I kid you not, I saw it with my own eyes from the deck of a sailboat on the first day of a solo trip from Hilo on the Big Island, south around the corner, and onward to Guam. The Big Island is so damn big it took me until way at night just to turn the corner, and the orange lave was visible against the black island. That was pretty cool. Took me a month to get to Guam, sailing on the trades from the high to low teens in latitude. That was the middle point of my longest solo, Panama-Hawaii-Guam. I’d never do long trips solo again, if I had a choice. With crew is much better.
That sure sounds like something else. I should like to do that sometime.
We just got back from Hawaii (Kona side) a few weeks ago and drove over to the wet side to see Volcanoes National Park.
No photograph will ever do justice to capture the experience of looking down into Halema’uma’u Crater’s caldera from the rim. It rivals the Grand Canyon for awesome beauty, but it’s fear factor is something that will cause silent prayers while visiting it. I looked around at the faces of the visitors while we were there and saw very few fools with carefree disregard for what they were experiencing. Many of the people I saw had this “We’re sort of risking our lives here right now, aren’t we?” look on their faces. I’m sure that I did.
After looking down into that lava, I can certainly understand how the native Hawaiians in the 19th century initially learned about Jesus from the Christian missionaries and promptly used whatever Hawaiian word there was for ‘bullshit’ and kept right on cowering in mortal fear of Pele the Goddess of Fire, that she would again grow angry with mankind.
If Halema’uma’u erupts again in my lifetime in an explosive event like it did in 1924, I’m dropping whatever I’m doing and flying to Hilo on the next plane out so I can see it happen. I looked out over that several mile wide plain of black lava flow and wished with all my heart to see it as a enormous lake of fire and lava like they did 90 years ago.