting to the Lava post is a bit outdated and a serious update is in order.
The 61G flow began on May 24th, breaking out on the southeastern flank of Pu’u O’o. The flow moved fairly quickly, cutting the re-built Chain of Craters Road and entering the ocean on July 26th. The flow is quite vigorous with an ample supply of lava. There are currently multiple surface breakouts and multiple ocean entry points. The flow is building new land near Kamokuna, the lava delta has added around 11 acres to the Big Island in one month.
With easier access and a dramatic ocean entry the 61G flow is drawing large crowds of visitors that have come to see the spectacle. In my opinion the trip is very much worth the effort. Still, there are inherent risks in experiencing raw nature like this. A little preparation is in order and may prevent a visit from becoming an emergency.