Today, we had an awesome experience taking a helicopter tour over the Big Island and more specifically, over the active Kilauea volcano.
Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and its current eruption dating back to January 1983 is one of the worlds longest lived continual eruptions. It has produced enough lava to resurface over 123 sq km of land! (Volcano facts courtesy of Wikipedia)
Last year we brought our volcano-mad son to the Big Island to do a full day tour of the volcanic national park and surrounding areas and this year we decided to get a different perspective and see it from above.
The weather was absolutely perfect, with no sign of the misty rain clouds that make Hilo the wettest city in the entire USA.
We headed off towards Pahoa, the town currently under threat from the lava flow which started on June 27th last year.
While the flow has stalled over the past couple of days, much to the relief of the people whose homes are directly in its path, the steam rising from it made it very easy to spot from a long distance away, and as we swooped over it you could clearly see spots of bright burning orange through cracks in the surface crust.
From there we headed to the source, the Kilauea crater itself, which had steam billowing from it and also displayed clearly visible red hot lava (and with that, Sam’s interest in a career in vulcanology which was sparked last year erupted [couldn’t help a volcano pun!] again)
The landscape around the crater is surreal, with very little vegetation and smaller craters with visible sulfur crusts from previous eruptions.
From there we flew into experience a total change of scenery, as we headed north with imposing views of the freshly snow covered Mauna Loa (there were blizzard warnings issued just two days ago; blizzards in Hawaii, who would believe it) filling our view.
We then swooped in over beautiful lush rainforests to catch sight of the stunning waterfalls that the Big Island is famous for.
As we made our return to Hilo over beautiful blue sky and beaches I reflected on what a phenomenal range of scenery we had just viewed in one short 50 minute window, all explained by our lovely pilot Nate who doubled up as a very knowledgable tour guide (and was very excited to have his first ever Google Glass wearing passenger aboard).
Last April I had the opportunity to take a helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon with Glass, and once again it proved to be an awesome way to capture pictures without missing out on any of the experience by staring at a camera or phone rather than the stunning surrounds. Days like today prove to me that whatever the future holds for Glass itself as a device, this type of technology is here to stay.