Monday, 11 November 2013

Volcano Park, Hawaii

Some places are just too big for words, too grand to capture in a photo.  Volcano Park is one of those places.  I'll post some photo's and write some words, but you have to experience this yourself.

Caution, Volcanic Fumes
The Sulphuric gas levels were dangerously high in some areas so they were closed, but we enjoyed most of the park.  

Halema‘uma‘u Crater within Kīlauea Caldera
One fine starry night we will visit this crater. 
The orange glow beneath the starry sky is a sight to behold.  The crater is interesting since it smokes all the time. Lava flowed out and left a hollow space which collapsed in the 1500's approx, forming a huge crater. Slowly it has been filling up with lava. In some ways the smoking crater reminds me of Victoria Falls...Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders). 

Actually there are lots of craters all the way down to the sea. We did not see any flowing lava, it's high on our list of things to do! Unfortunately, like game spotting, nature does not always co-operate and at this moment there are no actual fresh lava flows we can visit.  

Sulphur Banks

Sulphur banks is where sulphur crystalizes at the surface, kinda pretty and smelly at the same time! 

Mark Twain said the smell at Sulphur Banks,  was “not unpleasant to sinners.”

"At Sulphur Banks (Ha`akulamanu), volcanic gases seep out of the ground along with groundwater steam. These gases are rich in carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide -- the gas that smells like rotten eggs. Some sulfur gases deposit pure crystals at Sulphur Banks. Other sulfur gases form sulfuric acid which breaks down the lava to clay. This clay is stained red and brown with iron oxide."

Steam vents behind a field of orchids
Steam vents
We saw steam rising from the ground, since it had recently rained. The water runs down cracks and fissures where it is heated on hot rocks below the surface. It certainly gives you an idea of the volcano size since the vents cover many miles. It's wise to stay on the paths, nobody wants to fall into a volcano

Lava Tube
Lava once rushed down this Lava tube and left the empty shell of a tunnel.

Lava Tube entrance
Tree Fern Forest
To reach the Lava tube you walk through a Tree Fern forest, the floor is lined with Maiden Hair ferns and moss. Forest birds sing from the fern canopy.    

Craters Valley

Trails meander throughout the rain forest, revealing treasures along the way.


Kalij Pheasant shared our picnic.

We all had headaches last week and the kids felt a bit nauseous, flu like and lethargic. I thought perhaps it was something viral, until I discovered that it is a side effect of vog. (when I first saw the word vog I thought it was a spelling error). Vog is Sulphur Dioxide and other gases and particles from the volcano.  The unfortunate side effect is that we don't really feel like exploring this wonderful place when we feel lethargic and off. Trouble in paradise. Well I suppose every place has it's draw backs, if we were in Houston or London we would be breathing smog instead! If we were in Johannesburg we would be worried about crime and smog, and if we were in Harare… well, where should I start?!!

A friend in Africa wrote "We have a problem with Pog here (political fog), which upon closer inspection looks like a global phenomenon."

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