To See The Eruption

How to get a good look at this eruption? Not a trivial question. The neighborhoods involved are under mandatory evacuation orders enforced by police and National Guard checkpoints. Quite a few people have been arrested and cited while trying to get closer to the lava.

Fissure 8 Lava Fountain
The lava fountain at fissure 8 in Leilani Estates throwing lava hundreds of feet in the air on June 4th, 2018

This is the first major change in the eruptions of Kilauea in decades. This eruption features phenomena seen in the old documentaries, lava fountains hundreds of feet high, huge flows cutting through the rainforest. Things I have always wanted to see.

As much as I would like to visit, we have simply not tried to get into lower Puna. It is just not pono to interfere with residents frantically trying to salvage whatever they can ahead of the flows, or emergency services already overburdened with the ongoing situation.

Two legal ways exist for visitors to get a closer look… Fly or float. Either take a helicopter ride over the eruption, or take one of the lava boats to an ocean entry.

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Trail Through the Lava

A well made trail across the 1856 lava flow, allowing an easy crossing through the aʻa. Too well made, not something built by the State of Hawaii, this is older, much older. One feature of the old trails was large flat stones laid along the path. I suspect the trail was cut soon after the lava flow cooled, reconnecting the villages along this section of the Kohala coast.

Trail Across the Lava
An ancient trail across the lava flows at Kapalaoa